Monday, February 11, 2013


Getting Guns

"There’s this idea that women are more affiliative, more peace loving, more pacifistic, which should then make women as a group gun averse," said one women's studies professor and gun-book-author in this Times article about women and firearms, and yet:

Women’s participation in shooting sports has surged over the last decade, increasing by 51.5 percent for target shooting from 2001 to 2011 ... and by 41.8 percent for hunting, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.

I went to a shooting range once, thinking it'd be exciting, maybe something like the movies, but I was wrong and hated it. I guess I'm glad I went, though. Any more-interesting stories or thoughts?

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I used to have to go to duck hunts, and some of my relatives went hunting, but no one EVER EVEN ASKED ME if I wanted to try to fire a gun.


@Megano! My dude hunts and I once went with him on a duck hunt. I would have totally fired a shot but I didn't have a license so I couldn't. So that may be why, I know the rules vary if you are hunting on your own property, though.


@katiemcgillicuddy It was actually a turkey shoot, not sure if that makes a difference. I'm sure we were on someone's property, not sure who. But still, no one asked if I ever wanted to learn!

Judith Slutler

@Megano! Yeah maybe this is part of what's changing? I got to try shooting because my dad asked me if I wanted to. But he's the one of his siblings who left the farm and became a very progressive hippie type. I don't think my aunts were taught to shoot when they were girls. Perhaps more gender equality = more women getting in on the hunting and shooting traditions in their families.


@Megano! I'm pretty sure you'd still need a license. Again though, property laws vary from state to state. Still, they should have asked you if you were interested!


@Megano! I'm pretty sure you'd still need a license. Again though, property laws vary from state to state. Still, they should have asked you if you were interested!


While you would need a license to actually hunt, I don't think you would need a license to simply discharge a firearm where it would be otherwise allowed, so long as you don't aim at (or somehow miraculously hit) game.


@purefog Ok, I suppose because we were on public land and they were definitely hunting, it would be stupid and risky for me, in that case, to shoot, but I see what you are saying.


Same here. My grandfather went hunting with all his sons, and I recently learned my brother went a few times, but nobody ever asked me. They didn't even tell me it was going on! Let alone invite me. I thought my grandfather had stopped ages ago, despite keeping hunting dogs. My brother started talking about the closet where our grandfather kept his guns, and I was like, huh? What are you talking about? Very weird to think about in retrospect, just how gendered & secretive & exclusionary they were about it.


I had a lot of fun at YMCA summer sleep-away camp when I learned how to shoot a pump-action rifle and also a bow and arrow. It was surprisingly difficult and also satisfying to hit the target? So I can kind of see the appeal. But at the same time, we were middle school kids at an outdoor range and the next scheduled activity was either horseback riding or water-skiing, so. It's kind of hard for me to see the appeal of it when it's not a game of skill and steady nerves and also ice cream bars and lemonade and fun music just far enough way to not be distracting while you have a deadly weapon in your hands.

(I got to go to sleepaway camp ONCE and only for two weeks because that was the year my mom worked for the Y so it was free. It was so cool, except for the bratty older girls that made fun of me. But I learned to waterski and canoe and ride a horse and make lanyards and shit, which was pretty cool.)


I got an ex boyfriend to take me to a shooting range to fire his assault rifle because that is literally the entire point of dating a southern Republican. Well worth it, too; I broke up with him soon after but I will always carry with me the sweet memory of holding death in my two hands.

ha ha, no, it just felt like good fun. Also, we should ban all handguns, seriously.

Champagne and potato chips

@queenofbithynia "entire point of dating a southern Republican" Aren't you forgetting the Bourbon expertise?

Mmm, bourbon.


I pretty much abhor all guns, but for my brother in law's birthday two years ago a group of us went to a range and shot machine guns.
It was awesome.
So awesome my husband and I took his family for Christmas last year.
But I'll be damned if I ever let one of those things into my house.


