Now I don’t know much about guns other than the fact that they kill people, but I’m really struggling with this now more than ever. Why? Because he’s decided to push the issue. We’ve been married nearly 15 years and from the moment we were handed the keys to our first apartment, he’s been telling me we needed to get one. “No, no, no,” I told him, “We’re fine without one. Guns make me uncomfortable.” “Well, they shouldn’t,” he’d tell me, “That’s what worries me most of all.”
My husband grew up around guns. His father, a gunsmith, made guns an everyday part of his life from the time he was a wee thing. He learned how to shoot guns, how to handle them, and perhaps most importantly, how to respect them. It wasn’t unusual for firearms or gun magazines to sit on the kitchen table. He and his siblings thought nothing of them and when it came time to use the guns for sport, these kids had remarkable aim. But this is where we differ.
I didn’t grow up in a house with a gun. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever held one… and it seems to me that I’d remember.
For years I’ve successfully dissuaded my husband from purchasing a firearm, but when I arrived home with our children alone, to find that our house robbed, the periodic difference of opinion became increasingly difficult to win. “What if you were home with the kids when it happened?” he pleaded, “I’d feel better knowing a gun was here if you ever needed it!” Truthfully, me too, but not enough to pull the trigger on a purchase.
We’ve been disagreeing on the following justifications of gun ownership for so many years now and I don’t know who’s right anymore. Please weigh in and let me know your thoughts on these points in the comments below:
1. Husband: We need a gun for self-defense. Prior to walking into my house destroyed by a burglary, I would have laughed off this justification like anyone else, but the feelings of fear and victimization resulting from home vandalization and theft isn’t something you soon forget. What if this person was armed? What if we were home? Our story in the suburbs could have had a tragic ending.
2. Husband: The gun will be locked up and out of the kids’ reach. OK, I hear you, but consider this—could I even get to said locked up/out-of-reach gun in the event of an emergency? We live in a two-story home. What if I was on the wrong floor? Would I have time or the mental wherewithal to locate the key or remember the combination in an actual emergency? Knowing myself, I don’t think so.
3. Husband: You need to know how to use a gun. Do I? I’ve made it 36 years without knowing how and I’m not exactly sure I need or want to start now. What does it buy me? Empowerment? Security? A badge in bad-assery? Really, I’m asking.
4. Husband: Our kids need to respect guns. My husband contends that kids who grow up around guns learn a level of respect and understanding far beyond their gun-less peers. According to my husband, “[Our kids] need to understand how to handle a gun properly. The goal is to take the curiosity factor out of it. Once they’ve learned all there is to know about the firearm in their home and are given opportunities to use the gun in a safe and supervised environment, it will just become another fixture of the home and will no longer hold mystery and intrigue.” I see where he’s coming from. I do. But still, a gun… in our home… the place where safety and goodness is intended to flourish somehow feels tarnished by the very presence of one.
The hardest part about making this decision is that not only is there no right or wrong answer, there’s simply no compromise. We either purchase a gun or we don’t.
I know we’re not the first family to grapple with this decision, so tell me, what are your thoughts?
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