With every gun-related tragedy comes renewed vigor to ban guns. I have been individually responding to people’s Facebook and blog posts and figured it’s just easier to put my thoughts and feelings all into one place. The short answer is that I’m pro-choice with regards to guns. If you want one, get one, if you don’t, don’t – but don’t stop me from having one. The long answer is a little more complex.
In thinking back through my life, I can’t think of a time where I didn’t like guns. A slew of squirt guns, cap guns and things that simply resembled a gun shape moved in and out of my life. I wasn’t obsessed with weapons (sure, as a teenager, I loved the idea of dangerous things), a gun-shaped item is merely the most efficient shape in which to deliver something ELSE a distance from me (water, noise, and yes, bullets).
By the time I got to military school and learned to shoot competitively, I found that I enjoyed shooting as a form of relaxation. It takes skill to put a small projectile through a dot on a piece of paper 25+ yards away. At Olympic-level events, you have to control or account for everything, even air temperature. And I have found that when I’m shooting, if I focus on it properly, everything else melts away.
But I didn’t own a gun until I was 30. Now I have several – securely locked away from curious fingers. I own them for personal/family protection in addition to target practice. And while I’ve given a great amount of thought to the Second Amendment, I don’t know whether I really believe that individual gun ownership was intended by the Constitution. For now, however, the US Supreme Court has ruled that it is and does.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I believe that just anyone can own a gun. As with other things in a polite society, we have reasonable rules and regulations surrounding ownership. In North Carolina, you can acquire a handgun in one of two ways:
- Purchase a gun permit – which requires subjecting yourself to a background check, including validation against the FBI’s fingerprint database that you’re not otherwise prohibited from gun ownership (i.e.: a former convicted felon). You can buy a maximum of 5 at a time.
- Complete the “Concealed Carry Handgun” program – which is an 8 hour course on handgun safety, laws and shooting and then allows you to, within the boundaries of the law, have a handgun on your person that is not visible to others (in NC, open carry is permissible without a permit – you just can’t carry to the “terror of the public”). With this permit, you can purchase a handgun without an additional gun permit.