@NeverOddOrEven I agree completely about the shooting range being fun and yet never wanting to have on in your home. I went a couple times with some friends in college and had a lot of fun making loud noises at a target (I even hit it a couple times) in a VERY HIGHLY REGULATED SETTING.

Then there was a plan to go back with printed copies of our theses and put THOSE on the targets, but unfortunately it never panned out.


@NeverOddOrEven My thoughts exactly. I have zero interest in owning a gun, but would like to learn how to shoot at a local range. Not sure why I want to learn how - the fun factor? The sexy factor? The idea that my respect for guns would only grow if I had actual experience with them?


Or just having the experience and learning new stuff? Nothing wrong with that.
I want to try as much stuff as I can, even if I don't see it becoming a 'thing' long-term. For example, I went and got my motorcycle license a couple of years ago even though I shouldn't ride. But I had wanted to learn my whole life. So I did. Haven't been on a bike since.


That's a damn shame. Sounds awesome!


@Bittersweet I found target practice helped relieve a lot of pent-up stress. As a Very Anxious Person it was really gratifying, if a little surprising.

fondue with cheddar

All this. Plus, it will be a useful skill to have when the zombie apocalypse happens.

raised amongst catalogs

@Champagne and potato chips Hey, totally off-topic and all, but...is your username a nod to an excellent essay by MFK Fisher?

Chareth Cutestory

@fondue with cheddar I came here just to say that. Every time I watch The Walking Dead, I say to myself, "Huh, I should go to a shooting range."


When I was a youngin' spending summers at my grandparents' place outside Houston, we'd occasionally line up cans on the fence and shoot them with a .22. I only did that maybe twice.

When I was in my early twenties, a girlfriend took me to a firing range for my birthday and we shot handguns. It was fun, and I'm glad I learned how to properly handle one, though I have no special desire to own one.

My uncle has an unregistered Walther PP that's supposedly some leftover from WWII. It doesn't have any paper trail, so it doesn't officially exist. He wants me to have it, and explains that the fact that it's unregistered means the government won't know to come take it away, which is a Very Good Thing. He also is deeply suspicious of the moon landing.


@Emby Oh geeze, your uncle.

My family has a (probably) unregistered handgun from WWII, as well - my grandfather, who was an Austrian Jew who got the the States in 1938, joined the Air Force officially as a mechanic, but ended up doing a lot of interrogations because, well, he spoke German. At the end of the war he was stationed in Munich and captured a Nazi officer, and kept his gun. So we still have it, as a memento. (It is currently in a lock-box somewhere that, at the moment, my father has the only access to, because we also had ammunition for it and my mother has chronic severe depression - the last time she was hospitalized, they wouldn't let her come home until it was out of the house.)

Champagne and potato chips

Disclaimer: I have a weird aversion to guns- I can see them, hold them, be around while others are shooting them (I have family members who shoot sporting clays), but for some reason, any time I fire one I cry. It's very strange and not related to any sort of trauma that I know of, I've just always felt panicked and distraught after firing any sort of gun.

That being said, I don't think it has anything to do with being female- I know men and women who enjoy going to the firing range. The only difference I have noticed is that my women friends will say that they are going to the range "to unwind" or relax, blow off steam, and will go solo as often as not, whereas the men I know seem to get more jazzed up and competitive about it, and generally want to go in groups. Small sample size, so it's not in any way conclusive, just something I noticed- anyone else have similar observations?

fondue with cheddar

@Champagne and potato chips There is something scary about having that kind of power, just knowing that you could kill someone that easily.

I don't have any real experience with guns, though. My experience I've ever had with a gun was watching a friend's mom fire a shot or two from a revolver in her yard, and unloading the magazine from a boyfriend's handgun while crossing the bridge into a state where it's illegal to carry.


