Tag Archives: gun control

Familiar with guns

As the gun control debate rages in the U.S., and continues on more quietly in Canada, one  idea that keeps popping up is that you have a different relationship with guns if you’ve ever actually used one. To those of us who’ve handled them, they don’t seem so strange and mysterious.

There may be something to this. I spent four years around weapons that ranged from a nine-millimetre pistol to hand grenades to the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle during my time in the Canadian Forces Land Reserve.

I don’t want to exaggerate the experience. It’s not like we were performing nightly patrols through the war-torn streets of Beacon Hill South — this was a summers-and-some-weekends-and-weeknights engagement, at least for me. And since I belonged to a medical platoon, proficiency with guns and rifles took a back seat to how quickly you could apply a field dressing or erect modular tentage for a field medical inspection room.

In my case, that was fortunate. Firing a C1 rifle, I only once managed a twelve-inch grouping at 100 yards from a prone position — and that on the target next to mine. And for about five years after I left the reserves, I had a lump of scar tissue over my right cheekbone from holding that same rifle improperly. (It had quite the kick.)

No question, though: I became familiar with guns, and they don’t hold much sense of mystique for me.

The damage they can do, though… that still preys on me.

Continue reading