A police chief friend sent this along from the UK.
What evoked horror in the Brits who published that, evoked nostalgia in me…and, undoubtedly, in many of the men and women of the well-established English shooting community. I don’t just remember those old ads…I remember opening guns under the Christmas tree. I think the coolest Christmas present I ever received was my first Colt .45 automatic pistol, at age twelve. (Yeah, I know, but even Colt called it “automatic” instead of “semi-automatic.”) The same was true for my kids’ generation, at least in my family and my circles.
Buying guns for Christmas presents is not as casual as it once was. There is a fear of being accused of a “straw man” purchase. That is, buying a gun for someone else but signing on that ominous Form 4473 that you are buying it for yourself. While you can still give a gun (under Federal law, anyway; check the local law where you are) many find it easier to simply get a gift certificate at the gun shop to put under the tree. Not quite the same, but reassuring to some.
Ain’t much time left to buy one, and none at all in which to take possession of it and wrap it up in states with waiting periods. But in those places, there is still time to lay the money down, take title if not physical possession, and put the receipt in a gift card for the recipient.
I discussed this with my buddy Steve Denney, general manager of the gun shop where I most often hang out, ProArms. Steve had this to add: “Aside from the time convenience of a gift certificate, it also gives a person the chance to choose a different gun than the giver may have imagined the person would like, or even change their mind if the gun they thought they wanted wasn’t the one they actually liked after getting their hands on a particular model. That may be more detail than you want to get into, but you know the ‘If I like it the little woman must like it’ syndrome. I guess it depends on how much pre-planning has gone into the decision. Also, with gun availability as spotty as it is right now, a gift cert. would allow for time to find the make and model gun that a person really wants. Finally, if you want to give a gun to someone who doesn’t live in the same state, a gift certificate can still cross state lines without the need for, or encumbrance by, Federal regulations.”
To give a firearm is to give the gift of responsibility. It sends a message of trust.
If the gift is going to a first time shooter/gun owner, the gun itself should be only part of the present. Give it with the understanding that the recipient will go to the range with you and learn safe handling. Otherwise, it’s like giving a chain saw to someone who has no idea how to run it. If you going to the range with them isn’t in the cards, a gift certificate for a local firearms safety class would be an excellent accompaniment.
Finally, the Christmas or birthday gun can become the gift of survival. I rather like this commercial from Glock:
You’re invited to share memories of guns of Christmases past, here.