Guns… yes, I want to discuss guns. I wish all those who have never experienced firearms to learn from my story. My comments won’t completely solve the problem of school/mass shootings, but I want people to understand where this Mom is coming from:
I grew up in a family where the men shot guns on a regular basis. While I still sometimes get headaches from the noise, I learned to respect guns as a vital part of my life. I would head out with the family and watch them shoot and, occasionally, shoot a few rounds myself. However, it wasn’t until I became a mother that I became the owner of my first firearm.
Personally, I’m not a big gun fan. They’re loud, most of them cause discomfort to shoot, and it’s one more responsibility that I have to safely store. I chose to include guns in my life in the winter of 1996. I’ll backtrack a bit. Right after I graduated from college, my car was stolen and later blown up in a swamp in North Carolina. I was subpoenaed to testify against the young man involved. Later, he was released from prison, one month after I delivered my first born. While I didn’t think this young man was a threat, as a young mother, I examined the “flight or fight” response. With a babe in arms, I came to the realization that it was no longer just about me, and I could no longer realistically run away. I had to stand my ground.
Chad and I discussed the situation, and for Christmas that year, he gave me a 357 handgun and taught me how to shoot, clean, and safely store the firearm. I was hesitant and quite uncomfortable at first, but my “mama bear” protectiveness kicked in, and I realized that protecting my children at all times was my responsibility. While to this day, I do not enjoy shooting most other guns, I am comfortable with my hand gun. It is routine for me. I know that if an intruder enters our house, I can hold the line and defend my family. I accept that there is evil in the world, and they can illegally obtain firearms. My firearm provides a first line of defense, and, if needed, I can hold the line until the police get here.
I know that guns are loud, are frequently carried by intruders, and can cause fear. I encourage those of you who have never shot a firearm before to educate yourself about guns. Take a class. There are many beginner firearms classes out there. Ironically, the class that taught me the most about how to avoid using a firearm was the concealed weapon’s class. I encourage you to look outside your comfort zone (as I did) and educate yourself on the benefits of defending your home.
I know that my commentary doesn’t begin to address the larger mental health issues, but I want to reach out to those people who have never experienced firearms, especially those moms who are determined to defend their children. Guns aren’t the enemy. Take the next step and educate yourself. If anything our national debate will be strengthened because more people will educate themselves and be able to offer constructive criticism.