Protecting Marriage with Firearms

As a California resident, I’ve spent the last several weeks never more than a few yards from a cheerful yellow and blue “Protect Marriage” campaign sign. Our seaside state was awash in them; my life online and off, at church, at home and at school, was awash in the pro and con arguments for Prop 8. It was in the midst of this marriage-protecting fervor that I came to the conclusion that I had a personal and urgent calling to preserve my marriage by taking up arms. Yes, firearms.

A month ago, my husband floated the idea of purchasing a gun for protection of our household. He explained that he had always envisioned keeping a gun in the home, and saw it as part of his role as a protector of the family. I, on the other hand, was raised with the idea that gun ownership is profoundly unwise, at best. It was hard for me to even picture a gun in our home. At times the thought made me feel ill. Machinery designed to cause death seemed rather out of harmony with building a home full of love. Fundamental assumptions vs deep-rooted upbringing; and thus we have a classic setup for marital conflict.

I tried pointing dear husband to statistics showing that having a gun in the home makes one less safe. I tried to stall until his attention moved on to some other hobby or interest. Mostly, I tried emotional pleas about just how wrong it was. But it was no use. His gun shopping continued apace.

We were at an impasse. It’s been quite some time since we’ve disagreed about something so strongly and (seemingly) incurably. Enter a wise friend with a compromise plan: I would agree to try to warm up to the idea of owning a gun by agreeing to go on a date with my husband to the shooting range. In exchange, dear husband would agree to ditch all immediate plans for a purchase. I pitched the idea to dear husband and it was a winner. (Oh, and part of the deal was that he has to arrange the sitter.)

Friday night the compromise was put to the test. After taking me out to a nice dinner, we headed off to Iron Sights indoor shooting range. It’s still hard for me to fathom that places like this exist. With little more than a few check marks claiming that I am not a felon and don’t have mental health problems, plus $7, I could pick any of a hundred or so guns nicely lined up behind the counter, and go shoot it. The staff were superlatively precise and responsible, but the clientele? They were a bunch of disgruntled-looking kids, milling about with guns as if they were carrying drinks around at a cocktail party. I thought that if I could only run fast enough to my private booth, then I’ll be out of danger from these yahoos. To my dismay, the assigned booths weren’t private at all. They were hardly more separated and protected from each other than a row of bowling lanes. Can this be real? It seems completely insane! Do most people survive shooting ranges? I’m skeptical.

I was still involuntarily jumping each time the guy a few booths down fired. But so far, so good. I was starting to adjust to the notion of a place where everybody is just a few degrees’ angle from killing each other. Dear husband had wisely selected a user-friendly .22 for me. Paper target in position, check. Never point somewhere you wouldn’t want to shoot, check. Squeeze the trigger very slowly, try not to anticipate the kickback, check.

I instinctively drew on an unlikely source of strength–the self-relaxation and breathing techniques I learned for childbirth. Relax the jaw, relax the neck, very deep breath in, then slowly exhale, squeezing the trigger. In an unexpected but thoroughly relaxed moment after the last bit of breath was exhaled, my first shot fired.

It wasn’t so bad, both in terms of not being too frightening, and also in aim. I hit just outside the outer circle of the small center target I was aiming for (it’s about 6″ across, one of 5 targets on the sheet). My next shot was in the black. Here’s the whole first grouping:
firstshots

Turns out, I’m a pretty good shot. Dear husband took a turn while I rested. I noticed he wasn’t doing as well as I had, though he was using a .40, which he said is more difficult to handle. After another turn on the .22, I gave his a try, also with good results. I shared with him my breathing trick, and his aim immediately improved.

I don’t know if or when I’ll be comfortable getting a gun for our home. But in terms of reminding us how much fun we have together and how much we both can still learn from each other–even after 8 years of marriage–it was the best date we’ve been on. As we left, the clerk called after us, “Tuesday is Ladies’ Night!” and I made a note of it.

Comments

  1. A reader submits this highly relevant (and highly awesome) video.

    Also: thanks to my wise friend. You know who you are.

