// Sharp Shooter




One of my 25 before 26 goals was to get my concealed carry permit. I never made it around to actually taking the class and getting certified last year, but I'm trying to make up for lost time. Mike, my stepdad and I are scheduled to take our class in just under 2 weeks and I'm pretty stoked about it. Since you have to qualify during the class, and I've only ever shot one handgun in my life, we thought it would be a good idea to practice. We loaded up the truck and headed way out into the boonies yesterday to do just that. When I say way out into the boonies, I mean way out into the boonies! We put a target on some plywood, propped it up on a pine tree, and got to it. I was shooting a 9mm Tokarev and I was pretty impressed with how it handled. It was the perfect day to be outside, too.

We practiced shooting at each of the three qualifying distances to ensure we were prepared.

This was my first round after not having shot a gun in a solid decade. I'm still kicking myself for not snapping a picture of my best round - 3 10's and 5 9's!
We spent a couple of hours out there and managed to shoot a ton of rounds. I even managed to out-shoot Mike haha It definitely made me way more comfortable with the gun and super excited for our carry class. We've been surfing around looking for the guns we each want, and of course I'm partial to an awesome pink handgun haha 

I think it's pretty important to be able to defend oneself if needed, and I feel even stronger about it now that I have Linden and Toby. I like knowing I'll feel equipped to protect the boys and myself if we're ever out and about alone.
We've already started teaching Toby about guns and gun safety, and he got his own BB gun shortly after turning 5. It's kind of fun thinking about taking the boys to the shooting range as they get older. Anyway, here's to hoping I'm as calm during qualifying as I was out in the woods yesterday.

Do any of you have your carry permit? Or shoot regularly? I used to go to the shooting range pretty regularly in high school, and helped run the rifle range when I was a camp counselor. This feels totally different though haha! Trying new things is pretty fun!


PS; I've edited to add this... but if you're questioning why we'd want our carry permit or why on Earth we'd let our child have a bb gun, please do read my responses below! And feel free to ask your own questions. While I knew owning guns was a polarizing subject, I didn't realize so many people wouldn't understand our reasoning... but I guess that's because I never made that public. It's something we take *very* seriously, and even though I don't plan on carrying a firearm with me daily, I like the reassurance of knowing I'll know exactly how to operate one if needed.

Edited to add: Comments have been turned off as of 10am November 14th. Feel free to read the comments, and if you still wish to discuss, feel free to email me. I promise to read everything and respond when possible. Thanks!

71 comments:

  1. This is so awesome and crazy to me ha. Guns are a big no no in this country so I can't even comprehend how it feels to carry one. It's on my bucket list to go to a shooting range sometime though, I'd love to give it a go. Fingers crossed you'll never have to use it for anything other than leisure. xx

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    1. Carrying one day to day isn't something I'd honestly feel comfortable with, but I loved going to the shooting range growing up and it's so much fun to just practice. But I like knowing I'll have the option to carry if I'm ever in the situation that may warrant it :)

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    2. Thought I'd come back and check the comments section and I was right in thinking there would be some down right rude comments. In my view, making things such as guns legal doesn't add to the crime. Crime will happen regardless. If someone wants a gun with the intent of hurting another, they will find one whether it's legal or not. Just because we don't hear about it on the news on a daily basis doesn't mean it doesn't happen. For instance in the UK it's illegal to smoke marijuana but it happens a lot and causes more bad news stories because people are not educated well enough about it. Go to Amsterdam where it is legal and the drug associated crime rate is a LOT less because there is education about it and people use it sensibly, unlike in the UK.
      It's the same for guns, having a licence or a gun does not automatically make you a gun wielding nut job who wants to shoot everything in sight. Whether it's a safety precaution or for leisure, you have that right to hold one. I use knives in my kitchen, does that mean I'm then going to carry one around with me and stab people? No because I have common sense and am not an idiot (I hope).
      There will always be people who abuse a situation, whether its guns, knives, drugs etc. No one should generalise or make assumptions about you personally or how you raise your children. Educating Toby in the correct way to use a gun is, to me, very sensible. Should the situation arise when he is older and school friends potentially put peer pressure on him, he will be informed enough to deal with the situation in a safe way, as opposed to another child who may be clueless and simply think they're 'cool'.

      Sorry for the essay, it just made me a bit angry seeing you have to defend yourself.

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  2. This post has made me question reading your blog. I am from Scotland so gun crime here is really low. I understand things are very different in America but this is very alien to me and does not sit well.

    I think your blog is great but I think owning a gun continues violence and does not stop it.

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    1. Firearm education is proven to reduce the instances of senseless violence. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being comfortable with a firearm if it's ever necessary. Or if you just like to go shooting at a fun range (which I do). Not everyone will agree with it but I'm not asking you to.

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    2. Thanks for replying. It really does mean a lot.

      I am still an avid reader of yours. It's just such a different culture in the UK. So took a lot of processing, it seems people have gone a bit over the top with their comments.

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    3. I appreciate you dropping back by to follow up. It's a very fired up topic (I'm not sure if puns/jokes are appropriate here haha) so I totally get the reaction. Especially in a culture that is so vastly different. Hopefully even those who don't agree or don't know anything about that atmosphere here can see that we're simply trying to be honest and proactive in our education!

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  3. Wow. Regular reader and you seem really cool, but this is slightly terrifying. You seem so blasé about guns, I'm genuinely taken aback. Giving your 5 year old a BB gun? Wow. This is why America is... well, America.

