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“I want to protect two things: my job and my gun. That’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama.” That quote appeared on a labor union election promo featured in RF’s “Friday Flashback” post, and boy does it seem naive now. In response, commenter Chris pointed out that Obama has been a massive boon for gun ownership. His comment was immediately followed by three “yep, he’s precisely why I bought my first gun” replies. Are you a new or new-ish gun owner? What made you pull the trigger (so to speak) on your first gun? Tell us in the comments below. Oh, and regarding that union president’s quote. . .


The glaring lack of an “s” on the end of “gun” is a solid indicator it probably wasn’t legit in the first place. That’s another sentiment that was echoed in a number of comments on RF’s post, including those by Wertywert, Angryaz (sorry to hear about that boating accident), and Katy. How about it, readers? Any of you own only one gun?

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  1. I can imagine somebody who isn’t interested in guns owning one gun for self defense.
    Other than that, no, I’ve never met a one gun owner and I can’t imagine why you’d be one, unless you just bought your first gun and haven’t bought a second one yet.
    Even the hunters who only touch a gun during deer season own guns, not gun.

  2. I joined the firearm club because I had a crazy husband with a restraining order show up at my front door and accuse me of having an affair with his wife.

    I wasn’t and wouldn’t have, because there was crazy on both sides of that marriage.

    Fortunately, I was living in AZ at the time. Walked in to a gun store, put my money down and walked out 15 minutes later with a handgun. I then headed over and practiced with said purchase.

    Things have progressed nicely in the firearm department since then.

  3. First of two ‘trigger points’ was taking a job in extreme south Tampa, Fla.

    From where I was living at the time, I was on the road between 4 and 5 AM. The route to w*rk took me through a very not-nice part of the county.

    The second was one night pounding out the miles south of town when I passed a home that had some folks outside partying.

    One of the ‘good ‘ole boys’ thought it would be hilarious to sic his bull terrier on me.

    I was a mite surprised as to how fast I could ride that old bike. That was when I started carrying while riding. (A leather fanny pack clipped on my belt.)

  4. 12 years old… friend’s dad wants to take me hunting with their family next year, shows my grandpa the 6.5x55mm mausers for sale $99 in Big 5 catalogue. Grandpa gets it for my birthday.

    As an adult… my first major gun purchase was because I had a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of inventory at my shop and I realized I might be a target for neferarious characters and I went and got a shotgun and a handgun to keep handy.

  5. Got a job that required month long trips away from home. Kids went to live on campus. So my wife and I got our CCH permits. In fact, when she picked me up from returning on my second trip we went straight from the airport to the sheriff’s office to file my face to face required stuff.
    And before my next trip we both had permits.
    In less than a year we went from zero firearms to seven. 2 rifles and 5 pistols.

  6. Mines a sad tale. In short my best friend and I were mugging victims in NYC. Leaving a late night bar. He was shot and killed. Me by the grace of God was not. I swore after the incident that I’d never be put in a helpless situation again. I left NYC met the right folks to train me. Got my CWP. The rest is history.

    • My condolences, but holy grammar, Batman!
      “In short my best friend and I were mugging victims in NYC.”
      First thought: “You’re admitting to a felony!”
      Second thought:”Oh, he means to say that he is a victim of a mugging.”

  7. I always thought shooting sports looked fun and everyone knows gunz-r-kewl.
    Growing up in a hardwired anti state there was also the great appeal of giving a giant wagging middle finger to every self-righteous nanny-state bastard that thought he/she was the boss of me.

    Same reasons I do any of the things I do really.

    • In college, one of my buddies took me out to shoot .22 rifles. I had a blast, and knew that I had to buy one myself. I bought a Marlin 60, and haven’t looked back. That Marlin was my only gun for a number of years. Now, I have a lot more guns, but still love my Marlin 60. Plinking with a .22 rifle is just a lot of fun.

  8. I have always been interested in being a gun owner and then last year I finally decided to take the steps by getting some training and understanding the laws. But my decision was not driven by any of that, mass shootings, nothing. It all boiled down to 2 incidents that happened very close to my home and one literally in my front yard. The first involved a beautiful summer morning and I was sitting in my yard at my picnic table enjoying a coffee and some fresh air. Suddenly out of nowhere I could hear a scream “STOP! POLICE!” That got my attention. I couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from or if someone was screaming at me but a few seconds later I could someone running out of the woods near my house followed by 2 officers. The suspect start fighting with one of the cops and threw him head first into a stone wall while the suspect tried to jump it. The second cop took him down. This happened literally 100 feet from where I was sitting and I was utterly oblivious to knowing it was even happening. The second incident occurred about a year afterwards when I noticed a car going up my street followed by a cruiser. There are only 4 houses on the street, so it’s normally very quiet. Like before i was sitting on my front porch and talking to a friend. I figured it was a normal car stop (light out, expired registration, something normal). A few seconds later another cruiser blocked the road behind the car and yet another cruiser blocked the in the other direction. That’s when I decided to go inside. It was then the cops ordered the guys out of the car, and had them laid out on the ground of my front yard, handcuffed and taken into custody. It seems they were selling drugs and being chased by police and the chase ended up literally on my front door step. In the second case, the whole incident unfolded literally 20 feet from where I was and if there had been gun fire, I don’t know what would happen. In the first incident, if the suspect had decided to run my way and make me a hostage, well I would have been completely defenseless.

    It made me think for a second that in my house I was literally defenseless. So I decided to do something about it. I got my license, and went back for more training to use in concealed carry situations. Here I am today. I want to say in the past I was dumb and would have supported things like the assault weapons ban, but now actually being a real gun owner I understand how stupid so many laws are, and I have completely flipped the other way. I get it now.

  9. After Sandy Hook happened, Obama started talking about an “assault weapons” ban. That’s when I decided to figure about what this whole gun thing was about. That’s when and how I found out about TTAG and Iraqveteran8888 sure did taught me a lot. I need to research both sides before I have an informed opinion. I now have carry permits for multiple states. Also, I am a single-issue voter now.

    Yup, because Obama.

    • ^ Basically this for me as well.

      Hickok45 and Colion Noir helped too.

      I had wanted to get a handgun long before turning 21, but being broke and being in a state which requires an expensive permit to exercise the right kept me from it. I filled out my permit application very shortly after Sandy Hook happened.

