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Bought My First Firearm Saturday

John on June 28, 2010 at 9:48 am

Was going to put something up about this on the weekend, but didn’t get around to it.

I come from a family with hippie sensibilities. I was not allowed to have toy guns as a child and I have to confess to always feeling very uncomfortable around guns as a result. But recently, as in the last 2-3 years, I’ve thought more and more about how safe we really are here in our little enclave of Orange County. And the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that civilization is a precarious thing.

Some of this thinking probably started 5-6 years ago when I had a long talk with a highly ranked person from a government agency that does not advertise. He talked pretty frankly about the sort of things that keep his staff up at night and I was disturbed by how vulnerable society really is to one lone nut who had really thought it through. I’m not going to repeat any of what he told me, but let’s just say that you don’t need a dirty bomb to do major damage to the United States. Sadly, it’s not really that hard to kill a lot of people indiscriminately, or to do serious damage to our infrastructure.

But apart from the sort of macro scenarios that seem unlikely (thanks in part to the people like this man who are looking out for us) there are the small scale situations. What would I do if someone decided to break into the house? How would I make sure nothing happened to my kids? That’s the kind of thing that can keep you up at night and which has in fact kept me up at times.

I’d stopped in a gun shop a couple of times but never had pulled the trigger. Then last month one of my best friends told me he’d bought his first weapon, a pump-action shotgun. And I got to thinking about whether it might be time to do something similar.

So Saturday, I went to a local Turner Outdoorsman, took a 30 question test (aced it) and got my California permit to purchase a gun. After doing a bit of my own research via the web, I selected a Glock 19, which is a 9mm handgun known for its ease of use and reliability. I know the whole argument about big caliber vs. small caliber and there are no shortage of guys who snort at a 9mm. Personally, I wanted something easy to handle and which my wife could also learn to use.

It’ll be a week until I can pick it up, but I’m looking forward to taking it to the local firing range. I intend on being proficient and getting comfortable with this weapon. And fear not, it will be safely stored in a locked gun safe in a spot where no one will ever come across it, but it will still be nearby should I ever need it.

At a certain point it seems like this is what it means to grow up. You stop pretending you don’t worry about bad things happening and you take responsibility for dealing with them if they do. That’s how I think of owning a firearm at this point. It’s a very serious form of insurance against loss. Like other forms of insurance, I hope I never need to use it. But I feel better having it anyway.

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