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Dear Gun Enthusiast,

I have a confession to make: I’m afraid of guns.

Their cold, hard metallicness. Their involuntary recoil. The powerful thudding BOOM they make when fired. Their indifference as to how they are used; whether for sport, target shooting, hunting, threat, protection, war, or simple elimination.

I’m afraid of their lethal finality. If you are on the receiving end, whether deliberate or by accident, chances are your life will end, or at the very least, will never be the same.

Guns have no brains.

They rely on the user, and function in the way they are used. When the stakes for use are so high (injury or death), that scares me more than I can say. I don’t like the idea of placing my life involuntarily in a stranger’s hands, which I do every time I come into contact with someone carrying a gun. When someone is carrying, whether openly or concealed, I don’t feel safer. I feel anxious because anything, really, could happen. It’s dependent on the circumstances, which could change at any moment.

I’m afraid of guns because they take indiscriminately, and don’t give anything in return.

Guns are a tool; they function in the way they are used. I get that. But guns are not like other tools. Sure, other tools can be deadly; take your lawn mower, for instance. Your lawnmower could cause quite a bit of injury, or even kill you. Like a gun, it depends on how it’s used. But a lawnmower has a specific function: to cut grass, to groom and beautify your yard. A lawnmower contributes to society by improving the landscape. Other dangerous tools (think chainsaws, drills, saws, motor vehicles) also have specific jobs to do, specific ways they contribute to society. Can you say that about a gun? I know my thoughts on this, but I’d be very curious to hear yours.

I understand and appreciate that guns bring you joy. But can you understand and appreciate that guns scare me, and I don’t want them in my life? That encountering guns unexpectedly while going about my normal routines makes me anxious and apprehensive? That it detracts from my quality of life?

I hope so. I don’t want to take your gun from you, but I also don’t want to be forced to share space with your gun when doing so makes me so anxious and afraid.

Can we talk about this? I’d love to find a way to understand each other and get along.

Kind regards,

The Girl Next Door

Heather Shaff

Heather Shaff is a cyclist, writer, and mom based in Boston. She's fascinated by all things growth, motivation, and learning... and will drop everything for chocolate ice cream.

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