It started with this article from CNN.com about a shortage of ammo as gun owners stockpile in the fear that Obama will ban guns or tax their ammo. Turns out President Obama has no public plans to do either (and probably has a lot of things on his To Do List before he gets to the issue of guns.) But it got me thinking: what if there were a fundamental shift in American policy and suddenly it wasn’t as easy as going to a gun show and flashing some ID to get a gun. I never really thought about getting a gun, being a San Francisco Liberal and all. But then, I always assumed I could get one pretty easily if I wanted to. Now that I’m living part-time in the country and now that there is a hint that I might not be able to get a gun, I suddenly want one.
My British friend, Rob, has been urging the purchase of firearms ever since we bought the place in Sonoma. As he puts it, “You have to get a gun. It’s part of your culture.”
Here’s my dilemma: I can’t really think of anything I want to shoot. But I still want a gun. It seems like a cool thing to have. I’d be sort of like Clint Eastwood. Except for the whole being 5’2″ and a woman part.
I realize this is a very frivolous approach to a very serious purchase. And before the Interwebs jumps down my neck on this, let me assure you that, if I get a gun, I will go to the nearby rifle range and learn to operate it responsibly. Which doesn’t mean I’m not going to be practicing that badass twirling thing the gunslingers do. (The first and best example is the opening shot of John Wayne as The Ringo Kid in John Ford’s Stagecoach.) Then there is the holding the reins in your teeth and shooting two guns at once trick. (Also perfected by John Wayne. See True Grit.)
As you can see, my tastes are leaning toward the cowboy. But that does leave the question of what I’d shoot with it. We don’t have many cattle rustlers in these parts. And I don’t have any cattle. We did have an ATV stolen once, but the excellent Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department recovered it quickly. Apparently no shots were fired.
So again, what to shoot? The most dangerous thing around here is our resident Mountain Lion. But he’s rarely in evidence and we’ve evolved to a state the old Soviets would call “peaceful coexistence” with him. We don’t go running around on his hunting grounds at night and he doesn’t show up and kill us in the day. Besides, we’ve named him Joaquin, which practically makes him a pet. Nope, I won’t be shooting him.
The second most dangerous thing on the property, then, would be rattlesnakes. But ours seem to be very gentlemanly. When we meet (which is infrequently), we have a short stare-down, then I back up, and they slither off. All very civilized.
I’m certainly not going to be shooting the deer. (Which I think is illegal around here anyway.) Besides Joaquin the Mountain Lion shows up periodically to cull the herd, so there is no need for ballistics.
That brings us back to the rustlers, or our modern day Sonoma equivalent. I’d have a hard time pointing a gun at a person, even if he looked like what the Westerns used to term “a no-good, sidewindin’ varmint.” Since the evidence shows that our “rustlers” seem to be kids bent on fairly harmless vandalism, they probably won’t be targets either.
But maybe I’m focussing too much on “game”. There are other reasons to carry a gun — even if you are an East Coast educated Liberal. Ever watched Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? I rest my case.
Sonoma even has what could pass as a saloon on the square. Well, Steiner’s Tavern COULD stand in for a saloon if you squint your eyes, ignore the TV screens blaring sports and just concentrate on the stuffed animals on the walls.
Watch out card sharps!
And nobody better be a-botherin’ our Sonoma version of Miss Kitty.
Soon I’ll be standing by to keep the peace. With a gun!
NOTE: I’m not sure why I chose this title. This post is obviously about guns with very little if anything about money and lawyers, although there are times when both are nice to have. But it does give me an excuse to include this excellent version of Warren Zevon’s song, here covered by The Wallflowers.
Aack! Raw nerve! You’ve touched it! I’ve been trying to buy a new gun (an easy-to-remember-how-to-use pistol, as opposed to the how-the-heck-do-I-work-this-thing rifle I have now) for six months. And do you think I could? No! Because I have no physical address! Even if you don’t know what to shoot, get one. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. If something comes after one of your terriers, you can at least shoot the air and try to scare it off.
Of course, you’ll get all the support you need from me down here in Bakersfield.
If I could just get one lawyer to call me back, that would be dandy! Go on and get yer gun.
I come from a family of trap and skeet enthusiasts. You may want to take up this hobby.
My husband is a hunter and this is the first time I’ve lived someplace with guns in the house (or spent weekends at gun shows). It’s been quite an adjustment.
When he talks about getting a gun for me, the two considerations are size (i.e. could I get a concealed carry permit and fit it in a purse) and “kick” (i.e. how much force goes back into your arm/shoulder when you shoot it). Apparently guns are more fun to shoot when they don’t give you a sore shoulder the next day. (I’ve only fired one of his deer rifles at a target and it pushed backwards hard enough to bash my face a bit with the scope — that “scope bite” was enough for me.)
You might want to look for one that you can take to the range and shoot at little metal spinner targets. I’ve been told that’s the fun way to get used to the whole idea.
“I can’t really think of anything I want to shoot. But I still want a gun. It seems like a cool thing to have. I’d be sort of like Clint Eastwood. Except for the whole being 5?2? and a woman part.”
A bit of plinking now and then is good for the soul, and it improves your aim.
And I hope I never have to shoot anything or anyone – but if the time comes, it’s a good idea to be ready.
go down to the range, (i’ll go with), get the 30 min safety/handling course and then try a selection of handguns … small caliber to large, and then round it all off with a shotgun. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s good to be able to know how to use tools properly.
Very well written post however, I would recommend that you turn the No Follow off in your comment section.
Keep up the good work.
Not sure how I missed this post last year. The only song I played for myself after law school graduation was Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Zevon died too young, but had more than a decade clean and sober to share with people who loved him.
Dragged my now ex-husband to a concert at Bogart’s in Cincinnati in Feb 88. Loved it even though it was way too loud.
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