  2. Little Sister says:

    I’ve had many a first date at BYU going shooting. I think it was their compassionate way of trying to cure my Democratness. One time we went out and were shooting up this old, burned up refrigerator in the middle of the desert near the Arizona border. It already had a bunch of bullet holes, I guess it was a popular spot. But then I got closer and noticed that there was a half-charred white thing with fur on it inside the torn up refrigerator. It was definitely a severed deer hoof and head.

  3. the best thing you can do is shoot and handle the gun often and make sure you are VERY comfortable with it. take it apart, clean it, and visit the range every so often.

    i grew up with a dad who fed the family with his guns and i was eight when i got my first gun. my husband is now a cop, so we still have guns in the house. we’re very comfortable having them here, even with several small children, but i am easily scared by how guns are treated in other homes.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    Pure awesomeness, Cynthia!

    My dad was an Idaho farmboy and he had at least a half-dozen guns in the house, even though by then he was a college professor with little use for them. Only one time did he take me shooting, at a local farm (the farmers were members of the ward we had moved into and joined us).

    After he died I managed to take his Berreta for sentimental reasons, and kept it for a number of years, but my wife finally prevailed on me to get rid of it. (With a very curious son in the house, I agreed with her that it simply wasn’t safe for us.)

  5. Buy a gun safe. A cheap one is fine for safety purposes. (Expensive ones are to deter thieves and fire–you only need to deter your children.)

  6. MikeInWeHo says:

    Where I grew up in Michigan, firearm training for teens was the norm. My dad was the local gun safety instructor, and I got a .22 rifle for my 14th birthday. Good times! My friends here find it hard to believe.

  7. Steve Evans says:

    A gun safe is a great idea. There’s nothing wrong with learning to shoot. I would think that a healthy amount of discipline and order would be good if you’re going to have guns in the house.

  8. My dad was a champion shot with his .22 – often knocking a dime off of a fencepost in the final round. He also didn’t have a shotgun before he left home, so he hunted quail and pheasant with his .22 – something that still blows my mind. We had a .22, a 30.06, a couple of shotguns, etc. in our house all throughout my childhood.

    My brother was in the Army and now is a National Guard officer and a Highway Patrol officer.

    Both sides of my extended family are avid (and good) gun and bow hunters.

    I went hunting once. It didn’t take.

  9. Good thing our new president believes that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right.

  10. Nah, Steve. Someone makes a mistake, they’ll learn really quick.

    I actually had a student say basically that when I taught in the Deep South.

  11. The only times I have shot a gun have been as part of LDS youth activities.

  12. This just in from Brother Blah 2:

    We were shooting a Ruger Mk III and a Sig Sauer P226 .40.

  13. I’m a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms, but I have no desire to ever own a gun myself. I do, however, carry pepper spray when I remember it. (I work in Richmond, CA.) I went to an archery range once and tried to shoot a bow, but because my elbow is double-jointed, the string (not sure of the correct terminology) clips my arm on the way back. It’s too bad, because except for getting rugburn on my arm, it was fun.

  14. Like so many other experiences in life, our comfort or discomfort at owning and using firearms is going to depend on our upbringing. If one is raised in a home where they are present and used, the comfort level will be higher than if one is raised in a home where they are not present and reviled.

    I own two (a S&W 9mm automatic and a Ruger .22 rifle), and my 12-year-old son and I go shooting once in a while. I feel safer having had him try out the 9mm, feeling the recoil, and respecting (nay, fearing) its lethality. I know he’s a lot less likely to do something stupid with a gun, simply because he knows how loud they really are and how much kick they really have. (TV and film constantly portray people using guns in confined spaces, a practice that, in real life, would cause permanent hearing damage.)

    Here in southern Utah, if you don’t own a gun, people look at you funny.

  15. Yeah, I don’t want a gun in our house, either. Our neighbors have enough for the entire street (along with the heads of dead animals to match).
    So, we’re just going to get enough food storage for them in case of emergency, then they can protect us, instead of threaten us to get our supplies.
    That’s the plan, at least.

