Talking Story

gun safety

I’m not a gun gal.

Let’s get that straight from the beginning. I don’t conceal carry, although I’ve heard the certification lectures often enough that I could teach the classes. I don’t own a gun. Until last weekend, I’d probably shot a firearm half a dozen times in my life. Someone else always loaded the gun and made sure I didn’t shoot anything I wasn’t willing to destroy.

My husband, however, is a gun guy. That makes our house a gun house. And while he has extensive training and skill—seriously ridiculous amounts in the minds of those who are not Tribe Gun—I have not.

When we got married, the deal was no mounted animals or parts of animals in the house or garage. He agreed as long as I promised never to make spaghetti sauce with mushrooms ever again. He wouldn’t ask me to go on a hunting trip; I wouldn’t make him go to a poetry slam open mike night.

Compromise and communication are how we roll.

After 30+ years of this, I finally decided that it was pretty foolish to be surrounded by guns and ammo and have no idea how to use them—even if it was just to make sure the safeties were engaged and the guns unloaded. I was tired of wondering what I would do if—heaven forbid—he was out of town and I opened a drawer or a glove box to an unhappy surprise that should’ve been in the gun safe.

So I said I’d take a beginner’s two-day defensive handgun course at Front Sight Nevada if he did it with me.

To my husband, it was Christmas and Father’s Day and birthday and Halloween rolled into one. He immediately ordered me a gun belt and started gleefully packing for our trip.

At Front Sight, the smartest thing he did was to pair up with our son instead of me at the range. As I worked through fundamentals with two different women on the firing line (high-fiving and whispering sisterhood words of encouragement of what to do next to each other), he proceeded to shoot shot after shot through the same quarter-sized bullet hole with his non-dominate hand, à la Inigo Montoya.

I started calling him Iggy.

To my surprise, in just two days I went from not knowing a thing about guns to knowing how to safely load, unload, clear a malfunction, and fire a gun in controlled pairs. I hit targets in all the right places.

I’m still not going to conceal carry. I’m still not owning a gun.

But I get it now. Just a little.

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