How many times have you heard this question: “Do you own a gun?” Notice the definite article: A. As in Singular. As in One. Robert’s response to the proposed Massachusetts one-gun-a-month law was on the money. But the fact that there are people who support the proposal illustrates the mile-wide perception gulf between gun-owning Americans and their non-armed counterparts.
Whenever someone asks me the question “do you own a gun?” instinctively I know that they are probably not gun owners themselves. If they were gun owners, or if they were “gun people” (that is, people who don’t own guns but who associate with people who do), they would know that most gun owners own more than one gun. I don’t know what the average number is, but right off the top of my head, I can’t think of anybody I know who owns guns who has fewer than two. Most have at least four.
In fact, I’m fairly certain that the only time in my life that I’ve ever owned “a” gun was in that brief period of time after I bought my first gun and before I bought my second (my first gun was a Universal .30 Carbine, as pictured above, purchased from a Sears in Columbus, Georgia, in May of 1981).
Of course, there are some people who carry a gun occupationally: mostly police officers and security guards. For them, the gun may simply be a tool that’s part of their employment, taken off with the uniform and not thought about much afterwards. These are people who are “gun owners” who aren’t really “gun people.” Again, I imagine they are very much in the minority of gun owners.
The thing about guns is this: once you own one and spend some time shooting it you get inculcated into the “gun culture.” It doesn’t take long before you get to hankering for another one. Got a pistol? Now you feel the need for a shotgun. Or one of those cool assault weapons modern sporting rifles home defense guns. Got a hunting rifle? Pretty soon you want another one. Or a nice .22 for plinking and practicing. Or a handgun to pack for protection.
So that’s the QOTD. Do you own “a” gun, as in only one? Do you know anybody who only owns one gun? I would answer negative to both questions. How about you?