    • Yeah IV8888 was what informed me on a lot of stuff I know. I had always had an interest in firearms and I’m quite surprised I never got in trouble in schools a few years ago when alls I would do in my free time was trace over pictures of different guns. I’m glad I’m homeschooled now and not fed the crap they teach in public schools. Anyways I got into it when my dad bought my first gun when I was 14 which to me that seems a little late but whatever I’m in the club now.

    • While I was always a huge supporter of the 2nd Amendment and appreciated NRA fighting to keep this right (funny……you shouldn’t have to fight for something that’s a “right”…..), I never had firearms. My father was not a hunter or into firearms so I wasn’t around them growing up.

      One of my accounts at work was really into firearms for sport and protection as they had a retail store that was open into the early evenings. Any how, we’d talk a bit and he went out and got a carry permit form for me during the first year of Obama. I carried the form around in my brief case for years till Sand Hook. From there my wife and I got our CCW, ordered and installed several gun safes, joined the NRA and purchased some firearms. Several training courses/seminars since and a few more firearms.

      So, thanks Mr. President!

    • Me neither. I didn’t think it was a club, and if I had thought so, I probably wouldn’t have joined.

      In fact, I thought I was stepping outside the accepted lines and deliberately un-joining all those clubs everyone had told me I needed to belong to (but which I never participated in because I’m a recalcitrant leave-me-the-hell-alone-ist).

      But it still is kind of like being in a club — a really good kind of club.

      The kind where the meetings (if there ever are any) are always optional, nobody minds if you mostly just want to be left alone (because most of them are leave-me-the-hell-alone-ists too), and the members are willing to share expertise and experience with anybody who feels like asking.

  10. Been around guns all my life, even growing up behind enemy lines in NYS & NJ. Grant it, that was a long time ago before the truly onerous restrictions came into place, but guns were just “no big deal”. I just knew that the 2nd Amendment guaranteed my right to have them, and if I needed one, it wouldn’t be a major exercise to pick one up. Of course the reality is different, so in the latter part of the last decade, I gave it some serious thought based on the political tides, and also being in Florida where the shooting sports were more prevalent. The final impetus, as it were, was when a friend of mine got involved in a gunfight at a local fast-food restaurant. He got hit, but still managed to hit the people who shot him before he fell. Fortunately, he survived. He wasn’t the sort to go around starting trouble, but one day, trouble found him. Soon after I started the process of getting my CWFL, and picking up a firearm to call my own. Now, that’s become multiple firearms, and even NFA items.

  11. I wasn’t “anti,” but living in Illinois, guns were something that police, security guards, and other “proper authority” types carried and I never questioned it. Until a coworker told me about the court case that ended up with Illinois becoming that very last state in the Union to have some form of allowance for “ordinary citizens” to carry firearms. (Under the guise of “not infringing,” donchaknow?)

    I was baffled; average citizens!? Carrying guns!? He was nice enough to point me to sites such as this one where my eyes were quickly opened and I suddenly realized that I’d completely misunderstood the concept all along. I’d always had an interest in guns, but assumed that – without 100+ acres of farmland to use them – they were “off limits” to me or, at the very least, a very expensive piece of equipment I’d own that never came out of a case or a drawer.

    In early 2015, I bought my Glock 19 Gen 4, took some classes with my wife, and just this October, got my Illinois Concealed Carry Permit. And now I carry, every day.

    So, why? Three reasons really.

    1) I want to protect myself and my family (married with four kids) the best I can.

    2) I now understand that it has been the government that was wrong all along. I had bought into the lie that I “wasn’t allowed” to own/carry a firearm due to my lack of law enforcement training, or whatever arbitrary set of qualifications were required. I was having my rights infringed. I finally understood that the government doesn’t have to the right to tell me that I can’t protect myself.

    3) Given my VERY strong conservative streak, with a hint of libertarian thrown in, anything that gives the federal/state governments a little “up yours” is fine with me. So, the fact that by owning and carrying a firearm with me all the time means I’m doing something they really don’t like but are essentially powerless to do anything about, it gives me a little extra spring in my step and broadens the smile on my face as I go about my daily routine.

    • Average citizens carrying guns?! (And pictures of citizens wearing IWB holsters with guns inside them)

      ^^Yup, that’s what I thought too.

  12. Grew up around guns and did a good bit of plinking as a kid, but got away from it as an adult. Then I got to shoot a couple of revolvers about the same time my oldest son wanted to try hunting. All this happened about the same time my wife realized our kids were old enough to be safe around handguns. So I no longer had to deal with that argument. So I bought him a bolt action rifle and myself a Springfield XD. Now I carry, shoot bullseye competition, reload and hunt.

  13. i started hunting with my buddy and his dad at 15 or 16, as soon as I turned 18 I got my FID and headed to Service Merchandise for my 870. then a 10-22 and a 30-30. When I was 21 I got my CCP and started with a Ruger Security-Six then just a few more over the past 37 years. (as far as my wife knows, anyway)

  14. First gun was a Mossberg 88 from my dad for hunting and skeet shooting. After getting married and reading too much TTAG, I decided I wouldn’t be a helpless victim or be unable to stop someone from hurting my wife. Either my shield or p320 are always with me.

  15. I owned two guns before I was even 18. I have to do monthly inventories now to make sure it all there in the safe.

  16. I was born this way, or so my joking answer to acquaintances who hate guns goes…

    My dad was a hunter, trap shooter and field trial guy. From my first summer of life I’ve been around guns, though will admit I was a Fudd until the Clinton AWB came around while I was in college (they still taught critical thinking skills back then in non-safe zones…). After divorcing my first wife, who “did not believe in guns” despite the fact that I informed her on many occasions that guns are indeed real things, the first thing I did was to get my shotguns from my parents house. Not long thereafter came the plinking rifle and police trade-in Glock 22. My first EBR was purchased during the frenzy the day after Sandy Hook, though it was not for a lack of want prior.

    Enter second wife, who by way of comparison to my first bought me a safe for my birthday two years ago, and the rest is history. If only I hadn’t tried to take that safe salmon fishing…I should have listened to my friends who tried to discourage me. A pity, that.

