Confessions of a Liberal Owner

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Confessions of a Liberal Gun Owner
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I am a New England liberal, born and bred. I have lived most of my life in the Northeast — Boston, New York and Philadelphia — and my politics are devoutly Democratic. In three decades, I have voted for a Republican exactly once, holding my nose, in a mayoral election in which the Democratic candidate seemed mentally unbalanced.

I am also a Texas resident and a gun owner. I have half a dozen pistols in my safe, all semiautomatics, the largest capable of holding 20 rounds. I go to the range at least once a week, have applied for a concealed carry license and am planning to take a tactical training course in the spring. I’m currently shopping for a shotgun, either a Remington 870 Express Tactical or a Mossberg 500 Flex with a pistol grip and adjustable stock.

Except for shotguns (firing one feels like being punched by a prizefighter), I enjoy shooting. At the range where I practice, most of the staff knows me by sight if not by name. I’m the guy in the metrosexual eyeglasses and Ralph Lauren polo, and I ask a lot of questions: What’s the best way to maintain my sight picture with both eyes open? How do I clear a stove-piped round?

+There is pleasure to be had in exercising one’s rights, learning something new in midlife and mastering the operation of a complex tool, which is one thing a gun is. (pathos-freedom) But I won’t deny the seductive psychological power that firearms possess. I grew up playing shooting games, pretending to be Starsky or Hutch or one of the patrolmen on “Adam-12,” the two most boring TV cops in history.

-A prevailing theory holds that boys are simultaneously aware of their own physical powerlessness and society’s mandate that they serve as protectors of the innocent. (what theory? No support.) Pretending to shoot a bad guy assuages this anxiety, which never goes away completely. This explanation makes sense to me. Another word for it is catharsis, and you could say that, as a novelist,...
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