Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation are not necessarily things that are talked about often enough when it comes to gun ownership, especially with the influx of new gun owners in the last few years. Tessah, at Armed and Styled [YouTube channel], wants to discuss the risks that we introduce when we bring a firearm into our homes and lives, and the steps we can take to mitigate the potential adverse outcomes.
Tessah is relatively new to the world of gun ownership and concealed carry, having started carrying within the last few years. She encountered a lot of unknowns and thought others probably have too. A big topic she had dealt with is risk assessment when it comes to gun ownership. She defines Risk Assessment as a systematic process of evaluating risks that may be involved in a projected situation or undertaking.
Her thought process is that we all undertake risk assessments every day, whether we realize it or not. She uses the example of driving a car or the obvious one of carrying a gun. We may not realize we do risk assessments for these tasks because we may have done them before, as in the example of driving the car. We all weigh the pros and cons of a given situation and decide what is best for us.
Mitigating Risk and Negative Outcomes
With buying or carrying a gun, the purpose could be for sport shooting or defending our homes from those who want to do bad things. Adding a gun adds some risk to our daily lives, but not having a gun in that same situation might add a level of risk that we aren’t willing to take. It’s about your own personal risk assessment.
Blatantly, when we bring a gun into our lives, it is an inherent risk and huge responsibility. Tessah stresses that if we don’t take that responsibility with the proper weight and consider the possible negative outcomes or how to prevent them, we are putting ourselves in potentially more harm.
Going back to the driving analogy, we use seatbelts and employ other safety measures to avoid inherent risks. The same thing goes for those who introduce firearms into their lives and homes, and for those who live in the home with the owner. Tessah states that she’s at a lower risk level because there are no children in her home. Owners with children in the home need to take certain steps to mitigate the risks of bringing that firearm into the house. Steps such as locking it up in a safe, teaching gun safety to the children, and what to do if they encounter a firearm in the home or elsewhere.
Risk Reduction for New Gun Owners
Tessah only started concealed carrying two years ago and recommends a few things to reduce your potential risk. These things are important as a concealed carrier because you choose the risk in carrying, but you need to take certain steps to help mitigate the extra risk.
- Learn how to carry the gun safely
- Learn how to safely handle the firearm
- Learn and use fundamental rules for gun safety
The first thing is to learn how to carry the gun safely, and that includes which holster works the best and how to present yourself so others cannot tell you are carrying. For the correct holster, you need to make sure that it has proper trigger coverage on both sides, adequate retention on the firearm, a mouth that will stay open after the gun has been drawn, and one that will stay on your body in high-intensity situations.
The next important step, which she says is the biggest and I agree with, is to learn how to handle the gun safely. This means learning how to shoot well, how to holster your gun properly, and building an unconscious competence with the firearm. The initial part could include finding an instructor to help you learn, but a lot of it is correct repetition. The goal is to get to the point where things happen without you having to actively think about it happening (like a safe trigger finger). You want to get to where the actions are automatic.
Tessah’s third step is to learn and employ the universal rules for gun safety. These are fundamental rules that should be taught and learned by new gun owners. If we follow all those rules all the time, risk mitigation is naturally there. The main conclusion is that if we follow the basic safety rules, and then add additional safety on top of them, we are lowering the likelyhood that we will become another statistic.
As viewers of the video said in the comments section, if we are mindful of how we handle firearms and follow our own risk assessments, our potential risk is low. But it comes down to person assessments and actions. It’s a necessary thought process to have as responsible gun owners.