What does it feel like to be a mom with a gun? A lot of people ask this question, whether verbally, to my face, or silently…in their own thoughts. For me, this is never a simple question to answer. There are many layers, reasons, and emotions involved. So, bear with me if this is too much of an exploration of the free-writing technique, but here is my response.

In some ways, I have to acknowledge that owning a gun feels a bit surprising. It’s not because I am a member of the “weaker sex;” let’s just totally eliminate that prejudiced notion, please. It’s just because it’s me. Packing a pistol is not something one would automatically assume about a somewhat quirky, slightly clumsy, neat-freak mom like me who wasn’t exposed to firearms of any kind until later in life. Like most other girls, I grew up dreaming about romantic engagements and sparkly dresses, not training exercises and .44 magnums.

With that said, some folks might suppose that being a mom with a gun would be frightening. I have young children—wild, crazy, unpredictable, little tykes, right?  But that’s not it. Having this power within my grasp and knowing what a firearm is capable of can be somewhat intimidating. And it is frightening, sometimes, not that I carry and not that other responsible gun owners do as well, but that so many people oppose this basic right and that so many others would take advantage of this to do harm.

On the other hand, having a gun is quite enlightening. Gun ownership has forced me to come face to face with what our world is like, what it has become, where it’s going, and what we need to do to be prepared. It has also made me a better parent. I’m not afraid to address problems and tragedies with my children or to train them and prepare them for whatever life might throw their way.

Having a gun can also be empowering. I’m not looking to be a hero. On the contrary, I’m hoping to live my entire life without ever having to draw my handgun. But it’s reassuring to know that I have the means to protect myself or my family in times of crisis or danger. It’s also pretty remarkable to be one among so many responsible and concerned citizens who embrace the Second Amendment.

But overall, I have to say that being a mom with a gun feels very humbling…to have this right that countless men and women have given their lives to defend. For that, I am forever grateful and in awe. I firmly believe that the firearm I carry is an extension of my patriotism and of my freedom. It’s now a part of what makes me a proud parent, woman, and American. And I am honored to be able to share that legacy with my children.

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