Gun Control: A Unique Perspective From An Outdoors Woman

One hour and 17 minutes.

This was how long it took for my boyfriend and I to walk into Cabelas with our cart empty and leave fully satisfied with a shotgun.

One hour and 17 minutes was the amount of time that had elapsed for my boyfriend to walk up, point at the beautiful creation that was daintily on display for us and have it processed for him.

During this processing time, we sat in two secluded chairs in front of a nice lady. She had laid an iPad down in front of him and went over the rules of the test he was about to take. This test is also known as the Background Check. I could not speak to him or even look at him to skew his answers, to which I had no idea what they were and he couldn't use his phone or have anything out. But, most of all, he had to be meticulous with his answers.

It took a half hour; and, after 30 minutes, he returned the iPad and we waited to get the results back that his record is clean and he’s ready to proceed with the next step.

Everything checked out, so we began to head over to another counter where all he needed to bring with him was his license and Social Security card. After he was put into the system, confirmed his address and identity, his reports were sent to the FBI and we were ready to leave with his new piece of property.

Now think about that one hour and 17 seconds. Because, that’s also the time it takes for one person to kill 17 people with the same piece of property he had just bought.

Now this is about to take a turn in the other direction. So, I would like to give you some information on myself: I have grown up in a conservative household where I have felt comfortable with guns. I was taught, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” To me, that holds true. When I was 12 years old, my dad took me to the shooting range for the first time to teach me how to handle a gun: with precision and extreme caution. I was taught how to take it apart and clean it. But I was also taught the extreme consequences of using one, even for self defense.

Having this background, however, has helped me to become aware of the danger of guns when misused but also how they aren’t just for gang members and the mentally-ill.

I have recently been actively involved with hunting. Since quitting my college volleyball career, I have had the amazing opportunity to become a huntress! I took my Hunter’s Safety Course and got my license. I was taught by my boyfriend and his family how to properly and safely carry and use all types of guns from just walking with them, to shooting next to someone and even which gun to use for the type of hunting we are doing.

So, to me, guns are for my sport. They are for my enjoyment and the enjoyment of everyone else who hunts with passion and for sport - whether it be animals or clays. They also are for my safety and I plan on getting my license to conceal carry when I am of age. There are so many situations, especially for women, where guns are for actual self defense and could save your own life. So, for someone to take away my right to have a gun, well, that doesn’t fly with me. I do not support a ban on guns — shotguns, handguns or even assault rifles.

While there is such a negative stigma with “assault rifles,” I know that it’s going to be hard for me to justify my viewpoint. But, we use AR’s for deer hunting in some states and also for sport. We use them to detect our accuracy with shooting and have target competitions. Think about it like this: sports like football have such awful injuries and results from injuries on the brain for these athletes, but should we just take away the whole tackle aspect of football and leave them with only flag football? No, there’s no way that would ever happen. So what has the NFL done? Adapted and moderated. So, we can moderate it. We create rules and regulations to decrease a bad outcome with gun violence.

That’s exactly what I support. I support the regulations of guns such as more thorough background checks, longer time periods to be able to get your gun (to allow for extremely thorough checks) and heavier restrictions to those who can purchase a gun.

But to be clear again, I do not support any ban on any kind of gun. Nor do I support the raising of age to buy guns or ammo. 

Dovetailing into the age situation, I also believe that getting young adults (not particularly children) comfortable and familiar with guns is important. A big reason that these teenagers are infatuated with them is because they play videogames and don’t realize the actual consequences and fatal effects that real guns can have. They become curious and think it’s ok to get their hands on one secretively and don't know how to properly use it or in what situation. Don’t you remember the more your parents would tell you not to do something, you’d become more interested in actually doing just to rebel because you were curious? It’s the same concept here. Familiarizing young adults with guns and gun safety is imperative. They shouldn’t be afraid, just cautious. I believe that all this is a societal issue more than a gun issue. These mass shootings didn't start until the 90s. But all in all, this is America and our privilege to certain rights should not be infringed because of a couple of instances where negligence was prominent. Just simply revise the problem and come up with a neutral solution. 

Now, you don’t have to agree with me on any of this. I also know that I am not definitely right about my opinions. But they’re my opinions. All I ask of you is to be open minded about my ideas and understand my reasoning for no gun bans. However, I want to stress this:

Instead of one hour and 17 minutes, let’s make it one week. Or seven weeks. Let’s add room for tedious background checks before one hour and 17 minutes becomes the last hour and 17 minutes for anyone else.