  16. #15–Haha. I had the same plan. Our neighbors were a registered nurse, and a firefighter and avid hunter who owned many guns. I always felt safe knowing they were next door. They moved out a couple months ago. Bummer. Come to think of it, maybe that’s what triggered this!

  17. Excellent and pertinent post, Cynthia!

    My wife and I are a little behind you in a very similar process. We both grew up with guns in the house and I’m itching to exercise my 2nd amendment rights, mostly for home protection, but also for sheer fun.

    My grandfather shares this nugget:

    While we lived in Barstow, a Mexican man came to Dad and wanted to buy a litter of little pigs from him. As he had no money, he offered Dad a Winchester .22 caliber repeater rifle for the pigs. Dad accepted and later when I turned 12 years of age, gave me the rifle….everyone was encouraged to keep a rifle with him at all times to shoot rabbits. Dad would furnish all the ammunition we could use for our .22 rifles. I became a very good shot, from on foot or from a horse.

    Sorry about Peter Rabbit, but Grandpa gave that sweet pump-action .22 rifle to my dad about 10 years ago, and I hope someday I’ll receive it in turn.

    In the meantime, I’ve got a date to plan!

  18. Last time I fired a gun was in 1988 at Camp Hi-Sierra Boy Scout camp. That was the only time I fired a gun.

    I figure a couple of things.

    1. My views are moderate enough that I’m not really a threat to anyone.

    2. I trust that God will protect me as long as I stay close to Him.

    3. I do have a samurai sword at home, and while it is not always wise to take a knife to a gun fight, it’s good enough for me.

    4. There’s nothing wrong with running away to live another day. There are plenty of places in this world to go where I and my family would be safe.

  19. “Sig Sauer P226 .40.”

    Fox Mulder!

  20. I recently spent a summer running a .22 range for a boy scout camp in MN. (which was wild because previous to the week long certification course I had to take, I knew just this side of jack about guns) Occasionally we’d let the adult leaders shoot, and on average, (where experience wasn’t a factor) the women were better shots then the men were.

  21. True story:

    The first time I went to an indoor range (dad took me to outdoor ranges with our hunting dogs a lot growing up) was with a boyfriend, and we had been at the range about 20 minutes when they came on the PA and told everyone to put their weapons down and exit the range.

    I didn’t know how odd this was until boyfriend pointed it out. We all left the range, the employee locked the door, and explained there had been a shot fired in the bathroom. The police were on the way, but until they got here, we were all suspects and could not touch our guns.

    Turns out a the guy who was right in front of me in line rented a gun and went in the bathroom and ended it all.

    I didn’t date that guy again. And I never want to go to another indoor range.

    You must have a gun safe if BB2 ever convinces you of his plan.

  22. Oh Tracy, that’s awful. This place has a policy that you can only go there if you either (a) bring your own gun, or (b) have a buddy with you, then you may rent one of theirs. They said it was for “safety reasons” and I couldn’t figure out how having two shooters instead of one and/or shooters with crazy guns from home, was any “safer” than the alternative. Quite the opposite, it seemed. But Brother Blah 2 explained that it is a suicide prevention policy. They assume that if you have your own gun, you don’t need to come to the range to use it, and if you convinced a friend to come with you, you are unlikely to do so. Makes perfect sense now.

  23. #5 – but if cynthia’s family has chosen to have guns in the home for the purpose of protection, they won’t do them any good locked away in a safe. that’s one of the reasons statistics start to get muddy when you talk firearms for home protection.

    #8 – when we were young, the guns that were OURS were .22′s and that’s what we always used when hunting rabbit and quail.

    #13 – keri, i was never an avid archer, but used to have my own compoud bow and just always assumed that everyone’s arm got hit with the string, though i could be totally off. anyway, they make arm guards and i can’t really remember seeing a bare-armed archer who wasn’t using one.

