We at Bearing Arms are big fans of the work that Hold My Guns is doing to save lives while protecting the rights of gun owners, and I’m so pleased that founder Sarah Joy Albrecht could join me on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co to talk about the mission of the non-profit organization and the impact that it’s having all across the country.
Hold My Guns partners with federally licensed firearm dealers to allow gun owners to temporarily store their firearms when need be, no matter the reason. It might be because of mental health concerns at home or even an active deployment, but the policy is for FFL’s to never ask why the firearms are being stored. The goal is to simply provide a safe and secure place for temporary storage for those gun owners in need. In addition that service the group offers a personal safety plan that gun owners can download and use to help others recognize signs of distress while maintaining their own personal agency over their wellness.
Albrecht is clear that Hold My Guns isn’t about a “public health” approach to “gun safety”, which all too often is just another way to go about enacting the same old gun control laws that activists claim will make us safer. Instead, she says HMG is invested in a “liberty-based approach that equips gun owners to practice self-governance” and fosters a community of gun owners who are looking out for themselves and others. It’s a bottom-up effort rather than the top-down mandates and restrictions like “red flag” laws, which Albrecht adamantly opposes.
In fact, Albrecht believes that efforts like “red flag” laws, gun bans, and universal background checks actually work against mental health efforts. Extreme Risk Protection Orders, for instance, can create an adversarial relationship between mental health professionals and their clients, while gun bans like the so-called assault weapons ban in Washington State have made it impossible for FFL’s to temporarily take custody of those prohibited firearms without breaking the law themselves. She’s been cheered, however, by recent reporting (including from the Wall Street Journal) that has presented Hold My Guns as a way to help gun owners navigate challenging times without penalizing them or demonizing them for exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“I think that people are getting tired of the very heavy-handed gun control approach that criminalizes people,” Albrecht tells Bearing Arms, adding, “I’m hopeful that we’re going to see more trends towards people realizing that there are solutions out there that support people, that do not create criminals out of gun owners.”
It’s been an uphill fight, and plenty of challenges still remain, but Albrecht can point to many examples where this approach has had an impact. Not long after the WSJ ran its profile of Hold My Guns, Albrecht says she heard from a woman who reached out with concerns about her dad, who had just lost a good friend to suicide and was blaming himself. After speaking with Albrecht, the woman filled out a personal safety plan for herself and used that as a starting point to talk with her father about her own concerns.
“She said, ‘Dad, these are the things that would really help for me to feel secure, and I’m sharing this with you because I know that you care about me, and how can I help you feel safe and secure during this difficult time.’ We talked about how we live moment to moment, and that, humbly speaking, any of us can find ourselves in a difficult time.”
Temporary firearms storage may be the centerpiece of Hold My Guns, but in talking with Albrecht it seems to me that the organization is fundamentally about helping gun owners get through those difficult times that we’ll all inevitably face in our lives. Having a place where your guns can be safe and secured if you feel the need to temporarily move them somewhere else is hugely important, but it’s also incredibly helpful to be able to open up and discuss those problems without fear of being “red-flagged” or having your rights taken from you without due process, and Hold My Guns is helping to foster an environment where those conversations can take place.
I’ll be welcoming Sarah Joy back to Bearing Arms Cam & Co in the coming weeks, and I’m hoping that we can also chat with one of the FFLs who’s participating in the program during her next visit. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Hold My Guns and support the life-saving and rights-protecting work that they’re doing, check out the entire conversation with Sarah Joy Albrecht in the video window below, and visit them at HoldMyGuns.org.