“The national debate over firearms regulation is often presented as a battle of extremes: those who view any effort to tighten gun laws as an infringement of rights versus those who see guns as a menace to society,” writer Susan Saulny writes at nytimes.com. “But gun owners like Michael Kundu come from a largely unexplored middle ground — a place of nuance and contradiction.” Unexplored because you can’t count on one hand the kind of people Ms. Saulny has somehow managed to unearth for her expose. To wit: “Mr. Kundu is a master marksman from rural Washington who owns pistols and assault rifles for self-defense, all while claiming to detest the presence of guns in his life and in the broader American culture. ‘I’d love to see all guns destroyed,’ he said. “But I’m not giving up mine first.” It gets worse . . .
Other gun owners interviewed for this article expressed similar reservations, citing their enjoyment of hunting or of introducing family members to the sport while expressing support for stricter gun control legislation. Mr. Kundu, for instance, supports a ban on the kind of assault weapon that he owns, a rifle manufactured by Panther Arms.
OK then. Anyone else?
Kay H. Wilson, a blogger in Waco, Tex., who recently wrote a post about her “love-hate relationship with guns,” said, “We need people to speak up.” Ms. Wilson describes herself as “a pretty good dang shot” when she practices her aim at a family farm in West Texas, but also said, “I’m no lover of the personal handgun.”
While she and her husband, Richard, have a gun in their suburban home for personal protection, they store it and the bullets in separate rooms. And Ms. Wilson acknowledges that she would sooner throw her cat at an intruder than shoot someone. The gun does not make her feel safer.
Ban assault cats! But seriously, where did Susan find these people? And yes, there are more.
Sonia Wolff, a novelist in Los Angeles, felt compelled to buy a pistol a few years ago for self-defense, a decision she wrote about in The Los Angeles Times. “I had never wanted a gun,” the introduction states. “Now I own a Smith & Wesson revolver. Why?”
The short answer, she said in an interview, was, “When push comes to shove, I’d rather have one.”
But she added, “If I had my way in the best of all worlds, nobody would have a gun.”
Any more? All done. Nope.
John Flores and Patricia Speed, a married couple in San Francisco, own two 9-millimeter handguns and a Winchester Model 70 rifle because they have recently come to enjoy shooting at ranges. They say they enjoy the concentration it takes to be a good marksman and find the practice relaxing.
But as first-time gun owners, they say they were shocked by how easily they bought the guns and feel uncomfortable about storing them — even unloaded in a locked safe — in their home.
“It freaked me out how easy it was to buy a gun,” said Ms. Speed, 30, a graphic designer. “I think it’s harder to get an iPhone than it is a gun. Now I’m a gun owner who believes there needs to be way more regulation.”
This fear and self-loathing reminds of nothing so much as the members of my tribe who’d dressed Preppy and spoke like Thurston Howell III to hide their Jewish roots.
Anyway, if I may sum this up: I want a gun but people like me shouldn’t have one. And that includes you. Is that really what we’re up against?