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I own a gun


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The anti-gun people may now scream.

As several of you know who frequent the chat boards, I recently purchased a SKS. But that was on Monday or Tuesday. Today, I found out I owned a gun.

People talk about buying and selling guns. I used to think that way too, until I sat on my living room floor with my SKS in several pieces. At that moment, I hadn't bought a gun, I owned one.

The difference is a slight one, and one that most people don't notice. If you buy a gun, it's another thing to tuck away among all the CDs and DVDs. When you own it, you care about it, clean it and suddenly, its not a thing on your shelf or in your closet; you can't invest that much time and effort into cleaning and caring for something and remain indifferent.

I've always loved weapons, been fascinated by them. The first thing I ever fired was a crossbow, a specially made one that worked closer to a rifle. I remember that moment, cradling it in my hands, lining up the shot. The sights were for a lefty, but not knowing better, I just moved the crossbow off my shoulder until they worked and made my shot.

The butt of the crossbow slammed into my face, splitting my lip, but I barely felt it. I stared at my shot, a good one, and I was in love. I remember thinking, I was born in the wrong century. I was so crazy-in-love that the thought that I was the wrong gender for medieval warfare didn't occur to me.

I haven't looked back. Today, I'm about to go out to the range and shoot my SKS for the first time. I feel like it's a first date. I know it might hurt; recoil is a bitch.

But then, so is Love. It's still the best feeling in the world.

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And this is love. My "first date" went well. The SKS is a solid rifle and pretty to boot.

I got compliements on it at the range and at the gun store we stopped at for supplies. It was too hot outside in the middle of a day during one of Missouri's infamous late summers, but the gun worked great.

The moment of truth was wonderful; I had put a single bullet into the rifle in case the firing pin wasn't free floating, a problem we had been warned about it. The SKS had only been out in the sun a few moments, but it was already warm to the touch.

I hefted the weight of wood and metal to my shoulder; my left arm dipped and stablized. I gently pulled the safety latch away from the trigger, freeing it. I looked down the sights, lined them up and let my breath sigh out. In the moment of perfect stillness following my exhale, I pulled the trigger.

It was amazingly easy to squeeze. Built for war, the SKS is a soft touch. I was used to a Beretta 9mm, and overdid it, throwing off my aim. But the bark of the gun through the earplugs, the slide popping open for another round, even the slight slam of recoil into my shoulder: all were wonderful.

My heart was pounding, and I glanced at TS, eager to share the moment. She grinned back, not at all envious. Of course, she had her baby, her Beretta 9mm, in her hand, so perhaps she was a little dizzy herself.

I loaded the SKS and fired again and again, five rounds in all. I was a lousy shot, but then, I'm used to a handgun at 25 yards, not a rifle at 50.

But I'll learn. I hope that I can go hunting this fall and help supplement our meat with venison. And I shouldn't be in a hurry; all relationships take time to build.

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