Guns are a tricky topic these days. As the frequency of gun violence rises, the amount of public fear of firearms rises, as well. But Marlon Dance knows that as long as you are educated about guns, then they are not a threat, and you will be safe.
Dance is one of the founders of locally owned business Dance’s Sporting Goods, located in Colonial Heights. The business was founded by Marlon Dance himself, his father, Walter Dance, and his brother, Forrest Dance.
Marlon Dance knows that it is never too early to learn about gun safety, whether you grow up around guns or not. He believes that it is essential to start teaching kids about guns and firearm safety as soon as they are old enough to understand its seriousness.
“If you’ve got guns in your house, they’re never too young,” Dance said. “My children, I started them as soon as they were old enough to know right from wrong, at three and four years old.”
Dance recommends teaching kids about guns with hands-on learning. Once their curiosity has been satisfied, they will easily learn about how to use guns safely, he says.
“The worst thing you can do is tell them not to touch it,” Dance said. “The best thing to do is to actually take the firearm and let them see what it does, let them see how the whole thing works.”
Kids are not the only ones who need to learn about firearm safety and how-to’s. Adults must ensure that all of the things they do with guns are safe and legal.
For example, when purchasing a firearm, there are several forms that buyers must fill out. This is to ensure that no buyer has a suspicious past- the government must keep an eye out to make sure that potential buyers do not have a criminal record.
“You come in and you fill out two forms when you come in the store,” Dance said. “One of them is a 4473 which is a federal form, and the other one is a form that the state of Virginia has you fill out. That one is transmitted through the Virginia state police, and they do a check on you to find out if there’s any outstanding warrants.”
As for storing the gun, Dance has a plan.
“Different people like to store guns different ways. Other people have them hidden in their houses, but if you do have a gun vault, that is hands down the best way to do it,” Dance said.
One new rising issue that Dance feels very strongly about is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Proposed by U.S. senator Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) in 2017, the bill has already made its way through the House of Representatives and was passed with 231 votes for and 198 votes against it. The main premise of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is no matter where a concealed carry permit is issued, all states must honor it.
While the Senate has yet to vote on the bill, Dance already knows how he feels about it.
“I think that if you get a concealed carry permit, and you get checked out in Virginia, and you pay federal taxes in Virginia and state taxes in Virginia, then you should be able to carry it in any state,” Dance said.
Overall, Dance knows that the key to firearm safety is knowledge and confidence.