Innteresting. I think there's a "sexy lady with a gun" stereotype the Times doesn't really talk about that could be driving increased female interest. It's this fetishized archetype like Ava Crowder in the first seasons of Justified -- hot, seemingly delicate, but willing to aim a shotgun at an abusive husband. Anyone else notice this? It's a female Rambo fantasy, maybe, but I admit I see the appeal of being that bad-ass lady.

Also, my mom reports getting lots of male attention at gun shows in Tennessee.

Judith Slutler

@TheBelleWitch Oh totally. I know at least one woman who has got her CC permit after getting mugged, and there's definitely a "now I'm a female badass in heels and lipstick with a gun" component to why she wanted to start shooting.


@Emmanuelle Cunt See "Gundpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert, which details this fantasy in an insanely singable country song. I sing along to every word, even though I've turned it off more times than not since Sandy Hook.


@TheBelleWitch Its disappointing when women claim that the only kind of women who do an activity they don't approve of (like shooting), do it to get the sexual attention of men. It's kind of catty.

Anecdotally, I started shooting because it was a fun father-daughter activity. Living in SF, I don't tell a lot of people I hunt, let alone guys on dates. Its something very personal and is important because of the great memories I have with my dad in the blinds.


@Mockingbird42 I agree with your point, though I don't know that that is happening here (the OP even claims that her mom goes to gun shows, and I don't think she's saying her mom does it for sexual attention). I agree with you in that I don't think that the increase in women engaging in target sports is due solely to the phenomenon that @TheBelleWitch talks about, but I also think that the stereotype that she's talking about is out there.


@wee_ramekin But that stereotype probably keeps a lot of women off the range, too, though. Like, you just want to target practice, and you're weighing that against the random creepers you're probably going to run into at the range whose primary experience with women and guns is those gross Guns and Ammo-type pin-up posters.

I think there's also a critical mass thing going on. I've been to the range with the husband a few times. I liked it. I'm interested in learning more and getting better. But I'm not super-comfortable learning a new skill in an environment where literally everyone else in the place was a dude and half of them were kind of giving me the side-eye and/or "lol chicks with guns" looks, and I doubt I'm the only one to feel that way. If you get enough women involved in sport-shooting and hunting that newcomers aren't sticking out like a sore thumb and getting immediately trolled by every problem-dude in the immediate vicinity, the newcomers are more likely to stay. So once you hit that baseline, the floodgates are going to open.


And women are measurably and consistently better at target shooting, right? Isn't that why they split the Olympic events by sex, so that women wouldn't take all the medals? I always heard (urban-legend-like, although I think it is actually true ?) that this and long-distance swimming are the two areas of physical prowess where women absolutely dominate (that is, killing and staying alive.)

Of course, we are not as good at pro football, so still physically inferior in absolute terms.


@queenofbithynia Is this possibly why they split up male and female pool players, because that shit has always pissed me off to no goddamn end. God forbid a woman beat a man.


Many people suspect that the Olympics stalled on including women's ski jumping because, with women's smaller bodies offering less wind resistance, women ski jumpers would start breaking men's world records.


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll no no I have it on good Olympic Official authority that that was because your uterus can fall out. Nobody wants to see that on television, think of the sponsors



"And women are measurably and consistently better at target shooting, right? Isn't that why they split the Olympic events by sex, so that women wouldn't take all the medals?"

No evidence for this, sorry. I have occasionally heard varied explanations for this supposed fact- "women have a weaker heartbeat less likely to affect their aim" to "women are more patient" to "women are less likely to approach training with pre-existing amateur bad habits to be retrained", but nobody ever has any actual citations for the *existance* of this supposed gender-dominance they're explaining.

There have been some highly effective female snipers (Soviet Russia was very keen on female snipers, and Dr. Ruth- yeah, the little old lady sex advice guru- was an Israeli sniper in her youth), and elite female shooting competitors obviously blow your everyday hobby shooter of either gender out of the water when it comes to marksmanship. But Olympic shooting events were actually open to either gender from 1968-1980 and only two women ever medalled in that time, only one of which was gold. The top snipers today and in history have been male (although being a good sniper is way more than just being a good shot), and target shooting as a sport is still male-dominated at every level.

