Monday, September 24, 2012


This weekend I held and fired a rifle for the first time.


Because I had the opportunity to be with skilled people with years of experience. I was safe and I wanted to see what the attraction was. I wanted to feel what it was like so I could explain to our children better, why guns are not needed in mainstream society. And to be totally honest, I wanted to over come a deep fear of guns and maybe enjoy it. I have often seen people shooting clay and thought......could that be fun?

Heres what I liked. I liked loading the gun, sliding the bolt (I was firing a .22) and the shifting and clunking down on the mechanisms. I liked the combination of steel and the timber, it was a strange sensation to hold it in my hands, lighter than I imagined.

Thats where the thrill ended for me.

I aimed (at a milk bottle filled with water) and fired.

Now, I understand just how powerful a gun (any gun) can be. I had no real concept of how fast a bullet could fly, how easy it was to pull a trigger and how it could go wrong, so very wrong, so very quickly.

I grew up on a farm, with local farm boys heading out shooting foxes quite regularly. One night a young man nearly lost his life in a rifle accident and I often could that happen? The!!!!

Would I do it again...NO!

I could not see the attraction at all. However, I can see now how humane it is to put a farm animal down with a bullet. With a good shot, an animal would not see it coming and after growing up on the farm, I can understand very clearly (and now fully support) why Dad had a rifle and why he never wanted us to touch it.

I know this is a confronting subject, one which will raise some genuine concerns and I welcome discussion....just remember your manners.


Sally said...

I'm terrified of guns too.
Being a suburbanite there is no place for them in my life.

...water pistols on the other hand... summer fun!

mel @ loved handmade said...

I grew up with guns around, for farming purposes. I could never be in the room if they were there, though they were always locked away somewhere when not in use. They've always terrified me, I don't think I'll ever overcome that fear. My little boys, being boys love them, playing army and bad guys. I found this very disturbing early on, at one point confiscated every toy gun (all bought by relatives) and they still managed to create weapons out of all kinds of objects. Now we have very strict rules about that kind of play and the moment it starts to turn aggressive, the toys are put away. Also, they are not to be played with when guests are over out of respect for other parents beliefs on the matter, it can be a very sensitive topic. We always played army and cops 'n robbers as kids, but it still worries me that our boys just don't understand the enormity of what guns can do in real life, though neither did we, and we are certainly not desensitised as a result. You were very brave to have a go, I can't even be around when I see an armaguard van and officers, I go weak!

Bree said...

As with most things in life they have their time and place. Suburbia is neither. My husband goes to the USA for work and is constantly disturbed by the 'no concealed weapons' signs. Why would you need to carry a concealed weapon to school or the cinema?? We all know how that story ends.

**Anne** said...

I grew up on a farm and we had guns. I've never touched them myself and have no desire to have such a powerful piece of equipment in my hands.
We went fox hunting, my Dad driving, my brother with the rifle and me with the spot light. It was a necessary evil. The odd rat would get shot too, but the rifles were mainly used for fox hunting or putting down a very sick animal. The rifles and ammunition are locked up in separate places so it would be very hard for them to get into the wrong hands.
There is no place for guns in the city or towns and I don't understanding why people go shooting for recreations purposes involving animals like ducks etc.

Anne xx

Anonymous said...

Guns are a confronting subject and I thought you might be interested in my experience.
My younger brother has a drug addiction and unfortunately guns in the part of society that he was mixing in at the time are prevalent - some are hidden, some are concealed but believe me they exist and are traded in all manner of methods. My brother at the height of his addiction shot a hand gun that could have had horrible consequences - by that I mean a random shot could have taken someones life. We were fortunate that it didnt, however my brother served time in prison as a result of his actions (and the drug problem - as he should have by the way)and has been released recently (3 months). I am pleased to report that he is now squeaky clean and reflects on the drug addition, his life with drugs and the particular event with the gun and wonders why? how it happened? but he knows he will never go back there again. So of course I am very much anti guns - my brothers, his childrens life and my familes life have been changed forever by the gun culture that seems to be evolving in Australia (and bad decision making on my brothers behalf). I consider Australia very lucky that our police force work very hard to prevent guns being imported illegally, and stolen/traded but I suspect although they will continue to fight the battle they may never win that particular war completely (I believe that crimes using handguns in particular are the problem and not as significant with rifles)

Anyway - just another perspective and something that may help when the time comes to explain to children the consequences of guns (and drugs)
PS I am sending this anonymously, not because I am ashamed of my brother - it takes more courage to serve a sentence in jail and come out a better person than most people will ever understand, but many people are not tolerant and I wish to protect his privacy

Jenny from Ohjoh said...

I'm a (once was a) farm girl too. Dad's rifle was a "no go" zone - no questions asked & no compromise. The "amo" was always in a different room and was also untouchable. We all respected that and respected him for it.
It was always emphasised that guns were not toys and were very serious, dangerous things that were only for responsible adults to use for sick stock or foxes.
This was also emphasised because a city nephew had a serious gun accident as a young kid (playing with a loaded gun that was supposed to be unloaded and in a locked cupboard). He was very lucky and survived.
Guns have no place in our home in suburbia.

Nikki said...

I'm an ex-farm girl, who grew up with guns being used for farm stuff. We kids were kept well away. There was a gun accident on a nearby farm when I was a teenager too.... so similar experience to you, Leonie. Only, guns still terrify me and I'd never have the nerve to fire one. You're a braver woman than I.