I learned to shoot a BB gun before I ever started school. I was five years old.
My grandpa was a hunter and he taught my cousins and me to shoot crows in the backyard and the adjacent field behind their house. Papa taught us how to pour the BBs in, how to aim and shoot, but most importantly, he taught us to point the barrel at the ground when we weren’t shooting, and to never, ever point it at a person. We were taught that it wasn’t a toy. And we weren’t allowed to touch it unless he was with us.
Mounted deer heads, shot by my grandfather, have always hung above the fireplace in my parents’ home. And the blonde grizzly bearskin that covered one wall in the study, one of several Papa shot in Arizona back in the 1950s, before grizzlies were listed as endangered species, is about to go up on the wall at my house now.
Those trophies are a part of my heritage. I remember hearing family stories about their hunting trips from my grandfather and my mom, and I’m sure that if my Papa’s health had held up and he had lived longer, he would’ve taken me hunting, just like he did my mom and her siblings.
The guns we would’ve used aren’t anything like what the guy used in Las Vegas. Or Orlando. Or Sandy Hook. So putting limits on what kind of gun you could purchase wouldn’t eliminate the sport of hunting.
But even if it did…
We’ve tried placing regulations on gun ownership and requiring permits and licenses to carry and use them. It’s just that those regulations don’t work, for a variety of reasons, and then people who have no business owning any type of gun end up with an arsenal.
And not the kind of guns you use to shoot a deer. If you used the same kind of guns the guy in Las Vegas used for deer hunting, you wouldn’t have anything left to mount. Or eat.
Semi-automatic. Automatic. Military weaponry. Guns used only in war.
Nobody needs to be able to purchase the kind of weaponry that guy had in his possession.
But even if you see that as limiting my rights to own a gun – of any kind – well, I’d be willing to give up that right. That’s what we do in a civil society.
And I think my Papa would be okay with that, too.