I suspect the strong male presence and performance in elite competitive shooting has more to do with cultural expectations and career opportunities than innate gender-based abilities, but there's no "gotcha, women are actually best at this!" reveal to be had, either. Shooting accurately is hard, some men are really good at it (and a lot more of them attempt it), and some women are really good at it (despite a lack of social script saying they should be). This is not a strongly gender dimorphic skill set and really, why would it be?


@emmycantbemeeko This is not a strongly gender dimorphic skill set and really, why would it be?

heck if I know, but since they're splitting the competitions by sex, that's a question I'd like answered.

But Olympic shooting events were actually open to either gender from 1968-1980 and only two women ever medalled in that time, only one of which was gold.

Out of how many female entrants compared to how many male entrants? Not challenging you for the numbers since I don't have any of my own (though I'd be interested if you have them at your fingertips!) but that fact in isolation tells us nothing.

As to snipers, I cannot speak to Russia or Israel, but as you may know, in the United States Army and Marines, women were not officially allowed to be snipers until, what, a couple of weeks ago. I think that this may have had some impact on the number of successful women snipers, but I am no statistician. (In the Air Force, where shooting humans in the head from afar is not classified as combat for mysterious reasons that civilians would not understand, the situation is different. so I hear.)


Mind. Blown.



Yep! Mr. Rogers was not, but Dr. Ruth was!


I am a kickass sniper. In Star Wars: Battlefront.


@purefog Literally?



I believe the number of women competing in the mixed shooting events was in the range of 20 but I don't have the numbers to hand (I had a similar conversation some time ago with a friend who is a sniper and we looked this stuff up at the time). It was certainly more than the two who ever medalled. This is probably largely due to lower female participation in the sport at all levels BUT as support for the assertion "women are consistently and measurably better" than men, and the idea that the events were split to keep women from taking all the medals, that's a pretty poor showing.

They split most of the shooting events at the Olympics in the 1980s under political pressure from Eastern European countries when it began to look likely that women might begin to win *any* medals, not *all* the medals. Sexist bullshit? Hell yes. Evidence of consistent measurable female dominance in the sport? No.

Why is the split-gender Olympic policy not opposed more strongly by elite female shooters? Probably because, although no doubt most would appreciate the change to compete at the Olympic level against men, that desire is balanced against the appeal of twice as many slots for shooting competitors at the Olympics. If they recombined the split events without expanding the number of qualifying slots, half the shooters who now qualify would not. It's probably tough to work up grassroots support within the sport for that sort of change, ideology aside.

There is already mixed-gender competition at many other levels in competitive shooting, and it has existed in the Olympics in the past. It has not borne out evidence of either gender being "consistently and measurably better" than the other. Target shooting being the product of years of training, it's not a simple thing to study in isolation, but I've yet to see any data that supports the idea that either gender is inherently more skilled at it. There are currently more men at every level of shooting skill, probably because of opportunity (as you mentioned) and cultural expectations, but there's also no evidence for the idea that if those things were leveled, women would prove better.

Personally, I suspect that controlling for all other factors, men and women would prove to have a similar distribution of shooting ability. I suspect American women will turn out to make good snipers at a similar rate as American men and as men and women of other nationalities as the combat arms branches open to them. My point was simply that by none of the existing measures of shooting skill have women been shown to be "consistently and measurably better". Which is what you were asking about in the first place, right?

fondue with cheddar

@emmycantbemeeko I would imagine being a teeny tiny sniper is a huge advantage because you can hide in places a larger person can't.


I've seen someone die of a gunshot wound, and I wasn't particularly fond of guns before then, so I can't really see real ones as something to play with (like firing for target practice or just for "fun"), but I'm not really averse to toy guns or play shooting games - is that weird?

all the bacon and eggs

@iceberg I don't think it's weird. There are lots of things that are ok to do for pretend but not for real.

