I'd like to use this post to explain a few things to my non-gun friends, and shed some light on a subject that tends to make people paranoid. It's going to be long-winded, so you might want to get a Coke and a sandwich first. I'll wait.
I saw on the news recently where the Black Friday sales of firearms set some new record or other. It is inevitable to me that the popular press will then start speculating about "all these guns", and who owns them. Which will then cause them to start throwing around inflammatory terms.
The press and politicians tend to throw around words like "arsenal" when they discover that someone owns firearms. To these people an "arsenal" is a collection of firearms in any number that exceeds zero. It implies militaristic and somewhat evil intent -- and sometimes mental imbalance -- depending on what spin they put on their story. They imply that even owning one firearm is dangerous and imbalanced enough, WHY would anyone "need" (GASP) more than one firearm?
What they lack understanding of is that a firearm is a tool. And like any other tool from golf clubs to kitchen knives, one uses different tools for different applications. Would you use your big chef's chopping knife to carve radish rosettes? No, of course not. Well, I wouldn't try to use my self-defense pistol to try to take down a deer, either. I'll bet you wouldn't use your little eyeglass phillips screwdriver to take apart your lawnmower, would you? That would be silly - almost as silly as if I tried to use my revolver to shoot skeet. Do you see where I'm going with this?
I thought maybe if I walk my non-gun friends through the various firearm purchases I've made in the past few years, that maybe it would shed some light and dispel some misconceptions about firearms owners, and why they seem to have "so many" guns.
I bought my first firearm in the spring of 2009. It was a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol. I wanted to learn about guns, and how they worked, so that they wouldn't be a great big intimidating mystery anymore. I bought that particular pistol because it was small enough to store easily, simple enough that I could learn to tear it down and clean it by myself, and it was what I felt was a reasonable caliber to learn to shoot with.
My second firearm was a 30-30 cal lever action rifle. I bought it because I wanted to learn to hunt deer. It fit me without being too long for my arms, and it was a suitable caliber for big game without being so big that it hurt me to shoot or knocked me over. It was not a semi-auto like my pistol, so it had different functions to learn. I liked the lever action because it reminded me of the cowboy movies :-)
My third firearm was a very tiny .380 cal Ruger LCP pistol. I bought it as an experimental self-defense gun. By then, my Glock 19 pistol was being shot in local fun competitions, but I found it too large to easily conceal with the clothing that I usually wore.
My fourth firearm was an AR-15 style rifle. I had heard and read a lot about this style of rifle, and had gotten to shoot one once. I wanted to learn more, and not be intimidated, so I did my research about what features I wanted, and bought one. This has an entirely different method of operation than my deer gun ( semi-auto vs lever action), and it uses a different caliber of ammunition. ( My deer gun uses a bigger, "deadlier" bullet by the way). This firearm is currently the rifle I use in 3-gun competition.
My fifth firearm purchase was another 9mm semi-auto pistol. But this one I bought to be used specifically as a "shooting match gun". It was full-sized ( as opposed to my Glock 19, which is a compact size), and I had fiberoptic sights and a better trigger installed. ( Both of which are useful in competition, and which my other pistol did not have) So, even those these two pistols function the same way and shoot the same type of ammo, they are set up for different applications. Are you seeing a pattern here?
My sixth firearm purchase was a 12 ga semi-auto shotgun - because I needed a shotgun if I wanted to learn the sport of "3-Gun". I also started, but didn't get very far yet in Skeet. If I decide to pursue that further, I will probably need ANOTHER shotgun more suited to that sport. Again, are you seeing a pattern? ( Ha - Shotgun pattern - get it?... okay, never mind).
My seventh firearm purchase was admittedly an impulse buy. It was the first gun that I bought without a truly justifiable reason in mind. I just liked it. It was another AR-15 style rifle. But it was made by a good company and had a pretty paint job and I had thoughts about training my daughters with it.
