When you grow up on a ranch, with visiting cougars and coyotes, you probably grow up with guns. I did. Our guns were tools that were needed in our environment. We hunted and about quarter of our protein came from venison. Dad would shoot over the heads of predators, respecting that they were hunting food, but he didn’t want them near the house. (My job was to “sweep” the large king snakes–who look like rattle snakes–off of the country road in the summer time. They liked the sunbathing track of the road, but Dad wanted them to be able to continue to control the small rodent population.)
By the age of 10, I was in my hunter safety class. A single shot, .22 rifle was my gun. I had to show proficiency from a standing, sitting and lying position. I also had to pass a written exam that tested my knowledge of how to be a safe hunter. I passed, but I still remember how difficult it was to stand for too long with my big .22 pointed at a target–my arms got tired and I began to wobble.
We didn’t have any pistols in our home. There was no need for a pistol. My father stressed the importance of being a safe hunter who used very little ammunition. It was the reason a single shot rifle was “plenty of gun.” If it took more than 2 shots to “down your animal,” you had probably managed to wound and cause pain to a creature that would do it’s best to run away and hide, and probably die a lingering death, if predators didn’t kill it first. Not a scenario I wanted to inflict on any living being.
Although I no longer hunt and the gun I inherited does not reside in my home, I still have the belief that a gun is a “tool” for providing “meat for the table” and “safety from four-legged animals.” I’m thinking that in today’s USA, very few people actually use their guns to secure food or to frighten away prey-driven four-footed animals.
Aside from these two aspects of gun ownership, I see no reason for anyone to own a gun. If we have laws for drinking and driving, we can have laws for “packing” off the ranch.
Gently use the tools in your life.