The Pew Pew Tactical scholarship is dedicated to our mission of promoting gun safety and providing quality firearms education without politics or ego.
It rewards those who demonstrate both exceptional academic ability and thought leadership in “common sense” firearm law reform.
- Scholarship of $1,000 USD to one winner each year to assist in funding their education
- Open to all current US high school, college, and graduate school students who possess a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0/4.0
In 1000 words or fewer, tell us how you would reform current US firearms laws. This is a purposely open-ended question.
Attach proof of school enrollment and latest transcript for GPA verification.
Optional response to “Why Should We Choose You” personal essay.
Deadline for submission is April 30,2019 11:59 PM PST. Applications will be reviewed by Pew Pew Tactical Editor-in-Chief and Head Editor.
Winner will be chosen by May 15, 2019 and contacted via email. Winner will also be named on this page with their personal essay.
UPDATE: 2019 Scholarship is now closed! The winner has been chosen for 2019. Thank you to all the applicants this year!
About Pew Pew Tactical
Pew Pew Tactical provides online education for firearms beginners, with an emphasis on safe gun handling. We also focus on reviews of firearms/gear, and state laws regarding gun ownership, use, and concealed carry.
Terms & Conditions
No purchase or payment necessary. The scholarship is open to any citizen or resident of the United States and its territories. Must be currently enrolled in a high school, college, or graduate school located in the United States or its territories. All other entries will be disqualified. Employees of Pew Pew Tactical and its divisions and their immediate family members are not eligible. Winner agrees to have their name and essay published with credit given.
2019 Winner: Seth Connell
American citizens enjoy more liberties than most other nations. One of the most important of our civil liberties is the right to bear arms, a right that constantly reminds our governments that the citizens are the ultimate source of authority in our republic, and are not to be treated as lowly subjects. While things are better than most other nations, there are still some areas that could use improvement. Two of these areas are shall-issue for concealed carry permits and recognition of other states’ permits, and the elimination of legally-mandated “gun-free” zones.
Since the state of Florida became a shall-issue state for concealed carry permits in 1987, many other states have followed suit, or have completely eliminated the permit requirement altogether. As of 2018, more than 17.25 million American adults now carry a concealed handgun for personal defense, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center.
These individuals are arguably the most responsible and law-abiding demographic in the nation. The Crime Prevention Research Center has conducted numerous studies on carry permit holders over the years and found that such citizens are less than one-sixth as likely to be convicted of a crime as police officers.
In spite of these facts, a great deal of fear-mongering continues about how concealed carriers are a threat to public safety. The data simply do not back up that claim, nor do the data indicate that crossing an invisible state boundary line causes or inclines an armed citizen to become irresponsible with their sidearm. In light of this, it makes no sense that certain states largely refuse to recognize their citizens’ right to protect themselves, as well as citizens of other states who lawfully and responsibly carry in their home state.
May-issue statutes and unrecognition of other states’ carry permits ought to be changed for our citizens’ safety. Many people are forced to disarm when they cross into a state that is unfriendly to our civil liberties, leaving them more vulnerable to criminals who do not care about the law. If these citizens can carry their sidearms in other states just as they do at home, they can more effectively protect themselves against criminals, and even aid police during times of need, as some citizens have done.
One way to bring about this change is by lobbying state legislators to respect their citizens and overturn such laws that fly in the face of our fundamental rights. Some states, like New York, California, and Maryland, may need additional convincing, though.
Another idea is for Congress to adopt a resolution that requires all states to recognize the other states’ permits through the 14th Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause. The 14th Amendment was designed to require that former Confederate states respect former slaves’ Constitutional rights. Ironically, it must now be used to require some northern (and western) states to recognize their residents’ rights as well. For too long, these state governments have deprived their citizens of their fundamental rights, and it is long past time they cease treating their citizens as subjects.
The second area of American firearms law that could use improvement is legally-mandated “gun-free” zones. These areas have become large targets for mass casualty attacks, accounting for nearly 97% of all such attacks from the 1950s to June 15h, 2018. When a given place advertises itself as a place where there are many soft targets, this attracts those seeking to do harm. The numbers indubitably verify that.
To help better protect our citizens, we should rid our society of legally-mandated gun-free zones. Schools, colleges, government buildings, post offices, churches, etc. would all be safer places if they were not labeled as soft targets. I heard this directly from a police captain during a presentation to faith-based organizations after the mass shooting at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He stated in no uncertain terms that if a church does not wish its members and visitors to be armed, do not, under any circumstances, place a “no guns” sign on the doors. He explicitly stated that this is a magnet for mass killers, and the data irrefutably verify this fact.
While legally-mandated gun-free zones ought to be done away with, some private organizations may want to keep their properties as such. That is an acceptable position for a private property owner; after all, it is their property and they have the right to choose whom they want to serve and whom they do not. However, by demanding that their customers or attendees not be armed, these places must then bear the responsibility of protecting those who step foot onto their premises.