    As to the why, I would say it is because I value both my life and my freedom. I see firearms as the means to guarantee both and am passing it down to my children as my father did for me, as his did for him, and so on…

  17. It was my wife’s idea, actually. She told a friend of ours as a birthday present to take us out shooting, since I’d never actually shot a real firearm, only a BB gun. So, off to the desert to shoot a Ruger 9mm, a Beretta 92FS, a bolt-action and Mk III .22LR and the coups de grace, an AK-47. Within a year I had the beginnings of a gun collection. She had no idea the box she’d opened, that “Pandora”. I love her!
    I still don’t own any ‘modern’ semi-autos in SD calibers, though, just revolver and lever-gun. My list of “must have” guns grows longer as my wallet grows lighter, however.

  18. My Grandpa was really into hunting, black powder rifles. I was always fascinated by it. Only got to go with him a few times because my Mom hated guns. As soon as I was old enough I started my own collection.

  19. Actually, it was just that I wanted to shoot. Of course, it soon became clear that one gun was not enough. Nor was two, or three, or four, or….

  20. Two reasons in a nutshell (like two halves of a walnut):
    — The 9/11/01 terrorist attacks shocked me out my complacent illusions about the government’s ability to protect everyone at an individual level.
    — I remembered how much fun it was shooting .22s back in my Boy Scout days, and wanted to experience that simple joy again.

    Unfortunately, I was in grad school and living in an apartment on a campus where guns are prohibited by law, so it was a fruitless dream. (Literally; I had recurring dreams about guns — either needing one and not having one or having one and not being able to use it properly — for months.)

    Income, awareness, and opportunity finally came together in 2010. The whole gun thing had long since receded into my subconscious, but one day, while the kids were in a Pokemon tournament at a local game store, I moseyed on down the street to a hardware/sporting-goods store. I stopped at the gun counter and suddenly realized that the only thing stopping me from doing what I had wanted to do so long ago was my own inertia…and so, after a few minutes consulting with the guys at the counter, I walked out with my first firearm: the trusty little Marlin Model 60 I reviewed here on TTAG last year.

    The following weekend, after Pokemon League, we went out shooting together. Teaching my kids to shoot is one of my favorite memories. We don’t really do the Pokemon thing anymore, but they still come to the range with me every now and again.

  21. Grew up redneck farmer, so guns were just part of the environment (& fresh meat source). Wasn’t until being exposed to college liberals that I learned about hoplophobes. Consider it one of my goals to convert them, as encountered. Managed to get a VP from Boston hooked when we took him to the range and intro’d him to the Barrett. He could afford to feed the beast and shot four boxes of range ammo for it. Good times.

  22. Because I turned 21, and I didn’t know anyone who personally had to use one defensively. Best time to buy insurance is before your house catches fire and hope it never does.

  23. I was taught how to shoot a BB gun at five and then a .22 at seven. This was back in the late 70s. Members of my family hunted, fished and enjoyed the outdoors. Shooting targets was normal and something we did for fun. I still enjoy the challenge of shooting which is why I own guns. Self defense is a beneficial byproduct, and in this day and age even more necessary.

  24. After the birth of my first kid, my wife and I took the CCW class and 120 days later got our permits. Kids change your lives for the better!

  25. As a brainwashed libertarian/progressive, (I was born and raised in the Bay Area), I believed I didn’t need to carry a firearm. After all, by not carrying a firearm, (only paranoid fearful people did that), I would be protected by from being targeted by such human predators, (like attracts like after all), until a human predator targeted me for a mugging.

    After we fought, I won, just. Afterward, my whole emotional and psychological foundation of a progressive based on delusion and denial was destroyed.

    But out of the ashes, was built a foundation built on reality, and part of that reality was that carrying a firearm, with good situational awareness, actually protects against being targeted by predators, whether human or animal. That was in 1997. I’ve carried a firearm, when I am able, ever since.

  26. Sandy Hook. I already possessed an interest in guns and was already in the process of deliberalizing myself after moving to a high-crime city for school, but the gun grabbing uproar after that shooting immediately demolished those sentiments and spurred me to buy my first gun, an old Ruger 9mm.
    Since then I invested heavily in an AR-15 and am considering a 9mm pocket pistol and concealed carry license.

    In short, I lived in a dangerous area and quickly developed an intense interest in personal liberty.

  27. I had already been shooting from about age 6.
    Shot small bore rifle on the high school team.
    I bought my first hand gun when I was 16. (In California from a friend). That Smith model 10 cost me a hundred bucks.

    I would say I’m a gun addict, but I don’t go to meetings.

  28. I came out of the hatch as a gun nut. Funny, because no one in my family owned guns, hunted or shot. The old man was an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, though and he gave me a .22 rifle and a .410 shotgun when I was 13 and took me to a rifle range to learn how to shoot.
    Pretty soon my cousin wanted a gun and before long were shooting doves in the wash outside of town. It has escalated from there.
    Now, my entire family are gun owners, shooters and hunters. It just takes one…….

  29. I entered the gun culture because I was a boy and my mother was anti-gun. Reason enough. If it shot, I liked it and it didn’t matter if it was a Sonic Blaster in the 60s, a Star Trek Phaser that shot little plastic discs (still have it), play bolt action rifles where we’d drop a firecracker down the barrel then a rock or some other projectile where it then shot dangerously well. At service stations, we’d use a piece of rubber hose, some WD-40, lube the hose, stuff a screw in it and pressurize with the air gun. It would shoot 25 yards easy. Hell, we could have “put out someones eye”
    At 21 years old, I obtained my first carry permit and never looked back.

    • a Star Trek Phaser that shot little plastic discs (still have it),

      Unfortunately I don’t still have mine. But those discs just happen to be the size of the US cent.

      • Yeah I shot pennies out mine also 😉
        We have a wicket potato gun. We hollowed out a spud and put a mouse in it and shot it straight up.
        Tater landed on the neighbors house after achieving orbit. Mouse didn’t survive.

        • Wicket = Wicked

          Just think of the stories we’d get here if TTAGs wanted to know What we’ve done with guns, we shouldn’t have.
          But we want to be ambassadors to firearms and not people to know we are actually red blooded Americans….who may have done something questionable along the line. Not that I have EVER done ANYTHING. No..huh uh.

