Supreme Court Gun Descision

So . . .  Monday, June 28, 2010 The Supreme Court ruled that you can keep a gun in your home. Does that make you feel  safe?

We shot clay pigeons for fun at the farm. Our house sat on a bluff overlooking the river.  We stood on the patio and threw the discs with an inexpensive thingy that the Kodak salesman gave me. (I was the  Chief Technologist of the x-ray department and  I probably shouldn’t have kept it, but I did.)

The first time I tried trap shooting, I used my husband’s 12 gauge shot gun. It knocked me head over teacups onto my . . . well, you know. The next week, we bought a 20 gauge single shot. Much better. After a while, I actually got pretty good at hitting those clay pigeons. There is something quite satisfying about watching them shatter in mid-air.

I carried that shot gun when I went on turkey shoots. I felt like a real bird hunter except that the lack of a second shot without reloading proved to be my undoing. I never got to return home with a turkey slung over my shoulder.

My favorite gun was a 22 rifle.  It belonged to my husband, a relic from his boyhood. It felt good in my hands and was small and light weight. It also might have gotten me killed.

One day, before we got the big house built, my six month old Brittany Spaniel Sam and I were alone in our two room cabin situated on a little-known, lonely gravel road. I looked out the window to see  a pickup truck loaded with railroad ties, a long rifle hung in the rear window, eased onto our grassy driveway and stop. No one told me to expect supplies and when I saw two scungy, unshaven men in the front seat, my internal alarm went off. With Sam hopping around at my feet, I cracked the door to find out what they wanted. The driver called that he had a truck load of the stuff we’d ordered and where did I want it?

The site of the house we were building was a quarter of a mile away hidden, at the bottom of a rise. Still wary, I yelled back that I’d show them. I grabbed the only gun in the house, the 22, called Sam to my side, and bravely went out the door.

“You want to ride with us?” the driver said, his voice deep and gravely.

The absolute last thing I wanted was to get in a car with those guys. “No thanks,” I yelled. “Sam and I planned to do some quail hunting anyway. You just follow us and we’ll show you where to go.”

The pickup crept along behind me and I forged ahead, gun in hand, the puppy bouncing in and out of the tall field grass. After pointing to where they could pile the railroad ties, I called to Sam, shouldered my 22 and headed towards the pasture. The horses spied me and ambled up, hoping for their daily treats. After a few pats and nudges, they wandered off, disappointed and Sam and I walked down to the pond.

I heard the pickup truck engine start up. Good, I thought. They’re leaving.

Instead the truck crested the hill and roar down the slope. It skidded to a halt and the driver leaned out his window. “We’re all done, lady. “You’re set,” he called, “and oh by the way, if you can hit a quail with that there 22 you don’t need to be afraid of us.” Then whooping and hollering, away they went.

Chagrined, I slunk home but I learned a couple of powerful lessons that day. If those guys had wanted to hurt me that little gun wouldn’t have been much protection. And in retrospect, I don’t think I could have used it anyway; on a quail maybe but not on a human being.

I am horrified and shocked to see people at gatherings with side arms and assault weapons strapped to their hips. Do I think that we would be safer if no one could carry a gun? Absolutely!

But we Americans firmly defend our constitutional freedoms. The second amendment protects the right of people (a well regulated militia?) to keep and bear arms. After our experience with England, we get that.

Then, when we freed the slaves, along came the fourteenth amendment which says, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” Even though that probably meant that freed slaves had the right to carry a gun to protect themselves, some legal scholars suggest that means everyone.

Here’s the reality. 60,000 people a year are killed or maimed by someone using a firearm. Hundreds if not thousands of lives a year could be saved by banning handguns.  I believe anyone who owns a gun must be required by law to learn how to use it from a professional.  I’m not against knowledgeable ownership of home owned guns for protection but I balk mightily against just anyone walking around with a concealed weapon in their pocket.

So . . .  how safe do you feel?

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