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    1. Yes, our five year old does have a bb gun... which stays locked up safely in our house where he cannot access it without us physically removing it and feeding it with BBs. Your comment makes it sound as if he just waltzes around the neighborhood carrying a bb gun, shooting squirrels. Toby does not lay a finger on it without mike (or myself) getting it out, taking it where we're going, and getting it ready for him. He shoots targets, bottles and cans. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a child learning firearm safety from early on. Toby is being taught the seriousness of firearms and the importance of properly handling them. That doesn't make us bad parents. I'd rather he learn the ropes from us as opposed to at a friend's house at some point in time and then something terrible happen.

      I don't feel it's necessary to make notations on my blog every time I say something that might not sit well with someone. I'm a liberal (to the core), and I believe firmly in gun control. I'm doing everything the proper way (taking a class, getting a permit, being licensed) yet I have no intention of carrying a firearm with me at all times (or ever, frankly). BUT, by taking this class and being knowledgable, I will have the option of feeling more protected if need be. A 20-something woman alone with 2 small children? Statistics alone should be scary enough to want to be prepared.

      You're absolutely welcome to your opinion, and I welcome all questions you may have about why we've chosen to do this, or whatever. I would greatly prefer question after question as opposed to someone just outright passing judgement because we're doing something you wouldn't feel comfortable doing.

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  4. I knew this post would be polarizing! I'm pro-gun control laws, but I'm also pro-gun... I just don't support people having guns other than handguns and hunting guns, i.e. NOBODY needs machine guns or semi-automatic assault rifles outside the military/police force. Dan has his conceal & carry, so our house is protected by a handgun. We've been meaning to get to an indoor range so I can practice on his gun, and figure out if I want my own pistol/license.

    Owning a gun is not about perpetuating a cycle of violence... it's American society and its treatment (or lack thereof) of poverty and mental illness (and even racism) that perpetuates cycles of violence. It just hits the news media in the form of gun violence, when the reality is the gun violence is a symptom of the greater issue.

    I grew up in Indiana, where my family has always owned guns for hunting. One of my best friends shot a bigger deer (buck) by the time she was 12 than her father, and just the other day she was hunting pheasants and she's 8 months pregnant; it's part of our culture. I never fired a gun until I was in the military, and I never particularly enjoyed shooting... but I understand given places I have been in the U.S. and abroad, and as a woman who has been harassed or felt unsafe at some point, that having a weapon can serve to protect you. Having a gun for home protection is like having airbags in your car... you never want to use them, but you may feel better knowing they're there.

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    1. Perfect comment is perfect. I know I'd get harsh opinions that side far away from mine, but just like you said, I'm pro gun control, but pro gun. There's nothing wrong with being educated and having the option to carry if you ever feel the need.

      I was very against having a gun in our home until last year when someone tried breaking into our house while we were home in bed. We startled awake, I called 911 in tears, and Mike got his rifle and headed toward the noise. The police showed up a short time later, but Toby was at home in his bed... what if someone had gotten in and the police took too long to respond? My opinion did a 180 then.

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    2. That is terrifying. I definitely know that now that I have a baby I'm way more aware of people who walk by outside at night. I'm not paranoid during the day, but if it's 11:30 at night and I wake up hearing the sound of people talking outside? You bet your ass I'm WIDE AWAKE IMMEDIATELY.

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    3. xoxo, Kaelah! You know, we ought to come down with Dan's gun and shoot with you guys! I was supposed to get a pistol from my Dad (a gift he received from some of his Army buddies), but I think he's missing some paperwork... and he took it out into the boonies to shoot it and had so much fun with it I think he wants to keep it.

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  5. This kind of post makes me feel sorry for Americans. In the UK, where I'm from, the idea of a mother feeling they need to carry a gun to protect their children would be completely ridiculous and absurd. The fact that carrying guns is illegal means it's just not an issue over here and it's not something that anyone worries about. Do you really feel so unsafe in your daily life that you need to carry a deadly weapon around with you? If so I think that's really sad in itself, without even touching on the number of children who are hurt or killed by their parents' guns.

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    1. You make a great point, Eve. It *is* sad that one can feel so unsafe that they need to carry. Do *I* feel so unsafe that I would need to carry daily? Absolutely not. Which I've mentioned 3 or 4 times now. BUT I do like knowing I have the option if I ever feel it's necessary.

      As for your last point about children and their parents' guns - totally. And this was my BIGGEST hangup with having a gun in the house. But it's locked away safely where Mike and I can get it if needed (like in the instance of someone breaking in last year), but Toby has no access to it. That is exactly why we're teaching him about guns and how serious they are NOW, so he won't feel the need to be sneaky and curious. If he knows he can come to us and ask questions, and be taught the proper way to handle them, then he's much better off than wanting to show it off to his friends because it's "cool".

      This isn't something we've made a decision on lightly, but it's something we both stand by. As Mike graduates and gets a job, it's highly likely he'll work nights to start since many nurses do. When I'm home alone with the boys at night, I want to know I can defend us if necessary. Having someone attempt to break into your home while you're there asleep is absolutely terrifying.

