Michael Kramm | Tuesday, April 16, 2013
While thinking of what to write for this column, I came across Kaitlyn Rabach’s Inside Column from a few days ago. She wrote about her first experience with guns and how it changed her outlook on the gun-owning community. This caught my attention because of my own experience with guns and shooting range communities.
I have been involved in competitive shooting since I was approximately 10 years old and have reached the qualification of Distinguished Expert with a Rifle in the National Rifle Association. In 2007, I also competed and placed in the Junior World Championship of Skeet Shooting. Like Kaitlyn noted about her experience at the gun range, I became part of a welcoming and fun community of people who all shared a common interest in shooting.
With all of the headlines in the news about gun-related deaths, many people have formed negative opinions about gun owners and ranges. When the thought of a gun emerges, many people immediately think of tragic events like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting and associate all guns with this type of event. While this tragedy did involve guns, I believe it was more of a mental health issue rather than a gun issue. Even so, the gun-owning community has received a negative public opinion, which I think is incorrect.
I say this because of my background in gun range communities. In my experience, and in Kaitlyn’s, the members of the gun range were incredibly responsible with all of the firearms and shooting activities. There is always a strict safety protocol that is followed to ensure safety of all patrons at the gun range. The safe and responsible use of guns relies on the members’ attentive state of mind.
I am happy Kaitlyn was able to experience and enjoy a day at the range. It is even better she was able to use her observations to influence her opinion on guns and the legislation surrounding them today. In her column she said, “now my support [for gun-related legislation] will not be strictly based off of news articles, political experts and so forth.” I think what she said is key because many people, both in and out of government, make judgments about guns based on what they hear in the news instead of firsthand experience.
Although my opinions may differ from Kaitlyn’s on gun-related legislation, I respect what she has done and encourage everyone to go out and experience the enjoyment and sense of community that can come from shooting sports. I think if more people gained a firsthand perspective on guns, then they would realize the gun community has received a false judgment in the media and legislation on guns won’t solve the issues. As I have witnessed in my own life, it is not the gun that is dangerous, but the state of mind of the person operating it.
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The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.