Monday, December 17, 2012

Guns in America

With the devastating and horrifying tragedy that happened last week, let me first say that my thoughts and prayers and tears are with the families of the fallen in Connecticut. No parent should ever have to endure what they have experienced and I just pray that the Lord’s comforting hand will be upon them.

This event, along with the shooting in Portland earlier this month, has brought the issue of guns in America back to the forefront once again. As a mother, I have mixed feelings about the issue. Today I wanted to share my story and get some feedback on this issue from other mothers out there.

A few years ago, at the beginning of December, actually, I was asleep in bed at 4am when our house alarm suddenly started shrieking. I can still remember that sound very clearly. I froze in fear. My husband awakened, and when he realized what was happening he told me to call 911 as he rushed to the closet for his 9mm handgun. He positioned himself at the top of our stairs, right outside our bedroom, with his gun pointed down at our wide open front door. Meanwhile, I took the phone with me and got my crying daughter, then 2 years old, from her room and took her to my son’s room (he was 3) at the end of the hallway. I remember huddling in fear with my whimpering children in that room, listening to the alarm blaring, and thinking, What would I do if, God forbid, something happened to Chad? What if the intruder somehow got past him and came down the hall into this room? I had no escape. The only exit was back through the hallway and down the stairs or out a window. I felt utterly and completely helpless. I was a sitting duck. I began to have visions of an intruder forcing his way into the room, killing me and leaving my babies completely helpless, doing goodness knows what to them. The thought was terrifying.

I made up my mind right then and there that I did not want to be a victim. If there are people out there who have guns and will use them to hurt me or my children, then I want a level playing field. I don’t ever want to think that I could have done something to save my kids and I chose not to because I was scared.

I don’t like guns. They scare me. Which is why going through the process of learning to shoot and obtaining a gun was nerve-wracking, especially because I did it on national TV.


Yes, to make a long story short, the National Geographic Channel was interested in doing a piece on guns in America and wanted the perspective of a female who had had some kind of traumatic experience that influenced her to want to get a gun. They sent a camera crew and filmed me going to a gun show, then got me set up with an instructor at a gun range to try my hand at shooting. Let me tell you, shooting a gun is intimidating enough, but having a verrrry expensive camera 6 inches to the left of your line of fire? Well, that just makes it SO much more fun.

Check out a clip from the show below:

Anyway, my instructor was great, taught me a lot, and not long after that I got my first gun. It’s a revolver, about as idiot-proof as can be: literally, put in bullets, pull trigger. No safety, no chambering a round, just basic load, shoot. (Because there’s no safety I store it unloaded with a long padlock that actually goes inside the barrel and requires a key to unlock. No possible way to shoot it without unlocking it with a key.) I know how panicked I was when the break-in happened, and I need something I can handle without having to think about it too much.

After I got my gun, the nightmares I had after the break-in finally stopped. Now instead of nightmares I have dreams that begin with an intruder in my home and end with me being a really good shot.

I was actually the latecomer to the gun scene in my family. My mom has always had a gun, my dad is an avid gun collector and has a concealed carry permit, as do my husband and brother. My opinion has always been that those whom gun laws are meant to stop are not people who are stopped by laws, and if law-abiding citizens are allowed to defend themselves with the responsible use of firearms, then the safer we’ll all be.

After last week I’m not so sure.

It just hit too close to home, I guess. I can’t help wondering- if it was illegal for the shooter’s mother to have those guns in her home, would they have been there? If he had had to really go through a lot of channels to get a gun, would he have? You can always argue that people that want to kill will find a way to do it, but someone snapping and grabbing a gun and going on a killing spree is very different from someone who has to go online to look up how to make a bomb, then go out and buy bomb-making materials, then assemble it, etc. Those things take time- time that could be the difference between being murderously enraged and just really ticked off.

So now I just can’t help but wonder. I am hugging my children until they tell me to stop and then I don’t. I am praying for peace for our country. And I am wondering whether or not turning in the guns is the answer.


By the way, our home invasion ended with the intruder running off, scared away by the alarm, thank goodness. The police determined that he had used a credit card (or something similar) to get the door open.


  1. I am strugling to write this in a way that won't offend anyone. But then again the issue of guns seems to offend someone regardless of the side all the time.

    My argument is simple. If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

    Don't get me wrong, to argue this at such a time seems heartless. I don't mean to offend, I am heartbroken over the recent shootings. (I had family in the Oregon mall at the time of the shooting. They were saved from the assault by an amazing employee of the nearest store.)

    Logic proves that a person intent on breaking the law will steal or lie or whatever they need to do to get a weapon to get what they want. While it seems (to some people) a great idea to turn in all our weapons if only to prevent a few deaths it won't stop those criminals who break into homes and do all sorts of other things to those people who are law abiding. It won't stop the violence on the streets over gang territory or drugs. It won't prevent school, movie theatre, or mall shootings because those who will perpetrate these types of things on the general populace aren't going to turn in their guns. And those who do, are now sitting ducks for those who still posess them.

    Statistics prove that in states where concealed or open cary laws are passed, crime rates go down. Criminals don't want to get shot while victimizing the general public. Where as the cities where the common citizens aren't allowed to own a self defence weapon the crime rates are spiraling out of control.

    I just heard in China there was a mass stabbing attack and many people died. Should we turn in all of our knives too?

    Two last thoughts.

    One, very few people are actually killed by gun violence. More people die from accidental falls and doctor errors. Tobacco kills many more people than bullets do.

    Two, the rifle used in the Oregon Shooting was stolen.