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  6. I'm actually really surprised people are being so judgmental on here. My family doesn't use guns at ALL and I don't plan on having a gun in the house (ever), but obviously you and your family are being really responsible about training and education. If you're going to have guns, that's exactly the way to do it. I'm really glad that you're training yourself and your family to use them safely. :)

    I love your blog. And if I stopped reading blogs because people had slightly different views or activities than myself, I would be reading my own blog every day. I think your perspective is really interesting, since I don't really have family or friends who own guns. Thanks for the new perspective! :)

    xo Madie
    girlnamedfiddy.blogspot.com

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    1. I appreciate your comment, Madie. I'm so glad you're able to see it the way I had intended. Perhaps I should've gone more indepth about why we've chosen to do what we have and how we've gone about it. Sometimes the need for details escapes me. But I hope those who have made remarks or asked questions take the time to read through my responses to see that this is something we take very very seriously. xo

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    2. I hope so too! You can't have dialogue otherwise. And to be honest, I think your post was great and you don't owe people an in-depth explaination of all your actions. I really appreciate you going through and replying to everyone, whether they're positive or negative comments.

      xo Madie
      girlnamedfiddy.blogspot.com

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  7. You go girl. Getting a CWP is high on my list of things to get done this year. Things ARE different in America, and thats why providing gun education for citizens is so important. I do believe we need stronger gun control (background checks, medical history, etc) before just letting someone buy a gun because they're of age, but I also believe we all have the right to protect ourselves and others around us if the situation arises.

    I think people just have the wrong idea either out of ignorance or because of where they grew up. Or both...

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    1. I guess some of it can be attributed to different cultures, even in the US. Guns are pretty standard in the south and I've known people who have gone hunting since they were Toby's age. Of course hunting is a whole different circus and I'm sure it'd ruffle a few feathers too.

      I firmly believe in gun control. I wouldn't mind if it was way way harder to get a gun because I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. As a responsible and informed adult, I'm willing to go the extra steps if needed because I have no immediate need or overwhelming desire to own a gun. But saying owning a gun and being properly educated and licensed is a ticket to senseless violence, well that's just ignorance.

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    2. And just to clarify, I'm agreeing with everything you said! Haha just sort of typing out loud as a continuation of your thoughts :P

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  8. In my country (Spain) there is strict gun control and automatic weapons are prohibited. That said, my dad taught me to shoot and on my family home we had gun license for hunting (which does not let you carry them concealed from the street). I have lived in the United States and I think I understand the complexities of freedom of carrying weapons in your country. But as a European I would not feel safe knowing that in the streets of my city people could carry concealed weapons. In any case, living in the country, of course would teach my kids to shoot and they, as I had, they would have bb guns, always under the strictest supervision of an adult.

    So you go girl, I really understand you , but I especially appreciate that you try this with honesty. Thank you!

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    1. I think that's one of the best parts about living in a rural area, shooting bottles and cans and things like that. Even if I never own my own handgun, I'm going to be grateful for the class because I'll know exactly how to operate it safely. Even if all I do is go out in the woods and shoot targets! Haha

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    2. Sure, that's the point! Ignoring a problem will not make it go away. Sorry that having a responsible attitude be judged in this way, but it is something that happens every day. Let me tell you, Europe's rural areas are full of firearms and our hunting culture does not differ much from what you have there in the South ;)

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  9. Kaelah-I have been reading for a few years and this post is just 100% perfect. Good for you (and your family) for exercising your second amendment right. I am 27 and on the path to earning my concealed carry permit in Illinois. Do I plan on carrying it every single day? NO. But I do want to know that if the bad thing every happened and someone came through my back door with the express intention of hurting me or my family that I have gone through all the necessary steps to defend myself and my home and that the state recognizes that and will protect me. (holy run-on sentence)
    I took these courses to learn more about firearms. They are a big part of my fiancees life and I will not live with something in my home that I am not 100% comfortable operating. It is so crucial for Toby to learn early how to properly handle and respect guns, whether they are in your home or not. In rural Tennessee it is no doubt he will come across them with friends as he gets older and proper handling and education how you prevent needless accidents.
    In the end-you rock. You are doing this 100% the right way. Thank you for being brave and discussing this topic when others would rather stay quiet.

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    1. You make such a great point of wanting to know how to operate something that is in your home. One of the reasons having a gun in our home scared me so much is because I knew nothing about them. I didn't know how to operate it, therefore it scared me. Once I took the time to familiarize myself and get used to it, I now feel so much more comfortable because I know exactly what steps would need to be taken to USE it... both with intention and without. I now know how to ensure Toby cannot get his hands on it, even if he's just curious, because I know how it works.

      You also make a great point about Toby being around guns at OTHER peoples' homes. Almost everyone here hunts. If they don't have a rifle in their home, they have a bow or something equally as dangerous. I want to ensure Toby knows exactly how to handle situations like that should he ever find himself in the situation at a friends' house where they want to show him "dad's cool gun collection" or something. Again, it's all about education and awareness. By educating ourselves (me and mike), we're able to educate our children. Hopefully if the situation arises where Toby is being shown a gun in another's home, he will know how to handle that situation safely. We can only do so much for our children. Though Toby won't be shooting anything more than a bb gun or .even a 22 until he's MUCH MUCH older. I'd never dream of giving a small child something bigger.

      Good luck to you with your permit!

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  10. Even though you didn't intend it to be, I think this post is very brave. Guns are such a heated topic & when it comes to them, so people say such rude things.

    My father owns guns & they've always been locked up & away. When he first started to purchase them, my mother was terrified because I was still a child living at home. However, he made sure that he taught me the safety because it didn't necessarily mean that the next gun I came across was in our home. Also, when my (now 5 year old) nephew was still in the womb, my father bought a BB gun from him because he knew that once he got to a certain age that he wanted to teach him, like he taught me and my sisters, gun safety.

    I've also really wanted to get my CCP. I just moved to the suburbs of Atlanta and sometimes I feel like that would make me feel safer. Would I have to (or wants to) carry it with me all the time? No. But I like that I have the option. Thank you for sharing this with us. I think you're completely on point.