  30. My dad grew up hunting and would tell stories about it, but mom didn’t like guns. I joined the Army and remembering his stories, I bought my first shotgun. That was over 30 years ago. Still have the shotgun and have found that hunting is a lot of fun. The only regret is we never got the chance to hunt together. His health took a down turn and he has not been able.

  31. I joined the gun ownership club a loooong time ago because it seemed to be the only club that didn’t charge a membership fee.

    Man, was I misinformed.

  32. My mom was, and is, completely anti (even as a life-long Republican) due to an extreme case of hoplophobia. So I had no experience with guns in my first 2 decades of life.

    When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I realized that I needed the ability to protect our growing little family. A Remington 870 fit the bill. After the birth of the child we realized my wife wanted a pistol to shoot, and not a 12 gauge. Thus a G19 entered the family. Once you’ve got a couple of guns, you realize how much fun it is to take them to the range. Once I became very comfortable with guns I realized I needed a CCDW so I could protect my family at all times, not just in the home. First gun purchased 6 years ago, CCDW since 2013.

    So for me it started with family.

  33. While I was in college, a buddy of mine was shot. The city we lived in had one of the largest gang population per capita and I figured it was one of those “initiation nights” for new members. He survived, but I realized that my immediate security was only on me. I already had a 20 ga birdgun, but decided to get myself a 9mm for Christmas. I didn’t care about the AWB at the time (was strapped for cash anyway) and didn’t become more interested until after I joined THE Gun Club (AKA Mother Green and her Killing Machine). Unfortunately, my first stop for a period longer than 6 months was Kommiefornistan. I have since acquired “some stuff” and find myself back behind enemy lines. Should bust out this summer though. Tragic boating accidents can happen in the desert too, don’tcha know.

  34. In 2005 my older brother’s best friend (small time FFL) got his hands on a bunch of Bulgarian pa-63 9x18s. I bought five of them for 85 bucks a piece because it looked like a good investment. I found out they were fun to shoot, and it went on from there. I still have 2 of them. After that it was military history that got me a nagant and a garand. Home defense talked me into my FAL. Some I don’t have an excuse for.

  35. Marlin 336 for deer hunting. Now I own 48, I think, maybe 49. Then again, that might be 50. I can be sure unless I go back and my Excel spreadsheet out.

    • Actually no joke, kinda relieved I’m not the only one who has that amount as far as a collection goes, I was worried there was something wrong with me.

      • There are plenty here who have more than that, or did before their boating accident.

        An article posted a few weeks ago claimed that the top 3% of gun owners owned 25 or more. Of the other 97% of gun owners the average was about 5. You’re somewhere in the top 3 percent, based on that. Whether you’re in the top two percent or not, is unknowable from those two pieces of information.

  36. I’m new-“ish”.

    The threat of a new AWB in 2012 did it for me. And a talk with a gun owning friend realizing that the bans were about “cosmetic features”. I bought my first handgun (P226) and first rifle (Windham WW-15 AR) in November of 2012.

    How many now? 23 rifles, 2 shotguns, 21 pistols.

    Yes I made up for lost time.

  37. As a ten year old, I saved up money from doing yard work and bought a Red Rider BB gun.

    This lead to all of the kids in the neighborhood arming themselves and having all out wars in the backyard (steel BBs, none of that p*ssy air soft crap). Which lead to an ER visit for a friend, and said weapons being confiscated by the adults.

    Fast forward to high school, and my redneck friends and I would raise hell with their hand-me-down Henry’s, Rugers, and Marlins. No bullfrog or pressurized container was safe. The joy of lining up little green Coleman propane tanks on a 2×4 over a camp fire and popping them with a .22 from a “safe” distance is something I’ll never forget.

    So on my 18th birthday, I went down to Sportsmans warehouse and bought a 10/22 of my own.

    College came along shortly thereafter, then my first apartment in a shady part of town. The 10/22 was my HD gun til my 21st, and I bought a Highpoint C9 at a hardware store. Don’t judge, I was on a ramen noodle budget… Literally.

    Since then I’ve been able to buy many more guns, of much higher quality. I enjoy reloading, hunting, target shooting, and CCWing.

    • No judgements here, your story proves an excellent point. Buy what you can afford and be ready to use it. The c9 and the carbines make decent cheap home defense weapons. I had a 500 as a teen so defense was covered, and purchased myself a Mosin Nagant on my 20th birthday because a $75 gun was all I could afford after rent and bills.

  38. A combination of a bad childhood, a gun-heavy upbringing [unrelated], and finally having the money to buy my own.

  39. I was working, to a greater or lesser degree, on R&D related to a future weapon system.

    After some time and reflection, I concluded it was immoral to be involved in such a project but not have any knowledge or experience regarding the use, maintenance, or moral issues surrounding such things.

  40. A few years ago I was awakened at about 4 in the morning by (what sounded like) angry banging on the front door. It scared the crap out of my wife and I. I looked out the 2nd floor window to see a police car in the driveway, so I went downstairs and opened the door. Turned out it was a police officer serving papers to the wrong address. But after that moment I determined that I was going to buy a gun.

  41. The Clinton years engendered a lot of wild talk. I wanted to be ready.
    Can’t imagine now the horror if it it ever really comes to that.

  42. Grew up in a family that was indifferent to guns and didn’t have a whole lot of discretionary income. Fast forward a quarter century. A nice indoor range opened up in my hometown, rented a commander-size 1911. Ran the carrier out to 7 yards, six of eight in the ten ring on a bullseye target. Walked across the range to the pro shop and put money down on the full-sized version of that 1911. Haven’t looked back, brought family and friends along for the ride.

  43. I have bought guns for several reasons. All of them equally relevant and legitimate, and not the business of anyone I chose not to tell.

    Competition was the first and primary reason. I wasn’t very good, relative to most other competitors, anyway. But, it was a good way to meet people outside of work. Most importantly, it was the quickest and easiest way to find people I could talk shop with. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my job, but it was nice to get away from that community every once in a while and do something else I enjoyed other than turning wrenches.

    Collection was the second reason. Guns fascinate me. The steady advance of materials science, manufacturing, tactics, and politics of each era is always interesting to delve into. I’ve been a subscriber to the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel for some time for that reason. If my wallet was considerably larger, I’d be busy scouring for needle rifle ammo for my next range trip. Seriously.

