Remember the musical Annie Get Your Gun about Annie Oakley? I felt like I'd stepped back in time yesterday, during a surreal conversation with our latest guests. They live in a medium-sized American city, where one is a lawyer and the other a reporter. The lawyer was concerned about his wife, the reporter's late-night animal rescue work (typically taking missing or abandoned cats from parking lots, etc. to an animal shelter). He had encouraged her to get a concealed weapons permit, or a license to carry a gun.
They talked about how she'd taken a class to become certified and how they'd shopped for a gun. She said most of the guns were "too big and bulky" to carry, although she'd finally settled on a smaller model - a .38-caliber - and paid an extra $200 for the weapon's red laser sight. Then she talked about walking into an antiques mall and finding a small French "muff gun," - the kind that women in the 18th-and-19th centuries carried hidden inside fur muffs, designed to warm their hands. And how she'd wanted to buy it - she'd gone home to tell her husband: "Now that's a gun I could carry," - but the shop proprietor told her American bullets wouldn't fit the French gun.
She said guns scared her a little. She related stories she'd covered when guns accidentally went off - once in a police station, when a woman dropped her purse. I asked if she'd considered a self-defense course, rather than carrying a gun. We discussed the movie "Enough," in which Jennifer Lopez portrays a woman who undergoes self-defense training to fend off an abusive ex-husband. And I wondered aloud what has happened to our country...
I've known this woman for 22 years and never would have dreamed she would carry a gun. It's probably not something that would have occurred to her, had her husband not suggested it. Yet now she's into it enough to be interested in the style and look of her gun, not just how it shoots.
I find this disturbing. Is crime really so bad that one feels the need to carry a gun for protection? Do you or your friends own a gun? Do you carry it in your car's glove compartment or have it locked in a drawer in your house? What are your thoughts about ordinary citizens carrying concealed weapons or keeping guns at home?