Ham Snadwich

@iceberg - Kinda the opposite with my dad. Real guns were ok, but you had to learn to use them responsibly and they were absolutely off limits when an adult wasn't around. Toy guns weren't ok because guns aren't toys.


Lest we forget Abe's excellent, related piece.


@melis "Drunk woman vs 50 cal. pistol" = destroyed faith in humanity. Next time someone talks to me about the vast majority of "sane, responsible gun owners" in America, I'm sending them that link.

Lisa Frank

When I was learning how to shoot, I was told that women are better marksmen (markswomen?) because they have better fine motor control. During WWII, the Red (Soviet) Army trained women to be snipers.
But I'm a terrible shot and it terrifies me to hold a gun to be honest.

Nicole Cliffe

I enjoy shooting, but am sufficiently bad at it to guess watching me would not be a sexy experience for anyone, and would likely inspire onlookers to support stricter gun control laws.


At my 3-year-old's behest, I started taking archery lessons this year. Guns have never seemed very cool to me, but I've gotten super into bows and arrows. Archery's kind of meditative like games you make up when you're bored: trying to throw little balled-up pieces of paper into a trash can, for instance. I've never shot a gun, but maybe it's the same kind of thing?

Miss Maszkerádi

@jeffersonia Oh man, I think I would vomit if I ever had to even hold a gun but I would SO MUCH LOVE archery. It doesn't say "weapon of war" so much as "swashbuckling hero with a feather in his cap" to me, and I'd lose myself in endless daydreams of legendary rogues.... :D


@jeffersonia I did rifling at girl scout camp one summer and I haaaaated it so much! It was way too loud and I had so much anxiety with having a gun in my hand. Archery is the best! I took lessons in middle/high school and loved it because it's meditative qualities. I was also the only girl and a better shot than the bow hunters' kids, so there was that too.

fondue with cheddar

@Countess Maritza I feel the same way. I would love to try archery! I held a gun once. I was with a guy who was comfortable with guns but totally not a "gun nut". He carried one for protection when in dangerous neighborhoods, such as the one near where he used to live. One time we were driving from his place to mine, and as we crossed the bridge from Philly (PA has loose gun laws) to New Jersey (where there are tough restrictions), he asked me to retrieve his handgun from the glove compartment and remove the magazine because it was illegal for him to possess a loaded weapon there. I did it because I didn't want him to break any laws, but I was totally uncomfortable with it and kind of upset that he'd put me in that situation. To be fair, he had no idea how I felt about guns because when he'd told me in the past that he had one I didn't voice my opinion about the matter because it seemed like something he only did when he was in that specific city near where he lived. I told him that I never wanted him to bring it when he came to see me, and as far as I know he never did.


I found this January article about gun control from The Week Magazine incredibly interesting.

The male author points out that most victims of gun violence are women, and that poor women especially often live "in a sea of guns". I hadn't consciously thought about that aspect of gun violence before.

Ham Snadwich

@wee_ramekin - I don't think it's true that most victims of gun violence are women.


@Ham Snadwich Oh man, you are totally right. I stated that incorrectly. I hadn't read the article since it came out in January, and I didn't re-read it before posting.

What I was trying to point out is the picture that the quote below illustrates:

"It will come as no surprise to most people that men commit homicide 10 times as often as women. Their victims are often women. Two thirds of women killed by spouses are killed with guns. Firearm assaults on female family members and intimate acquaintances are approximately 12 times more likely to result in death than are assaults using other weapons. This is not some minor secondary issue. It is the heart of the matter — a form of chronic and pervasive domestic terrorism. It is impossible to claim to address gun violence in America while failing to address domestic violence against women."

Tuna Surprise

My dad is a shooting enthusiast/gun nut and when me and my sister were younger (late elementary into early teens), he used to make us go target shooting with him. And I HATED it. I had little chicken arms and shooting a gun with any sort of kick was torture.