    1. I saw a post on facebook with an image of two signs, and the caption below said, “Which one would stop a shooter?” The first sign said, “No firearms allowed on premises” and the second one said, “Faculty is armed and will use deadly force to protect students.” I kind of like that second sign. Of course, it opens up a whole other can of worms about worrying about children having access to the guns, etc.

      The thing I guess that makes me wonder is this: if guns were legally unavailable to everyone, then the criminals would be unable to steal them easily because they just wouldn’t be there. They’d either have to steal them from other criminals or pay big bucks for them. And I may be wrong about this, but it seems lately that by the time ANYONE is able to do anything to stop a shooter they’ve already killed themselves and the damage has been done.

      As of right now I’m still pro-guns for private citizens (NOT assault rifles, though). A tragedy like this just makes me desperate for answers that just aren’t there. There’s no easy solution.

    2. Two things here - first, no one died in the stabbing in China. Kids were injured but they will all live.

      Second, it's not true that if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns. Britain outlawed guns in 1996 (following a school shooting) and there hasn't been a school shooting since. Gun violence is now so rare it is reported on the national news, and although it's true that there are still guns around on the black market, they are so rare and thus expensive that they are out of reach for the majority of criminals - house burglars, for example.

      I know I wouldn't send my kids to a school with an "armed faculty". My kids go to a school with a big fence and locked gate and that makes me feel secure.

  2. Want to know something interesting?
    You don't have to buy a gun to have one. You don't have to steal one either. Due to the amazing technology of 3-D printing you can just print your own gun. And it works. If someone knows what they are doing it is entirely possible to print out the gun components, put them together and have a serviceable weapon. Many countries in Europe have made it extremely difficult to buy a firearm. But now all they need to do is bring the 3-D printing equipment into the country.
    If they make it illegal for law abiding citizens to own a firearm they certainly are not going to stop those intent on illegal activities from acquiring them.
    Even the Lord allowed the Nephi to take up arms to defend his family and friends. Jacob 1:10 We see many examples in the Scriptures where the righteous are greatly blessed in their efforts to defend themselves and others. We know that we are living in perilous times. If there had been no guns in the Lanza house what is to say that he wouldn't have pulled something similar to what Timothy McVeigh had done. It could have been far far worse. On the other hand if an administrator had been armed and trained to use that firearm the situation would never have escalated past the first initial confrontation.
    Thing is though, we can't keep asking "What If..." That will drive us absolutely insane. The only thing we can do to keep some level of sanity is to take steps to protect ourselves and our families in the very best way our conscience dictates and then to petition the Lord every day for his divine protection and guidance.

  3. I too have mixed feelings. However, I think that these horrible outbreaks of violence have much more to do with the culture of violence than they do with availability of guns. The more these horrific incidents occur, the more I am inclined to want to keep my own arms at all cost.

    The culture of violence that I'm referring to involves graphic video games -- so readily available to kids and adolescents -- R rated and even PG-13 rated movies that put horrific scenes of violence in the audience's faces, and even television.

    Such violence which is consistently identified as entertainment has consequences to those who expose themselves to it. Numerous studies have revealed that viewers are much more inclined to engage in violent acts after seeing violence played out in movies. I would guess by now that there are studies showing similar outcomes for violent video games.

    I also don't really see the need even in our current society for the public to have assault weapons on hand. But, that is almost another issue, isn't it.

    In short, I believe that our problem lies not in controlling our guns, but in controlling what we expose our youth to. We need to pay attention to who are kids spend time with, where they spend their time (more time at home and less just "hanging out," how they spend their time. Just personally, I think the graphic ("blood & guts") video games, movies & TV are what they should think about banning. I hope I'm preaching to the choir on this one.

    Great topic, Kasey.

    1. I saw an interesting thing on Facebook too. Homicides in Detroit, Michigan last year - 310. Homicides in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (a mile away) - zero.

      Never heard of this 3D printable gun, though.

  4. The thing that is astonishing to me is that everyone is talking about HOW this crime was committed. The tragedy isn't that this man picked up a gun, the tragedy was what he chose to do with it. The talk about outlawing guns is just our country's way of trying to control a situation out of fear. The problem is that we can't control the choices other people make. Guns have been around for ages. Even our grandparents played with toy guns, b.b. guns, and the pioneer children used guns at a young age. Guns aren't the problem. Our society's lack of morals and values are the problem. The decline in morals and values in our society is shadowed by (if not traced to) our literary push to write whatever we want and glorify sinful practices. This of course isn't just written literature, movies, video games, journalism and other forms of media have distorted what's right and what's wrong in our society. To the point that anything can be rationalized if someone really wants to rationalize it.
    So what can we do about it? We can write values and morals into our stories. We can make our stories so compelling that people can be influenced by our words. Too much pressure? Too bad! We were given the desire to write for a reason. If we truly have the Lord written in our hearts, then anything we write will be influenced by Him. And through His guidance, I truly believe the pen WILL be mightier than the sword or any gun control laws for that matter!

  5. Nikki, my mom and I were talking about this very thing today. I think the other problem we need to address is the cultural attitude we seem to have adopted that everything is somebody else’s problem. We see signs that something is amiss, but we brush it off and think it will go away or assume someone else will take care of it. My Institute teacher a couple of weeks ago said, “If you see a problem, then it becomes your problem.” The Lord gives us promptings for a reason- He is inviting us to act, to make a difference. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” He also said, “Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident security.”

    Now is the time for us to step outside our comfort zone and to act.

  6. better gun SCREENING would help, but we are not going to be able to eliminate guns. There are other factors here too...we need to find a way to pinpoint the mentally ill, and we can certainly better secure our schools. In the end, it's a matter of the heart. I wrote a post about this here:
    ...if you're interested.
    Until we seek God and his will for our lives, we are going to keep hurting each other.



Related Posts with Thumbnails