Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sound of Gunfire

Some years ago I woke to the sound of gunfire. It's not uncommon to wake to the sound of gunfire. Usually I just roll over and go back to sleep. Gunfire is no big deal in the Great North Woods. There's game to hunt close by. Someone might have been checking the sites on their gun. Heck, you don't need a reason to shot a gun around here. Shooting a gun to hear it go bang is reason enough.

Unfortunately, that time some years back, I wasn't home in the woods. No, we were visiting my sister-in-law in Manhattan. Once I remembered where I was, the sound of gunfire took on a whole new meaning.

I guess that pretty much illustrates the whole cultural divide. Some places the sound of gunfire is normal and nothing to fear. Other places, the sound of gunfire probably means a confrontation between humans -another matter entirely. It's a shame, really.

Another thing that annoys me is when on the news police announce the capture of an "arsenal." It's always with nefarious overtones. Then they show the so called arsenal. It's about 6 long guns and 3 handguns. Around there, people that don't collect guns have that many. Heck, I've got a bigger collection, and that's without even trying.

My gun cabinet is full, but I don't even have all the basics covered. I could use a few more guns. I don't have a 12 gage pump or semiautomatic shotgun. Most of my shotguns are break action single shots. A couple of them aren't even shot anymore. One I have because my dad engraved my mom's name in the stock years ago. I've a few .22 caliber rifles. A couple of those are single shots mostly used to teach kids how to shoot. There's a muzzle loader or two kicking around -hardly weapons of terror, not even to deer during black powder season, sad to say. I do have a couple old deer rifles. The closest thing to an assault rifle is an ancient war trophy my uncle brought back from the war.

Still, lay them all out on a table, pile a bunch of ammo around it, and it may look like an arsenal to the uninitiated. Good media spin can make it look like I've amassed these weapons for nefarious purposes. Well, maybe I have -if you think target shooting, hunting and shooting the occasional rabid ground hog nefarious.

I do have a 9mm semi auto handgun that I keep loaded. It's used for target shooting -and personal protection, if the need ever arises. It's my right to do so as an American. It's loaded with pretty hot self defense rounds. I have a concealed carry permit -like most of the people in my town. Of course, NH's concealed carried permit is pretty easy to get. Fill out a short one page questionnaire, they check to see if your are a felon, and the permit is issued. Here in my town it takes less than a week. This is what's known as a must issue state. The burden of prof is on the police, not the citizen.

Most of the time when I hear gunfire, it's a comforting sound. Good to know the neighbors are keeping up their skills.


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