Although if I had a big piece of property, I wouldn't hesitate to get a BB gun or air rifle and enjoy ripping up empty coke cans now and again.


I used to be vehemently anti-gun. Then I dated someone who was very pro-gun. He took me to the range, taught me how to properly handle a firearm, and let me shoot. And I was a GREAT shot. And now I really enjoy shooting sports of all kinds. I still think ALL guns should be the most controlled and regulated thing in society, though.

Oh, and I married him!

Emma K@twitter

@charlesbois Same thing happened to me. My younger self never imagined that I'd be close enough to touch a gun, let alone live in a house with guns (locked up in a safe, of course). Handguns still kind of scare me, but shooting rifles and shotguns (especially trap shooting) is very satisfying.

Emma K@twitter

@charlesbois And I'm firmly in support of any and all gun control and regulation.


@Emma K@twitter I love trap and skeet! I think people who have never shot before don't realize what instant gratification it is to blast a clay pigeon. Pull the trigger and you immediately know whether you've hit the mark or not. I find it extremely therapeutic.

Derbel McDillet

@charlesbois Similar experience: was mildly anti-gun, then started dating a guy who had guns but wasn't super "into" them (we live in a rural area in a state where pretty much everyone has at least one gun). He taught me to shoot and I'm actually a really good shot! The only handgun I enjoy shooting is an old-west style .22 six-shooter.
We got married, too!


Been to a gun range twice

1. in florida with my dad, his suggestion (weird as he is such a pacifist type). It was fun although our instructor, an ex-sheriff, was bizarrely obsessed with the idea that if a rapist gets me in a back alley I'm not going to have (light/time to think/time to aim carefully) so the gun range experience should simulate that (i.e. turn the light off that's on the target). Also women shoot for half price on fridays!

2. Took my ex for christmas to a place outside of toronto. There is ... nothing memorable about this experience except I tried a bunch of different types of guns and enjoyed myself.

A bunch of my friends have firearm licenses as well. According to them, the biggest difference in Canada in terms of gun violence (apparently) is that hand guns are much harder to own/transport. I think you have to get a separate license every time you want to transport a hand gun.


@redheaded&crazy See, licensure! Yes! Why is that a problem for gun rights advocates? You need a license and training to drive a car (large speeding metal projectile that can kill people), why not to own/shoot a gun? I will never understand this.


I don't really see the appeal of target shooting at a range. It seems boring. But if you go out in a field and shoot skeet/trap shooting? THAT IS SUPER FUN.


"I put a post-it note on the transformer saying 'broken.'"

Nicole Cliffe

I get my back up a tiny bit when people talk about banning guns, because my own familial experience with guns has always been rural-varmints-nearest-neighbor-or-police-half-an-hour-away, but, right, no one is trying to take THOSE guns away. And no one needs an assault weapon.


@Nicole Cliffe This is what I keep hammering on about with my Fox News watching friends (sigh... and family... sigh...). No one is trying to take those guns away. No one wants to take those guns away.

(Incidentally my similar experiences are why I'm not in favor of broad handgun bans. It's a hell of a lot easier to keep a pistol on your hip if you have to shoot a rattlesnake or a rabid coyote when you're riding fence or checking cattle than to run to your truck to get your shotgun out, and I know plenty of ranchers who do just that.)


@Nicole Cliffe will no one speak for the varmints


@queenofbithynia they came for the critters, and I said nothing...


@iceberg @queenofbithnyia So many thumbs-ups.


@Nicole Cliffe Never even thought of this as an angle. I've always been incredibly anti-guns, but I guess maybe it is really a different thing in rural America to London or even rural England. Interesting perspective shift. Cheers!