    Hunting was the third reason. I wasn’t exactly an avid hunter, either, but I respected the art and tradition of it. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered the full scope of the enormous effort that is conservation, and how much people like me and you contribute to it every season — whether we even hunt or not.

    Protection was actually the last, but no-less-important reason. I haven’t always lived in the safest neighborhoods, but I’ve never lived in any place that compares to Detroit or CHIRAQ, either. I just take solace in the fact that I at least have a fighting chance if the unthinkable were to happen. That’s really all we can ask for.

    I guess the catalyzing event would be just local NRA rifle club matches which, in my particular corner of upstate NY, were often held on private land nearby. It just kinda’ grew out and on and up from there.

  44. Hmmm-it’s complicated for me. I grew up with a few guns around(no hunting) but my dad went to gun shows,took us shooting occasionally and was a NRA member. It just seemed normal in the sixties. Didn’t really care for a very long time as I was a large muscled guy who always managed to protect me and mine with just me-including some harrowing scraps in Chicago. Bury Soetoro and getting old changed everything-and at the time having money got me into guns. Got political and pizzed off after Sandy Hook-especially living in Illinois and nearly having all my rights denied. Living a mile from Indiana also showed me having terrific pro-gun laws doesn’t make you less safe-quite the opposite. Oh yeah-guns are cool…

  45. I grew up in a very anti-gun home. With a mother from Los Angeles and a father from New Jersey, that is no surprise. But I grew up in Michigan, where the hunting traditions are strong. I went shooting clays with some buddies on Thanksgiving, and the next day took advantage of a Black Friday deal on a Remington 870. It didn’t hurt that at the time I was living in a neighborhood that was not exactly known to be a very safe place. This was 8 years ago, and it has been a pretty serious for me since then.
    Even today, my gun ownership is a pretty serious point of contention between myself and my parents. My mom is actually pretty cool with it, but my dad thinks it is a terrible thing. Oh well.

    • My dad grew up in Detroit and his family was one of the last white families to leave his neighborhood. They didn’t have a gun in the home until after the riots, but once the riots happened, Grandpa went out and got a shotgun to protect the family. Dad still tells stories about the riots and how all the neighborhood’s fathers were sitting on the porches with shotguns in hand.

      Later, there was a small scale riot between two crack houses on the street. One of the people involved got stabbed, crawled up the steps of Grandpa’s house and asked for help. Grandpa, not wanting to be any part of it, had his shotgun in hand and ordered him off the porch.

  46. I came out of the womb with my gun in my hands. 🙂

    All kidding aside, I’ve been shooting since I was 5. Three generations of COP on one side and five generations of military on the other made it inevitable.

  47. Grew up in a family that was kinda meh on guns. We had a few shotguns and a couple rifles in the house and broke them out for clay shooting only rarely. I joined the Marines and learned how to handle a gun there, scoring expert in 3 of my 4 years. First I bought a Mauser M24/47 Yugoslav make because of the history behind Mauser 98 style weapons and thus joined the gun club. I joined the tactical gun club he day after Sandy Hook, me and a friend drove down to Wilmington, NC to buy an FN SCAR 17 for myself because I had always loved the look of that gun from Battlefield. That, two spare plastic mags and a couple boxes of ammo put me back a whole month’s pay. I joined the concealed carry club after I got out of the Marines, went back to Michigan and got an FNX .45 and a concealed carry permit for it.

    Next I want to join the tactical (tacticool?) shotgun club. I’m thinking DP-12.

  48. My first gun memory is watching my grandfather, an LEO and avid hunter, blow a squirrel in half with his lever action 30-30 because it was eating his bird seed. I also understood at a young age the second amendment and that I had every right to own a gun just like my dad, grandfather, etc. Bought a Ruger 10-22 at age 18 and haven’t looked back since.

  49. I bought my first one at 18, on a whim, a friend and I were tired of shooting BB guns and pellet rifles. Slowly progressed from there. Before concealed carry, open carry was a bit of a sociological experiment, seeing how people actually react to seeing a 21 year old kid walking around with a pistol on his hip. Open carry definitely helped channel some moods that may have been different had I not been carrying. Nobody wants to deal with a guy at the grocery store check who’s being an asshole and has a gun.

    At some point along the way, it became more of an engineering love for me. Seeing how things are built, how each piece works in harmony with another, either simply or complexly. It’s become more than a hobby now, maybe even an obsession. I’m now the guy everyone comes to when they have a question about what they should buy, or what is legal/illegal, so I’ve found a way to help people that makes me feel like I’m making a difference.

  50. Being a new father and no good at fisticuffs back in the early 90s, I was keenly interested in learning more about firearms than with what Navy topside watch training acquainted me.
    Now I am having another of several AKs built for me, this one in 5.56×45 mm, to join my myriad other rifles and pistols.
    Our current feckless, nanny-statist CIC has little to do with my firearms ownership.
    Now my ammunition purchases are a completely different matter… ?

  51. What really got me was I was walking through Walmart and saw an AR-15 for sale and had a double take “wait I can actually buy that?” I was completely ignorant and thought it was a M-4 from counter strike. My Only experience with real firearms was at youth camp with 22 rifle where I was not allowed to wear my prescription glasses, which made me miss every shot. And another time as a kid were a friend showed me his AR and AK and told me they were illegal now. And my brother owning a shotgun. So I started saving up and ended up buying a Ruger 10/22 takedown. Then Sandyhook happened and I ended up getting a Glock 19 and a CCW. And now I’m very much a pro gun voter.

  52. It was really the overall attack on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, especially freedom of speech, that got me to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights.

    I just started about 3 years ago and now have 14 handguns, 4 rifles, and a shotgun.

    I’ve taken NRA Basic Pistol, PPITH, and PPOTH. I have concealed carry permits from 4 states. I’m also a NRA Benefactor Life Member and also support the SAF.

    I carry daily (and practice weekly) but don’t expect to have a DGU as I don’t frequent any place that it would likely be necessary. I just carry to make a ststement in support of the Bill of Rights.

    I’m in a blue state and work with a union shop. Surprisingly, more than half of the shop members are POTG and vote accordingly.

