Dear politicians – during this campaign season, please make sure you know the facts before you start declaring your intentions, especially when it comes to punishing law abiding gun owners.

“I will ban bump-fire stocks.” Too late, already done, already processed, nothing to see here.

“I will require background checks for firearm sales,” The new federal 4473 forms (required for purchase of a handgun or long gun when purchasing from a gun shop or gun show) now allows for private sale background checks. Private citizens can come into an gun shop and have the private buyer fill out the 4473 and to have a background check performed or to provide a purchase permit or Conceal Carry permit to abide by the laws of the state. There is a minimal fee and takes about 15 minutes.

“We need to re-instate the assault weapons ban to stop people from killing each other.” In fact, only about 400 people a year are killed by the “assault weapons” listed, as compared to the 30,000 killed by handguns. The former assault weapons ban did not reduce gun crime.

“Gun buy backs will take guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals.” Wrong. Criminals don’t turn in firearms, regardless of what the coupon offers. One of the strangest stories in the news this week was when a murder was committed by a person using a handgun that was part of a buy-back program six years ago that promised the firearms surrendered would be destroyed. Ooops.

“National reciprocity will encourage gun crime across state lines,” False. Why a law abiding citizen would opt to travel to another state to commit a crime makes no sense at all. National reciprocity will keep law abiding citizens from being charged with felonies from crossing state lines — again the punishment of law abiding. Could you imagine if in every state you traveled in with your driver’s license you had to abide by all new rules? Makes no sense!

“Red flag laws must be passed immediately,” Whoa. How about we all take a look at the suggestions regarding taking away a law abiding citizen’s firearms. This does not apply to criminals or felons who are not allowed to have firearms — remember this. Red Flag laws are a suggested policy where a law enforcement officer or a family member can swear out a statement suggesting that a person is a danger to themselves or others and that their weapons can be removed from their home and their ability to purchase firearms restricted while requiring the person to come to court to defend themselves. The proposed law says that the firearms can only be held for a year unless the court deems to extend it if additional proof is supplied. Now we all know circumstances (like the teen who attacked his high school in Florida after posting threats all over social media that people failed to report) where this policy would be a benefit — of course someone would still have to testify against the person and can’t just share images on social media. For those circumstances I applaud this approach, but what about the disgruntled neighbor or spouse going through a nasty divorce, what protects the falsely accused?

“Automatic weapons” This is probably the most misused description of firearms so far this decade. 98% of the firearms owned by civilians are semi-automatic. That means one pull of the trigger – one bullet is fired. This includes revolvers, pistols, rifles and shotguns. An automatic weapon is when the trigger is pulled one time allowing all the ammo to be expelled. Automatic weapons, also known as “Class 3” are very expensive and take a long time for someone to legally purchase. The ATF keeps track of these firearms and can drop in on the owners “to check on things” pretty much any time it wants.

“Silencers and suppressors will increase crime.” Not true. No one likes noise, especially the loud noise of a firearm. These devices were created to limit the noise while protecting the hearing of the person using the device. The government has been playing with the “Hearing Protection Act” for years now which should be a no brainer to pass. This bill would allow people to purchase these devices with the same background check as a long gun – removing the very long and very expensive path it requires now. In Great Britain a person to purchase one of these from a local hardware store with no official paperwork. Now figure that out. Did you know that it is legal to hunt in Pender County with one on your rifle? Unfortunately the mafia hit man movies ruined this simple device for common sense use.

Remember knowledge is power and it is our responsibility to find the truth before sharing information.

Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.