@Nicole Cliffe My dad and brother have been moaning about the possibility of greater gun restrictions, which is frustrating in general, but they don't even own guns! I seriously do not get the point of getting so bent out of shape over something that doesn't even affect you.

miss olsen

One of my coworkers recently got engaged and received on that occasion the traditional diamond ring and pistol with laser sight and monogram.


@miss olsen yiiiiiiiiiikes


@miss olsen Received from who[m]? The gift-giver is a telling detail on this one...

fondue with cheddar

@miss olsen I read your comment as a diamond ring with a tiny laser-sighted pistol mounted on it, the idea of which I absolutely love.

miss olsen

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Her now-fiance gave her a ring and a gun! Sadly they were separate items, but an engagement ring with a tiny pistol mounted on it would be an excellent way to propose to a spy.


I think I would feel weird about just holding one. also, aren't they loud?

I am a really jumpy person (as in I literally jump/tense up when I get startled) so I don't think anything gun-related would be an activity for me.


@planforamiracle I am the same way, which is a problem when my super gun-enthusiast boyfriend wants to bring me to the range. I'll go, like, every other time because I just can't handle the noise for a sustained amount of time. (And I double up on earplugs!)


Meaning that I stick some in my ears, while wearing noise-cancelling headphone things. In case you picturing me actually doubled up on one, or the other :|


There was a shooting this morning at a place I sometimes frequent for work. Three people dead. My feelings right now about guns are that nobody should have them except the police.


@themegnapkin Are you referring to the courthouse shooting in Wilmington? My brother is an attorney in MN and one of his colleagues was shot to death at their local courthouse a while back, so I definitely relate to your feeling.


@Blondsak Yes, exactly. On average, I go to court maybe once every month or so, if this had taken place on a different day, I could have been there. And I know a lot of people who work/have worked there daily. This one feels personal in a way that Sandy Hook, for all that it was much, much more terrible and heartbreaking, didn't.


@themegnapkin I am so, so sorry.


@themegnapkin I'm so sorry.


@wee_ramekin & @laurel - thanks. Nobody I know was directly involved, thank goodness.


My dad took me duck hunting a few times when I was in my early teens. I had my own gun (16-guage bolt action shotgun if you're keeping score). But I found out pretty fast that I didn't like shooting animals. I liked getting up early and going for a long walk in the country, just me and my dad; I did not like killing ducks. I could see getting into target shooting for the thrill of competition, especially if you like the way it feels to shoot a gun. Personally, like most prey animals, I am not a fan of loud noises or sudden movements.


@blueblazes I'm jealous, I definitely want a 16-gauge. I have a strange predilection for the rarer sizes, and a 16-gauge or a 10-gauge is my dream. Although I'm sure the 10-gauge is going to feel like an elephant gun.


@charlesbois We got it at a gun show, of course. The fact that it is an odd size (good luck finding shells for it) and bolt action makes me think it must be an antique. I assume it still lives in my dad's gun safe.We bought it because I wasn't sure I could handle a 12 at that age. A 10 probably would have knocked me off my feet.:)


I've fired everything except the shotty (I'm small and it packs a bit of a kick) in my intrepid Western family's extensive arsenal. It was required of me as a child, as a gesture toward responsible gun ownership with kids in the house.

As far as I know, no one in my family has ever fired a weapon in anything other than a target setting, but a thin, strong thread of alcoholism + rage issues runs through the generations. When people talk about "responsible gun owners" these are the people I think about. I vote gun control.


@laurel oh try the shotgun! Shotties are my absolute favorite thing to shoot! Try a big gun, and the kick will be less. I know, it sounds paradoxical, but the heavier weight will absorb the recoil more. My bantam model 20-gauge fits me like a glove, but it absolutely kills my shoulder. My double-barrel 12-gauge takes a little muscling to swing it around, but man is it smooth and easy on my bod. I could shoot it all day (and have!).


@charlesbois I'm sure you're right, but there's only one in the immediate family and my brother feels it the next day.

Do they make lead-free shot? 'Cause I'm not interested in adding any more lead to the soil and groundwater.


