“Do I need to get a gun?”
That is kind of loaded question (pun intended), especially when someone asks me this question. I got this very question from a friend one night this week. This is someone who I really like and care about. She is not a gun person. I am also not sure where she stands on the issue, in all honesty. Although I am sure she is not opposed to guns entirely.
See, I can have friends with whom I don’t talk about guns.
My answer to my friend was that everyone should have a gun.
But I think I failed her with that answer. The more I think about the question, the more I am bothered by my answer.
What I mean when I say that everyone should have a gun is that everyone should have the ability to protect themselves. Of course I don’t truly believe that a gun is necessarily the right (or most appropriate) tool for all. Some people are just not cut out for using or carrying guns, and I am cool with that. If your only goal in buying a gun is to keep it locked in a safe and treat it like some magic talisman that will keep you safe, or better yet, rely on another person to save you if something happens then you are really not much better off with a gun than you would be if you didn’t have a gun. You would be better off buying a chainsaw (Jeff’s analogy). Same difference. If you have no idea how to use it, no interest in learning how to use it (like taking professional training classes yourself) and you won’t use it when you have to, then a gun is not the answer. But, there are other tools we can give those people which will better suit their needs/wants/abilities.
Again analyzing this question from my friend led me to wonder what her motives were in asking me the question to begin with. I am coming up with one of two (probably a bunch more options too) reasons.
The first is that maybe she was looking for permission to have/use/carry a gun. Sometimes we need someone to tell us that it is ok to protect ourselves and our loved ones with deadly force. This is helpful to have heard sometime before you ever need the permission, because at that time (if it ever happens), it could well be too late to seek approval.
The other possibility in motive for the question is that maybe my friend is interested in this gun culture but doesn’t know where to start. If this is the case then I really, truly failed her with my answer of “everyone should have a gun.”
Hang on, let me give you some anecdotal background here. My friend likes to call me a “badass.” which I find amusing. I’m not really a badass, I just carry and shoot guns. I also like to teach others how to live with guns and not alter too much about their current lifestyles. I am not some tacti-cool, ninja mom who runs around in “shoot me first” clothing. So to me, I am just me. If that’s badass, then I’ll take it.
My point in telling you this, is that I started on this gun journey not knowing the first thing about guns let alone using them for self-defense. I had to start from square one, just like the majority of the gun population has done for years and years.
What I should have said to my friend, and am saying now, is that we all have to start somewhere.
When I bought my first gun I told the salesman that I did not plan on using it very often, just enough to be familiar with it and be able to hit an intended target. That salesman told me that I would probably need to use it more than I thought I would to be competent and comfortable with it. Boy was he right!
After I bought that gun, I took my first class. Since we now had a couple of guns in the house, I thought it would be a good idea to learn the safety aspects and how to use it since it was going to be in my home, accessible to me. That’s it.
I took that first class without Jeff. I really wanted to have my own experience and not have the ability to use Jeff as a crutch. I also wanted to be able to get gun information outside of my husband. This was on me. The best part about this is that after that first class Jeff and I had lots of stuff to discuss about guns and the like.
After that first class, I realized just how much I didn’t know about guns and this thing we call self-defense. This led me to take more classes so I could learn those things. And one by one, these classes opened my eyes to so much more than just learning how to shoot. Not only that, but I discovered that this is fun!
Eventually Jeff and I started taking classes together, however, if you ever see us in the same class (even if we’re working) we are often on opposite ends of the line or on different relays. This is not because we don’t like to hang out together, it is because this way we each have our own experience and get so much more out of classes during our debrief on the way home. It just works for us.
So here I am. I am just a regular person, doing what I can to keep myself and my family safe. It’s not because I was born a ninja badass. It is because I took that first step by myself to take responsibility for learning this stuff. Not because I let Jeff learn it for me so I could take credit for his hard work, like I hear so often on the innerwebz.
If I can help others learn to do the same, then it’s a good day.