Hey liberals, owning a gun IS the responsible thing to do

When President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence take the stage to address the National Rifle Association Convention in Dallas on Friday, they will have an opportunity to emphasize how responsible gun ownership saves lives.

As a supporter of the Second Amendment of our Constitution, President Trump has promised to protect Americans’ right to safe, legal gun ownership. He has fulfilled that promise.

Responsible gun ownership allows Americans to defend themselves and their families from a threat. That’s a simple message, but unfortunately one that has been hotly contested and debated in the last few months during the nationwide conversation on gun violence in America.

Many people still do not seem to understand that this simple message is very important to many Americans, who look to the Second Amendment as a means of safety and protection.

Responsible gun ownership allows Americans to defend themselves and their families from a threat. That’s a simple message, but unfortunately one that has been hotly contested and debated in the last few months during the nationwide conversation on gun violence in America.

A well-trained, responsible gun owner can save lives in the active-shooter situations our country has seen too many times. Concealed-carry permit holders have the necessary training to respond to a threat until law enforcement arrives to take over.

A sensible, educated gun owner could even neutralize the threat by the time law enforcement arrives. We aren’t talking about vigilante justice, we’re talking about saving innocent lives from violent criminals.

Any restrictions on the Second Amendment or concealed-carry permit holders is an unwise erosion of a constitutional right. Rolling back a piece of the Constitution would be a violation of the basic rights guaranteed to us as Americans.

Equally important, the conversation about guns in America needs to shift from fearmongering and more ineffective laws that do not work, to personal responsibility for the safety of oneself and others.

Contrary to the national media narrative, the discussion in many states has been very productive, with several examples of local policymaking that show this decision is best left to local officials to decide their community’s needs.

For example, a commonsense policy that would allow teachers with concealed-carry permits to arm themselves at school is being considered in the Kentucky state Senate, which could save lives in an active-shooter situation, especially in rural schools.

In an emergency situation, seconds matter – particularly in remote areas where it could take law enforcement longer to arrive at the scene.

Several school districts in South Dakota have also implemented a “School Sentinel” program, where school officials with concealed-carry permits can undergo training by the local police department in firearms proficiency and first aid.

Applicants have a rigorous vetting process, complete with interviews, medical examinations and drug testing. Having these volunteers on the scene could provide lifesaving support in a crisis scenario.

A similar program has been in place in parts of Texas for a number of years. Volunteers have similar training and vetting requirements as part of the program. Many other school districts in Texas do not have a formal program, but allow teachers and staff with a valid concealed-carry permit to bring their firearms with them to campus.

In Utah, school officials can also bring their firearms with them to class, so long as they have the proper permit.

Concealed-carry permit holders are on the front lines of defense for our students, because they have the necessary knowledge and experience to protect their classrooms.

President Trump has gone on the record in support of policies and programs that incentivize trained, licensed teachers to arm themselves while at school in order to protect students from another tragedy.

Such local policies could potentially be models for schools all over the country – an example of how to thoughtfully integrate those already trained in firearms into the emergency response plans for schools. With the president’s support, we can provide a secure learning environment for our children.

Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.