The other day, a friend of mine called me and said, “guess what just happened to me at the gun store?”
Apparently, he went to a store in Utah to rent a few guns before deciding on a new gun to purchase. I think this is a great idea and I always recommend renting a bunch of guns to make sure you end up buying one that feels good in your hand and one you’ll actually carry.
Well, when my friend got to the counter to rent the guns, the clerk asked him if anyone could vouch for his mental capacity within the last 24 hours. My friend thought the guy was joking, but the clerk made him call someone and verify he hadn’t been drinking, doing drugs, and wasn’t suicidal.
After the clerk had spoken to someone, he ended up renting my friend the guns. Obviously, this screening method is nonsense because my friend could have called anyone up to “vouch” for him. But it sounds like the store owner has been talking to a lawyer who probably advised him on this tactic to limit his liability.
In Florida, several gun stores have taken it a step further and have stopped renting guns altogether. One Florida store owner will still rent guns to people, except white males…
“We don’t rent to any white male Florida resident who comes in alone. In the past 30 years, we’ve never had a suicide that wasn’t a white male Florida resident who came in alone. They don’t want to mess up their families’ homes, so they do it here.”
The fact is, the vast majority of new shooters end up renting guns while learning about the sport. This saves them a lot of money during the time they’re deciding which gun they want. If more gun stores around the nation stop renting guns, forcing everyone who wants to try shooting to bring their own gun with them, then fewer people will be able to try shooting and realize how enjoyable it is.
I realize that store owners don’t want suicides in their ranges and I certainly can’t blame them, but there has to be a better way to prevent this. I don’t think discontinuing gun rentals is the answer because, as I just mentioned, there will be untold amounts of people who will never learn how to responsibly use firearms and how to protect themselves with a firearm.
Also, based on the statistics I read, the amount of suicides at ranges across the country is miniscule. However, it seems some store owners have overreacted based on this small percentage of people.
I don’t know what the solution to this predicament is but I am sure it’s not to stop renting guns altogether. The last thing we want to do is to stop encouraging people to learn how to protect themselves and to support the Second Amendment.