Monday, December 21, 2015

Thoughts on Gun Selection and Ownership

Last post, I discussed the reasons why I felt the need to own a gun. As a reminder, this post is for people who are interested in becoming responsible, first-time gun owners, and I’m not interested in engaging in a discussion about gun violence, gun control, or the myriads of reasons as to why one shouldn’t have one, so if that is your purpose for reading this post, please troll along.

Back to the topic of purchasing a gun, perhaps you’re overwhelmed with what to buy and where to buy one? First off, I cannot stress how important it is to note that when you do, it must be done so legally and according to the laws of your state. NEVER buy a weapon through a friend of a friend without going through an FFL (a Federal Firearms Licensee- in order to transfer firearms across state lines, someone who holds an FFL serves as the intermediary between the buyer and seller. Most gun dealerships and gun ranges have an FFL license, but it is always good to ask).

People have different reasons as to why they buy certain guns. Mine are the following:

Affordability 

A gun can range in the low hundreds to the thousands. I live by the motto that you generally get what you pay for, so I don’t go cheap with my weapons. My life and the life others may depend on it, and the last thing I want is a gun with cheap springs that may cause it to jam on me. With that said, I don’t want it to break the bank either. Generally, something in the mid-range price tag is what I look for, but it must serve certain practical purposes. That’s where practicality comes into the picture.

Practicality 

I usually ask myself the following questions. Can I shoot it, and if
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conceal carrying it, would it be obvious I had one? Personally, I would LOVE to own Rick’s 357 Colt Python revolver from the Walking Dead, but it’s not practical for me to carry such a long-barreled revolver around around. In Texas, starting this January, open carrying, will be allowed. I don’t know how you feel about that, but I’m not interested in promoting that I have one. With the current situation the way it is, and this being such a divisive issue, I personally feel that doing so is just inviting a fight, and/or removing the element of surprise by enticing someone to try and overpower me for my weapon. I’m a short woman who obviously has a concern about this, but if you’re a 6’ wall of muscle who doesn’t have that concern, then more power to you about open carrying. Your gun, your choice!

Accuracy
 

Believe it or not, buying a gun for aesthetic reasons can be costly. Being able to grip it and handle the recoil (how the gun snaps from your grip when you shoot it) determines the accuracy of the target, so it’s important to feel comfortable gripping the weapon. Certain gun ranges will allow you to rent different types to try as well. I recommend doing that before you buy one. Last week, my husband and I went to the shooting range and I tried the following: Glock 19, 3rd generation (9 mm), Ruger LCP .380, a Sig Sauer P229 (.40 caliber), and a Glock 22, 4th generation (.40 caliber).

9 mm Glock
9 mm Glock: I have small fingers, so I found that the third generation Glock, which has a bulkier and wider grip, made the trigger control more challenging and shooting the target less accurate. 3rd Generation Glocks seem to have that issue for people with smaller-sized hands and shorter fingers.

Ruger .380, a compact-sized gun
.380 Ruger: This is a much smaller weapon, which works well for close range situations. It makes a great concealed weapon that can easily slip into one’s pocket, which I don’t recommend carrying there without a holster, but I had issues with the recoil. Because it’s so small and light weight, shooting it comes with a rather sharp snap. I have arthritis on my fingers and wrists, so during cold spells or temperature changes, using this little trouble maker, really takes a toll on my wrists.





P229 Sig Sauer double action trigger
The P 229 Sig Sauer: This has a double action trigger. Basically, the trigger is a little tougher to shoot on the first try but sensitive on the rest. It took a while to get used to that and gripping it made it difficult to take the first shot since the trigger is harder to pull back. 


Fourth generation Glock 22 (.40 caliber): This is a full-sized
Glock 22, .40 caliber
weapon, which is much bigger than the Ruger. I had an easier to handle grip that felt less bulky than the third generation. Out of all the others, I had better accuracy with this one and the recoil, or snap, was more manageable when shooting.

Once you find the caliber that you are comfortable with, buying it is the next step. There are brick and mortar stores or you can do so online. So perhaps you're wondering, what's the next step? 

