No matter how liberal your politics or how enlightened your view of guns, if you grew up during World War II I promise you were fascinated by guns in general as a kid and hand guns in particular. Even toy guns were hard to come by during the war (no metal) which amped up the longing.
So, back in the ’90’s when we lived in Aspen, I got a hand gun. I was in a drug store down valley where one very long wall was given over to guns of all kinds. And there was no foolishness about permits or any of that, either; this was The West. Long story short, I came home with the fanciest they had, a great whacking Sig Sauer automatic. A guy I struck up with in the store (he ran a very serious security company) took me out to a simple range and showed me how to work it. I couldn’t hit squat, but I was still delighted with it. After that, I only used it a handful of times, way up in the mountains. But I liked the notion of it, especially when the bears were getting rambunctious outside the house (and sometimes in). Even in Colorado, you can’t shoot bears, even in your own house. But I thought I might ease the rules a little if things got really scary; they never did.
When we moved east, I brought it. Never used it and didn’t expect to, but I was uneasy about not having a permit.
So I spent all day yesterday in the grim, post-industrial city of Torrington, Connecticut at a gun store-cum-range (not an elegant establishment and not a chic crowd, but they knew what they were doing). I took an 8 hour class in gun use, a predicate to getting a permit. Learned quite a bit, surprisingly enough. And then went to the range and blasted away for a bit. The results were a triumph, it seems to me; I hit the little piece of paper every time. A miracle.
I’ll probably never touch the Sig again, but I’ll be licensed, by heaven. And if I ever get bored at one of my own dinner parties with a clutch of my liberal pals, I can just bring out my gun permit, offer to show ’em my guns…and clear the room. Never see ’em again.