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    1. I certainly didn't set out to write a post that would rile people up in such a way, but it's been an interesting conversation. I think even a little education in gun safety and use goes a LONG way. Great point about being around guns elsewhere, too. That's exactly what we are trying to be proactive on. Guns are so prevalent here in the south; from hunting to shooting for sport, and even self defense. It's not a matter of IF Toby comes across one, it's a matter of WHEN. We want him to feel comfortable, informed, and SMART. Thanks for your comment, Samantha. And I can understand why you may feel unsafe in the areas around Atlanta for sure. Living in metro Nashville was an eye opening experience for us!

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  11. Wow, there are some really strong opinions in these comments! Being from Scotland where guns are really strictly controlled it makes me so sad that you feel like you need to be trained to use one. After a school shooting in 1998 our laws were made incredibly strict and most people (in the city at least) are really uncomfortable with firearms - our police don't even carry them so I've literally never seen one on the streets around here.
    On the other hand I was a cadet in school and learnt how to shoot as a teenager and enjoyed it. I think it is great that you are teaching Toby about gun safety and educating yourself to use it properly. But as much as I enjoyed shooting as a teenager I just can't ever imagine going out to shoot and taking the gun home with me after! Thanks for this post Kaelah, it was really interesting to read both your (and the commenters) thoughts.

    Alice
    www.pretty-confused.com

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    1. It's definitely been an eye-opening post as I wasn't aware that guns were such a "taboo" (for lack of a better term) topic in the UK! While one commenter mentioned the lack of gun crime in the UK, statistics show a way higher instance of crime with weapons such as knives, etc. Of course that doesn't stop people from owning guns and using them illegally, but I'd rather be able to defend myself from a distance as opposed to up close with a knife. I know that wasn't part of the conversation or "debate", but something that crossed my mind today.

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    2. Thanks for your response Kaelah, I popped back to see what the rest of the comments were like. It's fascinating to see the differences of opinions and experiences of guns even within the USA. You are absolutely right that knife crime is a far bigger problem here that it seems to be in the USA, I guess if people want to do something horrible to someone else they will find a way to do it no matter what. Guns are incredibly taboo in the UK but there is definitely a culture of young men carrying knives (which is also illegal but again, those who want to will do it anyway). I think the big thing that hangs over people in the UK's mind in about access, but from my understanding the majority of gun crime in the USA is illegal firearms anyway. I'm also very lucky that we live in a nice area and while I have been mugged I never felt I was in any physical danger, if I lived somewhere with higher volumes of violent crime I might feel different.
      I oon't know if this is a factor in some of the reactions in the comments but there is also a stereotype in the UK that American's who own guns tend to be redneck Republicans and you don't really fit that mould. We tend to forget that views on gun ownership aren't as simple as that and vary regionally. We're just not used to rad, alternative feminists being gun owners.
      Good on you for doing what is right for your family, as another commenter said above - if I stopped reading all blogs that differ with my opinions I wouldn't be reading any blogs but my own. And that would be super boring.

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  12. Getting my concealed carry is on my bucket list as well. I'm 27 but I've grown up around guns. My dad taught me how to shoot as soon as I could safely handle a gun. Before anyone says anything about my dad teaching me he also taught me gun safety. He is a trained professional. I've also gone hunting with him every year since I was twelve.

    The way I see it kids that are taught gun safety don't have accidents.

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    1. That's great that your dad could share that with you! Good luck getting your ccp!

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  13. As a Brit who has lived in one of the most conservative parts of the states, also with one of the highest gun crime rates, I understand why the topic of guns is so polarizing to people not from American culture. When I first ever saw a gun it was on a security guard at the mall and I was absolutely terrified, I'd never seen one in any kind of situation and to see one upfront in a shoe department just felt so wrong to me.

    I certainly understand where you're coming from about wanting to stay safe in your area and protect your family, I just think your fairly casual attitude surrounding it is what put people off a bit. To people in a place where guns aren't even a thought to seeing someone discussing their 5 year old having a BB gun can be quite jarring, I can say from personal experience.

    I'm glad you said you're an advocate for gun control because the rate at which a gun can be in the wrong hands and truly awful things happen is absolutely devastating and having sensible gun owners who educate their families and keep on top of every aspect of that is a step in the right direction to a healthier attitude about guns in America, because honestly the current political climate around them was part of the reason I felt encouraged to move back home. I'm glad you're on the right side of the debate!

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    1. I can understand that. I guess I did myself a disservice by not taking into consideration that everyone who reads my blog may not be from the same "culture" as me... meaning the very, very armed south. For most people here, talking about guns really isn't a big deal, and I guess I based my "casual" attitude on the fact that a solid 90% of my readership is US based. The European comments don't really surprise me in terms of their opinions, but more so in the fact that I rarely get European commenters these days. Though give someone something to have an opinion on and you'll hear it! Not a bad thing of course.

      I am 110% for stricter gun laws, without a doubt. But I don't think that should be a punishment for responsible owners who take every precaution to stay within the laws of the system. Guns don't have to be a taboo topic! So many people shoot (and own guns) purely for sport. And I don't mean the hunting kind. Just regular ol "I like to go to the range and shoot targets" kind of sport.

      I certainly won't apologize for feeling the way I do about guns, and having them in our home, etc. But I can respect that not everyone is as used to them in their culture and it can be a bit of a shock to the system :)

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  14. I have been super uncomfortable about guns for as long as I can remember but because of that I have an item on my bucket list to learn how to shoot various guns. I am still completely on the fence about having a gun in my own home (amplified a lot now that we have Ryder) but my husband wants to have one for defense/safety. Reading about your break in - that is a worst nightmare situation! Oh my gosh! I am so, so glad you guys were ok!

