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In Focus

Growing up in California I remember the only people with guns were cops and gangs. It wasn’t something I ever thought about as a kid.

When I moved here, the culture shock was massive. There were many things that were very different for me. I was instantly pegged as a transplant when someone heard me call a soft drink a soda instead of a pop. I still call it soda by the way. I grew up with casserole, not hot dish...the list goes on.

I was 12, going on 13 when I moved here in August of 1999. I remember that fall seeing the flyers for a hunting gun safety class being held at the school. This was very different for me. I questioned why guns were allowed in school and why kids were allowed to use guns. Again, this was all very new and different for me.

Needless to say, I have become more acclimated over the years. While I’m no hunter, nor interested in being one, I do enjoy some venison from time to time and have come to appreciate the different types of hunting people do. When people try to explain their guns and ammunition I am completely lost. I know the difference between a handgun and a shotgun and a few basic things, but my gun vocabulary is limited. Just like if I were to talk to some of you about the ins and outs of my DSLR camera.

Over the past several years I have been interested in learning more and seeing what it’s like to actually shoot a gun. It sounded like fun to me. I have done several stories over the years about hunts, gun clubs, shooting sports, and classes that continued to pique my interest. And when the opportunity to take a conceal and carry class would arise, I was either busy, broke, or both.

Once again another gun-related story came around recently and I found an instructor to speak with for the said story. He was very nice and I shared with him that I have never shot a gun before and wanted to learn. He invited me to take his next class, and it just happened to finally work out for me.

I took the class with my mom and a friend. Then came the fun part. I was handed a Ruger to use. I was beyond excited. I was finally going to shoot a gun! We were instructed to shoot with our dominant eye and close the other one. I couldn’t do it. I shoot photos with both eyes as weird as that sounds. I was way more comfortable keeping both eyes open to shoot the weapon. I loaded the gun and took my first ever shot. I got the chills I was so excited. And even more excited because I hit the target! The first shot was nowhere on the figure, but I hit the paper nonetheless. After a few breaths, my group continued to shoot. The rest of my shots hit center mass. It was so exciting!

Then it dawned on me. This rush, the empowering feeling, and the adrenaline rush...I have been missing this all these years! Why did I wait so long to do this? That was truly life-changing and one of the best things I had ever tried. I can see myself enjoying this.

Now to purchase a handgun. But first, I have to figure out what I like. That may take some time. It’s a good thing I know many people with handguns that have offered to let me shoot theirs.

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