How far should I go to protect my family?

November 7 |
Image courtesy Chicks With Guns
One of the weirdest conversations I've had as an adult was the time my husband and I talked about safety in our new home. There had been a few home invasions in the area, where men had entered houses at night and demanded money or delivered pistolwhippings. Our conversation wandered from deadbolt locks to mace to, "What if we got a gun?"

We'd never discussed gun ownership before — and I don't have many opinions on guns, other than I like shooting my dad's .22 at hay bales. So my head reeled a little bit when hub said, "I'm just not sure I feel comfortable with what owning a gun for self-defense would mean — that I'd have to accept that any time I might pull the trigger I might kill another person."

The question just rolled around in my head for a few months, until Lindsay McCrum's book Chicks with Guns came out. It's a collection of portraits of American women and their firearms, and it's…diverse.

To have a gun or not to have a gun is a strange conversational space for a woman. Women with firearms are still sort of a novelty — even in the Midwest, I see at least one human interest story a year where a local news crew talks about some lady who likes to hunt. The thought! At the same time, one of the few people I know who owns a gun is my lady housemate (even though she doesn't keep it here).

In popular culture, the talk about women and guns often centers on how we should use "less-lethal" methods to protect ourselves because our weapons are likely to be turned against us, and that's sometimes as deep as it goes.

That conversation happened months ago, and I'm still not sure if I'm comfortable with owning a gun. Of course, I know deep down in the heat of a scary moment I might feel differently, but right now I don't know if I trust myself enough to make the right decisions when adrenaline is pumping and fight or flight decisions are happening. I don't know if I could own a gun, knowing that I might kill somebody with it, whether they "deserved" it or not.

Image courtesy Chicks With Guns

For now, we've decided we'd rather not have a gun in our house because we aren't ready for that commitment. Have you had this conversation at home? Did you have any weird adult realizations when you did? Dish.

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