    #14 – mike’s got it right. if there are children in the home, guns can’t be something secret, forbidden, or hands-off. that’s when kids start messing around with them. obviously, it has to be kept age appropriate, but it’s better to familiarize the kids with the guns and let the older ones handle and shoot them.

    when my husband was completing his state police academy, the range masters talked to all of us extensively about kids and guns. one said that he had a deal with his kids that they were never allowed around the guns themselves, but if they wanted to see them or touch or shoot them, all they had to do was ask and he would drop everything to take them out.

    our kids are still too small to be handling them, but we have had constant dialogue about guns since papa became a cop and it’s worked well thus far. they know they are to leave the room if they ever see a gun and then they are to go find a grownup. another range master said he told his older son that if he were to ever see a gun at someone else’s house or hear about a friend playing with one, he was to leave immediately and mom and dad would take him out to buy whatever he wanted.

  24. oh, tracy, that IS awful.

  25. “There’s nothing wrong with running away to live another day.”

    Dan, I agree completely. However, owning a gun would never change my personal policy of always running from a fight. If possible, I’d rather retreat with a shotgun under my arm.

    Also, I think guns are fun and all, but this first date at the shooting range business must be the most transparently lame attempt to establish masculinity credentials I’ve ever heard of.

  26. There’s nothing wrong with running away to live another day

    Isn’t that the title of a James Bond movie?

  27. One thing I was hoping to hear from folks in the comments is, what’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love/marriage? As far as I’m concerned, this was pretty stinkin’ out there. I think BB2′s main concession to me is putting up with my blogging addiction. :-)

  28. #27 – spending lots of cold, windy nights sitting on a pier while chopping up squid to use as bait. we used to load the babies up in the car and i’d drive around till they fell asleep, then we’d park the car on the pier while he fished and i tolerated the fishing. with two more kids added to the mix since then, i can get out of going. even better is when the two oldest convince him that they need to go fishing, too. score!

  29. Along with marriage, California is busily defining what a “not unsafe” handgun is. See AB 1471.

    In a few years I suspect handgun ownership will go the way of gay marriage in the Golden State.

  30. Can you believe I’ve never shot a gun? What kind of conservative am I?

    On the other hand, everything I do for my marriage is crazy.

  31. Bizarrely, my fondest memory of Indoor Shooting Ranges as a youth is the one we had underneath the church; the target was just under the pulpit, and the range stretched the full length of the chapel and cultural hall! Mind you, We only used 0.177 air rifles, so as not to disturb the neighbors! Hasn’t been used for many a year now, but you can still find flattened lead slugs under there! The rest of the underdeveloped basement was a favorite Halloween spook tunnel location, and also once housed a large slot-cars track!

    As for what’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love/marriage? Surviving two and a half years raising triplets, and we’re still together!

  32. gst,

    #25,

    That’s good to hear. I think if our country got that crazy I probably would also have a gun (probably not a shotgun) but I would probably use it to scare away would be attackers rather than actually shoot them as we run away.

    MCQ,

    #26,

    That would be Die Another Day, I think. There’s also Live and Let Die.

  33. Mark Brown says:

    Two things:

    1. Did you really check the box saying you have no mental problems? I think you participation in this nuthouse we call BCC is strong evidence to the contrary.

    2. Gun issue aside, this post makes me happy, and you deserve some major props. The willingness to attempt to see another perspective is important. Three cheers for you.

    3. Nice grouping! I gues that’s three things.

  34. I think you’d be surprised to learn how many of us have guns. My gun has never hurt anyone or put anyone in danger.

    My life as a pedestrian tells me I can’t say that about drivers with cellphones.

  35. Cynthia L, don’t believe the people telling you the handgun is not useful if it’s in the safe. Simply not true. We have an HK 9 mm in our safe. My wife can get to the safe, load it and have it ready to fire in 10 seconds. I travel a lot, so that’s a comfort for her and for me.

    With small children around, you definitely want to keep your gun locked away.

    We go to the range every few months and she is a better shot than I am most times. Women seem to have steadier hands.