@laurel Yep, they make steel shot, which IIRC is typically promoted for wetland hunting (like ducks).


I don't like the indoor ranges - the pressure waves coming from all the guns being fired are too much for me. However, the outdoor ranges are enjoyable. Also, since we have a ranch that is 50 miles from the nearest small town (and our house on it is 10 miles from my husband's brother's house on it, so it is definitely isolated), guns are a necessity. We also enjoy making little rocks out of big ones by going shooting when we are there. My husband has several guns and has purchased a few for me as well.

That having been said, the second amendment is not about hunting, self-defense or enjoying one's self on a range. It is about making sure that the government stays in check and that a tyrannical government cannot take away guns from law-abiding citizens. Please look up things like the Quartering Act for more information as to why the founding fathers thought this such a necessity.


I shot almost shot a gun once! When I was 12, I woke up really early on "opening day" (deer hunting) and went to the tree stand my dad had built me. I saw a deer, put up my gun... and decided I really didn't want to kill it. So I just put my gun down and feel asleep in the tree stand, and have never had the desire to hold a gun or pretend to be interested in hunting things since then.

Also, 12 seems really young to be handling a f*cking rifle?


I've never fired a gun in my life, but I am intrigued, and would like to learn how. I think the uptick in women learning how to shoot likely has at least a little bit to do with the fact that more and more women are taking it upon themselves to learn self-defense and to protect themselves, which I am all for. I don't know if having a gun is the best way to do it, because I can think of all sorts of scenarios where you may have the gun but control of the gun might be pretty easily taken from you and then turned on you. But I think it would be useful to at least know how to properly handle and use one. Just in case.


My dad was/is a gun nut (gifted my brother an I NRA memberships at age 18, um, thanks?). He has what could be legitimately called an arsenal, and taught me and my 3 siblings how to handle, load, unload, reload (in the home-made bullets sense), and shoot. We all took a hunter's safety course (my father is still an instructor in these courses) did a short bout of competitive/recreational air-rifle marksmanship with the local American Legion, and my brother and I each went hunting a little bit. But, part of the hunting experience was cleaning your animal, and after spending a good part of my youth raising and slaughtering chickens, the idea of dealing with a dead animal for fun was just not appealing at all. I shot 1 pheasant, and that was it. I was happy enough to go along and act as the dog; all the socializing, walking in the outdoors, and all that and none of the clean-up. Fun enough for a 14-year-old.

Now, I live in a relatively gun-shy state and have absolutely no interest in owning one. Shooting recreationally has all the appeal of golf to me. That is: fun enough to do maybe every year or two, certainly not worth owning the equipment for it, and expensive enough. As far as hunting, I have so many better ways to enjoy the outdoors (running, hiking, cycling) that it has never even seemed slightly attractive.


@Aeroplane AMEN to all of that.


I clerked for a judge, and he took my co-clerk and I on the last day of our clerkship to the range with our courtroom marshal, and I basically had a panic attack just being in the range, what with the loud noises that each made me jump and being terrified I would inadvertently shoot myself or someone else. I then spent the rest of the time crying in the gun shop bathroom. It was super embarassing, and my judge felt really bad, but there's no way he could have known I would have that reaction. Still, guns, ugh.


When I was coming home to visit, my mom informed that my mom's dude (who I had not met at that point) wanted to take me to the gun range. I was curious, and I figured it would be a good way to get to know the dude, on his turf. So we went, I found out I was really good at shooting targets in the head, except from when I aimed at the head. This was out in the desert, a guy had a decomissioned army tank, there was a good mix of the sexes, a lot of camo, and a guy who had something that looked like a shoulder cannon (not the technical term, I'm sure) shooting at a silhouette of a wolf. Glad I went, but I have no desire to repeat the experience.

Elizabeth Asaurus-rex@facebook

I think the real point here is that women really need to devote more time matching their firearms to their outfits.


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