As I read about the Supreme Court striking down some of the recent gun control laws I am challenged to reflect on my view of guns in our society. I grew up in a rural setting on a farm and in a family culture that was accustomed to the use of guns for hunting and extermination of vermin. I learned to shoot a rifle and shotgun at an early age after having a Red Ryder air powered b-b gun. Gathering with my uncles and cousins for deer and fox hunts was a pleasant family activity. My father taught to me to be very safety minded in the use of guns and drilled into me the dangers of misuse of guns. I no longer hunt but still own a collection of guns inherited from my dad.
Hand guns never were a part of our arsenal and were believed to be an unnecessary weapon that had the potential to be of more harm than value. Their harmful nature was emphasized for me by the tragedy of a near fatal injury of one of my high school classmates. He dropped one of his loaded handguns which fired on impact with the floor and the bullet entered his brain and forever impaired his normal functions.
I am somewhat baffled and disturbed by gun owner advocates who see the need for carrying side arms and to own an use high powered automatic weapons. I find it very uncomfortable to think that we have a society where some people think they need to carry side arms for their own protection. I have no trouble with people owning guns for recreational activities of skeet or trap shooting or for other target shooting contests. However, when the ownership begins to center on self protection and defense I pray that our society can move to a less violent way of maintaining safety.