  36. Cynthia L, that video in #28 is simple hilarious. Thanks.

  37. What is it with Americans and guns? I remember serving my mission with American (predominantly) Utah Elders, over half of which carried these “manly” photographs with them of their rifles. I found it very strange to see them and their fathers posing with their guns which reminded me of many a young boy in their first spiderman outfit, all serious with their new toy. England (like any other country) has its problems thankfully this fixation with guns is not one of them!

  38. Bro. Jones says:

    It’s funny: I’d always wanted to learn to fire a handgun, mostly in rebellion against my hippie, granola mom who wouldn’t even buy me Star Wars figures because “they have guns.” (See also: reasons I became Mormon.)

    Anyway, last year I took a basic pistol shooting course and went to the NRA range. I had no idea what to expect going in, but it was one of the most patriotic experiences I’ve ever had. The lessons before the range were taught by a cop, and he emphasized how amazing it was that our government trusts us to wield deadly force, and how critical it was that we respect and honor that right. The range itself was full of men and women of all different ages and ethnicities. Turns out I wasn’t a bad shot, and I didn’t get any “kook” vibes at all from anyone. Overwhelmingly positive experience.

    I’m having an argument with my wife like the OP is having with her husband, but still haven’t purchased a weapon. (Not that wife is winning, just that money is tight.)

  39. nasamomdele says:

    In the 80′s, we had the nightstalker going around in CA, so my parents decided to look into getting a gun for the house. My dad had owned and shot guns for years (gpa was in the FBI), but mom was never into it.

    They went to the range and started out with the .22. Mom didn’t like it. She shot the .357 and .38- didn’t like them. The .40- not quite. She shot the .45 and was sold.

    Riflery merit badge was one of the first ones I got. Most of my time was spent learning how to clean and care for the gun as well as instruct others on safety and laws. Not much time shooting.

  40. England (like any other country) has its problems thankfully this fixation with guns is not one of them!

    I would suggest that England’s fixation with criminalizing, say, low-powered airguns is also worthy of dismay.

    As I’m sure nasamomdele’s mom would be the first to say, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. 8)

  41. For my wife’s birthday two years ago I arranged with a buddy who had the guns and the land (to shoot on) for her to go shooting. She went through 100 rounds with the 22 and then a dozen or so with various shotguns. Still one of her favorite gifts. I then bought her a BB handgun which she will target shoot in the house when the kids are at school. She got an equally divided response from the RS when she shared what an awesome gift she got. They were trying to arrange a RS enrichment around shooting at last word.

    Next year (her 40th) she is going sky diving bacause she is a nut.

  42. Deacon, I think it’s something in our institutional psyche, probably stemming from that incident when having a bunch of guns was useful when we needed to kill the Englishmen that were unjustly ruling us.

  43. Being English I would agree that we do not fixated on guns. We kick it old school, go to football matches, get drunk, and then beat each other to death with our bare hands.

  44. X (Adam Greenwood, his mark) says:

    Your hubby is awesome. So are you.

  45. SG-3: Surviving two and a half years raising triplets, and we’re still together!

    WOW!! You really deserve major props. We’ve got twins and it was very hard at times. It gets much easier!!

    Ardis: I think you’d be surprised to learn how many of us have guns.

    None of my circle of friends to whom I am geographically close does. But I know many on the ‘nacle do, many people I love. That was actually a humongous part of what helped reassure me about this.

    My life as a pedestrian tells me I can’t say that about drivers with cellphones.

    I tried to remind myself of that constantly while at the range–namely, shooting ranges aren’t the only places “where everybody is just a few degrees’ angle from killing each other.” There’s also I-5.

    Geoff B:
    Women seem to have steadier hands.

    The guy at the range said that too. I believe James Bond also said that (“Some of the best sharpshooters are women”), so you know it’s true.

    Bro. Jones:
    (Not that wife is winning, just that money is tight.)

    Er…not sure whether to laugh or cry at that one. ;-)

  46. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 44

    You Euros will never understand that in the U.S., firearms and school traditions will always go hand-in-hand.