My eighth firearm was a new self-defense pistol in .380 cal. This was also a Glock, and was brand-new to the market this year. I got to shoot it at SHOT Show before it was even released to the public, and I LOVED it. I couldn't wait to get home and buy one for myself. I've since even shot this gun in competition too. I love it so much that I think I'm going to sell the first gun that I bought for self-defense, because I never shoot it. If so, the LCP will be the first gun that I go through the selling process with.
My ninth firearms purchase was sort-of an impulse buy, but with rational reasons. This was a lightly used Smith & Wesson revolver that was designed for competition. I've been wanting to learn revolver skills (as they are not quite the same motor skills as those used with semi-auto pistols), and I'm kind of interested in revolvers from a historical perspective. Just like I was jazzed by the lever action on my deer rifle, the revolver kinda tweaks me the same way :-) Don't judge me. Hey, some gals are into shoes - to each her own. LOL
My tenth firearm was not a purchase - well, I purchased some raffle tickets, but that's all. I won a beautiful and very well tricked-out competition rifle in a Breast Cancer Fundraiser Raffle put on by a company called Adams Arms. And don't anybody get their britches in a bunch - even though I won this gun in a raffle, I still had to jump through all of the hoops of background check and paperwork to the tune of a 20 dollar fee. I don't begrudge my local gun shop the money, because running the paperwork and doing the transfer takes time and effort, but it does get old after awhile. I'm still the same good person I was 2 months ago when I did all this paperwork with the revolver, and I'm the same good person I was 6 months ago when I renewed my carry permit. Do you think felons and drug dealers bother with going through all this effort?? * Sigh* But I digress...
So anyway, that's how a person like me can end up owning a very innocent "arsenal" of firearms. All of these firearms have different features, purposes, and applications. And NONE of them mean that I am plotting to overthrow the government or shoot up a classroom. They DO mean that I am interested in the mechanics, the safety, the skills, and the history of firearms.
And while I'm on the topic of explanations, I should point out that the same things apply to ammunition. The press tends to report sensational things like "he had 'thousands of rounds' of ammunition in a cache in his home". This makes the general public ( and you, my non-gun friends), think that this person was a crazy who was ready to murder the population of the entire city. But let me tell you something - "I" have "thousands of rounds of ammunition" too, and that doesn't mean anything. In fact this is the norm for pretty much any gun-owner that does competitive shooting ( and even many who don't).
The term "well stocked pantry" has positive connotations of a talented cook, who has planned ahead and has every needed ingredient on hand. But when one applies the same logic to ammunition, the positive vibes disappear and everyone loses their minds. "Well-stocked ammo cache" doesn't mean the same thing to people - at least to non-gun people.
So let me explain this to you. I shoot a couple or three matches per month Spring-Summer-Fall for 9 months of the year. If I use, say 150 rounds per match, then I need almost 4000 rounds a season just for competition -and that's not counting practice. And I'm not even a hard-core shooter. When ammo supplies got short last year, that is when I really began to appreciate the wisdom of stocking-up ahead of time. Picking up a box or two of ammo here and there at the gun shop doesn't cut it. Buying on-line and ordering a case of a thousand rounds or more at a time is the way to go. I should probably give my Fed Ex guy a donation toward physical therapy for hauling all that lead for me.
Then, remember that I don't shoot just one gun. I have several different calibers of handgun, which all require their own size ammo. I also have several different long guns - including a shotgun - which have different ammo requirements too. So, you can do the math here. It is not hard to accumulate 5 or 6 or 10 thousand rounds, just to have on hand what you need. That doesn't mean that I or any of my shooting friends are evil or crazy people - despite what reporters or politicians WANT you to believe.
So, the next time you hear a "journalist" or politician on television breathlessly expound about an "arsenal" or an "ammo cache", please tell them to take a breath. Don't get sucked into the hysteria. Just remember me - the female pediatrician with the "arsenal" and the "ammo cache' - and remember what I just told you, okay? You could even try to one-up them. "Two thousands rounds? - Pffth, my pediatrician keeps more ammo than that wimp. " LOL!