Susan isn’t her real name and she isn’t your typical gun owner. She was born into a Republican, Christian, but also very anti-gun, family 35 years ago and spent much of her early adulthood in small, conservative towns. She identifies herself as Lesbian, African-American and vegetarian, which made life in small towns a bit stressful. She now lives in a large city where tolerance and acceptance are the norm . . .
As we talk, she mentions that her job involves interviewing people. Some sort of social work apparently, but I don’t inquire further to protect her privacy. Many of the people she meets at work, as well as the folks in her personal life, have a very negative view of guns and gun owners. “There is definitely some prejudice. We have taught people to be terrified of the very idea of a gun, so they tend to have a very illogical, emotional response to guns.” That’s why she keeps her gun ownership quiet.
Due to her upbringing, Susan had a deep seated fear of guns, too, but concern for her own safety eventually prompted her to consider gun ownership. “The majority of women I know have been sexually assaulted,” she states calmly. “I think that right there is enough for women to want to become comfortable with firearms and even arm themselves.”
“Being a minority in multiple ways made me think more about protection issues, but I was still hesitant to get a gun for a long time. When I lived out in the woods, I was surrounded by people with guns and thought it might be smart to stop being afraid of them. So that was what prompted me to want to learn to fire a gun, just to remove that sense of terror… and it worked, it definitely worked.”
About five years ago, her partner’s father taught her to shoot a pistol on his rural property and gave her the nine-shot .22 rimfire H&R 929 revolver she uses now for home defense. She also has three pellet guns in .177 caliber.
Susan owns an old house in a less affluent, high crime, section of the city. She could tell the home had been broken into at least once when she first inspected it. She rents rooms to three women and she sounds frustrated by their lack of simple security sense like keeping doors locked and not inviting untrustworthy people into the house. One woman had a male visitor who walked in on another tenant uninvited, causing considerable consternation. Susan reported this to the police but was informed that they could do nothing until the man actually stole something or hurt someone.
Politically, Susan describes herself as Libertarian, but can’t recall ever voting for a Libertarian candidate. She usually just votes for whoever seems like the best candidate. “I feel that the two party system… isn’t working,” she says. “I’m not a member of the NRA, I have a little hesitancy joining large organizations… which are influenced by corporate money.” She has not looked into GOA or SAF.
What does she think of the current push for more gun control? “I think that it’s very reactionary… I understand the concerns around shootings, those are serious issues, but at the same time I don’t think that trying to get rid of guns is ultimately the answer. I think we have the right to bear arms as a form of protection, also from any government that may come along and decide to mistreat their citizens. It gives me pause whenever the government wants to reduce access to guns, because they are not reducing their own access.”
Susan found the local Pink Pistols chapter by searching online for gays and guns. She went shooting with them once and when her 40 year old H&R revolver stopped working, a Pink Pistols member repaired it for free. She’d like to have something with more stopping power. “I’d love to have a 9 millimeter, but there is the economic reality of purchasing one. And the cost of ammo is astronomical.” She speculates that the current ammunition shortage might be a deliberate way of keeping “economically challenged” people from owning guns.
What would she like to say to readers of TTAG? “People who own guns are not necessarily who you’d expect. They can have very liberal views, they can be vegetarian or vegan and they may not be part of the gun culture.”