Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I went to a shooting range for the first time in my life. Had a great time. I was invited by a friend who showed great patience and generosity. I managed to shoot the target, though I also managed to shoot the wire that controls the location of the target. The range had to be shut down for a half hour while the wire was repaired. I fired a variety of weapons, including a 9mm, AK47, AR15, 12 gauge shotgun, a 45, and something called "The Judge." There were all sorts of folks at the range, all of them friendly. There was a geniune sense of community.
I didn't walk out feeling that I had to have a gun. I have never been against gun ownership, but I am not convinced that arming everyone will make us all safer. Someone at the range said that "An armed society is a polite society." I suppose means that all drive-by shootings begin with, "Excuse me, mind if I pop a hundred caps in yo' ass?"
A gun is a tool that can be used wisely or foolishly, just as a baseball bat can be used to swat baseballs or bash in heads. I respect the gun owners who treat their weapons with great care and follow strict procedure. But they are not all gun owners, just as not all car drivers are safe drivers.
As I said, I had a great time. Might even do it again someday. Might even take a class to learn more about guns. But the thrill of firing the gun did not change my opinion of them. I still believe there needs to be more discussion in society about how we want to regulate guns. One side of the argument cannot have complete sway over the other half. A balance has to be attained.