  53. Dont remeber why i bought my first gun but a job change put me in close proximty to some fun people who talked about guns all the time and going shooting on weekends. I joined the group. The biggest reason i really jumped into multiple gun ownership with both feet was and is the fact that the goverment is always telling me i cant have something that makes them feel nervous and all icky inside. Whatever it is, i gotta have it.

  54. As I mentioned in my WICAW article, my main reason for my original gun purchase was because I liked the Beretta 92FS in a video game. Behind that, I should add, I have lived in AZ for most of my life and honestly had no idea how restricted gun ownership was everywhere else. I was fortunate to go from “I think I want to try shooting a real Beretta” to walking out of a store with one with little more than an exchange of funds and a 4473.

    There have been a myriad of reasons that my collection has grown over time (“I need something that will blow up Tannerite,” “I don’t know anyone who has one of these, but I really want to shoot one,” “I want to build my own AR,” “AKs are awesome and I don’t have one yet,” “I live in AZ so of course I should have a single-action revolver,” “I want something that’s not intimidating for new shooters,” etc.).

    Despite all that, I never really felt like part of any club until I started to discover what the laws are everywhere else and subsequently got wrapped up in the political side of things. From my perspective, I was just doing my thing until Sandy Hook galvanized me to try to Do Something, and the subsequent search for Something led me to discover how little actual common sense there is behind the patchwork of gun laws we have now.

    If I joined “the club,” that happened after I found this site, got educated, outed myself as a gun owner, started taking new people shooting and started engaging in political discussions with an aim to inform the ignorant and help them discover the truth for themselves. That’s when guns stopped being about something I did for myself for fun and became something I do for other gun owners and for the preservation of the Second Amendment.

  55. I was born at Darnell Army Hospital at Fort Hood. I had guns stored under my crib as a baby. I was shooting my dad’s deer rifle at 7, and roaming the woods with just my dog and my Savage model 24 just a couple years after that. I’ve never not had guns and I grew up in a community where everyone was pretty much the same way. Kids brought their rifles and shotguns to school during hunting season. I didn’t even know there was a law against carrying a concealed handgun until I had been doing so for years. And I was so surprised that there was I didn’t believe the first several people that told me so.
    It was only much later in life that I came to find that my way of growing up with guns as useful, powerful, sometimes beautiful tools was different than most of the nation. And not until I joined the army and found that so many people there had never shot a gun before. To find a man that had never shot a rifle before was a very strange thing for me. After all, I had never shot a center fire rifle cartridge as small as the 5.56NATO before. Now I find quite a few people now that have never shot, or considered owning a gun. And I’m doing my best to change that.

    • “I didn’t even know there was a law against carrying a concealed handgun until I had been doing so for years.”

      Hah! I been there, the first time I learned of such a law, I was not even certain how many STATES I had carried concealed in. Maybe that’s why I have cared so little about those laws, they were never really enforced against white men like me, nor were they intended to be. They were “good ol’ boys” laws, well understood by everyone to be enforced rigorously on blacks and not at all on anyone else. I am really amazed that enforcement began on whites, rather than being completely dropped on everyone.

  56. Had a 22 rifle since I was about 10. Bought a 22 pistol and a 357 in my 20’s just because. I didn’t get serious about D-Fence until my 30’s when drugs were available everywhere but drug user’s had limited funds and relied on neighborhood abodes as the ATM machine of the day (or night). Looking back it seems like the anti’s first started getting serious about banning guns about the same time. Today we can add foreign terrorists to the mix, the anti’s want to ban our guns more than ever, concealed carry has become a way of life and I own enough guns and stuff to, in a large capacity magazine kind of way, be able to utilize whatever ammo is available in times of shortage.

  57. Like most boys, I had all sorts of toy guns, but we lived in NYC, and the idea of a “real” one never entered the mind. Although a relative and a couple of friends’ parents had guns, including (gasp!) handguns. I tried a BB gun and found out it was easy to hit the bullseye. Never really thought about it much for many years until we took our teenage daughter to the Museum of the USMC in Quantico VA. We tried out the AR’s set up as laser tag weapons, and found out that not only could I hit the bullseye, but I could even tell that the sights were off. (The attendant did not like that but he did adjust them.) Still did not purchase. But over my years at work I had a number of incidents where it became apparent that if a crazy customer came in, we had absolutely no way to protect ourselves, and the police were many minutes away. The last incident got me to the rental range with some lessons using a Glock 17. The bullseyes were easy enough and the instructor said that I should take the CCW class. This was fall of 2012. I purchased a Hi Point 995TS carbine just before Sandy Hook while trying to determine what handgun to get. I purchased a Ruger SR9C during the shortage after Sandy Hook, paid list price, and was glad I could even find it. Have obtained a few more since then. So my interest had nothing at all to do with Obama — really it was self-defense. And your quote from the union promo. It is hard to remember that during the 2008 primaries, Obama portrayed himself as a moderate. I remember his speech at the 2004 convention where he also talked about ending affirmative action. That was really impressive. And every thing he said was a flat out lie. (Oh yes, left NY a long time ago for more southerly climes that are more hospitable in so many ways.)

  58. After Aurora, I wanted to make sure I got one of the “scary” guns that were being threatened.
    Soon after, I realized the 22 wannabe I got to start out was even legal in Canada.

    I since got a “real” AR among other things, and I’m over 22. Too much time and effort for a round that I have zero luck with, no matter the gun. When you have to clear multiple failed CCI rounds from a freshly cleaned and oiled SR22, you really have to question if the round is “meant to be” for you lol.

  59. My aunt was badly beaten in her small-town office by a couple lower life forms over less than $200 cash. They were preparing to shoot her, but she somehow wrestled the gun away from them. They only got two years. Now, I’d grown up around hunters all my life, so I never saw guns as a bad thing, but I’d never actually contemplated owning one to safeguard my life and the lives of those I love. So I went out and bought my first handgun. Then, after BHO won his first term, I got serious about firearms, training, and carrying; it’s been Katy bar the door ever since.

  60. Got started about 25 years ago, not too many years after college. I had an intellectual belief in the 2A, but had grown up in a gunless house (which is odd, being an army brat), so I had to teach a lot. To this day I don’t think my parents know I own and carry.