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    1. Being that we live in such a small town and in a quiet area, it definitely was an unusual shock. Especially considering that we lived in a rough part of Nashville just before moving here and we actually moved because someone was shot basically in our backyard one Sunday afternoon. I *totally* respect the opinion of people who don't feel comfortable owning one themselves, because they *can* be scary. But just familiarizing yourself with them can make a world of difference. And I say that with so little knowledge myself. I have a LOT to learn before I would feel comfortable toting one around, if ever at all!

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  15. I love this post and I'm sorry you're getting a negative reaction from some.

    I owned my first BB Gun around Toby's age and I had so much fun shooting cans with it at my grandparents house when I was little. Getting a concealed handgun license is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've never been to a gun range, but I think it would be a lot of fun. I'd also like to do it for self defense purposes. The world is a scary place, and I'd like to be able to protect myself if need be. I'm not one to usually make political statements in blog posts or comments, but gun violence in America would still be an issue if we weren't allowed to have guns. Criminals have a way of finding access to illegal goods and I'm sure guns would be all too easy to smuggle in from Mexico. I live in Texas, so that's a really scary thought for me. I find it very responsible for parents (if they're comfortable with it) to teach their children gun safety and how to use a them. Great post Kaelah and it looks like y'all had a blast!

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  16. Statistics show time and time again that, while you may feel safer with a gun in your home, you are much more likely to be injured or killed if you have one. The NRA wants you to think you are (the reason why they're such big deal now is because gun manufacturers in the 80s teamed up with the NRA because their sales were going way down. Then they got together, trying to make everyone think that they are safer with a gun in their home despite the fact that it isn't true.).

    I don't agree with civilians having guns, but I can't stop anyone (obviously) from having them. Because of this, I'm glad you guys are teaching Toby about gun safety.

    I'll put my negatives thoughts this way (because I'm not trying to be insulting like some people tend to be just because they disagree): The number of guns that have been bought by civilians with the best intentions in this country is huge. Not everyone is the gun toting stereotype, I get that. But considering that crimes are committed/accidents happen over and over with guns bought with the best intentions, a family buying a gun just adds to this problem.

    I know that the possibility of harm goes down significantly if you teach your kids about gun safety, but even then it is still a big possibility. When he's older, and he has friends that he doesn't keep an eye on every moment they are there. Someone over hears the child (or a friend of a child) about a house with a gun and it's stolen. Family members who are unwell emotionally and mentally (I'm not talking specifically about your family, but about these situations in general) have access to a gun they don't have to register for and buy. The possibilities are endless, and they happen all of the time.

    Adam Lanza was the absolute last straw for me. I was so horrified and disturbed and heart broken over the fact that this could happen in an elementary school. This country is NOT safer with civilians owning guns. I don't know how many shootings have to happen before people start realizing this. And the argument of "Well, even if they didn't have access to a gun they still would have gone off and done something horrible" is so ridiculous (again, this isn't specific to you and yours, just a general sentiment shared by many who are pro gun). While that is probably true, can you imagine how many deaths would have been spared if these people didn't have guns? The gun makes it so incredibly easy to hit as many targets as you want, and as quickly as you want. Victims hardly ever have a chance to get away.

    I'm not going to stop reading your blog, but I just couldn't sit here and say nothing to an issue I feel so strongly about.

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    1. I totally see your point, and it's very very valid. I won't try to convince you otherwise because there's no need to. It's possible for children to be hurt doing a myriad of things, both with and without permission, but I don't say that to diminish the seriousness of firearms. It's just the truth. We have a lot of very big, very dangerous tools in and around our house. Table saws, nail guns, etc. These are also things we've taken the time to teach Toby about. He knows not to go turn it on or stick his arm in it, etc. We take measures to ensure he can't, just like we take measures to ensure he can't access the guns. As Toby (and Linden) ages, our methods of storing and protecting our firearms will evolve. He'll be bigger, smarter, and more capable of bypassing us. And so will his friends. So it's our responsibility as the adults to ensure they can't (and if all goes as planned, they *won't* because Toby will know he can come to us at any point to talk about them, etc) Yes, guns can be stolen, but so can knives, bows, dangerous tools. I don't necessarily think the answer is to just sweep all homes and private carriers of their guns. I am absolutely, TOTALLY pro-gun control though. Make it hard to own a gun! Create hurdles, enforce regulations and annual safety classes. I'm *all* for it. I'm all for it because I plan on being a responsible and informed gun owner. I totally think there should be more hurdles such as more in depth background checks, mental health screenings, etc. And as a gun owner, I'd be more than happy to oblige.

      I'm not here to sway people one way or the other. Don't like guns and don't want to own one? Totally kosher. It affects me in no way. I respect the opinions and the feelings of those who do not agree, even the incredible passionate ones who seem to have missed out on the point at hand. This post wasn't meant to spark a debate or to tell anti-gun people that they're just paranoid. Not in the slightest. It was just meant to document a Sunday I spent with part of my family, the fun I had, and my plans on following up on a goal I had made. Even if someone thinks I'm the worst person ever for owning a gun and letting my child own a bb gun, it doesn't really bother me because I know I"m going about everything the right way. I can't protect my children from everything. But I can work hard to ensure they're well informed and properly educated on things like firearms. I can't guarantee my kid won't do something stupid like speed when he gets his license, or do a drug because his friends are. As a parent all you can do is teach your kid what you think is appropriate and hope they'll have the power to make the right decision when the time comes.

      As for the statistic of being more likely to be harmed by a gun if it's in your home, I'm not arguing with that. But you're also more likely to fall off of a trampoline and break your leg if you own a trampoline as opposed to NOT owning one, ya know?

