An Open Letter to Gun Nuts

This is for all the ultra-right-wing, TEA-party-esque, red-state-voting gun nuts out there, and this is my message: I am a liberal, and I own firearms.

I have to tell you, gun crowd, you’re embarrassing yourselves. President Obama does not want to take away your guns. If you doubt me, please leave a comment citing anything he’s signed into law to take away your guns. If he did want to take them away, I’d let him, and here’s why: you don’t deserve them. I see you in the sporting goods stores, dressed in your wife-beater t-shirts, crowding the pistol counter, talking to the clerk who is also a gun nut, discussing hydrostatic shock and whether a pistol cartridge is a “man stopper” that can take down someone on drugs, like killing humans is a sport. I gather from what I can overhear that you are buying your 20th or so .357 magnum, and this one is “for your wife,” which we all know isn’t true.

If you were married to my wife, you would know that gun ownership isn’t about killing people at all. In Abby’s family, shooting was about time-honored tradition. Her father taught her to hunt before he taught her to drive. Abby has known since she was six how to reload a spent .30-06 shell. When Abby was growing up, her reward for ironing was two .22 shells for every shirt she pressed.

Abby’s family never debated whether or not a .38 Special could kill a home invader or if a .32 auto causes a big enough wound cavity. They were too busy packing and freezing the venison Abby’s dad brought back from Wyoming on his last hunting trip so the girls could have meat through the winter.

I didn’t grow up in Abby’s family, but many of those values have influenced me. When Abby’s father passed away in April of 2010, a few of his firearms were passed down to Abby, and it is a privilege simply to be able to shoot them. I also own a few guns of my own, and while I don’t imagine killing anyone with them, of course I would if I needed to protect Abby or me. But the main reason to have them is the pure enjoyment of the sport of shooting, which we can do to our heart’s content here in the country.

Every firearm we found at Abby’s dad’s house was loaded, because he always said, “They ain’t much good if they ain’t.” He was that kind of guy; as straightforward as anyone gets. It is an honor for me to carry on his tradition of responsibly owning and enjoying firearms of all kinds.

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1 Comment

  1. If nothing else, allowing right-wingers to own guns has tricked them into learning the metric system. :-)

    Perhaps almost as unpopular as your “I’m a liberal and I own guns” stance is my stance: “I’m an independent, and I own guns.”

    My grandparents used firearms to help keep four-legged varmints out of the garden and to give two-legged rascals a strong message. My favorite Meemaw story is when she used her shotgun to direct two drunk would-be burglars back out to the highway.

    For me, the saddest thing about the gun-rights/control debate is the people you mentioned. The very people who argue for my right to own guns are the same people who I wish didn’t have them…

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