  47. “Stop it, Debbie, you’re embarrassing me!” Wow. Wooooow. Not much else to say about that, MikeInWeHo!

  48. gst – Like it!! I guess it is just not part of our psyche here in England to think there is a stalker around so I must buy a gun and suddenly become all masculine and excited about our new toy!!
    Perhaps we are so tough we can take them on with our bare hands!! ha ha

  49. I own a bunch of guns. I was raised around them and got my first couple of guns a shotgun and a .22 when I was 12. They mostly stay locked away. My 8 year old is bugging me for a .22 and a .410. Both him and his 6 year old brother have been practicing with a BB gun and think that they are good shots.

  50. #34–”Did you really check the box saying you have no mental problems?”

    I was very tempted to ask, “Define ‘problems’,” but the clerk didn’t seem like the kind of person who would find that funny. He has a real future in the TSA, should he ever choose to go that route. :-)

  51. X (Adam Greenwood, his mark) says:

    “If there are guns in the home, guns can’t be something secret, forbidden, or hands off.”

    I use this desensitization argument on the lovely one all the time, too, but on the other hand I’ve never tried to desensitize my kids to pornography.

  52. Right now at my house we do not have any guns, but we are fully stock up with nail clippers. Enough for the whole family to be “packing heat.” According to the TSA those things are deadly.

  53. The measure of an Englishman’s masculinity can be taken around his gut. Hence, no need for firearms except among the effeminate fox-hunting crowd.

  54. not trying to be glib, but you don’t happen to live in a quiet shady suburb, do you?

    just testing my assumptions, here.

  55. #46 You should laugh. :)

  56. Crazy things we’ve been doing for our marriage:

    First I encouraged my SAHM wife to pursue a job that attracted her, then she got the job. The night before she was to start, we had a conversation that shattered emotional depth records.

    The result? I went on leave from grad school, we left student family housing for a rented house in the suburbs, and for now I’m a SAHD while she works and gets up at 4am to study for the CPA exam.

    It won’t be like this forever. She’ll hopefully finish the CPA in February, and someday I’ll figure out how to finish my degree the way I desire, but for now, overall, our marriage is better than it has ever been in its nearly-seven-year lifetime.

  57. Aw, Ben, that’s so sweet. Dear husband is my sugar daddy while I struggle through grad school. It’s been crazy, but this too shall pass. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

    Palerobber, there are no shady suburbs in this part of SoCal. The housing developments are too new to have shade trees yet.

  58. This hits rather close to home for me, since I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of having guns in my home, while my boyfriend is a proud gun owner. I’m not showing him this post, lest he get any ideas about where to take me on dates.

    I like to think I have good reasons for being opposed to the presence of guns in my home, but I know two emotionally-charged experiences have also influenced my opinions:

    1. When I was a teenager, a young man in my ward shot himself. From the circumstances, it appeared to have been a sudden decision, and I have always wondered whether he would still be alive today if he had not kept a loaded gun in his room.

    2. About two years ago, I had a terrifying encounter with an armed intruder in my home. If I had owned a gun, it would have availed me nothing, because I would not have had access to it right at that moment. Even if I could have pulled a gun on the intruder, I fear that doing so would only have escalated an already-tense situation. As it was, the intruder left without hurting me.

  59. Sorry to hear about that, Anna. I have had encounters with violent crime, though fortunately I was not harmed (physically). So it’s not that I don’t know the world can be a dangerous place.

    However, I too have come to the conclusion that guns would not have been helpful in the situation I faced, and I believe that would be true in the vast majority of cases. And, like you point out, there are significant downsides to readily accessible firearms. For those reasons and others, I’m far from sold on the idea of a gun in our home. However, going to the range did help me overcome some of my gut-level, visceral fear/hatred of guns. I really didn’t ever want to even touch one. It was very hard to overcome those feelings, but I feel better having faced them.

