Shooting A Gun For The First Time In My Life Opened My Eyes To The Reality Of Gun Control

Shooting A Gun For The First Time In My Life Opened My Eyes To The Reality Of Gun Control

I didn't think I could do it.

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Over this past weekend, I visited my boyfriend who is currently in the military. He asked me if I wanted to go to the range. This was the first I have been asked if I wanted to shoot a gun. I have been asked if I would shoot a gun, but I have never been given the opportunity.

Growing up in a so-called liberal town in the south has shaped my experiences with guns and other weapons. People had guns to go hunting. My dad and brother did not hunt when I was growing up. I think my dad had a rifle in the house growing up, but I never knew where it was. The gun was mentioned maybe once or twice, but I never really thought much about it. My mom told me she had good aim when she would go to the range in her twenties.

Guns made me a little nervous.

My thoughts on gun control prior to going to the gun range with my boyfriend was pretty nonchalant. I knew that the 2nd amendment protected citizens' rights to own guns. I knew that some guns were legal and some were illegal. I knew the mass shootings were and still are happening too often and should not be happening.

When we arrived at the gun range, my boyfriend's work friends were also going to be shooting and spending time together. They set up their targets. While the boys were setting up the targets and getting their ammo and gear together, my boyfriend took me aside to learn about the rifle I was going to shoot. He gave me detailed descriptions about what each part did, how it worked, what gear I had to wear, what to avoid, how to hold the rifle, and what to expect.

I did not know there were so many small, small movements and details that you have to pay attention to while shooting a gun. I always assumed you loaded the gun, aimed, and pulled the trigger. I was ready and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. My boyfriend did not load it. He had me thinking I had a loaded gun, and to take it seriously. I did. I was now actually ready to fire this gun. He loaded it, I followed his instructions and I shot. There was a loud bang and the smell of burnt was the first thing I noticed.

Next was the pistol. I'll cut to the chase, I didn't like it. There was a kickback, my arms were not prepared for it. I walked away and had to sit down.

I then watched my boyfriend and his friends talk for a long time about what drills they wanted to practice. They talked and talked. They practiced without loaded guns. They kept practicing. They ran through what parts they weren't doing properly or safely. They gave each other feedback. They were encouraging. They were working as a team and kept everyone safe.

I was surrounded by weapons that could kill any living thing, and I wasn't scared. I trusted the people I was around. They were safe. If there was someone to not trust there, it was me. I was the uneducated, inexperienced, and dangerous one.

My views on gun control now have changed a little bit.

I still know the 2nd amendment protects citizens' rights to own guns. I know some guns are legal and others are illegal. I am still aware that mass shootings happened and are still happening and they need to stop. Now I think more people should be educated about how guns operate. I think it's your decision if you want to not be around guns or if you want to experience them. Guns still make me nervous, but only because I know so little about them.

Take weapons, like guns, seriously. These aren't toys. The power that is placed in your hands because of a gun, is shocking.

I want to learn more so if I am, God forbid, I am in a situation where I need to unload a gun in the hands of a harmful person or protect myself I know what to do.

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Why Do We Need The Second Amendment?

I'll give you a hint: it involves your own protection.
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One of the most hot-button topics in politics right now is gun control, and any weekly reader of my blog knows that I like to weigh in on hot-button issues. So, I would like to take this opportunity to explain why you have your Second Amendment right, and why it is so important that you do have it.

As you probably know, the Second Amendment states that "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." A lot of people, mainly those on the left, have come to think of these arms as being inherently bad. It is true that gun violence is a problem in the United States, but the solution here is not to get rid of guns. There is actually a very good reason for you to have the right to bear arms.

Anyone who has recently taken a government class likely recognizes the names Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Both were philosophers who greatly affected the way the Constitution was set up. The short version of Hobbes' ideas (you can find more here) is that if there is no government, everyone is living in a state of nature, which essentially guarantees that life will be very short, and dangerous while it lasts. Of course, his conclusion was that there must be a powerful government to prevent the chaos of the state of nature.

