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My father in his younger days.
Just because I love to shoot guns,
doesn't mean there should be
universal access to guns.
Some people we should do our
very best to prevent them having
access to guns.


461 words


A lifelong love affair
by Dianne Roth


I grew up with guns. Some of my earliest memories are of going to the skeet range with my dad. My job was to collect spent shotgun shells so he could take them home and reload them. As I grew older, I got that job as well. I remember the smell of gun powder and the feel of the hand press as I compacted and resealed the old shotgun shells. I was thrilled when I was old enough to shoot clay pigeons with shells I made!

As a teen, I helped haul a bale of hay into our basement so we could set up a shooting range, ...in the heart of Denver. I also remember zingers, the bullets that missed the hay bale, zinging around the basement, and the command to, “Duck!”

We took Sunday drives to shoot cans off fence posts. I loved it all.

Then, there was the night I, a college student, was sneaking into our house after curfew, hoping not to awaken my parents. Tiptoeing down the hall, I heard my father rummaging in his underwear drawer. I knew he meant business and I began yelling, “It’s me, Dad! It’s Dianne! Don’t Shoot!” I was back out the front door before he woke up enough to know not to shoot me.

That was the night I stopped thinking of guns as toys.

Recently, my oldest son asked if I wanted to go to a shooting range. He is military and has inherited my dad’s love of guns. My pacifist heart tugged me to refuse, but the little girl in me was determined to go.

The targets were disks projected onto a rubber wall in a bunker. We spent about two hours shooting and, once I was able to shoot without being knocked over, I loved it.

We were shooting 9mm Glocks, an Austrian handgun that packs a kick. It was a .45 caliber Glock that was used at Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina.

How does an angry young man come to believe the shade of one’s skin is more important than one’s life? And, how does he come to have a Glock, a handgun made for killing?

The whole time I was shooting, I was acutely aware of this purpose.

We take a test to earn the right to drive a car, but the same logic is often not applied to gun ownership.

It is true, I enjoy shooting guns but, if my right to own guns was universally dependent on proving that I am able and willing to use that right responsibly, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson (and how many others?) might still be alive.


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.



Last updated on November 5, 2015