A friend and her husband invited me out to go shooting at a local range. My friend–I’ll call her Calamity Jane–is a blog reader, and she sees our gun politics as very different. With the exception of concealed carry permits, I don’t think they’re all that different–I don’t want to take away anyone’s guns unless they’re clearly mentally disturbed. But her family owns guns, and mine doesn’t and probably never will. Since this is Colorado–a place where Marxist feminist college professors as well as right-wingers enjoy their guns–I figured that after ten years here, it was about time for me to go shoot up a canyon. Until last Tuesday afternoon, I had never even touched let alone fired a gun in my life.
Jane and husband very generously supplied the firearms, ammunition, and (most importantly) the gun safety lessons. Jane and I shot .22 rifles and a variety of pistols ranging in age from World War I to a .38 of very recent vintage. (That was my favorite. Jane insisted that I take home the souvenir target from my handling of the .38. I’m considering hanging it up in my university office, but I wonder if that might be perceived as unduly intimidating to students.)
Overall, I really enjoyed my afternoon on the shooting range. I certainly understand better the sportsperson’s interest in marksmanship, and Jane and her husband taught me a lot about gun safety and gun handling. In the end, though, I don’t think I’ll be a gun owner myself. I feel very strongly that I don’t want guns in my household, whereas Jane and her husband see gun ownership as an important means of ensuring the safety and security of their domicile. Intellectually I can see the merits of each viewpoint, but there’s only one that feels right to me.