Brick and mortar stores

Pawn shops, Academy, Bass Pro Shop, or local gun shops you can Google in your area are good places to start. In Texas, generally all you need is your driver’s license and a form you fill out for a background check. Brick and mortar places ensure that the gun purchase went through the proper legal channels to acquire one. Be aware that each state is different, so it’s best to ask the store what the procedures are. Some states like California, for example, won’t allow you to purchase guns that hold over ten rounds of bullets. Thank God, for Texas, is all I have to say about that!

Online

Be wary of buying a gun online. Unless you already know exactly what caliber you feel most comfortable with, it’s difficult to determine the condition and warranty of the gun when buying something you can’t physically see yourself. There is an online forum called the Sig Forum, which is a discussion board for gun owners, that also has a classified section in which gun owners will sell you their used weapons as well. Sometimes you can find some really good deals there if you know what you are buying. My husband frequents this forum the most, because it is privately owned, there are no ads, and people seem the most helpful when you have questions. A note of caution when purchasing online, please be sure to never accept a purchase from anyone wanting to mail you the gun directly, unless you want to get yourself in a heap of trouble with ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). Today’s federal law requires a handgun to be shipped to an FFL licensee where you would provide the necessary credentials to accept it.


I hope this provided you some useful information on what type of gun to buy and where. The next part will include information about where you can learn to use and maintain a weapon. If you enjoyed reading this and would like to be notified when the next post goes live, please feel free to subscribe to my post. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Are You Thinking of Owning a Gun?

With the recent shooting in San Bernadino, California, everyone is talking about gun control. This debate seems to be causing a rather large rift, sometimes leading into arguments as to whether citizens should or should not have access to guns. First off, I’m not in the business of engaging anyone in this debate. As a former anti-gun person, I now have a strong pro-gun stance, so if you’re reading this to try to convince me as to why we need more gun control, please troll along. The purpose of this post is to provide some information for anyone who is considering using a weapon for self-defense, because like me, you've come to the realization that the best defense is the one you alone can provide for your family.

I’m not a hunter, nor do I consider myself an expert on guns. In fact, because I value life, the thought of arming myself to kill, always made me nervous, and I really had no interest in acquiring one. Admittedly, I didn't believe in owning a gun for self-defense.  I had a lot of trepidation even holding a weapon, but something happened that made me realize that although I value life, there are others who seek death, who don't. It all changed when I was a single mom, and for personal reasons I choose not to disclose, I felt that my life and the life of my daughter was in danger. When this happened, I did not hesitate, or even question whether I should get a gun for home protection and self-defense. It’s amazing how much a strong, no-gun opinion will change all that when the life of your family, which is sacred, becomes an issue. But I knew that with that type of power, I HAD to know how to use one responsibly. So I deferred to other experts to teach me and educate myself about gun use.

If you’re new to gun ownership or are on the fence about getting one, you probably have the following questions:

1. Why should I get one?

2. What and how do I purchase one?

3. How do I use or maintain it?

I plan to continue this blog post in a three-part series that will hopefully address all these questions. If you have more, please feel free to post on the comments below, and I will try to include those answers somewhere in the next two posts.

With that said, I would like to address the first question as to why one would need one. Social media is filled with comments from the opposition demonizing and chastising gun owners. There seems to be this misconstrued idea that gun owners are a bunch of blood lusting, violent and angry people.

In my experience, quite the opposite is true. I have many friends

who own weapons for hunting, home protection or carry them for self-defense. After all, this is Texas. It seems to come with the territory. Most will agree that they use it to protect their family if their life was in danger. Most understand the responsibility that comes with gun ownership and are either trained or licensed to carry a concealed weapon. 


I respect those who do not wish to carry. I really do get it, because I was like that. But by that same token, there seems to be an almost fascist approach to demonize and punish responsible gun owners who do, and that type of double standard becomes a problem, especially when the intent is to disarm citizens from protecting themselves. 

In today’s world, where mass shootings and terrorism have become more frequent, we simply cannot afford to rely on or expect that politicians, who are surrounded by their own heavily armed body guards, by the way, living inside their own glass castles, are going to magically sweep in to protect us. We have soldiers who take up arms on a daily basis to protect our freedoms on the other side of the world, I see no reason why trained, responsible citizens should not arm themselves to protect the home front if need be, and I firmly believe that it is up to the American people to do so, at least our immediate households. 