  61. I bought my first fire arm for one reason, to see what it was like to exercise my 2A rights. Turns out that I felt great ? and I have since fallen in love with guns.

  62. “You merely adopted gun ownership. I was born into it; molded by it.”
    Not being superior, I just like making movie references.
    I’m pretty lucky to have had parents that supported my gun collecting hobby (makes birthday and christmas ideas much easier, doncha know). I’m also lucky enough to have found this website early in my life. It’s part of my daily reading, and I enjoy being more knowledgeable about firearms every day. I’m also lucky enough to have other figures in my life that share the same interest (preacher, my dad, to a degree) and an LGS and gunsmith that let me mill around for long periods of time watching them work.

  63. I’ve had a fascination with firearms back to my earliest memories. I’ve always been interested in how they’re designed, the mechanics of how they operate, and from the first time I fired one at about 7yrs old, tactile enjoyment whenever the action/cylinder cycles. I remember always wanting learn more about JMB, Garand, Mauser, Mannlicher, Sam Colt, and the many other inventors who made their iconic guns a reality. Then there were those who carried those rifles & pistols into history, for better or worse.
    I bought my first gun (a Mosin Nagant 91/30) on a whim during my second enlistment, and everything else fell into place. I just wish I had gone to school for gunsmithing and gotten into that aspect of firearms, than just settling for automotive mechanics.

  64. I don’t have enough fingers to cover all the triggers on my handguns. Let alone my long guns. And that’s not counting my wife’s collection.
    How many do I own?……1 less than I want.

  65. My White best friend was murdered by a pack of 15 illegal immigrants in “safe” Fairfax County, Virginia.

    He was a martial arts fanatic ever since he was 5 years old and had the black belts to prove it. So, the common advice from anti-gun liberals that “real men fight with their fists” didn’t work out too well for him.

    He also tried to run away as so many self-defense “experts” advise people to do. They caught up to him, tackled him to the ground, and immediately started to stomp on his head and stab him in the back several times. So, so much for the “just run away!” advice…

    And as to the other common piece of advice from anti-gun liberals advocating that people should just comply with the people that are assaulting them and not carry a gun because that will just “escalate the situation”… welp, not fighting back and curling up in the fetal position as he was getting stabbed and stomped on didn’t seem to calm down his attackers.

    I realized that the only thing that could have possibly saved his life that night was if he was carrying a high-capacity, semi-automatic handgun. I bought a shotgun for home defense and got my CCW permit and a Glock 26 soon after. And ever since I’ve been obsessed with firearms and own a small arsenal now.

    • yep, that is a very real good reason to buy a firearm. i myself have been into martial arts a long time, and have been reluctant to buy a gun, simply because i don’t know how to use it. but knowing what i know about martial arts – that an attacker will use a knife or gun to either intimidate or overpower you, before they rape or kill you, you may as well have a gun. plus getting older with arthritis, i can’t hold out in a fight like i use to be able to. your right too, if someone is intent on harming you, huddling in a ball won’t cause them to stop. i’m in the process of getting money to purchase my first firearm. the main reason is we are about 6 months to a year away from a total economic collapse. cases like the one you were in, will be the new norm – not the exception. i would also advise everyone to stock up on silver coins, food, and water as well as ammo, and make a bugout bag. i plan on buying a few guns and then training like a mad man until i am a master of that weapon. plus i live in oklahoma – its almost a law here for everyone to own a gun, if not several, lol. also, banning guns, only keeps the honest people from owning a gun – not the drug lords, thugs, or terrorists. a little common sense from our politicians would be a good thing. these laws only EMPOWER the people practicing violence to do more harm to others who are defenceless.

  66. Wait. We had to join? I was drafted at birth. Grandfathers, father, uncles, cousins all hunted and owned guns. Started life on a WV farm. I can tell you what an outhouse is like in February.

    My upbringing included all sorts of lessons from chickens to cows to mules and guns and splitting firewood and taking a bath in a #3 washtub.

    Guns were just always around me.

  67. I was raised by sane parents. Ergo, I learned safe firearms handling at an early age. The bug never really left me. Thanks Dad!

  68. Had a Ruger mkII since I was 21, around 1990, hadn’t shot it in years until Sandy Hook and Obama yakking about banning guns. Bought a G17, then a Nano, then a TCP, and so on. When ARs came back down to earth, I got one of those and a 1911. But I can stop anytime I want to.

    Actually I quit drinking about that time too. It has become a problem for me, so I was comfortable getting my CCW once I knew I could stop. For me, not having the first drink meant I wouldn’t want the tenth.

    Life is so much better now.

  69. Bought my first gun back in March of this year cuz I figured better late than never.
    Well I wasn’t planning on buying 8 more within 7 months along with an unspecified number of rounds, but once you get into target shooting its kinda hard to stop 🙂
    Somehow none of my guns have managed to kill anyone yet. I’m starting to wonder if the media really does spin the truth sometimes…

  70. Gun control was at the forefront for some reason (pre Sandy hook) and I figured I should understand the issue to have an opinion, and that would involve hands on experience with firearms, so I bought an XD.

    I also figured handling a firearm safely is something an adult should be able to do.

  71. I grew up with guns, plinking in the backyard and all. Also, I figure on a scientific level, shooting is a great exercise for the brain, since it is actually rocket science! haha. These days I’m trying to help support my gun habit by building websites. Currently, I’m working on a price comparison tool for ammo, and other shooting supplies. Anyone interested can check it out by clicking my name above to see how it’s coming along!

  72. Prior to McDonald I had one gun that was stored in a locker at the range. It was the only way to not run afoul of local law, as unconstitutional as it was. I ended up befriending some local LEO and fire fighters that shoot at the range frequently. They clued me in to a careful reading of the local law that allows an exemption from the town’s prohibitive AWB for C&R FFL holders. Now I have several long and handguns in my growing collection and no more locker at the range.

  73. As an Engineer, I’ve always taken interest in the mechanical aspects of firearms. In my earlier days my fascination was partially satiated by drilling on a makeshift target range with airsoft. Hours upon hours of research went into making my gear the most efficient: by making informed decisions and further upgrading my loadout. The tinkering part admittedly came a bit too early for me, but I grew into it, learning to maintain and repair my guns. This, of course, transferred directly into firearm ownership and I steadily learn more with each passing day.