Several states already have laws on the books to varying degrees regarding liability for those who take on a “duty to care” for those who come onto their property. Such a legislative action does not trample of property rights, as owners do not have to allow carriers to bring their sidearms onto the property, but it does require that they watch over their now-disarmed customers and visitors. It also offers people who would have been able to defend themselves legal recourse if they are attacked and harmed on the premises.
American concealed carry permit holders are arguably the most law-abiding demographic anywhere in the world. They know the responsibility they bring with them when armed. It is not something taken lightly, nor practiced recklessly; nor is it something reserved for special classes of people. Rather, it is a fundamental right enshrined in our national Constitution and most state constitutions. Unfortunately, not all levels of government in our republic recognize this right. It is long past time that new legislation is drafted to protect everyday carriers wherever they travel in the United States so that they can protect themselves and others from evildoers. This is truly common-sense firearms legislation.
2018 Winner: Benjamin Olsen
The dreaded and divisive topic of gun control and gun regulations has floated like a plague over the United States. Both sides have differing opinions on how to combat the perceived rise in gun violence. We’ve seen regulations (Assault Weapons Ban of 1994) that have all ultimately failed. The Assault Weapons Ban did little to stop gun violence. The CDC and FBI both report that the rate of gun deaths did not decrease due to the Assault Weapons Ban, and in fact, the ban had zero effect on raising gun violence or lowering it. The question still remains, how do we stop gun deaths, and what do we do with our countries gun laws? I propose a couple different ways we could change gun laws that might positively affect our country. The first thing I propose is to remove gun-free zones in schools and other governmental buildings. The second proposal would be to reinstate gun safety courses in schools. My final proposal is to have firearm laws reciprocated in all states.
Gun free zones have proven to be ineffective in deterring crime, and the majority of mass shootings, 5 or more fatalities, occur in gun free zones. With the removal of these laws in governmental and public buildings, it ensures that CCP holders are able to carry in public buildings. As a result of the ability of CCP holders to carry it would allow greater protection to everyone in that building. CCP holders have already passed a background check meaning that they have not committed any serious crimes and are responsible individuals; meaning that they are less likely to perpetrate a shooting. Private businesses will still be allowed to make laws as they see fit, ensuring liberty for small business owners.
My second proposal of reinstituting gun safety classes in schools would help combat accidental firearms deaths. According to the CDC ⅔ of all gun deaths are either suicides or accidents. To combat the accident portion of this statistic, we must teach. We teach kids the science of cells, and some would argue that we never will need the basic knowledge of cells in our lives. The same logic can be applied to a gun safety course, we may never use it, but it doesn’t hurt to have a basic knowledge. A gun safety course can help the next generation have a basic knowledge of a real-world tool. If we are to teach our kids things that may not be entirely necessary, shouldn’t we teach them safety about a tool that if handled inappropriately could kill? That is why we must have gun safety courses. These courses would involve the basic 4 rules of gun safety:
- Treat every weapon as if it were loaded
- Never point the weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot
- Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you’re ready to fire
- Keep the weapon on safe until you intend to fire
These are vital to the understanding of firearms. Firearms are not toys, even though they may be entertaining to shoot and operate. Teaching kids these rules could save hundreds of lives. Other aspects of this course would be how to load and unload a firearm, how to report if there is an unattended firearm. These courses could be taught by the School Resource Officer, seeing as most schools have them and these Officers will know how to teach the four rules and other aspects of the course.
My next proposal is reciprocity for state Gun Laws. This is probably the most far-fetched proposal so far, however, I intend to make my argument. In the Second Amendment, it states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Constitution sets ups the law concerning firearms and does so succinctly. The Bill of Rights originally only applied to the Federal Government, however after the 14th Amendment was passed, a Judicial doctrine known as Selective Incorporation was made. This doctrine relies on the passage in the 14th Amendment that states “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This means that states cannot deprive us of any of our liberties as defined by the Bill of Rights. In the case McDonald v. Chicago, SCOTUS stated that states cannot infringe on our right to bear arms. Therefore, states should reciprocate all gun laws due to the 2A being upheld on a federal and state level, and due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause in Article 4 of the Constitution. The Full Faith and Credit Clause states that States will respect and acknowledge other states “public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” Which laws should be reciprocated? Those that violate the 2A the least. With the 2A stating “shall not be infringed”, we must side with the state that infringes the least on the “right to keep and bear arms” and thus will make travelling from state to state easier and ensure that those in California have the same right to arms as those in Tennessee.
All of these proposals have been rooted in facts. The fact that Gun free zones have had no effect. The fact that accidents with firearms cause the majority of firearm-related deaths. The fact that the Constitution has been disregarded in some states. These proposals rely on measures that will prove to reduce deaths and protect the Constitution.