A few other points as to why I choose to own one:

Gun Free Zones Are an Open Invitation

Most if not all mass shootings, with the exception of the recent Garland Texas shooting, where an officer shot back and the shooters were stopped, take
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place in GUN FREE zones: Schools, movie theaters, gun free workplace. Why does the media or the government not address that? No. Instead, they all sound off the same knee-jerked alarm of: "We need more gun control!" in unison. Common sense tells us that anyone with intent to kill wants the advantage of doing so in a place where they can acquire the most amount of casualties. Yet, we keep sipping the Kool-Aid and thinking that more gun-free zones will put an end to all shootings. This simply does not sound like common sense.


Evil Doers Always Find a Way to Prey on the Innocent

Some of the most violent cities in the country have the strictest gun
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control: Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, San Francisco. Gun control there has not nipped killing in the bud, what makes us think that MORE restrictions will? 
Criminals and those who wish to do evil will find a gun, a knife, a hammer, whatever it takes to get the job done. The 2014 mass stabbing in Kunming, China that left 29 people dead and 130 wounded is one example. It seems that gun control mostly punishes the responsible gun owners and not people wanting to break the law. So why wouldn’t we want the citizens to have the tools to protect themselves?


In addition to practicing Krav Maga, this is why I'm okay with owning a gun for self-protection. If you don't agree, that's okay, I respect your viewpoint, but if like me, you are concerned about the safety of your family and would like to know more about safe and responsible gun ownership, feel free to come back again. Remember to subscribe if you would like to be notified when the next blog is posted which will detail what to buy and how to go about it. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 9, 2015

50 Shades of Black and Blue

I know that I'm a little late on this with domestic violence awareness month having come and gone in October, but I still wanted to address something that I told myself I was going to stay away from commenting about this whole 50 Shades of Grey movie that was released some time this year. Everywhere I turned, I saw commercials, social media posts, and news commentaries about the overnight success of this supposed, runaway hit, which was equated to that of Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, and other raunchy flicks. Recently, I saw 50 Shades promoted on Redbox when I made a pit stop to my local grocery store. Something about the way it was displayed really irked me, and I simply couldn't understand its allure to the film. 

The reviews lump this type of literature into one simple genre: Mommie Porn. The books are riddled with a young woman's apparent eye-opening and enlightening experience with BDSM upon getting involved with a very powerful and wealthy man Christian Grey. Some in the media have even gone so far as calling it empowering for women. Umm...what? Quite frankly, I JUST. Dont. GET it, ladies. 



There is no denying that sadomasochism has been around forever, even before the Marquis De Sade popularized it. But what I don't understand is that while we have thousands of women suffering under the domineering hand of sexual exploitation and abuse worldwide, we are, as a society, contributing to encouraging this type of behavior by romanticizing and glamorizing violence against women. Unfortunately, many young vulnerable teenage girls are sipping the 50 Shades of Grey kool-aid, believing these types of relationships are healthy. That can lead to a very dangerous road towards toxic relationships.


If you have daughters reaching their teens, I highly encourage you to read with them, Lundy Bancroft's book, "Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men." He details many of the characteristics exhibited by Christian Grey that are indicative of your classic, emotional physical abusers, such as: threats, isolation, intimidation, stalking, humiliation, and pressure. In real life, this is not a book of consent. Most Anastasias of today don't survive a Christian Grey character. Many of them end up in battered shelters, or worse, dead.  

The underlying reality of this novel seems to detail a grooming process that takes place by a typical abuser who preys upon vulnerable women like Anastasia, hence leading to a relationship that would eventually lead to abuse, had this been the real world. 

While I don't believe in censorship, I do believe in making our children literate to a better understanding about what it takes to value themselves enough so that they are not so easily swayed by the current trends of a world that encourages violence against women. In my opinion, and you can take it for what it's worth, 50 Shades of Grey should've been titled, "Sleeping with the Enemy: The Prequel."

And that's all I'm going to say about that!