Friday, May 30, 2014

How Do You Feel About Guns in the Bedroom?

Growing up in an affluent Canadian suburban neighbourhood, guns were something I never gave much thought to. Neither my friends nor family were into hunting and I never saw any ranges in the area or even guns for sale in stores.

Firearms are not a part of the Canadian culture the same way they are in the States. The right to bear arms isn’t codified in our constitution. You certainly can’t just go into a WalMart and buy ammunition, let alone a rifle, the way you can here in Tennessee. Even owning a handgun in Canada requires you to pass two safety courses and apply for a different type of licence. (I’m sure you can illegally pick something up on the streets but I don’t want to go into that right now.) 

As you might expect, no one in my family owns a gun. Of course, my upbringing isn’t representative of all Canadians, but it’s a bit of background that coloured my perceptions and experience. I hadn’t even held a gun until I was 22 years old. When I started dating my husband he was a US Marine and made sure to remedy that situation right quick

My first time shooting guns

Since then I’ve shot rifles, shotguns, and pistols. And I must admit… they’re quite fun! As long as you treat them properly, I have no problem with guns. 

What I do have a problem with is keeping a loaded gun in the bedroom. I remember the first time I visited Tennessee and meeting M’s parents when we’d been dating for less than a year. As we were heading off to bed, M’s dad said, “Oh wait a second son, here you go, for the guest bedroom,” and handed him a four foot rifle that he was meant to prop up against the bed. 

“Uhh, sorry whaaat?” I stammered, standing awkwardly in the hallway. 

“You’re the first bedroom when you come into the house. In case anything happens,” he replied. 

“No fucking way,” I said to M as soon as he closed the bedroom door. He just laughed but knew not to push the issue. (The gun made its way into the closet that night and out of the bedroom for the rest of our visit.)

Now that we’re back in the States and temporarily living with M’s side of the family, we have access to a lot of firearms. Fast forward to the night I returned from Panama. M was back a month before me and had done a ton of work to fix up our new place. As he opened the door and proudly showed me to the bedroom, I couldn’t help but notice his pistol and attached scope just hanging out on the dresser.

“Yeah, I don’t know about this,” I said as I picked up the gun. “Let’s put that away for now,” and tucked it into one of the drawers. Obviously this was only meant to be a temporary solution given that it was one in the morning and I was exhausted from an entire day of travel. But you know what they say -- out of sight, out of mind -- and a few days passed before I even thought about it again. 

A couple days later M cleaned his rifle and his pistol and both of them somehow found their way into the bedroom yet again. This time he put them in a case in the opposite corner of the room, out of arm’s reach from the bed. And you know what? I’ve slept just fine every single night since I’ve been here. In fact, we recently had to move the entire gun cabinet into our garage apartment. Between my husband and father-in-law they have about 20 guns in their collection which are now sitting in the closet off my living room. 

And here I am, that Canadian girl who still barely knows anything about firearms, living with all these guns in the vicinity and I barely think twice about it. Granted, we don’t have to worry about any little ones getting into our stuff, which certainly makes it easier. 

Would I prefer that we not keep guns in our bedroom? Absolutely. Of course the obvious question is what if someone breaks into your house, what are you gonna do? “Um. Not shoot them and call 911?” I reply, which my husband teases me is a “very Canadian” answer. 

Gif New Girl

But I’m married now, so there are two of us, and some compromises must be made. Not that I will be shooting anyone anytime soon! Ha. But M has grown up around guns all his life and just because I’m uncomfortable with firearms doesn’t mean that my preference automatically outweighs his. 

I feel like this summer in Tennessee has warmed me up to the idea of keeping a gun in the bedroom, something I was dead set against a few years ago. I thought I would have a lot stronger of a reaction to be honest. If it were up to M, we’d probably have his pistol stashed under our bed or in the night table. That I don’t see happening. But as long as the gun is put up and out of reach, I seem to be fine with it.

I’m curious -- do you keep a gun in the house for personal protection? What do you think about keeping one in the bedroom? 

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12 comments:

  1. I don't like being around guns very much myself, but it wasn't until a few months ago when packages started disappearing from our porch that I found myself wanting one. Our house is in a neighborhood, but set farther off the street and up a hill. It's not easy to just snatch a package from the sidewalk, and I was really concerned that someone was bold enough to come all the way to our door for it. Not knowing what they'd be interested in next, I didn't sleep well for a few nights knowing that we didn't have any means of defending ourselves in our house, much less our bedroom. I've begrudgingly started entertaining the idea of having something at arms, but I'm probably still just as nervous about having them as you are!

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    1. That's super creepy that your packages were disappearing!! I wouldn't sleep well either. I think that despite having guns if anything were to happen I'd be too nervous/unfamiliar in the heat of the moment to (accurately) do any damage. My husband also insists on keeping knives handy so maybe that's something you can consider tucking under your bed.

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  2. They're fine. We have multiple guns. One in the bedroom along with other weapons. My family doesn't do guns but since my fiance does I've learned to love them. His whole family is gun crazy.

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    1. We have "other weapons" as well. What I didn't mention in this post is that because of the obstacles to buying a gun in Canada my husband decided that at the very least we would have knives in our bedroom while we lived there. Four if I remember correctly... lol.

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  3. I don't mind guns. I like going to the ranges and firing away. I think as long as they are handled properly and are away from kids or people that don't know how to handle them, they're alright.

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    1. That's good to hear because I imagine guns are everywhere in Texas!

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  4. Growing up in Canada, I was raised the same. Living in Alaska for three years was my first real intro to guns, and the first time I had ever shot one. I do admit, it's kind of exhilarating. The use of guns is Alaska was not only for protection, but also for hunting, which I don't mind at all. I got used to seeing people carrying guns on hikes because you never knew when you'd come across a bear. Now back in Canada, I don't feel the need to buy a gun. Theres no need in a big city.

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    1. I think it completely makes sense to carry a gun in Alaska since most of the state is so spread out. In Toronto though? We're on the same page. Can you imagine just having a shotgun in your condo? I feel like I might have more a say on this gun thing if we end up back in Canada.

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  5. This is really interesting. Coming from Australia, I have never ever heard of anyone keeping a gun in their bedroom and to me it seems so 'movie like' I'm not sure how I feel about them to be honest. I shot a gun once in Vietnam and it was a surreal feeling. My ex boyfriend was in the Australian Army, and told me a lot about guns etc, but I am still not sure how I feel.

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    1. I remember thinking how surreal (but kind of exhilarating!) my first time shooting was too. After I got a bit more comfortable that's when I started having fun though and insisted on shooting "gangsta styles" (hence the sideways pistol in the pic above lol).

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  6. Wow it really is a different culture isn't it! I also grew up in a Canadian city and the idea of having a gun in my house, let alone in my bedroom, is so disturbing! I mean if someone breaks into your house here they probably don't have a gun so it's pointless to have a gun. Even when I stayed in Africa, they said most people who break into houses have guns but people have other mode of protections. I don't think I'll ever understand the US mentally concerning guns! Thanks for sharing this though, I find it fascinating to read about what motivates people to get guns, etc. :)

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    1. I'm happy to share Camila! Learning about other cultures, even ones that seem similar, is very interesting!

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