According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms were the cause of the deaths of 39,707 people in 2019. This figure includes deaths from suicides, homicides, murders, and mass shootings. With still no significant moves towards sustainable gun laws, we can only expect this number to rise in the following years.
While gun dealers and store owners are not responsible for gun-related deaths, they play a significant role in preventing weapons from falling into the hands of the wrong people. In this article, we talk about several strategies the gun industry (and those rallying for better gun safety) can use to help prevent gun-related violence in the country.
1. Employ stricter entry policies
Guns are lethal weapons, which makes it only sensible for gun businesses to disallow entries for people who are not willing to comply with safety policies. While most gun stores already have certain ‘no entry’ policies in place for intoxicated people, there is no harm in making these policies stricter, especially in the face of the current mass shooting crises.
For instance, gun stores can also disallow entry for people under 21 years of age and ask for proper identification before allowing customers to enter the store. It also helps to strictly disallow entry for people who are clearly intoxicated—be it with alcohol or drugs—and those who are not willing to provide ID. Aside from helping prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands, gun stores can also make their environment safer for employees and other customers. Stricter policies, along with a CGL policy for gun shops, can make gun businesses safer for everyone.
2. Enter discourse about gun violence
Gun store owners can work with members of the community to help put a stop to gun-related violence. Entering discourse with activists, lobbyists, and families of victims can help gun businesses develop and apply more solutions to reduce the number of gun-related incidents in their communities and make their businesses more trustworthy in the process.
3. Requiring stricter background checks
”Buying a gun should be like buying a car” is one of the solutions lobbyists suggest to make gun laws safer. While there are still no stricter requirements in place for gun ownership, gun businesses can step up and do their part in preventing gun violence by conducting more comprehensive background checks—even stricter than the ones they do now.
When gun stores see everyone as a potential criminal, they can better prevent the wrongful use of guns while still hitting sales targets. If lenders can dig into a customer’s past to deem if they can pay back their loan, gun stores can also do due diligence to ensure customers have little to no risk of using guns for violent purposes.
4. Adopt responsible marketing techniques
Many food companies adopted more responsible solutions to help solve the growing obesity crisis in the country by shaving off calories in their products and marketing more responsibly. In an increasingly growing gun problem, the gun industry can do the same.
One solution that gun businesses can apply now is reconfigure their goals to become a socially responsible provider of protection than a supplier of deadly weapons. The majority of the younger generation—millennials and Gen Zs—showed support for stricter gun laws in a recent Rasmussen survey. And since the younger generation will make up more than half of the population in the near future (they are at 50% now), gun businesses that shift their marketing techniques toward responsible gun ownership and protection rather than lethal force can still find a great market in the coming generations.
5. Educate employees
Gun store employees go through safety training before they can work in a store that supplies lethal weapons. Owners can supplement their safety knowledge by educating them about gun safety laws, suicide prevention, responsible gun ownership, and gun violence interventions. The better they understand how and why gun ownership needs to be made safer, the more they can help prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.
Furthermore, owners must be proactive in educating employees about proper gun ownership if they are gun owners themselves. This way, employees are not left to their own devices due to a lack of knowledge.
Gun violence is a problem that needs the cooperation of everyone—gun owners, businesses, lobbyists, lawmakers, and the government. Thus, gun businesses can do their part in helping prevent gun violence in the community by adopting these strategies and, more importantly, seeing stricter gun laws as a way to move forward to a safer future for everyone.