Later, Locke went on to modify the state of nature thought experiment. His theory was that everyone has the natural right to life, liberty, and property- even in the state of nature. However, there is no way of enforcing those rights in the state of nature, meaning that government was absolutely necessary. Locke stated that the only way a government can be moral is if it protects its citizens' natural rights, and never infringes upon them. So, if a government fails to protect its citizens' collective life, liberty, and property, the people have the responsibility to overthrow that government.

The founding fathers of America, particularly Thomas Jefferson, studied these ideas and thought they were the key to a good constitution. Obviously, the idea of the American Revolution itself is given merit in Locke's theory. When thinking about how important it was for the colonies to be able to revolt, they added in the Second Amendment. The right to bear arms guarantees that if we ever had a government denying us our life, liberty, or property (think: the Boston Massacre, the quartering of soldiers) we could do the same as the founding fathers and protect our rights ourselves.

The reason for the Second Amendment is anything but sinister. Americans have the right to own guns so that if the government ever becomes oppressive, we will be able to do something about it. If we had no weapons, there would be no possible way for us to protect ourselves from an inevitably powerful government. Of course, I'm not advocating for an armed overthrow of the government, but if we ever did find ourselves in an overwhelmingly oppressive society, we could do something. Petitions will not protect you from Big Brother. Neither will peaceful protests or boycotting. The only insurance we have for our own protection against the government is their inability to take away the right to bear arms. Think about that next time a leftist politician advocates for banning guns.

Cover Image Credit: The Federalist

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I Miss Vine, The Revolver Emoji, And When People Weren't All Offended

An open letter to those who do not support the second amendment in pop culture.

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I miss the days of old. When I could pull up Vine, watch a man chase a tornado with an American flag and a shotgun, laugh a good laugh, and be on my merry way. I miss the days when I could caption my hunting photos with a revolver emoji and longed for the day a rifle emoji would be able to represent the sport of marksmanship.

Almost every sport known to man has an emoji, but if you're a hunter, skeet-shooting aficionado, mounted shooter or accomplished marksman, I guess you're just out of luck. Am I offended by that? Oh well, my opinion is apparently invalid within the realm of pop culture. Don't tell me a revolver emoji promotes violence while you sit sassy and content on your couch playing "Call of Duty" or "Fortnite."

News flash, just because those little "Fortnite" guns look futuristic and spacey doesn't make the object of the game any different.

The entire object of the game is to kill all the other players. I guess since we're replacing emojis with "less-threatening" counterparts, we should go ahead and change the knife emoji to a plastic butter-knife. It seems strange to me that with an opioid epidemic tearing through the country, you haven't called for the pill emoji to be removed. What about the sword emojis? Shouldn't those be replaced with lightsabers? Maybe replace them with pool noodles?

No. Emojis are not the problem.

TikTok, where's your support for the Second Amendment? Vine was always there for a good laugh and a good dose of 'merica here and there. You still choose to allow videos picturing the act of murder, but with water guns because that's better. A person can hold a gun to another person's head and cause them to "drop dead" to follow popular trends, but since they use nerf guns or water pistols, it's not depicting violence. It's all fun and games to joke about murder, but God forbid someone shows off their marksmanship skills or posts a hunting video. I'm not calling for an end to the trends and all things funny, I just don't understand how nobody is saying a word about this double standard.

I'm not calling for a banning of "Fortnite" or a complete boycott of social media, but I am pleading with you. Don't silence my voice. Don't inhibit freedom of expression. Don't punish those who have followed the laws and taken the precautions. It's my heritage, it's my culture, it's my life. It's a sense of pride when I finally master dismantling a new gun or finally, after weeks of practice, learn to sight in a new rifle. It's knowing I'm not helpless and that I can defend myself in somewhat dangerous situations. It's having peace of mind in a house all alone as a woman who lives on her own. I know many will not agree with me, and that's OK.

I'm entitled to my opinion just as you are entitled to yours. The only difference here is I'm not trying to take away your constitutionally-given rights.

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