I'm sure you have seen news headlines and political debates about the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.

Both sides have tended to become increasingly polarizing, and not many of the reasonable voices from either perspective have any room to be heard. Debates, even the harshly worded ones, are all well and good until you get someone who says something without thinking. However, I didn't quite expect the full extent that debate around the Second Amendment would leak into my classes.

One of my professors told my class, "Unless your gun is made for hunting only, owning anything else just makes you a closeted school shooter."

Well, it shocked me, to say the very least. I know that my major tends to have classes and professors that lean more to the left, which is certainly more than fine with me, despite my personal beliefs. I enjoy seeing both sides of the fence and getting the chance to challenge my own views. That being said, I own a Diamondback DB-15 (AR-15) for home defense and range shooting. I'll be honest, it's only left my house once to target shoot on my mother's 120-acre farm.

I own a rifle for a good reason, not because I want to make people uneasy.

I know if you've spent time on the internet, you've heard of Kaitlin Bennett and her pretty outrageous public escapades with her AR-15 and other rifles. I get a lot of that appalled kind of reaction when people find out I own a rifle myself, and I think it's important for everyone to consider the reasons why people do and don't own guns and rifles. My own reasons for buying my rifle is because I am a 5'3" female who lives alone, more than a 30 minutes' drive from everyone I know. I'm not saying that I am a weakling nor that I am invincible by any means, but if someone were to break into my home, I can guarantee that I wouldn't stand any chance to fight them off. Another alternative suggestion I have received is to "just hide until the police arrive." I love our men and women in blue, but I know I cannot be dependent on them arriving within moments of an intruder coming in. Besides, where am I supposed to hide, in my shower?

Knowing how to safely use a rifle is also an extremely important consideration.

I don't mean the one safety class you took at your local gun range OR the six hours of YouTube you just binge-watched. I'm talking about an entire series of courses, growing up learning to shoot and handle rifles safely or going through military training. I had never handled a rifle over the size of a BB gun at summer camp until I went through army basic combat training (basic). Not even three weeks in, we were given our own M4A1 rifles chambered in a standard 5.56. I carried that rifle like an extension of myself up until four or five days before I graduated training. I will say, having a drill sergeant effectively threaten your life should you misuse your rifle (even if it's unloaded) can be extremely helpful during the learning process. My extreme familiarity with the M4A1 is ultimately why I chose to buy the civilian-equivalent AR-15.

If you choose to own a rifle, I will support you fully, and if you choose not to, I will support you all the same.

We are all wholly entitled to our views and opinions, however, forcing them upon one another is toxic and degrading. I can agree there will always be flaws with the current rules of the Second Amendment, especially with the rapid development of new weapons technology. However, disarming ourselves and others will never truly solve the root issues of gun violence. If law-abiding people who are deserving of being armed are no longer allowed to maintain that right, then it still does not keep those with malicious intentions from obtaining illegal, black-market weapons.

With everything in life, be open to hearing other's reasons for anything they do, within acceptable boundaries of course. Try to be understanding, and appreciate that not everyone goes through life in the same way, nor do we live under the same circumstances.