As many of my faithful readers know, I hail from the lovely state of Wisconsin, home to brats, beer, cheese, and the Packers. Wisconsin also has a long and storied history of fishing and hunting. I come from a long line of hunters.
When I was twelve, I enrolled in a hunter’s safety course as required by our state law. Two local police officers taught our class. I really enjoyed the classes and took the responsibility of using a gun very seriously. As the only girl in the class, I had a lot to prove. I ended up with a near perfect score on the exam, and I was the most accurate target shooter at the gun range.
When I began deer hunting, I went with both my dad and my grandpa. I observed all the rules. Never point your gun at anyone. Always be aware of your surroundings. The final rule was my dad’s; you only need three bullets in the magazine. His theory is that it only takes three shots to bring down a deer. My sister and I put his theory into practice.
I loved being in nature and just listening to the stillness around me. Hunting was my refuge. We were in the middle of central Wisconsin with little to do. I spent my hunting weekends just being with my family. Those weekends were some of my most precious memories from my teen years.
When a senseless act of gun violence killed a dear friend of mine, I was devastated. I went hunting that year, but I could not even load my gun. My rifle felt so heavy against my shoulder. All I could think about was having this object in common with my friend’s killer. I could not bring myself to even fire the rifle in target practice.
I haven’t been deer hunting in six years since I was pregnant with Munch. My two rifles are at my parents’ house in a locked gun cabinet. My husband is now a deer hunter. His hunting rifle is in our house. The ammunition is separate from his rifle. I plan to buy a locked box to store his ammunition. I do not want to take any chances with my sweet babies.
As a hunter and a gun owner, there is no reason to have an assault weapon. I was upset that our state instituted a concealed carry law. I understand that people want to feel protected and be able to defend themselves. My question is what are you defending yourself from? If we saw our neighbors as ourselves, we would stop this otherness. Let us listen and have a dialogue. The NRA is not indicative of all gun owners. I would gladly convert any semiautomatic hunting rifles to a lesser capacity magazine. Human life is precious. Owning a gun is a privilege, not a right. I support a waiting period and background checks.
If you are interested in more thoughtful posts regarding this horrible tragedy, please read these fabulous writers.