Ok, so I’m just going to put this out there. I own a handgun. A Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm. I’ve had it for a few years now. Let me tell you why.
I’m what they call a “plinker” – a target shooter. I went to a class at Smith & Wesson years ago called First Shots. Their description is as follows – “First Shots has helped ranges across the country introduce thousands of individuals to shooting and firearm safety. Developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and hosted by independent shooting facilities, the program provides participants with a comprehensive introduction to shooting by qualified range operators and instructors that includes firearm safety, local ownership requirements, shooting fundamentals, hands-on instruction and how and where to continue.” At that class we spent a little over 2 hours in a class room and took 10 shots from a 22 revolver. I took it because shooting a gun was on my bucket list. I am a very good shot. I was hooked.
Maybe 2 months later I took the CT pistol permit course and then applied for a permit. That took another 2 months. I have to tell you that Bill and I did think twice about all of the information that was required – background checks, fingerprinting but most intrusive an interview with town policeman who also had the contact information for at least 3 of our neighbors.
After we purchased our handguns we began target shooting on a semi regular basis. We are both very competitive and have fun seeing who’s the best shot.
There is so much going on with the debate about guns I just wanted to add my two cents worth. I don’t think I ever thought of owning a gun for any other reason than to shoot targets. For me, having a weapon in my possession I see as an awesome responsibility. Awesome as in a little scary, not in awesome that’s cool. Guns are dangerous, life threatening dangerous. I don’t believe in killing anything so using it for that purpose has never really entered my mind. But knowing that also builds a hefty amount of respect. I like target shooting because I know it’s something I am really pretty good at, something that I can continue to improve upon. Years of photography gave me a very steady hand and I understand how to breathe to get the best result. I also know that one bad move and someone (or myself) is hurt or dead.
Something happened last week that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck though. Since the Newtown shooting the rhetoric about gun control has been off of the charts. There are so many “plans” out there for what to do about it. Since the shooting Bill and I both said we should probably go get more ammunition because word had it there were places that were just out of it. I’d read on websites about it being difficult to get and I hadn’t been shooting that much recently anyway. Friday night we took a trip to our local gun shop. Let me preface this all by saying this is not a small gun shop – they had guns, a lot of guns. Many handguns but hundreds of long arms. When we got out of the truck in the parking lot my heart sank – there wasn’t a single long gun in the entire store. There were very few pistols and almost all of the ammunition was gone. We’re talking a place that had aisles of ammunition. Everything that had been in that shop had been sold – everything – bare walls, racks, display cases.
At that moment I realized just how scary this whole gun thing is. These are all firearms that were purchased legally. In the state of CT you don’t need a permit to buy a rifle or a shotgun (I’m pretty sure that’s the way it is in most states).The real question that comes to mind is what can we do about all of the illegal firearms that are floating around all over the country? The time for gun control was probably 30 years ago before manufacturing geared up to make available multiple guns for every member of society. Everything’s a business model. The one thing the U.S. knows how to do is manufacture arms – we always have.
I have to say that I blame some the current situation on the media. There is such a culture of fear now. I listened to Lindsey Graham make a comment during the recent hearing in D.C. about an AR-15 being a better choice for those who wanted to protect themselves from the post-apocalyptic ‘marauding horde.’ Joe Biden thinks a shotgun would be a better bet. WHAAATT?!?!?!? Now I like post-apocalyptic dystopian literature as much as the next person but I see it as FICTION. The CDC has been using Zombie Apocalypse as a catalyst for preparation – they have a poster that reads “If you’re ready for a zombie apocalypse then you’re ready for any emergency.”
So there it is. We are living on a smaller and smaller planet with more and more guns while whipping the population into a frenzy about zombies and social collapse. Brilliant, simply brilliant. . . . not.