    I was concerned that, given my delicate feelings on the matter, my husband might cross a line in pushing me faster or further than I was comfortable on our trip to the range. Fortunately, he was smart enough to back waaaaay off and let me approach at my own pace. Kind of like holding out food for a wild animal, you have to be patient and let it negotiate the threat feelings on its schedule. Also, he didn’t try to pull any macho-man bravado or show off or the like. If you decide to try a similar experience to what I did, you need to make certain that those conditions will be met. It might be better to go with someone else if you aren’t 100% sure that it would go well with your boyfriend. Or go by yourself and take a class from the staff. I can’t speak to every place in the world, but my experience with the range I went to, and a gun store I frequent (to buy worms for my compost pile :-)) is that the staff at gun places are very professional, exceptionally gentlemanly, and take their jobs very, very seriously. That might be the safest bet in ensuring that you have a positive experience, rather than one that just does more harm to your emotions about guns.

    Good luck.

  60. cantinflas says:

    Isn’t anybody going to say anything about Dan’s comment: “I trust that God will protect me as long as I stay close to Him.” Dan, do you also think that bad things don’t happen to good people [who stay close to God]? Additionally, if you really believed this would you really feel the need to , oh I don’t know, preach politics to anyone that will (used to?) listen?

    I think it’s awesome that Bro. Jones joined the church because Star Wars figurines had guns.

    “he emphasized how amazing it was that our government trusts us to wield deadly force, and how critical it was that we respect and honor that right.” This is a contradictory statement. Gun ownership is a right, not something our government trusts us with.

    “shooting ranges aren’t the only places “where everybody is just a few degrees’ angle from killing each other.” There’s also I-5.” Also in common with shooting ranges: almost everyone on I-5 has a gun.

  61. klangfarben says:

    Cynthia-

    What a great narrative. Loved it. You should submit it to This American Life.

  62. England (like any other country) has its problems thankfully this fixation with guns is not one of them!

    It’s not guns that America’s fixated on. As one of your wisest countrymen put it:
    “And this positively infantile obsession with bosoms. I’ll wager you anything you like, that if they stopped making brassieres, your whole national economy would collapse — overnight!”

  63. I think firearms cemented my marriage. When I was dating my ROTC dh-to-be, we went to a shooting range where I, on the first try, qualified expert (36 of 40 targets down) on the M-16. It was one of those “I’ll be in my bunk” moments for him.

    Having lived pretty much my whole life in rural Idaho, I’m comforatble with the gun culture here. I have taken my concealed weapons course (but I don’t carry–I think that’s pretty silly) and I can shoot a variety of weapons, and I’m not too out of the ordinary here, even for a woman. Having said that, I do understand the objections many people have regarding keeping firearms in the house. We have ours locked away.

  64. I guess it is just not part of our psyche here in England to think there is a stalker around so I must buy a gun

    My friends in the UK told me recently that instead of worrying about getting shot now that guns are outlawed, they worry about getting knifed, since that is the curent assault de rigeur over there.

  65. I’m a vet and I would just like to point out that our freedoms have been preserved with guns. Small guns and great big guns. Bombs all all sizes and shapes. I’ve seen men give their lives in combat. The price of freedom doesn’t come free.

    The Book of Mormon has many chapters on war for a reason. The Lord has given us examples of Prophet-Warriors for a reason. In a future day we will again be called upon to preserve our way of live. The cost will be beyond belief.

    Of course I’m aware that all wars are not of equal value.

  66. “The price of freedom doesn’t come free.”

    No, it costs $1.05.

  67. WWJP – What Would Jesus Pack?

    Or should we jump in front of the bullets like the People of Ammon? The BOM seems to support either approach.

  68. Steve,

    I can get you a discount should you be interested.

  69. I’ve never owned a gun, but my wife and I went to a shooting range for a date a few weeks ago and she shot the heck out of the ceiling with a rented machine gun. They weren’t amused.

  70. Awesome, jjohnson.

  71. 65 Matt G – The obsesion with knives in England is untrue. If someone is involved in knife crime it makes national news in England and blown out of all proportion by the media. Looking at the stats and how crime is reported in the UK you will find that there is no real problem with knife crime.

