My views on guns and gun control have waxed and waned over the past thirty years. I was around them growing up and even learned how to shoot. Where I grew up people kept a rifle or shotgun in the house for hunting or protection purposes. My father did. My grandparents did. Everyone we knew did. My father wanted to carry his pistol in his belt. That gave me the creeps. Seeing that sort of thing makes me paranoid.
Now in the state of Pennsylvania in a sleepy, crime-free town, a councilman is proposing that all residents own and learn how to use a gun to ensure protection and continue to keep the town safe.
There are plenty of pros and cons on the issue of owning a gun and each side make good arguments for their cause. I do believe in gun regulations, requirements for ownership and doing what can be done to ensure mental cases do not apply for and get permits. Of course, people who want a gun and can't get one that route will find another way just as people who want crack cocaine and heroin will obtain it another way. Restricting gun ownership isn't the way to stopping the number of gun deaths in this country. There are too many ways for them to be gotten. If I wanted a gun right now, I would only have to drive several blocks away and pick one up from a "street merchant." The same with any variety of illegal substances.
Fact: guns provide a great deal of enjoyment as a sport or hunting. I enjoy target practice and skeet shooting. I don't shoot at anything that looks like a person. I may have to do that should I resume training for a weapon I purchase (which I might do if I buy a house in a more rural area) but until that day comes, I prefer shooting at targets and objects shot off into the sky. I don't like hunting.
Why aren't I a bigger gun advocate? I suppose it's because I personally witnessed several people in my life who had in their emotional make-up control issues and were really into guns as in all they could talk about, all that they did. For me, that translated into their placing their insecurities into this weapon - it put them in control, made them feel in control even though there was not a clear and present danger anywhere in sight. I believe in preparation and training when you are using a dangerous machine or weapon but if the act of vigilence and practice is all consuming, that scares me. It makes me think of the militia people out in the mountains of this country drilling daily for a war they believe is going to happen on American soil. It is difficult to rid my brain of those images. It would be easy to dismiss gun nuts as nothing but rednecks but there are too many intelligent, well-heeled paranoid people on this earth and sweeping generalizations will deny you full access to studying and understanding them.
Which brings back to the time-honored code of everything in moderation. Should people be forced to have a gun in their home if they don't want one? Of course not. The people who enjoy using guns as a sport and for protection have the right to do so as well. I have cousins who practice the sport regularly for safety sake and enjoyment. They like the special weapons you can only get in certain places and environments and being a big tech nut I probably would enjoy shooting off a few rounds of an unusual gun or rifle.
So I say to the people of that town in Pennsylvania, remember, everything in moderation. Don't fix what's not broken. Be vigilent but not paranoid.