Column:The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 25, 1998

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / May 25, 1998

Blazing Guns Hit The Old Homestead

I’m not a huge fan of guns. I have only owned one firearm in my life, a B-Bgun when I was 12, and never sought to have another.

That B-B gun was principally used to shoot at squirrels and birds. I can’trecall ever actually hitting any. I was going for a Marksmanship meritbadge in the Boy Scouts when the gun malfunctioned. I never got the meritbadge.

During my Army ROTC days at Nicholls State, I was handed the second firearm I had to deal with, a M-16 rifle. On the indoor firing range, Iquickly established myself as the worst shot in the cadet battalion. Togive an indication about my lack of marksmanship skills, I was told to hit the center of the distant target. If I hit the target at all, even in the proneposition, it was by sheer luck or accident.

I never was interested in hunting. I’ve never been hunting, for deer,squirrel or anything at all. I’m just not interested. I don’t really considerit sport, and I’m not that much in love with deer meat, anyway. I’d morelikely to consider hunting a sport if the deer were also armed and could shoot back.

Bowhunting takes a bit more skill, I believe, but going after a deer with high-powered rifles and telescopic scopes seems a bit, well, overkill.

Suffice it to say, I’m not a member of the National Rifle Association.

I’ve worked as a security guard and, once or twice, was a commissioned officer and carried a sidearm. However, the company was so bad insofar asfirearms training that I don’t consider myself as having had any real training.

When I did go out on the range, I shocked myself by doing remarkably well, much better than I did with a rifle. I seem to be much better with ahandgun than a rifle, opposite of what is usually true. I’m opposite inother ways, too. I’m a much better ice skater than a roller skater.All this is leading up to the fact that my wife and I now have a gun in the house. It’s a 40-year-old Beretta inherited from her dad. She decided if wewere going to have a gun, we would learn how to use it properly.

So Thursday she went to a firing range for the first time and did shockingly well, having never fired any type of firearm in her life.

Sometime next week I’ll likely go to the range myself and see if I still have my “eye.”All this has not changed my mind about firearms. I don’t like them. I don’tuse them. I don’t carry them. I don’t want them in my house. However, I’vehad to back down from that last position.

It’s a cute little gun, a .22-caliber. A lady’s gun, some might say.I just won’t tick off my wife. She’s too good with that little thing.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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