My views on guns have evolved over the years. When I was teenager my friends and I had guns--lots of guns-- a couple friends had AR15's (though they were not as common in the 90's because they were prohibitively expensive compared to what they cost now). I loved the AR15. We all did; it was a really cool gun! It was fun to fire off 30 rounds without reloading (yes, you could get high cap. mags in the 90's, but you had to find someone willing to sell their pre-ban gear). It was a damn fun gun to take out to the range, and we all knew what that gun was made for: It was not an ideal home defense weapon, it was not a hunting rifle, it was a weapon of war (even if it didn't have 3 round burst or full auto) and that made it super cool to us. I grew up in a small town in New Mexico called Los Alamos, everyone had lots of guns, oh yeah and it's where the atomic bomb was invented. My best friend's dad was a Vietnam vet, Colonel in the Air Force and nuclear physicist. Another of my close friend's dad was a Vietnam vet, ex-secret service and was in EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) when we were in high school. I learned most everything I know about weapons and combat from him. I learned that pistols and shot guns were the best weapons for home defense because they were designed for close quarters combat and they had low velocity/ high mass rounds that held a lot of stoping power but were less likely to exit your target and hit family in the house or travel through walls and hit bystanders outside. He taught us that a locking breach rifle, like a bolt or pump action, was preferred for hunting because auto loading guns by design had looser tolerances to allow for rapid cartridge exchange, thus making them less accurate. Besides if you need more than 1 round, 2 at most, you need to learn how to shoot!! I also spent a lot of time hanging out with and talking to polices when I was a teenager as I had an interest in law enforcement at the time. Many of them still carried 38 special revolvers with a couple speed loaders. The prevailing thought with the older generation of cops at the time was that revolvers were more accurate and reliable than semi-auto pistols. If you asked them why they didn't carry a Glock like the some of the other cops, they would tell you there are no real world situations that you would need more than 6 shots. My view of guns began to change as they began to effect my life personally. When I was 15, my close friend (the one who's dad worked for EOD) was accidentally shot by another friend's drunken father with a .44 magnum on a camping trip. The bullet lodged in his hip and was not able to be removed, leaving a chunk of lead in his body to slowly poison him for the rest of his life. This lead, in my opinion, to his suicide years later. At 19, a friend I had known since kindergarten committed suicide with his gun after his parents discovered he was using drugs. When I was 20, I was in a crowd of people when a guy opened fire, killing a 19 year old guy six feet in front of me and wounding a few others. The one that really broke me, though, was my best friend killing himself with his Glock .40 cal. when I was 24. I suffered undiagnosed PTSD for years because of gun violence and suicide. I got rid of my guns because I was suicidal most days and I knew I would kill myself sooner or later with one if I didn't. My personal experiences match national statistics: you are far more likely to shoot yourself or someone you know by accident than defend yourself from a "bad guy." I've lived a life shaped by gun violence and I would not wish anyone to go through the pains I have. You love your guns, I get it, really I do. But let's be real about what they are and what they're intended use is. You want a gun to defend your home from intruders, I get it, but if you find yourself in a situation that you need more than a 6 rounds: run!! If you need more than a couple rounds to take down your prey: learn to shoot!! AR15's are cool, so are RPG's, tanks and Apache helicopters but you don't NEED one to defend your home, if you do: RUN!!!

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