      Even with statistics and feelings of others in mind, our stance still stands. We're going to take our permit class, learn how to properly handle firearms, and we're going to get our license simply because we want to. And we're going to pass that knowledge onto our children as the years progress. We feel comfortable with what we're doing and the way we're going about it. And I think we'll be a better, safer family for it. I don't expect all of you to run out and do the same thing, of course. But I'm just sharing what we did. :)

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  17. Love this! I have grown up all my life with my dad having guns and my step-dad is an avid hunter. My sisters and I have always been taught about gun safety & how to shoot and unfortunately with the way the US is, I feel uncomfortable being home alone without a gun. We plan on getting one soon but not before attending gun safety classes and getting our CCW. Good for you!

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  18. I mean this in the most respectful way possible - I think that what troubles me here is the intention to get a concealed carry permit.

    I'll caveat - I live in the US, but I don't live anywhere near you live. I live in a city in the northeast, where the common conception is that having guns around gives society better access to guns (if you have it, someone can steal it or use it improperly, so its better not to have guns than to have them 'safely').

    I really wonder - why not just take a gun safety class in order to make sure you can handle a gun properly, and leave it at that? What is the difference between the two, and what is the benefit of having a concealed carry permit? When I hear that someone has a permit, probably because of cultural connotations and family history, I assume that it's because they WANT to carry a concealed weapon in public spaces, and intend to defend themselves using a firearm (or threaten to do so) if a situation arises when they feel threatened. I think the whole title (concealed) conveys a sense of secrecy, or hiddenness of firearms, and the idea that someone in my workplace (where law in most places doesn't require someone to disclose whether they carry or not) or other public venue has a weapon and I am not aware of their mental/emotional state is very frightening. Again, really wondering, not being dismissive!

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    1. Those are great questions, Elizabeth. As I had stated in a previous reply, just going to the class and not bothering with my permit actually was the original plan. But after thinking it through and realizing that there's no harm in me having a permit, I decided it'd be a fun thing to pursue. Of course having a permit doesn't mean I will ever carry a gun, or that I will even buy one. It simply means I'll have that permit.

      Maybe the drastic difference in views can be chalked up (at least partially) to our difference in geographic location. Guns here just aren't an huge issue. Everyone has one (And I realize I'm generalizing and I don't mean to be dismissive either) but the attitude is very different. BUT I say that as a resident of a very very small, very hunter-friendly/gun-friendly town. This was not my feeling when I lived in Nashville. In fact gun violence was the very reason we moved OUT of Nashville (though we weighed the pros/cons of having a gun in our home when we lived there, too. We just never did). I can understand your stance on someone (even a responsible owner) having a gun could mean it would end up in the hands of a not so responsible person. That is a very valid and reasonable fear. But after our personal experiences and with our feelings in mind, this is an appropriate action for us.

      When you say "I assume it's because they WANT to... defend themselves using a firearm if a situation arises"... well yes. Of course. And I would only carry if I were going to be alone in a seedy place (think Nashville at night), especially if I had my small children in tow. I didn't feel comfortable driving to the nearest pizza place alone after dark when we lived in Nashville. If the situation arose and I had someone attack me or my children, I absolute WOULD use it as a defense weapon. Do I want to? Never. But having that option gives me peace of mind. Especially when you consider 1 out of every 5 women will be attacked in some manner during her lifetime. If someone were to try and kipnap me/my children, or rape me, etc, I would use the weapon as I had been taught to do so. I hope to the high heavens that's never the case, and it's sad that it's a worry that I have, but that's just the case these days. I can think of at least one dozen women I know, closely, who have been victims of rape. It's a scary thought for sure, but just like taking a self defense class, the knowledge to defend oneself against an attacker isn't a bad thing.

      I hate that your experience with guns has led you to believe that anyone who may want to carry a concealed weapon would do so to be sneaky or have bad intentions. That certainly isn't the case with us, though it very well may be for some others. I can't speak for anyone other than myself when I say I strive to be a responsible, law abiding citizen. Tennessee is a state where you must have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, or to carry it openly. It's not really a matter of "I want this permit so I can hide a gun under my shirt" but more of "I want this permit so I can feel armed and protected should I ever need to". Of course every state has different laws regarding the act of carrying a firearm, but Tennessee also has a lot of laws in place of where they can and cannot be carried. And as I've said before, this isn't about me trying to sway your opinion one way or the other. I value your thoughts and opinions, and I hope you can do the same for mine. It may not be something you're comfortable with, but we are, and this is why we've made the decision that we have.

      ... Part two below

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    2. In the event that someone is in a public setting with me and they *are* carrying a gun (and of unstable emotional/mental health), I'd feel MUCH more comfortable knowing I can quickly defend not only myself, but others in my vicinity, if he/she were to start firing. As a gun owner it would be my responsibility to ensure my firearm stayed on my person and was not accessible to anyone else. That's where my responsibility ends in terms of how others use their weapons. Neither you nor I can know the intentions of others when they're carrying, but I can feel confident in my reasoning and my ability. I hope that makes sense :)

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    3. Thank you! This is definitely an understandable explanation, and clarifies why (IMHO) having one policy/position for the entire country is such a sensitive idea. I only wish everyone who used a gun was as rational/carefully considered, but I suppose that's an issue with basically anyone who misuses/maliciously applies anything in this world.

