In order to fully understand the nature of this rant, you need to know a few things about me. I grew up on a ranch in Texas, and my family owned guns. The rifles and shotguns were locked in a gun case, but the handguns were strapped in holsters in various locations around our home. I even kept a small handgun in the glove compartment of my car. So yes, when I was much younger, I was very comfortable with guns. Since having my own kids, both my husband and I are completely against having guns in our home. The way we see it, an accident is an accident because something happens that wasn’t supposed to happen. An accident involving a gun is a risk that neither of is willing to take with our children.
My daughter has asked me to take her to a gun range for years. I’ve always said no. This past spring she was at my father’s home in Colorado, and his good friend took her to a gun range and taught her gun safety. “What happens at Pop’s stays at Pop’s.” Thanks dad. Apparently she loved it, so I decided to take her to a range here in California. The truth is, I’ve never been to a range in my life. When I shot a gun, we were on our ranch with my family.
We drove up to a very large building with the quote, “We the people...” on the side of the building (the American flag behind it). The experience felt political. We walked straight up to the counter where the guns were kept, and asked the employee standing behind it what we were supposed to do. Please note that I had a few basic assumptions taking my daughter to the range: 1. Someone would be assigned to stay with my daughter and I because we had no idea what we were doing. 2. Someone would take my driver’s license and do a background check to be sure I wasn’t a total nut job. 3. We would receive a 15- minute tutorial on gun safety and how to actually load and shoot the gun. You know what they say about assumptions. I was shocked. My daughter picked a handgun randomly. He put it in a basket, like we were at the market purchasing milk. He asked me how much ammunition we wanted, and gave us two rounds of 50 bullets each. Then he placed the goggles and headphones in the basket and sent us off to our lane.
I was actually shaking as we walked through the door to the “lanes” on the range. The minute we walked in, guns were firing and it was so loud (even with the headphones on), that I nearly jumped out of my skin. All of a sudden the movie “American Sniper” popped into my head and I realized that everyone in there had guns and anyone could have turned around and shot us. My daughter thinks I’m twisted for thinking that way, but nobody had to do a background check.
I slowly started loading the magazine with the bullets (based on watching someone else), and my daughter shoved it in the gun and handed it back to me. When I took the first shot, I wasn’t expecting “kick back,” but it was so harsh that my hands went up in the air, the hot shell came flying out of the side of the gun and I freaked out. This is a feeling that is difficult to explain unless you are shooting a gun, with fire flying out one end, and your daughter standing behind you...and complete strangers shooting in the lane right next to you. I took two shots, and put the gun down. An employee came over (finally) to give us some tips so that we wouldn’t “tear up our thumb,” and I begged him to stay to help us. My daughter shot the gun and I loaded it. We didn’t use the second box of ammunition because the experience was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever done in my life. The whole thing took us 20 minutes.
It’s unimaginable to me that not one employee was worried about my daughter and I (or anyone else for that matter), with our complete lack of experience. I’m not going to get into “gun facts” and debate whether or not people should be allowed to own guns. My point is simple: Guns are no joke. They are powerful, deadly weapons and we unequivocally need stricter gun legislation in this country.
What say you? Email me at email@example.com.