Centered and Even

“Centered and even.”

It’s a fantastic way for a firearms instructor to describe what a student needs to look for when lining up the front sight post in the rear sight notch to achieve that perfect sight alignment. The front sight needs to be lined up in the center of the rear sights, and everything needs to be even across the top.

Simple enough. But what’s really clever about these unassuming words is how attorney and firearms instructor Tiffany Johnson uses them. As Tiffany often shares, “centered and even” should apply to the way we approach conversations regarding the Second Amendment, firearms training and safe and responsible gun ownership.

Just think about it: When it comes to firearms training, it really shouldn’t matter what you personally believe about God, relationships, culture, gender or political candidates. I’m sure we could have heated debates among ourselves about any of these topics (and many of these debates certainly have appropriate times and places to be held). But why waste the time in the firearms community? And why risk tearing down what could potentially be a unified stronghold among like-minded individuals?

In other words, the right to self-defense with firearms doesn’t belong to only one side of the fence. And, as Tiffany has phrased it, people need to quit assuming that all gun people share the same politics or beliefs. With that, we need to be careful to keep political and social leanings, religious preferences and biases out of the classrooms and out of our conversations if we hope to keep moving forward as a community. True, we may not all believe all of the same things, but what should truly matter is that we all believe that life is worth protecting … and so is our Second Amendment right.

In those certain settings in which we are studying, learning and advocating for firearms, let’s strive to keep conversations away from the extremes. When we come together for meetings, conventions, competitions, shows, classes and other events, let’s focus on the camaraderie and on our shared goals and interests. And instead of creating or perpetuating division, let’s create and build unification within the firearms community.

As Tiffany recently wrote in her blog, “You have a right to your own opinions on politics, social stuff, race, gender, religion or [insert demographic of choice]. We’re not telling you your opinions are wrong. By all means, hang on to them as long as you have objective evidence to back them up. But don’t bring that … into a firearms training classroom. As long as you’re law-abiding, your Second Amendment rights have nothing whatsoever to do with your voting record or your sleeping partner or your prayer book. You never know who will be sitting in your class or what their motivations are. The last thing you want to do is run them off with fruitless insults that are wholly unrelated to firearms safety or operation. The sooner we get that through the firearms community’s thick skull, the more secure our Second Amendment freedoms will be.”

So just like the advice we hold true for the proper use of our firearms’ sights, let’s remember how applicable those simple words are to the proper direction of our conversations about firearms. And let’s make a conscious choice to be centered and even.

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