About owning a gun

In my previous post, I talked about the different ways that I’ve found to feel safer in my home and community. One of those ways was purchasing a gun. This is, of course, a very personal decision. It is not a decision you should rush into. The first, and most important question to ask yourself is, “If someone is coming after you, or someone you love, would you really be able to shoot, and kill them? Really?” If the answer is yes, then you should consider it. If not, just don’t. I would highly recommend a book called The Cornered Cat. This book is from a woman’s perspective of owning a gun, and many considerations you should make.

If you’ve decided that you would like to purchase a gun, you need to do some research. Learn the local laws on owning a gun. Some states require registration, some do not. You may need a license. There may be restrictions on when and where you can have the gun. Be sure to research the laws before you purchase.

Beyond just researching the laws, you also want to determine what type of gun you are most comfortable with. Grab a friend and head to a gun range. Try different guns – .22, 9m, .45, etc. Try different sizes, different calibers, different grips, and see what you feel comfortable with. My first gun I really liked, but the grip was too large and I just couldn’t hold it as well as I needed to. Be sure the gun you end up with fits your hand and is comfortable to you.

Once you’ve done the research and purchased your gun, you need to keep it accessible and safe in your home. Here are some tips on keeping a gun in your home:

Basic Gun Handling & Safety

If you own a gun, you need to know the basics of firearms safety. There are many variations of firearms safety rules they can be summarized into four basic easy-to-remember rules. These rules build upon each other and are almost bulletproof (pardon the pun).

1. All guns are always loaded

Treat all guns as if they’re loaded, even if someone told you it’s empty or you know that the gun was empty before. Check it again. It is always a good practice to check the gun to see if it’s really empty every time you pick it up. Ammunition has a strange way of finding itself in the gun. Check the gun, by first removing the magazine, then pulling the slide back and looking into the chamber for any ammunition.

2. Never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy

Imagine a laser beam coming out of the muzzle and don’t sweep or point it at anything you don’t wish to destroy. By following this rule, if you fail to follow one or more of the other rules and the gun goes off, the bullet will not hit anything important.

A good, safe way to hold the gun is with your muzzle pointing down, not up like Charlie’s Angels (which is an insanely bad way of carrying a gun). If the gun goes off pointing up, it’ll go through the roof and kill someone nearby when it comes back down.

IMG_37583. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target

With all the modern safeties in guns these days, guns cannot go off on their own. It’s physically impossible for a gun to go off if you did not pull the trigger. So, make sure that when you handle the gun, your trigger finger is straight along the side of the gun, until you have the sights on target and you’re sure that you’re ready to shoot.

IMG_37614. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Be sure of what you are shooting and what is beyond. If it’s dark, as it most likely will be in a violent encounter, you need to be sure the person you’re shooting is not someone you know. That’s why a light is important to identify your opponent. Also, bullets go through almost everything in the home, especially dry-wall. Make sure you know what’s behind your target as well. You don’t want to accidentally send a round through your opponent, the wall behind, and your friend or loved one in the other room.

IMG_3763Gun storage

Finding a place to store your gun is important. You want to be sure that it is kept in a safe, dry place. Safe away from prying eyes/hands and yet, it should be easy for you to retrieve it when the need arises. I keep my Colt 1911 in a gun case, locked and loaded, under my bed. I don’t have kids and friends rarely come into my bedroom anyway. It’s there so I can get to it when something happens at home. My ammunition is kept in ammo boxes that you can buy at most Surplus stores for $10-15 each. These are sturdy metal boxes that are waterproof. I also keep my cleaning equipment in them.

Gun Use

Owning a gun is not enough, you need to be comfortable with it. Shoot it often. Find a gun range that has ladies night where you get to shoot for free. Drag some of your co-workers or friends along and practice shooting your gun. It’ll keep your skills up, get you comfortable handling a gun and ensure that you gun is always operational.

Maintaining a gun

Once you’ve shot it, clean it. As with every other hardware you own, like your house or car, cleanliness is important. Some people might tell you that you don’t need to clean certain guns, but doing it will ensure dirt and grime won’t build up and run the risk of causing a malfunction. Also a clean gun is a mark of respect for it. By knowing how to take apart your gun and clean it, you’ll build confidence in handling it.

What to do when friends are around?

Are you just hosting a party? Or are you having house guests staying with you? As for a party, leaving your gun under the bed is a safe place to store it as no-one will usually be in your bedroom during the party. If you’re having a house guest, have an open conversation about it and find out what they are comfortable. If you trust them, leave the gun where you normally do. If not, be sure to hide and lock it away during their stay.

When travelling

If you own a gun, it is your responsibility to ensure that the gun will never fall into someone else’s hands, or worse, used in a crime. The best thing to do here is to invest in a safe, not only to store a gun, but your other valuables as well. Have the safe kept in a safe place and bolted to the ground. If you don’t have a safe, and know that you’ll be travelling for a while, then perhaps the best way would be to ask a friend to keep it for you. Make sure your friend is comfortable with keeping/caring for your gun and that he/she is trustworthy.
There is plenty more I could cover, but honestly, I don’t want to start a gun blog. Please, do your research. Use some common sense. And do all you can to ensure your own safety.

On Living Alone–Part Two

I was pointed to an interesting article yesterday. The original article, from the New York Times, was modestly titled “One is the Quirkiest Number – The freedom, and perils, of living alone.” Of course, Gawker got right to the point, declaring “NYT reports that living alone makes you behave like an insane person.” Now, a couple months back, I wrote a post about my experience living alone for the first time, which has truly been an overall positive experience. After reading the NYT article, a friend suggested I write a counter-piece – so here we go.

First, to Gawker’s point, “insane” is a bit much. Here are the examples they give from the NYT article. None are terribly insane. A little odd maybe. And some are downright normal.

  • Running in place during TV commercials (a bit strange, but if I had an elliptical in front of my TV, I’d totally do that. Well, I’d say I did anyway. But would probably just hang my bra on it (see below))
  • Talking in conversational French to themselves (I’ve been known to talk to myself in Spanish. Just because I can)
  • Talking to their cats (Ok, here’s the thing. Cats have ears. That means they can hear. Which means talking to them is not strange. It is perfectly normal to talk to anything with ears. Now, you start talking to your sofa, then we have problems)
  • Using their dryers as dressers (I can’t judge. I’ve had my laundry basket full of clean clothes in my living room for a week. I’ve pulled all my undies from it this week – no clean ones in the drawers. You may call this lazy. I say to you with roommates/significant others: you’re just jealous!)
  • Leaving their bras on the kitchen counter (Hmm… I don’t clean my counters enough to agree with this. But the coffee table, couch, recliner, floor, night stand…)
  • Wearing special “home alone” outfits, such as “white flax bloomers that go down to my knee” (Ok, I don’t dress any different alone than when I was married. Am I wrong in thinking it’s normal for married people to hang around their houses in sweats and junky shirts? That’s why you get married – to not have to dress up anymore. What I enjoy most about living alone is that I can run around the house without clothes and not have to worry that I’m giving anyone “ideas” or having someone think I’m in the mood for “that” rather than just not being in the mood to wear clothes.)
  • Subsisting “largely on cereal” (Depends on the type. Lucky Charms? Crunch Berries? Or Bran Flakes?)
  • “Grazing” on “nuts and seeds” (Or Sour Patch Kids and Good N Plenty’s. Potato. Potahto.) Continue reading