On Guns

Well, today’s hot topic is gun control. On one side is the argument that a gun in the home will keep the danger out. On the other side is the cry that a gun in the home is the danger. Both arguments have their merits (otherwise there would be no debate), and both have a place in my head and heart.

I was raised with a gun in the home–my father was a farmer, and he kept a little .22 to keep raccoons and skunks from getting our chickens (coyotes had not yet become a problem in our part of the country).  I understood that it was important, that the chickens were our livelihood.  The rifle was kept in my parents’ closet, on the top shelf, supposedly away from a child’s curiosity. But for a child who had climbed to the top of the silo when she was 3, it would have been a simple task to reach that gun, had I been so inclined. Fortunately, whenever I saw him getting it out, I slipped under a bed and stuck my fingers in my ears against the devastating report.

That sound terrified me.

I taught my sons that guns were wrong, never bought them toy guns, never allowed them to watch violent programs. They made guns out of Legos and gleefully shot each other, the victims thrashing about in the childhood delight of pretend agony. I rolled my eyes and considered the argument of gender differences. Yet I knew that if something threatened my sons’ lives, I could easily point a gun and shoot to kill that threat.

That knowledge terrified me.

After I became a widow, my sons, now grown and respectable, suggested I might want to get a gun. I got a dog instead. But despite a home alarm system and an adoring, sharp-toothed ball of fur at my side, night noises can still make my blood flutter, and I know that if I had a gun, I would use it.

And that scares me more than a possible intruder.

Now, with all the recent debate on gun control, I have become more interested in the second amendment. I agree with the idea that we should have the right to protect our homes, but that protection must be modified with strict registration and compliance with training and safety measures. Someone like me, prone to quick panic, should not have any gun at easy access, let alone a semi-automatic weapon that can quickly expel multiple rounds. There is no one outside of the military or police who needs such an assault weapon, maybe with a bayonet mount or grenade launcher. These are the kinds of weapons we’ve seen destroying lives lately in places like Tucson, Aurora, and Sandy Hook. What possible reason could a person have for owning these, the true weapons of mass destruction?

Protection is one thing. Massacre is another. We must stop this love affair with guns. Yes, learn to protect your home. Take classes on safely using and storing guns. Or better yet, get a dog.

They love you back.

1 Comment

  • By Marlene Gottfried, June 22, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    AMEN!!!!

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