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  19. Just when I couldn't adore you more...(sorry for the long comment)
    My sister and I grew up with police and firemen in our family and were taught at a young age where the guns were in our house. Unlocked and loaded. We never once touched or played with them because we knew what they were and weren't tempted. We could always ask to go shooting if we wanted to.
    My dad wanted us and my mother to be protected while he worked his 24 hour shifts. He saw firsthand what happened with crime that the news doesn't report. Also, my mom was raped, robbed, and beaten before I was born with my brother and sister sleeping in the other room.
    Our family has so many stories where just having possession of a gun has kept them out of harms way. I hope you never have to use it for protection but I have been wanting a CCW here for years and this reminded me to get it taken care of! My sister is moving soon and she's taking her CCW and handgun with her. :)

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    1. Wow, I'm SO sorry that happened to your mother. That's absolutely terrifying. I'm so glad you had someone in your life to teach you how to properly handle firearms if needed!

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  20. Oh my goodness I want to do this as well! I just moved to Nashville and I love that you can get the permit relatively easily (as compared to San Diego where it's close to impossible). Definitely on the list of things to do next year while here! I need to go to the range though. Have to get some practice in.

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  21. Way to go! We need more parents taking the time to educate themselves and their children about the very real dangers of guns and the wonderful parts too. It is a valuable thing they will learn and keep forever. I know it doesn't sound scary, but let me tell you, I am far more nervous about the bow and arrows we have than a gun. It probably doesn't seem like it to most everyone because not many go bow hunting, but they are fucking gnarly! Haha I comend you lady!

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    1. Bows are SO TERRIFYING to me! I'm only vaguely familiar based on my experience at an archery range as a camp counselor for 4 years, but the big hunting bows scare the daylights out of me since I wouldn't know the first thing about them! But bow hunting is surprisingly popular around here!

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  22. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, I have to say it's your two sweet bulldogs that made me start following and your regular 'Things I Love' posts that have kept me here! I also follow you on Instagram and I won't lie, was shocked when I saw the photo of you at a shooting range speaking of getting your license to carry. I'm from the UK and obviously things are VERY different here, so I automatically felt disappointed that you would be so 'pro' gun ownership. However, as soon as I read this post I've completely changed my view. I feel your reasoning for owning/carrying a gun and having guns in your house are justified, as well as the fact you are educating yourself and your family about the responsibilities. Just wanted to let you know and say well done for writing a great blog post explaining your decisions and responding so well to all your comments/criticisms!

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    1. I appreciate you taking the time to not only read the post (and comments), but to also share your comment. I'm glad someone who may not have initially agreed with our decision can see our reasonings. Thanks again <3

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  23. I think people underestimate the importance of gun safety in situations where guns are actually being used (ie. hunting and other recreation) for protection against situations where people aren't necessarily involved.

    I'm from Texas, which also means we have a "Stand-Your-Ground" law currently in place. Have you ever wanted to shoot a rabid racoon but couldn't because you didn't know how to? I did and I also live in a Houston suburb. Definitely an out-of-place scenario, but excessive gun control also revokes the protection you have against non-people things. A definite no-brainer when you live in the boonies.

    I applaud you in your decision to get a CHL and extra kudos for teaching your son how to use a BB gun. I've heard that teaching them to be responsible early makes them more likely to be responsible later in life. ;)

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    1. Very true. Hunting is a religion where we live, and Mike goes hunting himself. Even if we never carried a gun on our person, both boys would grow up in a gun environment because hunting is so prevalent here.

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  24. Thank you for your post! I'm also looking forward to getting my concealed handgun license. This was a beautiful day to practice shooting!

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  25. Sooo much judgement here on this post. One of the things I love about your blog is that you do seem to have a pretty diverse set of opinions and interests.

    I am strongly anti-gun (my husband is strongly pro-gun). For me all it took is seeing one gun accident happen in the home of caring responsible gun owners to make me opposed to them in every situation (I've actually seen two).

    However, here's one thing I will say that I think is very important for you to know and consider. Your right to carry a gun is your right. However, crime is actually LOWER (both violent crime and property crime) than its been for the majority of the last 50 years. You can confirm this easily on the internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States. So if you think you NEED to carry (or have the option to carry) a gun based on some sort of new and more dangerous world, that isn't the reality. That's just media hype.

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    1. Our reasonings have nothing to do with media hype, the NRA, or anything remotely related. Our reasoning has 110% to do with the fact we experienced an attempted break-in while we were at home, in bed, with our young son across the hall. Experiencing that is exactly what changed my mindset about firearms in the home and that's why I'm doing everything in my power to educate myself (and our child) to the fullest extent possible. Just because crime has gone down doesn't mean it doesn't happen. And it happened to us and I never want to feel that kin of fear again.

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  26. I understand your need to feel safe (especially when you've family to protect as well) but as a person who lives in a country where you don't need a gun to feel safe... that whole carrying a gun seems a bit too much? (and I'm sorry but I hate kids and bb guns, some kids I knew when I was kid myself had bb guns. Those (mostly boys) kids NEVER listened their parents' advice. Especially hated my neighbour's grandson who liked to shoot bird nests in the forest for fun... and he was such a sweet little kid to play with when he didn't have that bb gun.)

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    1. It's your right to "hate kids and bb guns" but you must also realize you are *greatly* generalizing every child with a bb gun. You say that your neighbor's grandson would shoot birds in the forest and walk around with that gun... Toby is not allowed to do that. He can't even LOOK at the gun without Mike or myself allowing him because it's not accessible. I would not and will not allow Toby to walk around the neighborhood with any kind of weapon, even just a bb gun. In fact Toby isn't even allowed to have fake/toy guns because I feel like it desensitizes children to the real seriousness of firearms.

      Just because your singular experience with a child and a bb gun was less than favorable doesn't mean every child is like that. If anything is speaks more to the parenting of the parents/grandparents who allowed that child to not only walk around with a bb gun, but also get away with being disrespectful and defying authority.

