April 30, 2012
Regarding my column from Friday -- http://www.thepilot.com/news/2012/apr/27/whatcha-doin-with-that-gun-in-your-hand/ -- the website ended a rather interesting string of comments about gun control and gun safety. I wanted to continue the discussion.
The column is merely a first-person observational piece about my evening on the gun range with some peers and the Southern Pines officers. I don't mean it as a commentary about gun control, the sport of shooting or anything else.
The point I do want to get across is that the act of holding and firing a weapon carries with it a tremendous responsibility that some don't exercise in this country. The vast majority of individuals practice with their weapons, shoot them properly and stow them safely. It is a sport of precision and skill that I respect.
But there are plenty of others who can't get past that first initial feeling of power in their hands. Perhaps they have only known a life of strife and struggle. Perhaps no one has ever listened to them, given them the authority to make decisions, listened to them. For those individuals, their sense of power -- of control -- comes from the gun in the hand. It bestows it freely and without favor.
My column was meant for those who have never held a gun in their hand and who fear or legislate without understanding. Only when you wrap your fingers around the grip of a gun or lean your shoulder into the stock can you come to terms with the power it conveys.
It was Abraham Lincoln who said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."