  72. Looking at the stats and how crime is reported in the UK you will find that there is no real problem with knife crime.

    It would appear that the UK has bigger problems to legislate, such as the possession of imitation firearms or air guns (whether loaded or not) in public, noisy premises and high hedges, were it not for the 2006 Violent Crime Reduction Act that doubled the penalty for having a knife in a public place (4 years) and raised the legal purchase age to 18. Obviously somebody thinks knife crime became somewhat more of a problem since the 1988 Criminal Justice Act.

  73. I can’t even handle balloons because they may pop and loud noises hurt my ears, but I took my YW to a shooting range when our EQ Pres said he could arrange it if they were interested. I actually did shoot, but nobody could say I did it well. The girls, on the other hand, loved it and asked to make it a regular activity!

    The craziest thing I did for my marriage was learn to ride a dirt bike and then do some tt racing (before your time, probably). It was really crazy because I didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle when I started.

  74. 73. Peter

    I can tell you now that knife crime is not a serious problem in England. My proffesion is within Scotland Yard (organised crime division) and although I am not directly involved in statistic compilation I am well aware of the legislation.

    Unlike firearms knives are so difficult to legislate against because they are everyday tools that everyone has in their kitchens and used for multiple purposes. However guns are for one purpose only – Kill.

  75. …as evidenced by the commenters in this thread…?

  76. StillConfused says:

    Before you purchase the gun and have it in your home, you need to be committed that you will use it if the need arises. It took a little time for me to get to that point. Having a gun around that you are not committed to use can be dangerous. Pretty much once my daughter was 5 years old, I determined that I was willing to take a life to protect hers. So I purchased a handgun. I grew up on a farm so rifles and shotguns area second nature to me. But a handgun was a bit more intimidating.

    I made sure that both my children are comfortable around the gun (they are adults now). My son and I go shooting a few times a year. As a petite single mom, my kids understand that when it comes to protecting them and myself, I am fully prepared to use deadly force. That is the only way I would win the confrontation.

  77. I completely agree, StillConfused. I am not willing to use a gun against a person, and I know that. So to me, having it around is all downside and no upside (i.e., won’t be used in a useful way, so all that’s left is risk of accident, etc). Dear husband feels differently, i.e., believes he would be willing to use it.

  78. Deacon,
    Scotland Yard! Brilliant.

  79. My last comment, left several hours ago, is what we in the expert commenting business call a “threadkiller.” You’re welcome.

  80. It’s about time one of these BCC threads died before 100 comments.

  81. Ronan – It is actually MI5, however we have to use Scotland Yard as a cover, so people think I’m a normal police officer whereas I am classed as lethal!!

  82. Deacon,
    I think you just broke the Official Secrets Act. I dub thee Peter Wright.

  83. However guns are for one purpose only – Kill.

    What about airguns and replicas? Olympic sports? Surely there is precious little killing being done with such implements and at such venues?

    I suppose you are right, however, that Britain’s draconian weapons laws weren’t really drafted in response to a real problem, just dramatic yet isolated occurences.

  84. You’re right Peter – it only took one school massacre for us to tighten gun laws – how many more are America going to allow in the name of an outdated part of the constitution?

  85. Would you feel better if they were pushed out of windows?

  86. I guess it depends on your definition of “serious problem,” Rebecca. Deacon doesn’t think the odd knifing warrants such a description, so why should the odd shooting?

    And, as you note, in comparison with the US it’s hard to argue there is any problem in the UK at all, though whether this has anything to do with firearms legislation is debatable.

  87. I am single now, but, I wouldnt marry a woman who was “uncomfortable” around guns.
    being uncomfortable about guns, also is an indicator of what someone’s views about concepts like personal freedom, self-reliance and self-confidence.
    Just my opinion.

  88. X (Adam Greenwood, his mark) says:

    That’s a pretty lame double entendre.

  89. Gun-shy Chick says:

    come play with us Danny.

    For Ever
    And Ever
    And Ever!

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