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  27. This is really interesting to me and the comments are fascinating reading too. As you know, here in the UK guns are virtually non-existent so our gun crime rates are very low. Of course, people who are determined to get a gun can do so illegally if they really want to, and these people are usually hardened criminals who intend or anticipate using it. Therefore, the incidents of gun crime are more often than not a result of gang or drug culture. Since there aren't guns in the house, it's very rare to have incidents of people going into an anger-induced rage and shooting people (although that does happen too- Derrick Bird was a very famous case a few years ago).

    I don't agree with or support the right to bear arms as, from a UK perspective, it does seem that gun ownership creates a positive correlation of gun crime. As you say in a response to a comment above, we do have a higher rate of knife crime but it seems that knife attacks are less frequently fatal and, since you need to be up close to stab someone, it's easier to defend yourself than a shot in the chest from a distance. There's also fewer cases of people getting caught in the crossfire when weapons other than guns are used (Crossfire may be the wrong word here as that only applies to firearms, but you know what I mean).

    Having said all that, I totally understand why you have got a permit. In countries where firearms are part of the culture, it's less taboo. People carry guns, so you need to protect yourself from guns. It's a self-perpetuating cycle based in societal culture. Of course, I know how responsible you are too. It's not like you're letting Toby run around the streets with a shotgun!

    Sorry for the extra long comment. I just find it a really interesting topic and wanted to share my views on it.

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  28. I haven't read every comment but I have to say this is a major culture clash for me! Of course I am biased as we all are but I'm so glad that I live in a region where gun culture is pretty much nonexistent. Of cource guns scare me since I am not used to them!

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  29. What do you have to do to get a carry a concealed weapon permit? Aside from showing proficiency with a fire arm.

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    1. The necessary steps differ state by state. For us you need to take a full day class, show that you can properly and safely load and unload the weapon, as well as show the ability to accurately hit a target at 3 different qualifying distances. If you can't hit the target the necessary amount of times, you do not pass the class and cannot obtain your permit. This ensures someone cannot be licensed who can't fire with accuracy.

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  30. I was very happy to see this post. I grew up around guns and from a young age was at the range with my grandpa and was taught all the safety precautions. My parents were raised around guns and I have an aunt who is a cop, so she made sure us kids knew what to do around guns. My grandpa bought me a shotgun for my birthday not long ago and was the one to properly teach me how to use it. Both my boyfriend and myself have guns, and they are both easily accessible in our home (on a side note, in Illinois you have to have a F.O.I.D. card).
    We live near Chicago, and everyone knows about the daily shootings there in certain areas, and even though where we live is safe....we feel better knowing we have weapons to protect ourselves. Guns do not need to be feared. Just respected. Not enough people educate themselves properly on guns and even less people actually shoot one.

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    1. I think it's so interesting that so many people are so quick to dismiss a child's ability to learn (and retain) gun safety information. It seems like so many commenters don't miss a beat by implying all children will defy authority, seek out the weapon(s) and use them in a manner that is irresponsible and dangerous.

      I know that's not the case *at all* simply because SO many of my friends grew up with guns in their household, regularly shot firearms from a VERY early age (earlier than Toby) and never once defied authority when it came to accessing the guns. I can't help but think that mentality is born out of ignorance in the fact these people did not grow up around firearms and they still do not use them in any way. All of the UK/European comments for example... well of course you don't feel comfortable with someone owning/carrying a gun.... it's not in your culture to do something like that. And that's totally reasonable. But I find it unsettling that they're so quick to pass judgment when in fact it IS normal here (at least where we live) and we are taking every precaution necessary.

      Whether there's a handgun in the house or not, there have been guns in our home the entire time we've lived here. Mike hunts and there's a rifle here. Mike has taught Toby about it and he shoots it when he takes Toby to shoot his bb gun. But I guess the fact that I've never made that known (despite posting plenty of photos on Instagram last year/earlier this year) means that no one could pass judgment since they were blissfully unaware.

      I think it's great that you had someone in your family who could teach you proper firearm safety! It really does go a long way when you grow up respecting the seriousness of them. Even if they're never used for self defense, it's a lot of fun to go to the range and practice shooting. It's a sport not unlike anything else out there.

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  31. wow.. I'm from a very safe country (Germany) with low murder rates and all that. And we are save WITHOUT guns. Actually I would feel less safe, if people would be allowed to own them!!
    This is so strange to me to read all this.. I really loved reading your blog, but this is so bizzare to me. Think this is the end of following you. I just can't handle it, tha you really belive that more guns bring more safety.

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    1. The unfortunate fact that you can't see past someone ELSE's thoughts/beliefs/opinions (based on a culture you've never experienced yourself) only speaks to your ignorance and intolerance. You're welcome to feel however you choose, and I invite those opinions to be shared. Even the ones radically different from my own. But please don't feel it necessary to announce your departure. You're welcome to read (or not read) any blog of your choosing. But if you only read blogs of people who feel/do/believe the exact same as you, well, that's probably going to get boring fast. Rather than casting judgment and then tossing them to the side, a better solution would be to explore why someone with widely different beliefs feels the way they do. Just because it's different from yours doesn't mean it's wrong. That's the textbook definition of intolerance. And simply because you were born into a "very safe country" doesn't mean everyone else is. You're very lucky you've never experienced a successful or attempted attack. But plenty of people have. And in America it's their 2nd Amendment right to feel protected should they want to. I"m not going to silence my thoughts or beliefs to save a few blog readers. If my desire to educate myself on firearms and potentially even own one is the only thing offensive to you about me, then I'd say you're being petty. But I will never beg someone to stay. Hope you find plenty of other blogs to fill your feed.

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