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    Posted July 24, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Gun ownership in America

    More from ProPilot1

    Why I Own a Gun


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Owning guns primarily to enjoy shooting at the range, ProPilot1 believes that the government has a duty to control firearms, and that it is not in conflict with the right to bear arms. "I may have a right to own a weapon, but that does not mean that I have the right to unlimited use of that weapon," he says. "I believe there should be strict rules for purchasing firearms, and if choosing to have a concealed weapons permit, there should be mandatory annual recurrent firearms training." Also troubled by the theater shooting in Aurora, he says he has heard many people recently speak about how they could have stopped the shooting if they had been there with their concealed weapon. "I believe that is wishful thinking," he says. "I think the solution is to figure out what is triggering these people to do this, and to work on that."
    - Anika3, CNN iReport producer

    As a young child growing up in rural South Carolina, I remember vividly the first time I fired a gun. I owned a .22 rifle at 13 years old, and I've owned some sort of firearm ever since. I've never enjoyed hunting, but I have always enjoyed target shooting, though honestly my "targets" in my younger years were occasionally alive. No beer bottle, Coke can, and yes, the occasional road sign was safe within a 2 mile radius of my home. It was something you did as a kid. I would leave my house, and not return until I either ran out of ammunition, or it got dark.

    I had that luxury, growing up in the "country," and having good parents who taught me firearm safety. Today, I still own weapons, but I rarely fire them. Times have changed, and I've grown up as well.

    It disturbs me when I hear people say things like, "If someone in the crowd in Colorado had been armed, the whole thing could have been stopped." As someone who has some firearm and self-defense training, I find it laughable to think that the average Joe, in a dark theater filled with teargas could take out a well armed and armored assailant with a 5 round .38 special. In that particular case it probably wouldn't hurt the situation to have someone else armed in the crowd, but there are plenty of situations where extra armed people shooting in an uncoordinated manner to stop an assailant will cause more harm than good. There is a reason that law enforcement attacks an armed assailant in a coordinated manner. To do otherwise opens everyone up to more risk, including two "good guys" shooting at each other, not to mention the risk you run if you are shooting at the assailant in the mall, and the police come up behind you and think YOU are the assailant. You may not survive that situation.

    I think it is difficult for people to believe that if they had been there, they would not have been able to make a difference. It is human nature to believe that you could have stopped the whole thing, if only you had been there with your .38...

    No, the risks that must be weighed in this discussion must be the total risk. Frankly, the risks of my weapons in my house pose a much greater threat to my family than going to the movie theater. I am much more likely to be shot by my gun than I am to stop an assailant. My child is more likely to shoot herself or a friend, even with my fastidious gun securing habits.

    Finally, I would like to point out that while the Bill of Rights secures my right to bear arms, it does not secure my right to unregulated arms. In other words, I do not have the right to have whatever I want, whenever I want. The government has a responsibility to regulate firearms. May I remind you that the weapons used in Colorado were legally purchased. They were not purchased in some back alley.

    So I think the gun rights advocates are being short sighted. They aren't thinking of the total risk, and they are only thinking of their personal interests in owning weapons, and they have no respect for the rule of law. Yes, I believe we should be able to own firearms, but I do not expect that there will be no regulations imposed on them, including limitations on what sort of weapons may be purchased.

    Thank you.

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