The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

So I Have A Gun . . .

There is a time and place for guns.  I live in Arizona – a big pro-gun state.  We love guns so much that the state legislature is in the process of having the Colt revolver declared as the official state gun.  When you go shopping, some stores have signs that say “No handguns” because we can carry our guns just about everywhere unless they specifically tell us we can’t.  My school is even considering allowing guns on campus.  They’ve tried  to outlaw cigarettes on campus but guns are ok.

I moved to Phoenix shortly after my grandmother died.  Since I didn’t have a job yet, I was the one who was responsible for being on site for the cleaning out and selling of her house.   When I was doing my final walk-through to make sure that we had everything out of house, I discovered an oddly shaped fabric case on a high shelf in her closet.  It was my father’s hunting rifle.  I never knew he had a gun.  I took it to my house and it has been in my closet ever since.  It’s a beautiful weapon, but I don’t fire it.

guns and ammo

Image by darkly_seen via Flickr

Now, I am all for responsible gun ownership.  I have shot a number of guns: rifles, handguns, and an M-16.  People laughed very hard at me when I learned the hard way that I didn’t have my gun pulled all the way into my shoulder before firing it.  I have had my fair share of gun-related bruises.

I heard that a friend of a friend always opens her door holding her gun.  It was handy for making solicitors go away.  I don’t like being bothered at home, so I decided to try it.  The next time the doorbell rang, I opened the door with my dad’s gun in my hands (just holding it, not pointing it at anyone).  There was a little Hispanic man going door-to-door offering to help with my lawn (and I don’t have a lawn).  He was so surprised to see a person with a gun.  He looked so scared.  I realized at that point that I don’t want to live in a world where people answer their doors holding guns.

I think one of the problems with the U.S. is that we’re conditioned to believe that the unfamiliar is scary and that people inherently want to hurt each other.  It lends itself to always being on guard and looking for the bad instead of being rational and enjoying the good in life.

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  1. Michael says:

    I can’t believe you did that. I’m very much for guns, but answering the door while holding a gun is (in my opinion) a violent action designed to intimidate and cause fear. Guns (at least those visible to others) should be kept in holsters unless being used. If I saw a person answering the door while holding a loose gun in her hands, I’d be afraid as well. Answer the door wearing a gun in a holster attached to your body – fine, then people see it’s accessible for protection – but to answer the door holding it is insane.

  2. Nathan says:

    I’m troubled by this post and confused about its goal. You seem to be saying that if people were less scared of guns (or other unfamiliar things) then our society would be better off and more rational. I’m not sure that follows from the rest of of the post.

    Also – and more deeply troubling – you say that you’re all for responsible gun ownership. I don’t always assume that other people want to hurt be and yet I agree with Michael that if someone were to open the door with a hunting rifle in their hands, I take that as a pretty clear indication that s/he wanted to hurt me. I’m not a gun owner, nor would I want to be one, but that doesn’t seem like terribly responsible gun ownership to me.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      My goal was to share a message that just because we have certain rights, it doesn’t mean we need to take advantage of them to their fullest extent all the time. I recently re-watched Bowling for Columbine and I was envious of the scene where Michael Moore talks with Canadian citizens about how they don’t lock their doors and they live in a culture that appears to be more rational. I remember a time when our door was only locked at night and the garage was wide open all day when we were home. Now, I live in a state where you can carry a gun almost anywhere and people do! I respect their right to do it, but I prefer to live in a culture where this isn’t the norm. It’s been a long time since my open-the-door-with-my-gun incident and it had a powerful impact on me. Did I have the right to do it? Yes. Was it something I should have done? Probably not. I hope it’s an experience that other people can learn from instead of having to learn it first-hand. I think if I heard about someone doing it now, I would probably roll my eyes and think, “to each their own.”