Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do you like guns?

Ah, yes, the venerable gun. What I have found in life is that most people either love them or hate them, and very, very few feel completely and totally indifferent about them. Personal experience, opinion, education (or the lack thereof), experience, and a whole lot of other factors come into play when deciding if you like guns or not.

Those of you who know me on any level probably know that I’m a gun enthusiast, and have quite a few in my collection at home. I believe that as long as it’s our right to own one, we should all have them. I’m not a zealot, by any means, but I feel strongly that guns in the hands of capable citizens is not a bad thing. Guns in the hands of *criminals* and idiots, however, is, but why should they get the upper hand? If someone breaks into my house one night, I’m ready, and that’s the end of it.

Many of the folks I talk to about guns who have decided they do not like them have never actually fired one. That’s understandable. I don’t like skydiving, and the whole entire idea of it seems nothing short of insane to me. However, I have never done it, and so I really have no basis for that opinion other than sheer logic and the occasional tragedy that happens and makes the headlines. Guns are pretty much the same way.

Some people feel that outlawing weapons completely is the way to go, but I strongly disagree with that idea. Heroin is also outlawed and completely illegal, and look how well that works. No, as long as someone wants a gun, he or she will find one. So, if people are walking around on our streets, armed and potentially dangerous, I see no reason why I shouldn’t have the right to respond in kind.

I won’t bore you with a lot of statistics and other garble, but instead, I’ll try to highlight some of the positives of owning guns. As long as they are stored in a safe, responsible manner, they are no more scary than having a paper weight in the house.

1. If you have a gun in your home, you at least have options. Admittedly, the chances might be pretty low that an intruder will show up in your bedroom at three in the morning but if one does, you’ll end up a victim for sure if you don’t have a gun ready. The beautiful thing is that you probably won’t even have to use it, either. Simply announcing that you have a gun is sometimes enough. If it isn’t, the clack-clack of the shotgun or the unmistakable sound of the slide on a pistol may just do the trick. Those are scary.
2. Educating yourself and others around you on the proper ways to handle and fire a weapon greatly reduces the risk of “something going wrong.” Yes, guns can be horrible in the wrong hands, but as long as you and yours know what you are doing, there isn’t much risk involved. Surely no more than say, driving 5,000 pounds of steel at sixty miles per hour.
3. Squeezing the trigger at the range every now and again is a great way to get rid of stress. There is just something about the entire process of shooting, from loading the gun to aiming the gun to hearing the *boom* when it goes off and feeling the recoil before taking aim again that really does something for the soul. It really is cool.

So, what is your take on guns? Are you someone who wishes that not another single one was ever manufactured, and that all the current ones would be melted down and made into something nice like Hondas? Are you someone who has always had a fascination with them but have never actually gone shooting? Or, are you more like me and feel that guns serve very noteworthy functions in our lives in that they are great for both recreation and protection? One of the cool things about guns is that no matter who you talk to, someone always has an opinion on them or a story about them. What’s yours?


Word Nerd said...

My hubby is a hunter, so he has a selection of hunting shotguns and rifles. He also has his grandfather's service revolver, which means a great deal to him.

Back when we lived in the sticks, I really liked target and skeet shooting, although before I'd tried it, I would have absolutely said that I had zero interest.

If it were up to me, we would not have any guns in the house, but those that we do have are secured in a locked gun cabinet.

I’m blogging my way back from Z to A and my “Y” post is right here.

Frank said...

I share much the same sentiment you do Derek. My dad's been an avid hunter my entire life, and I've gone hunting with him, and, before I went off to college, accompanied him to the range pretty regularly. To me, a gun is a tool, to act like its a malevolent force is foolish, naive, and silly. Outlawing guns will only make the situation worse. Responsible gun owners who want a weapon for protection of themselves and their families and/or hunting will no longer have access, but the criminals, who already get most of their weapons illegally, will still be able to get them. Thats part of why their called criminals.

Whenever I hear about a kid accidentally shooting his friend or some such, I feel horrible for the parents. Nobody likes that sort of thing. Then, I can't help but want to give them both a good solid backhand. I'm sorry, but what the HELL are you thinking keeping a tool designed to cause harm in an unlocked cabinet/drawer/whatever, with little kids around? Kids get into fucking EVERYTHING whether you want them to or not.

My dad started taking me shooting in mid-elementary school. The first thing he did was to teach me gun safety, the first two rules of which were: NEVER POINT A GUN AT SOMEONE YOU DIDN'T PLAN TO SHOOT. (actually, he said don't point one at someone period) and TREAT ANY WEAPON YOU HANDLE AS IF IT WAS LOADED. By treating a weapon like it is a demon or sentient and desires to do you harm or some such, you are actually doing MORE harm to you and your family than not. If guns scare you that much, go buy a baseball bat for home defense. I can't help wondering how many little kids would be alive today if mommy and daddy had had them go through gun safety courses and kept the weapon in a safe place, or never bought one at all.

Owning a gun is a right, one which I plan to take advantage of, but it does not give you the right to be a moron about it. If you're going to mix guns and kids in the same house, you owe it to both of them to do it right. Because, in the end, it won't be the gun's fault if someone gets hurt/killed, it'll be yours.

Derek Odom said...

Very well said.