How I got to this point was due to my second and current husband. He is the son of a retired 35+ year career federal agent. When he was growing up guns were as matter of fact in their house as flatware. And they had more guns than they did forks. When we moved in together in 2002 hubby had a rifle, a shotgun and a glock. The rifle and shotgun were okay, I even admired their pretty stocks, but the glock was an ugly and sinister presence and I wanted nothing to do with it. He didn’t argue, he just kept it put away except when he was wearing it.
After a couple of years I was no longer afraid that it was going to go off if I opened the drawer it was in or hugged him while he had it in his shoulder rig, but it was still distasteful. Then he had to do something for his ccw requirements and I had to go with him because we only had one car and I had errands, so for the second time in my life I went to a gun store. They had a range that he was using and he said do you want to shoot it? I said um sure I guess. I was so nervous I started sweating. I managed to make it go bang without hurting anyone or anything, including the target, and I hated it. It’s an older .40 model, it hurt my hands and the noise scared me. But, while I was waiting for him to finish up I looked around and in the case they had THE gun. The one I wanted so many years ago. Just like my dad had. It was gorgeous. I kept looking at it and the man asked if I wanted to see it. Oh, no! I couldn’t. (What’s wrong with him, doesn’t he know that I’m not allowed??) Hubby finished up and we left.
After the kids were tucked in I asked hubby what kind of gun was that? He hadn’t been paying attention but he was able to tell me that I was looking in the colt case. Ok. The sweet man went out of his way to go to the gun store later that week and figured out what I was looking at. My dad had a big, shiny, full sized Colt 1911. I looked it up online and discovered that guns have a rich and fascinating history. Over the next few years I read about them occasionally, learning about Browning and Colt and Kalashnikov. Guns were pretty cool. Maybe.
His time in the military over, we moved back to his home state and I saw some of my f-i-l’s extensive collection. I developed an interest the old military surplus rifles and hubby did too. He brought home the first one, an 80’s era IJ civilian copy of an m1 carbine, and I fell in love with it. He really wanted it for himself, but he said I could have it if I would learn how to fire it. (Snort! like I needed his permission! OMG where did that thought come from, could I just have a gun, if I wanted one? No, I‘m not supposed to, I’m not allowed, remember?) I thought about it and swallowed hard and told him I would, but that he’d have to go with me. Gun stores were for men, I had learned that lesson well. So, I went to a gun store for the third time in my life. The guys there said hello, to ME. They asked ME about MY gun. They showed ME things. Not hubby, ME. My opinion not only mattered, they were interested in it. Hubby is a smart man, he stepped back and let me find my own way in the gun world. I had tried so hard for so long, only to find out that all I had to do was move to the “ass backwards” south to be accepted.
When I tentatively told him that I think I want a handgun, hubby said you can use mine. When I said no way I hate that thing (glocks are still ugly and downright mean in my opinion) I want my OWN! He said, okay, let me know what you decide on. I looked and looked and when I picked up my Springfield it just hugged my hand. I rented one (they let me rent a gun? All by myself? Yippeeee!!!!) and the 9mm didn’t hurt me. It was FUN. So he bought it for me when tax return time came, even though he wasn’t happy that I chose a 9mm platform (he’s biased for the heavier calibers) and he couldn’t really get why I had to have the more expensive stainless steel slide model. Because I like the way it looks. Function is important, not looks. I told him it functions just fine, I’ve already tested that with the black one, but I will be happier if I have the pretty one. He had that look on his face. If you have a spouse you know which one I mean, the one that says it ain’t happening. The guy behind the counter (my favorite gun purveyor) spoke up and said if she likes it she’ll be more likely to carry it. Hubby wisely closed his mouth and opened his wallet. The one condition he insisted on was that I get my ccw. It took two years before I was ready for it, ready to stand up and let go and say out loud in public that I can, will, and am prepared to kill another human being in self defense. I don’t have to hide any more.