On a blisteringly hot Saturday in June in California, I made my way to my concealed carry class in my Jeep, top off, enjoying the wind on my skin. I was happy that the sunglasses I wore effectively deflected the wind from my left eye. It was a gorgeous sunny day and I spent four hours of it indoors learning the new California gun laws; most of which are hypocritical and contradict another law that the politicians here are to moronic to scratch out before writing more . . .
My instructor, from Sagebrush Firearms, was incredibly kind. He even asked to handle my revolver. He explained that instructors now need to have a “handlers license” in order to touch a student’s firearm. And this awesome new special license that somehow has the magical powers of unicorns and glitter, must be renewed once a year for $20. Talk about hampering a man’s business.
When I got done learning even more fascist and idiotic gun laws the Golden State legislature passed in the last two years, we walked the 400 yards to the shooting range. The whole way there, as my instructor talked, I hoped my eye would be OK. That I could do this. Without missing. Missing means more time. More ammo. More pain in my eye. Failure. Disarmament.
He set up my target and said “anytime you’re ready, Sara.” And I fired. And again. And again. Honestly, I didn’t look for my hits or misses. I focused on the target as the wind picked up and watered my eye. I focused on the center of the target as I could feel the sweat drip down my back in the 100 degree heat of the California desert.
I drove 35 minutes from the mountains to get here. This was it. The rest is almost a blur of nervous energy and anticipation. And hope. I hoped I did ok. The test requires 48 rounds. If you miss, you shoot ten more until you have a 90% hit ratio. He brought my target back to me. At 15 yards, I missed one. One. I took of my glasses, wiped my eye and thanked him.
As I was driving home in my Jeep, jamming to Metallica, feeling the sun on my shoulders, I couldn’t help but smile. I had overcome. I did something that I was not sure was possible after not even being able to use an eye for ten days. I passed. Not perfectly, but better than I could have imagined. On Monday, I’ll be taking my paperwork to the sheriff to get my permit renewed for another two years.
It was a silly, unnecessary, unconstitutional process for sure, but liberating nonetheless.