I grew up around guns. Long guns. Pistols. Revolvers. My dad and brothers and uncles were all hunters. Most of the guys (and some of the girls) I went to school with had guns and were hunters. There were always guns in my home, for protection as well as for hunting. I was always aware of their presence, and I knew what they were capable of. And then I married a man who, like all of the other men in my family, was an avid hunter and also enjoyed firearms. A culture gun safety and responsible gun ownership has always surrounded me.
Yet, I never once fired a gun. Not a long gun or a pistol or a revolver. I didn’t like the loud noises they made and, honestly, they scared me. In the wrong hands, they are incredibly dangerous. And, in the right hands, they still can cause devastating accidents. I’m in no way anti-gun, but they’ve never been something I was interested in or fascinated by. I own a gun — a small Ruger 22, given to me by my father — but I never even loaded it, let alone fired it.
But there are guns in my home. My husband keeps guns inside (secured and hidden) for protection purposes. He also has a collection of guns that he has acquired over the years from family and friends and a few indulgent purchases. All of the guns in our home are responsibly secured, and their presence doesn’t bother me. But I do know that me not knowing how to handle them safely is more irresponsible. Especially since my husband travels throughout the year, and I have a young child in my home. The husband and I have talked about me learning to handle and fire a gun responsibly, but we haven’t had the opportunity to do so in a safe place.
Friday night, we were able to schedule a sitter (which, by the way, no one tells you how hard that is before you have children!!) had a date night. Normally we hit a movie and have dinner, but there are no great movies out that we wanted to see. So the husband suggested we go to the firing range. I immediately got a nervous knot in my stomach, but I said okay. So that’s what we did.
After the sitter arrived, we loaded up and headed over to Triangle Shooting Academy. Once there, we read and signed all of the rules and waivers and then watched a brief gun and range safety video. We put on our ear protection and eye protection (except for me! My glasses counted as eye protection! For the first time ever, my glasses weren’t a hassle!!) and headed into the range.
It was loud. Even with the ear protection, it was LOUD. With my sensitive ears, the noise was a little overwhelming. The husband stepped up to the line first and did his thing. Then it was my turn. We brought my little Ruger 22 along, but he had me fire his 9mm first. It was loud. And I knew the noise was coming so I instinctively closed my eyes as I fired. Which made for really bad accuracy. Then I tried the Ruger and, while I never felt a rush of excitement, I felt much more comfortable with it. I never liked it, but I felt more at ease and less focused on the recoil and noise.
So, finally, after 37 years, I fired a gun. Did I love it? Nope. Did I hate it? No. Do I see myself becoming a gun aficionado anytime soon? Probably not. Do I feel more comfortable with the guns in my home know that I know how to arm, fire, and disarm them should the need arrive? 100%. Will I let the hubby take me to the range again? Most likely.