Six months ago, shortly after the Virginia Tech shootings, I got myself a handgun. It’s a .357 Magnum with a black handle and silver barrel. It looks like a shortened version of those handguns the cowboys use in all those country western movies. My husband also got a gun, too. The Virginia Tech shootings happened just a little too close for comfort for us, so we made the decision to exercise our Second Amendment rights to “keep and bear arms.”
The decision to become gun owners did not happen overnight. It happened over a period of time in which we discussed what handgun ownership meant to each of us. We each had a different idea of what it would be like to own a firearm. My husband had never owned or even shot a gun in his life, and he worried that we would be cavalier with a deadly weapon. He feared what many people fear: that one of us would view the gun as a toy, or that we might cause an accident. Meanwhile, I looked at handgun ownership more from the viewpoint that a gun is a tool. I had grown up around guns. Under the guidance of my ever-watchful father, I shot my first gun at age seven and have been hooked ever since. He and I spent many weekends taking his various guns out target shooting. He taught me how to respect guns and handle them with care by showing me what a bullet could do to a phone book at close range. “Imagine that’s what it would do to a person,” he said in his most serious voice. This is when I formed a gun trust.
Having grown up around guns and having handled guns most my life instilled me with a healthy respect for them. I never once thought about taking out one of my dad’s guns and playing with it, even though I knew where he kept them. In my household, guns were not toys, nor were they weapons. They were tools to be handled with the utmost care. Continue reading “Handgun Ownership: What it is Really like to Own a Gun”