The other day, in the wake of the Colorado mass shooting, a friend of mine lamented the tragedy in an email and added that he was proud to say that he’d never fired a gun in his life. I can’t say the same.
Like most city slickers, I was not raised with guns or hunting as a way of life. Instead, I’ve been on the receiving end of having a gun pulled on me. It only happened once, when I was in my car, and throwing the car in reverse was enough to get me out of the situation. But a few years ago, in New Mexico, I was at a firing range and had the opportunity to fire a 9 mm Ruger handgun.
I donned the required goggles and ear coverings, aimed and pulled the trigger. The result was a deafening bang. I hit the target but the power of the gun stunned me. It was undeniable.
Now a lot of people are drawn to that power. Not me. I was freaked out. I know people carry these types of guns as protection and some folks even keep them in a nightstand in the event of a burglar. That boggled my mind. The idea that someone would awaken from a dead sleep, with adrenaline flowing, and pull a gun of this power out of a drawer and think about firing it into a darkened house where loved ones could be wandering around….well…..who in their right mind would risk that?
Now, on the other hand, I’ve traveled to a lot of places in this country where the homes are fairly isolated and realized something. I don’t need a gun for protection in New York City where cops are just minutes away but, if I lived in an isolated home — where help could be an hour away — even I might feel vulnerable enough to think twice about the possibility of owning a gun.
But what is the rationale for owning an assault weapon? I can’t think of any.