I grew up with guns.
I got my first BB gun when I was three, and it wasn’t even my birthday or Christmas (for the record, I did get a gun for Christmas when I was 10). I spent countless weekends at the shooting range with my dad and marching through the hills chasing deer, sometimes quail or dove. When I was 14 years old and just about to start high school, I got my first buck (70 yards, off-hand). Besides the gun safe, deer mount and horns displayed in my family’s dining room, there is a boar mounted in our stairwell, affectionately referred to as “Griz.”
One huge aspect of my childhood, even bigger than hunting, was gun safety. The first movie I remember watching (besides Pocahontas) was the Eddie the Eagle gun safety movie. Both my parents instilled a healthy dose of fear in my brother and I as to what could happen when one was careless with guns. When I turned twelve, my father enrolled me in a hunter’s safety course where I had gun safety pounded even further into my head. Currently, my dad is as a NRA Certified instructor, volunteering with our gun club’s junior rifle team and my brother’s former Boy Scout Troop.
In my 22 years of being around guns and people with guns, I have never been affected by a gun-related incident. Why? Because everyone I was around respected what guns were capable of, and were educated on how to stay safe around guns. What happened over the weekend with Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend is truly tragic, but the comments from Bob Costas during Sunday Night Football’s Half-Time are unfounded. Yes, a gun was used to end the lives of two people, but is that fact that guns exist the sole reason this tragedy occurred? No, it’s not. No one is sure what caused Jovan Belcher to do what he did, but the existence of guns is not what pushed him to carry out the acts he did.