I am honored to be on the board of directors for Hold My Guns, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, whose mission is to connect responsible firearms owners with voluntary, private off-site storage options during times of mental health crisis or personal need. If you don’t know about the organization, it works through a national network of partnering gun shops and FFLs all over the country to provide temporary storage for firearms (or related items) in a way that enables people to protect themselves as well as protect their rights. Sarah Joy Albrecht, Hold My Guns Co-Founder and Executive Director, and I had a chance to speak recently, and, as we were talking, we both had an interesting realization. While I, myself, and many people in our 2A community teach about situational awareness, there may be an important aspect that we are missing. In fact, Sarah and I discovered that we might actually have a problem with self-centered situational awareness.

Seeing More Than Ourselves

What I mean is: We certainly want to make sure that we use all of our senses and make good decisions based on effective observations and pay attention to our environment, the objects and items within that space, and the people who are present. But let’s not forget that last element — the people! While in some cases we look for those who might potentially pose a threat or a danger, let’s not forget to observe others with some empathy, as well. Sarah teaches the QPR Gatekeeper class for suicide risk detection, which I was certified in last year. And this potentially life-saving information helps build awareness about people who might need assistance. These might be folks who are showing signs of depression or hopelessness, or who have even mentioned the thought of taking their own lives. There may be signs, behaviors or risk patterns that we should be able to detect. And this kind of situational awareness — paying attention to the potential needs, attitudes or emotions of those around us — could help us help others!

Making a Difference

For those of us in this 2A industry, especially those who work on shooting ranges or who hold firearms classes or various training sessions, this kind of observation is imperative! If we want to make a difference in the lives of those who are potentially at their lowest or who are considering drastic measures, let’s not be too self-centered in our situational awareness practices. Let’s add in a layer that considers what’s going on with the people who are in our lives, in our circles or just in our presence.