Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh Noes! A Gun Post!

With all this debate about guns, I'm getting ready to take a handgun class.

There's this group, don't know the name of it, that offers a women only handgun class. They keep the class small, about 12 women. They are offering this class to military wives for free right now. We just have to pay our range fee and bring our own ammo.

So I'm going with a few of my friends. I'm bringing my gun, and J's gun for a friend. She has her own handgun, but with all the debate over guns now,  people are buying up ammo and we couldn't find enough ammo in the right caliber for her gun.

Another of my friends is bringing her husband's gun. She has never handled guns before, and didn't want to handle them before she met her husband. Now, since there is a gun in her house, she wants to know how to handle it properly and safely. Have to say, I'm proud of her.

See, I grew up with guns. My dad had a dealer's license and would sell guns on the side while working full time. He mostly sold to family, friends, and coworkers. He was also known for finding good binoculars. Yeah. Dad is a hunter, a fisher, and a general outdoorsman.

I have memories of Dad helping me hold a .22 rifle and shooting. He taught us how to act around guns, how to handle guns, and how dangerous guns could be. Mom and Dad made all of us go through hunters' education. Now, hunters' education isn't just for people who want to hunt. It teaches gun safety, outdoor safety, and outdoor survival. Dad actually started teaching hunters' ed after I went through it. He has a hip holster rigged for fast draw. He would load his pistol with blanks, and start talking about holsters and drawing your gun. He would "accidentally" fire the weapon before he could remove it from the holster. It scared everyone, and got the point across - guns are not toys. With real bullets, he would have shot his foot.

My parents have a big fancy gun safe now, but when I was a kid, they had a gun cabinet. It was wood with a glass panel door. It locked, but I don't know if it was always locked. I think the key may have been kept on top of the cabinet. I don't know for sure, and honestly didn't care. If I wanted to go shooting, I would ask Mom and Dad and they would arrange to take me. I never thought it would be cool to show off Dad's guns. They weren't special or unique to me. They were just guns.

Yes, I said that. JUST. GUNS. They were inanimate objects. They just sat there.

I was taught that guns are dangerous in the wrong hands. I was taught how to be safe around guns. I was educated. I am educated. Guns are weapons, but not all weapons are inherently evil.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with everything my parents think or do. However, I do agree with them on guns. Dad made sure to follow all laws when selling guns, he made sure all his own guns were legal, and he taught us to follow and respect gun laws. He also taught us what to do with a gun. I think my lack of fear in guns came from something that simple - education.

Some people might try to argue that I've never known someone who was killed by a gun. They would be wrong. While it is true that I've never had someone I know murdered with a gun, I have experienced gun death. Ever see my ankle tattoo? Ever notice the B? That's Breanna. She broke into a gun store and shot herself. She knew enough to load a handgun with the correct ammo and turn it on herself. She did not try to use the handgun of someone she knew, she broke into a store and used one of theirs. There is much more to this story, but yes, I know someone who was killed by a gun.

Bre's death hit me hard, but I never once blamed the gun. I didn't blame the store owner. I didn't blame her parents. I didn't blame gun laws or a lack of gun laws. Bre would have found a way to kill herself no matter what the law said. I also believe that people who commit mass murder will find a way to do just that, no matter what the laws are. They are not thinking like a regular, law-abiding citizen, for whatever reason.

I believe education is a key element in lessening gun violence. And I, for one, will be continuing my gun education tomorrow, along with a group of women. We will learn how to safely care for our guns. We will learn to safely handle a weapon, which will greatly lessen the chance of any of us hurting someone with a gun. Well, unless that someone is trying to hurt us. As Malcolm Reynolds said, "Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back!"

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