Sunday, December 28, 2008

First day as a gun owner.

I'd bet at least half of all blockbuster Hollywood films include gunfire in their scenes. It's funny that we all become engrossed in these films when the average person rarely sees a gun in their day-to-day life, let alone fires one. Well, yesterday was not your average day for me. After a mandatory 10-day waiting period I picked up my Rossi 971 357 magnum revolver from River City Gun Exchange and took it to the Gun Room shooting range in Elk Grove to get used to it.
First off, I have to say... buying a gun is serious business. You have to take a 30 question safety test first, then perform a safe handling demonstration when buying it. You need to fill out all kinds of forms and including proof of current residence when buying the gun. I even needed to sign some form when buying ammunition. Then there's the 10-day waiting period. I suppose all of these regulations make it harder for irresponsible or dangerious people to purchase firearms. I wonder if the red tape deters upstanding citizens from purchasing guns though. It did for me... I've wanted a gun for some time, but procrastinated because I hate tests. With the economy getting worse (which means increasing crime), I figured I'd finally git'er done. Fortunately, my wife Brandie didn't oppose, since she grew up in a rural area where everyone owned a gun.

Home protection isn't the only reason I bought a gun. I believe in the constitional right of citizens to bear arms - to prevent government oppression. We live in a great country and I don't think any sort of revolution or coup is needed... but we can help prevent oppression from creeping in by maintaining an armed populace and limiting government control. Put aside the gun-filled Hollywood films for a moment, and watch the History Channel to understand the importance of an armed populace. How else will we fight to stop a Hitler or Stalin from gaining control?

Guns are serous business, and firearms demand respect. One of my favorite new shows "It's Always Sunny in Philedelphia" has an episode "Gun Fever" where the gang gets a gun and shows ridiculous carelessness with it: carrying it around in their pants, keeping it loaded, twirling it & pointing it at people. It's funny, because they are seduced by the power and respect the gun brings. Now... being a gun owner, I can relate to the seduction (not the carelessness though).

Being unfamiliar with guns, the shooting range felt like a war zone with a room full of blasting weapons. My gun (or any 357) fires both .357 caliber and .38 special ammunition. I figured the .357 was lighter (lower number), so started with that... oops was I wrong! It felt like a cannon going off, fire & thunder flashing from my hands and jolting like a wild horse. What a powerful feeling! I needed to stop between rounds on the .357 to take a breath... needs some getting used to. The 38 special ammo was more comfortable to fire and I could shoot off six rounds without pause. The Gun Room is an interesting place. There were boyfriend & girlfriend there, guys, girls - some renting guns, some bringing their own. On the drive home, and last night, I felt a little different... a little more lethal, more free. Like after a day of boating or at the amusement park, when you can still feel the swirling motion at home - I could still hear & feel the thunderous explosion in my hands later. I guess this is what it feels like to be a gun owner.