  74. My first gun was bought off of the bargain rack maybe 5 years ago.
    It’s a civil war era British 10ga S×S with Damascus barrels that i bought for less than $190. I made new firing pins and pin springs, tightened up the breech latch and the hammers, hand load black powder shells and it shoots like new.

    Fast forward to today and i now own 8. 3 of which are waiting the DROS process/stupid CA waiting periods.

  75. Guns have been in my life as far back as I can remember. I got a 10/22 for my 8th birthday and a shotgun for deer soon after. Aside from casual plinking, I completely forgot about guns in college. I played football and everywhere I went I was with a large group of very large men. After graduation with a new job, in new town, I got the very real sense of being on my own for protection for the first time. Bought my first handgun shortly after. I keep buying more because it’s fun and because Obama.

  76. The Colorado “High Capacity” Magazine ban was the catalyst that motivated me to purchase my first gun in 2013. When I first read that Colorado was about to ban magazines with a capacity of 15 rounds or more, I began researching guns I might want to own. It quickly became apparent to me that Glock 15, 17 & 33 round mags, Ruger BX25s, and AR-15 30 & 60 round mags would be “no-brainer” purchases. After purchasing the mags, my first firearm purchases were a Glock 19 and a Colt 6920 AR-15.

    Add to the fact was that Magpul was located only a few miles from my house. I couldn’t believe the Colorado legislature would be so stupid as to drive an industry leader like Magpul and the many jobs they were creating out of our state. I own a manufacturing business myself and wanted to do my part to support a business under attack by our state government.

    That was two years ago and I now own: an AR-15 in 5.56, an SBR AR-15 in 300 BLK, a suppressed AR-15 SBR in 9mm that uses Glock mags, a Benelli M4 12 gauge shotgun, an M1 Garand, a lever action Winchester 94 30-30 built the same year I was born, two Ruger 10-22’s (one a takedown model) and a Remington 700 in .308 in a Carbon XLR chassis with an AAC supressor. For handguns I have a Glock 19 9mm, 42 .380 and 41 .45ACP, Colt 1911 in .45, Ruger 22/45 Lite with suppressor, a Kahr P380, and a S&W 6 inch 686 plus revolver .357 magnum and a 9mm Beretta 92F. I have CCW permits for Colorado, Utah and Florida (good for CCW in about 37 states), am a member at a local range, and yes, I guess you could say I’m a gun nut!

    Thank you Colorado Legislature morons for introducing me to such a fun, rewarding and practical hobby! I now know that my family and I can take care of ourselves and are well protected.

  77. Didn’t read the article, but appreciate your collection. Is there a gun game you use the 75B SA for? I wish all the 75B’s came with the up swept beaver tail.

  78. Owning a firearm is something I have planned on doing since high school. I grew up being exposed to them at my grandparents’ place and one time came home to someone in the house. I ran, because (1) I was a teen and was scared and (2) I knew where all of the firearms in the house were and I knew that that person was between them and me. I didn’t like that feeling and decided I would have one [a firearm] for myself as soon as possible. I purchased my first firearm after graduating from college [having one for protection while living on campus was not a thing] and moving into my own place. I used my grandfather’s Walther for my CCP course and used my carry permit to purchase my first firearm the day it came back from the Sheriff; walked out of the store with it in my pocket and have been carrying ever since.

  79. Preface: I completely agree with carry and ownership for protection, and as a safeguard against tyranny and/or invasion.

    That said, the reason why decided to own guns is as follows:

    “They’re totally fuckin’ sweet, dude.”

  80. I grew up hunting in Maine and even had by dad’s reloading supplies stored on the top shelf of my bedroom as a kid. So guns were a normal thing for us. I fell out of it as I got older however and then moved out to the midwest for college.

    I’ve also been in martial arts for 30+ years and have trainied with some top of the line instructors, so I’ve always felt confident in my ability to defend myself and my family.

    I decided to get back into shooting about 5 years ago for two reasons. One, we had a scare one night after our son was born where we thought someone was trying to get into the house during the night. Standing at the top of the stairs with a pair of sai in hand I felt vulnerable and knew there were more options than just waiting for an intruder, while my wife could barely dial 911 with the adrenaline rushing thru her. Fortunately it was a false alarm.

    The second was was when I came down with a severe case of pneumonia and was out of commission for about 2 month and then needed the better part of 3 years to get back into the shape I was before.

    My first gun was a Taurus pt809, a huge hunk of polymer and steel that you could use to build a house. It was reliable, if chunky, but it got the job done. I was gifted a M&P9 from my dad the following Christmas and that’s really when I started my study of shooting.

    I now try to take all the local classes that I can and have started shooting IDPA. I try to look at the firearm training with the same eye that I look at martial arts and I like how much of my classical martial arts training is applicable to firearms shooting. Its the beginning of a journey that I’m going to enjoy.

  81. It all started at 5 years old. Christmas 1964 I received a Johnny 7 OMA from Santa. At age 9 I bought my first powder gun, a do it yourself .44 muzzle loader kit from Warshalls for $10. This year was a milestone as my number of guns blew past my age. Current total 62.

  82. Well I was brought up as a plinker. Not frequent trips to a friend’s bovine posture, but very memorable. Run out there, put 1500 rounds of .22 in the hillside with my Dad and brother. Return home all smiles. It’s gotten much more difficult to get out because we moved, but man will I ever look back with fondness on those trips.

    Priorities didn’t really lead to guns for a long time. College, Mission, More college, family. I think it was Newtown that woke me up, though. I was super ready to enact gun control. So many feels! But as facts and a level head prevailed I saw the ludicrous nature of anti-gun laws and the full scale assault on our rights and decided I should buy a gun.

    Took a while to convince the wife, but eventually talked my way into a mosin. 😀 I miss that gun (sold when we moved), but I still have my second gun purchase ever, and first handgun. I am currently putting away all my pennies for a nice rifle someday. The dream being a scar 17, but I’d settle for any number of awesome guns. Including cobbling together my own ar.

    Still trying to talk my way into carrying on some kind of a regular basis, but with three small kids at home it’s a real tough sell. Maybe someday, though. First I’d rather spend time and effort on some quality self defense courses. Hopefully over the summer break.

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