I’m a gun owner. I have two pistols, a rifle, a shotgun…and a (now-expired) concealed carry permit. I’ve been shooting since I was a kid.
Why? Well, because of a number of logical reasons:
1. I go to gun shows, and I’ve witnessed more illegal cash sales than I can count. People bring guns to sell to dealers at the show and end up selling them to buyers in the parking lot who are willing to pay cash. No background check, no bill of sale, no formal transfer of ownership. Yes, this is happening, people! It is a regular occurrence and illegal in many states.
2. Every time I go to the gun range, I witness someone doing something extremely dangerous with a gun. I’ve been swept more than 20 times — this means someone has unintentionally pointed a gun at me. I’ve seen the wrong ammo used (ask my husband about the time he almost lost an eye). I’ve watched people shooting guns that they lack experience with or ones that they can’t handle (take, for example, a child or a smaller adult shooting a Desert Eagle semiautomatic handgun), causing kickback that can injure them and cause them to flail their loaded gun in all directions. I’ve seen guns jam, and people continue to fire them to “clear the jam.” I’ve seen people continue to fire when the range is “cold.” All of these people consider themselves “responsible” gun owners. Nope. And these aren’t exceptions to the rule — every single time I go to the range, I see someone doing something reckless and potentially deadly.
3. I’ve seen people handle guns when they are drunk, tired, hungover, or angry. I would never think of doing these things. It is irresponsible, and again, potentially deadly.
4. A friend of my college boyfriend pointed a loaded gun in my face because he wanted to show me how cool his new toy was. I dropped to the ground. He forgot it was loaded. He’s a high-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy.
5. The class you take to get a concealed carry permit in North Carolina is easy to pass. You sit through a two-day class, take a simple written test, get a background check and fingerprints through the sheriff’s office, and basically just have to prove that you can hit the broad side of a barn. That’s it.
6. The “hero mentality” is misguided and dangerous. Unless you have combat training, the “good guy/gal with a gun” is more likely to kill another civilian or get mistaken by cops as the shooter. I’m a decent shot with a pistol. I’m a great shot with my rifle. But in a life or death situation, where people are literally being murdered in front of me, it’s completely unrealistic to think that, even with all my training, I could do anything but add to the chaos.
7. The NRA is a terrorist organization. Yup, I said it. I used to be a member because they gave discounts on shooting-range time. I quit after one year because I couldn’t stomach the thought that my money was funding them. Their magazine and mailers are filled with propaganda about people coming to take my guns when there is absolutely zero evidence at all to suggest that is ever going to happen. Their recent ads make me sick and ashamed that I ever supported them.
8. The home protection argument makes sense to me on some level. I had a friend who was killed during a home invasion, so I get it. But an AK-47 (and other assault weapons) is not an ideal weapon for personal defense, and it serves no purpose for “home protection.” It was designed for military use. A a 12-gauge shotgun is a better, more realistic choice for home defense. I’ve never seen any peer-reviewed study/expert/article anywhere that can refute this. Bottom line: Assault-style weapons should never be in the hands of civilians. Period. And going back to point No. 7, in a home-protection or self-defense situation, you’re still more likely to injure yourself or have your own gun used against you.
These are my thoughts on the subject as an experienced, licensed, and trained gun owner. I’m already a member of the Brady Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety, and will be joining Moms Demand Action. I find it impossible to understand why other gun owners like myself don’t support these groups. They aren’t trying to take away my guns; they are trying to inject some freaking common sense into the equation — something we desperately need and that every gun owner should support.