I bought a gun today.
I took my ten-year old daughter with me.
When I learned that my trusty old revolver -the one I am comfortable with, the one that has few moving parts, the one that fits my hand just right- well, when I learned that it might not be the best gun for a woman to become too comfortable with, and that the instructor of the class I’d signed up for wasn’t excited about having me use it over a semi-auto…
I looked down at my sweet daughter, -patient and holding Mama’s cell phone and keys at the gun counter- and I decided that I’d move out of my comfort zone just like my girl does all the time with her many 4-H projects.
I decided to follow her example and step out of my box and push myself to learn-by-doing just like any good 4-H’er knows is the very best way of starting something new.
So I bought a gun.
I bought a gun without even talking to my husband, or consulting any other man, (unless you count my pal, my husband’s handsome lifelong friend who happened to stroll up to the gun counter and, when seeing I was buying a gun, offered a once over, a word of caution about the thumb safety on my model, and an atta girl) and with no guidance from anyone other than a brief chat with the kind-eyed woman who will be my shooting instructor.
I bought a gun even though we own many and I’ve shot most of them and I even have one of my very own that everyone calls Mom’s Rifle.
But those guns my husband bought.
This one I bought.
I am now the proud owner of a Smith and Wesson 9 mm, complete with a magazine (not a clip folks, never a “clip”), a holster, 100 rounds of ammo, and a soft-sided case. The whole shebang.
And do you know what I heard after I walked out with my new gun?
I heard that just this morning, in our fair state of Alaska, there was a massive theft of guns from a small gun store.
Today my girl and I spent over one hour legally procuring a weapon, filling out pages of paperwork, having my height and weight (so what if it was just my driver’s license weight, STILL) blown up to 8×11 size for the file, having my drug habits and mental status queried, having my name run through a federal registry, having my signature scrutinized, having to provide all the basic information that anyone would need to steal my identity and wreak havoc on my life, all so I could be declared “safe” and walk out of the store with a weapon.
That is the process.
That is how it’s done.
I did everything right.
And I told my girl as we drove off that today was an important day for her.
That today she got to be part of witnessing a free woman in a free country exercising one of the rights so many that have come before her fought and died for.
Today was the day when she saw her grown up mama become a little more of a grown up.
Today was the day we talked about countries and laws that aren’t friendly to women and how in this land, we don’t yet live that way.
Today we talked about how it’s important to use the strength God gave you in the place that He put you.
How having a good husband is a wonderful and amazing thing, but that not every woman has one, and even if they do, it’s good and pertinent for her to know how to make decisions for herself.
How men and women fought and died so that we could do what we did today.
And she said That’s right Mama. We can bear arms.
I did it legally.
And what took us an hour, buying that gun with hard-earned money my husband toils for week in and week out and generously provides for me to use as I see fit…fulfilling all the government’s requirements to purchase and possess a weapon…
it took the thieves 28 seconds.
Twenty-eight seconds of video footage showing them stealing many weapons, taking all they could fill their shirts with, fulfilling zero governmental requirements other than those required to be considered a gun thief.
They didn’t even have to give their driver’s license weight.
Do you see why gun owners have a hard time when folks start murmuring about upping the requirements for gun ownership?
I did it legally.
Someone bent on destroying lives will do it whether it be by a knife, a step van, a bomb, or an illegally-obtained weapon.
Gun owners, responsible, law-abiding gun owners…
we own guns legally and we use guns legally.
We fill out the paperwork, we answer the questions, we write down the serial number, we pay the money, we carry responsibily and we shoot responsibly.
Do you think the little 9 mil I’m now so proud of and a little scared of and can’t wait to practice with is going to mow people down by my legal hand?
Or do you think one of the many that those thieves so indiscriminately stole will?
Do you see the difference?
After today, after exercising my freedom and proudly practicing my independence, and teaching my daughter to do the same, I feel a little tug to throw a Don’t Tread on Me sticker on the back of my mom-SUV.
I feel a need to maybe get a little more vocal about our Second Ammendment rights, maybe even get my Concealed Carry permit.
Not to show off or sound big.
Not to paint myself as a knuckle dragging Neandrethol that many today in our society are quick to label us gun owners.
I feel the need because today I exercised the right that so many fought and died to provide for me.
For my children
For your children.
For my daughter, my precious girl who smiles at me when I tell her how proud I am of her and the young woman she is growing into.
I may take flak from some but you know what?
I am a woman and I bought a gun and I bought it legally and I will learn all I can about it and I will practice with it and it will be my tool.
I am a woman and I bought a gun.
Many picked up their weapons and they said we have a right to defend ourselves. To defend our loved ones.
And today I could almost hear them speaking to me and my girl.
They were saying That’s right Mama. We can bear arms.