Should Gun Owners Feel Guilty for Simply Owning Guns? Not Even a Little

I think I’ve been called every name in the book over the past three or four weeks. Nobody has come out and directly called me a name, but a bunch of people have implied that I’m some kind of evil person who doesn’t have a shred of human decency.

I’m not the only one who has been receiving the taunts and insults. Thousands and thousands of other people have been on the receiving end of those taunts and insults as well. Almost all of those of us who have been receiving those taunts and insults have one thing in common—we all own a gun.

Yep, I’ve admitted before that I own two guns. My dad had several guns while I was growing up and we used to use those guns to go hunting. My dad and I hunted pheasants and deer right up until my dad decided to boycott the Utah Fish & Game. That was a whopping two years of hunting and outside that time period my guns have remained largely unused. We used to occasionally take the guns out and target shoot on the mountain.

My two guns now sit in my house all covered in dust. I don’t own any ammunition in the home. I’m too afraid that one of my kids may somehow get a hold of one of my guns and the ammunition and they would end up in one of those stories on the news about accidental gun death. My resolution to that fear has been to not own ammunition. No bullets in my mind means no gun accidents.

I consider myself to be a reasonable and responsible gun owner. Whenever I do use guns, safety is the most important thing on my mind. All of my training from the many gun safety classes I’ve had in the past seems to flood back as if I were in those safety classes just days before. And I’ve never considered using my guns in an inappropriate manner. I’ve never thought about shooting anybody. I’ve never even thought about pointing them at anybody.

Most gun owners are just like me. Does that make us bad people? Should we feel guilty if we received a gun for this last Christmas? Should it really be implied that simply owning a gun makes us accomplices in the Sandy Hook shooting?

I don’t think so.

My dad got a 9 mm Glock handgun for Christmas. He got it for personal safety and for recreational enjoyment. He won’t be getting a concealed carriers permit nor will he be carrying it around with him wherever he goes. He’ll be locking the gun in a safe with the ammo and clips locked in a separate safe. And he hopes he’ll never actually need it for safety. Outside that he’ll be using it up on the gun range in a recreational capacity.

Shooting a gun is therapeutic and relaxing for many people. I’m guessing many people are going to read that sentence and think it means people are taking out their aggressions on targets on the gun range, but that’s not what I mean. Shooting a gun is therapeutic like driving a really fast car is therapeutic. It’s similar to the feeling I get when I take a motorcycle for a ride. Experiencing the power is exhilarating.

I took Casey out into the mountains while we were away on our Christmas vacation. We took my dad’s 9 MM handgun and his .22 rifle. Casey had shot the .22 rifle before and she loved doing it. Those who know my wife, know that she loves to take pictures. There were a few minutes there where we wondered if we should take pictures of us shooting guns due to the insults we had heard and read being hurled at gun owners. But when it came down to it, we decided to shrug it off and take the pictures.

There we were on the mountain using legal guns in a legal fashion and yet we were worried about being attacked for doing something many people view as being reprehensible. I get that the NRA and many of its supporters can be aggressive and downright insensitive and I don’t condone those actions. The insults they hurl and the misinformation they spread is unnecessary and I can understand the anger that comes from their actions. But many of us aren’t part of that crowd.

We don’t have anything to feel guilty about if we receive a gun for Christmas. We don’t have anything to feel guilty about for going target shooting. We don’t have anything to feel guilty about for owning guns. We aren’t part of the problem and labeling us as being part of the problem is, well, an ignorant position to take.

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