I won’t pretend to know all there is to know about guns, but I have been around guns all my life. I remember my father hunting deer and pheasant, and he had 3 or 4 guns while I was still at home. We were allowed to shoot the 22 under supervision, which I believe is a good thing for kids. They should know how a gun works, how they should be handled and respected. My late husband had a couple but he never hunted or shot. One of the guns was a 22 that belonged to his grandfather. None of them were in working order and were sealed for storage.
One day, that changed. I came home from shopping one afternoon and there were my hens littering the driveway…dead or dying. I ran to the barn to find all the goats up high on a small ledge frightened out of their little minds. And the murderer came running around me, killing another chicken right there in front of me. A yellow mixed breed dog weighing about 100 pounds, prancing with happiness and wagging it’s tail as it continued it’s killing spree.
I yelled, I threatened, I coaxed and it just went on killing. Finally, I opened the laundry room door and asked the dog in. That sounded good to him and I slammed the door behind him. I called the law and they took him away. When I inquired, I found out that it would have been fine and appropriate to shoot it. I am not of a mind to shoot someone’s family pet, but my hens were just at the laying stage and we had to rebuild our flock. At least the goats were spared. If he had torn into them, I would likely have some high vet bills. I went around to all the neighbors and asked if the dog belonged to them and no one acknowledged him. It may be that someone decided to get rid of their pet by taking him to a nice farm and dropping him off. How nice.
So two things happened after that, we got a gun I could shoot, and fenced in the whole 5 acres.
After my husband died, I took the insurance money and bought a convertible. It was symbolic of a new start and a certain freedom that I needed at that time. Yet, I always felt vulnerable in that open car. I was also living alone for the first time ever in my life. Living in Florida, which is liberal in allowing concealed weapons permits, it was time to learn how to protect myself should the need arise.
I spent several hours at the gun range. I went to gun shows where I could pick up and handle many varieties of guns. I settled on a revolver. I was given very good advice. Whatever gun I decided to shoot, I should also know how to load and take apart and clean that gun.
From the gun shows, I learned about “crimson trace” grips. They have a little button on it that shines a red light on the target. I knew I wanted the longer grips. The gun I chose was a 38 Smith &Wesson model 638 hammerless 5 shot, alloy frame and those Crimson Trace grips.
Next, I took the CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit) class. I guess it might have been unusual for a grandma to take a class, and I wound up with four instructors all to myself. They were wonderful. The talked about the laws in Florida and reciprocity agreements for other states I might visit. They talked about when it was appropriate to carry and how to carry a concealed weapon. When to take it out, when to shoot, and how. They also talked about gun safety, cleaning, and responsibility.
Then it was time to go to the gun range. I had to fire off 5 shots close to the bulls-eye, and in as close a pattern as possible. I took home the target as a souvenir. Those guys were great.
Then I needed to gather up paperwork and pictures and send in for my license which came a few weeks later. I was then able to carry a gun in my purse. Do I recommend obtaining a concealed weapons permit? Absolutely! I hope I never have to shoot it. But that, to me, is better than wishing that I had a gun to save myself or someone else. The following story will always stick with me….
“It was October 1991 when an unemployed merchant seaman drove his pickup truck into a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Tex., leaped out and opened fire. He killed 23 people and wounded more than 20.
Suzanna Hupp and her parents were having lunch in the restaurant when the shooting started. Hupp instinctively reached into her purse for her .38-caliber Smith & Wesson, but she had left it in the car. Her father tried to rush the gunman and was shot in the chest. As the gunman reloaded, Hupp escaped through a broken window, thinking her mother was behind her.
But Hupp’s mother had crawled alongside her dying husband of 47 years to cushion his head in her lap. Police later told Hupp they saw her mother look up at the gunman standing over her, then bow down before he shot her in the head.
“I’d like people to think about what happened to me, and try to place themselves in that situation,” Hupp said yesterday between a string of interviews in which she relived the tragedy as Exhibit A in her argument against restrictive gun laws. “Now, instead of thinking of their parents, have it be their children.
“Even if you choose not to have a gun, as the bad guy who ignored all the laws is getting close to you and as he levels that firearm at one of your children, don’t you hope the person next to you has chosen to carry a gun and knows how to use it?”
This grandma does!
*************************************** This article was written before the shooting tragedy in Colorado but the author feels all the more strongly about the importance of training and preparing by being legally armed. Thoughts and prayers are with those who were harmed because of the mental illness of one man. One deranged individual’s horrible actions in no way take away from those of us who view our second amendment rights seriously and responsibly. **************************************************************************************