This morning I filed a piece about women gun owners and their thoughts on gun control.
A year ago, for another story on background checks, I’d gone to record Ladies Night at Bill’s Gun Shop and Range in Robbinsdale. I recorded a gun safety class geared to women, taught by a very charismatic instructor, Teresa Reiter.
After class, the women lined up for eye protection and ear plugs. “Are you going to shoot?” they asked me excitedly. “Oh, no,” I explained, “I’m a journalist, just a fly on the wall here to record you.”
“But you’ve got to!” they all chimed in. After politely declining three times as is our mid-western custom, I thought, “What the heck.”
In the 90s, my dad began collecting handguns. He wanted me to appreciate the beauty of their compact and powerful engineering. They made my palms sweat. It reminded me of the first time I drove the car down the street by myself and realized the thousands of pounds of metal could kill someone. That power sickened me.
An instructor put a revolver into my hands.
(This photo of me taken by someone I handed my phone to on the range in January 2012 has become a family favorite.)
I fired, and felt a jolt of adrenalin course through me.
Bang. Bang. Bullseye.
On the drive home, I called my dad.
“Hey dad, I’ll go shoot with you.”
That torn-up target still decorates my MPR cube.
My fly-on-the-wall journalism now includes a chapter called “don’t knock it ’til you try it.”