“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” I’m so sick of hearing this, because I know it is not true, and I will tell you how I know it’s not true. You wouldn’t think it by looking at me, or listening to me express my anti-gun sentiments, but I have shot a gun. Two guns, actually. One was an automatic, one wasn’t. I was at an indoor firing range with friends who’d done this before.
As a twenty-something with the dreamy notions of an aspiring writer, I was on a mission to try everything there was to try when I could, and the feeling of shooting a gun felt like a useful thing to know. The three of us made our way to the shooting corrals with our rented pistols after a procedure that was not too different from renting shoes at a bowling alley. I chose my corral and stood the stance with one hand gripping, the other cupping my non-automatic pistol. What I was shooting at was a human silhouette on a piece of paper hanging from a clip on a zipline.
I fired. The bullet hit the silhouette right in its forehead. It was my first time, and I had just nailed it. I shot a few more times. The bullet landed somewhere different each time, never where it had the first time. When I had spent all my bullets, I was offered a few shots with the automatic.
The automatic was easier to fire, like it was oiled and eager. I fired three shots. It was terrifying.
When we’d all run out of bullets, we turned in our guns much like you would your bowling shoes. In the car, we studied our bullet-riddled targets. As I studied mine, I became disturbed by the fact that my very first shot had been the deadliest of all.
Guns do kill people, because without them, I would not.
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