My hands are shaking; my adrenaline is surging.
No, itâ€™s not from the latte I just inhaled or because this is the first time in two years Iâ€™ve been in a Starbucks since declaring a boycott on its open-carry gun policy.
Whatâ€™s got me jittery this morning is the 9mm Glock thatâ€™s holstered on my hip. Me, lead gun policy protester at the 2010 Starbuckâ€™s shareholder meeting. Me, a board member of the Brady Campaign. Me, the author of a book about the impact of gun violence, Beyond the Bullet.
Yes, I bought a handgun and will carry it everywhere I go over the next 30 days. I have four rules: Carry it with me at all times, follow the laws of my state, only do what is minimally required for permits, licensing, purchasing and carrying, and finally be prepared to use it for protecting myself at home or in public.
Why? Following the Newtown massacre in December, the NRAâ€™s Wayne LaPierre, told the country, â€œThe only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.â€ I wondered what would it be like to be that good guy with a gun? What would it be like to get that gun, live with that gun, be out and about with that gun. Finally, what happens when you donâ€™t want that gun any more?
I decided to find out.
It would be fitting, plot-wise, if Heidi happened to find herself armed and present at a crime scene and drew that Glock, made a citizen’s arrest, then converted completely and was found thereafter shooting caribou weekends with Sarah Palin and serving as the local NRA firearms safety instructor. But I suspect it won’t happen.
For one thing, it is not apparent that, despite all the tumescence and pumping adrenaline, she has ever actually loaded that Glock.
Gun-dealer Tony deserves a good swift kick in the slats for selling a really-safety-less Glock, the handgun of choice for people who need to shoot themselves in the leg, to a person totally unfamiliar with automatic pistols, firearms generally, and gun safety, who is a chick to boot.
Glocks have their virtues. They are cheap, reliable, low maintenance, and easy to shoot, but they are a terrible choice for someone like Heidi as a first gun. She would have been a lot better off with a J-Frame Smith & Wesson .38 Special Revolver. Autos are too complicated, too difficult for novices like Heidi to understand, and too easy to make mistakes handling. Especially Glocks, which are autos pretending to be revolvers with a pretend safety on the trigger. Besides, Glocks are black, made of industrial synthetic material, and are ugly. Heidi’s first gun ought to have had some actual beauty of line and design, so that it might have at least some small chance of insinuating its way into her affections.
Of course, it is not only the clueless Tony, but Heidi herself is to blame if something goes wrong. Americans have a right to keep and bear arms, but anyone who is going to do so also has a personal responsibility to seek advice and instruction so as to choose the right weapon and to know how to handle it safely. Simply going out, buying the first gun some yoyo offers you, and then driving down the street needing to ask a cop to show you how to take out the magazine and investigate whether your gun is loaded doesn’t cut it. I will grant that the scene of the pistol-packing and trembling-with-adrenaline hoplophobe approaching an on-duty cop and trying to explain that she is armed and clueless is damned funny though. Heidi probably never even realized that with the wrong cop or if that Glock had really been loaded the result could have been her own arrest.
She never mentions any of this, but Washington state requires a permit for concealed carry, and the same permit is required to have a loaded handgun in your car.
Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.