A few weeks ago, we visited some friends in Alberta, Canada. It was a true vacation, and it was the first time in quite a while that I didn't have work issues to contend with (mainly because, work had no way to get ahold of me, heh, and I didn't have the temptation to check in on work).
One of the 'firsts' that I got to experience was the holding and firing of a gun. I wouldn't have considered myself to be a shrinking violet or a worrywart about using a firearm, but on the way to the range, there was no mistaking the adrenaline rush and tension going on inside me.
It was very cold (by Bermuda standards; it was probably in the high 40s at the time, with cold rain as well), not the ideal situation to be handling and testing out guns, but my buddy gave me the overview, how to load the weapon, train the sights on the target, et al. We had a Glock 9mm and some kind of 22mm pistol. These guns, for one, are heavier than they seem, perhaps it was the ammo magazine, I dunno. And they're far louder than one would think.
One truth of the matter, is that those gangster types who hold their gun sideways when shooting, you probably stand a good chance of evading the bullet. You really have to aim with these things.
Finally, we pulled out an assault rifle, I cannot recall its type but it was a modified version of an AK-type rifle with a telescopic scope. All I can say after trying it out is that I have serious respect for those who shoot competitively, especially those who do biathlon. Holding the rifle steady and hitting the target, very tough to do, especially in cold conditions.
Anyway, what does this all mean with relation to the topic title? Besides making this one of the longest blog posts I've ever done, discussions with my friend and actually using guns on the range, made me think about aspects like the right to bear arms as it relates to the USA, and if banning their possession in Bermuda by individuals gives the new generation of criminals here a bigger carte blanche to do whatever they want when it comes to robbery and assault.
While personally I'm of the opinion that letting the average Bermudian own a gun is still a recipe for disaster (consider the amount of people who beat and cut up others over such trivial matters as a cell phone or an ex-boyfriend), I'm definitely not as hard-line as I would have been a year ago.
Sure, we can carry a bat in our car and at our bedside, but against a crook with a firearm, you're going to find it hard to protect yourself or your family. We can get burglar bars, security cameras, even dogs, but would these measures be enough? What if you're walking down the street and someone decides to mug you at knife-point or even gun-point? The law-abiding citizen has little means to defend themselves, but if they were adequately trained, licenced and made fully aware of the consequences of using a gun (or say a tazer or pepper spray, even) in an unlawful manner, would this help to make our country safer?