Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman Gun Owner

"You what?" My friend looked at me with a mixture of shock and admiration.

We were having lunch at one of my favorite restaurants while I shared with her my secret. It was a secret I had kept from her until now.

My friend had to be in Columbus, Ohio for a business training session and stayed in a downtown hotel. We made arrangements to have dinner on Friday. I realized that although she had a car, it made more sense for me to pick her up instead of expecting her to find her way through a strange city.

As we enjoyed our delicious lunch entrees, I casually mentioned that when she was in Columbus, I was "packing heat."

Now don't get me wrong. I didn't use that exact phrase.

What I actually said was, "Um, you may not know this but I have a Concealed Handgun License and I was carrying that night I picked you up from your hotel to have dinner."

She smiled as she shook her head and told me I was full of surprises. She never thought someone like me would be carrying a concealed firearm. Then she admitted she and her husband wanted to receive the training required to also get their permits. The only thing holding them back was an impending move across the country to another state. She reasoned that it might be better to wait.

We then had a great discussion about firearms, our Second Amendment right, and why carrying a firearm is simply a smart thing to do.

I remember how I felt when my husband and I finally decided to get our licenses. I'm a middle-aged woman and never handled a gun in my life. But I was determined not to allow fear to control me. I knew I had to get over it and just learn how to properly handle a firearm.

I'll never forget when my husband and I visited a local gun store to buy my first gun. I say "first" because from what I've discovered about firearms and owners, it's sort of like getting a tattoo. One is never enough.

The store was an absolute madhouse. It was filled mostly with men but I did see a few ladies. The display case held a dizzying array of just about every handgun invented. Or so it seemed.

I immediately said to the man behind the counter, "Where's the ‘Dirty Harry' gun? Do you have one of those?" The man chuckled as he handed me a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum.

The grip wasn't made of gorgeous wood like the movie version but was definitely impressive.

"It's the most pahwerful handgun in the world, and it will blow your head kleeeeeen off..." I mumbled as I squinted my eyes Dirty Harry-style. The man behind the counter raised his eyebrows. My husband shook his head.

"This might have been a mistake..." he said to the man apologetically.

However, I realized that if I was going to carry that heavy of a firearm, I'd need a small crane attached to my hip to lift it. I sadly gave it back to the man behind the counter.

"Do you want a revolver-style handgun or a semi-automatic?" He showed me a few semi-autos and instantly I saw myself as Trinity from the movie, "The Matrix."

"Guns. We need more guns..." I said as I envisioned myself dressed entirely in black, battling the evil agents who controlled the world and wielding all types of powerful firearms.

My husband impatiently snapped his fingers near my face. I realized I had gone to Movie-Land in my head and confounded once again the poor man behind the counter.

"I'm sorry. Let me see the M&P9." I felt it and liked the weight of it in my hand. I instantly felt safe. If I couldn't handle Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum, this was close enough.

The man behind the counter looked relieved as we walked toward the cash register. My husband remarked that life is never dull with me around.

I marveled at how far I had come regarding exercising my Second Amendment right. My image of those who owned a gun (let alone carry one concealed) was of men. Manly men. The "Dirty Harry" kind of man.

But then I started to see how those who did have guns were being unfairly labeled. I realized how carrying a gun could protect me and that the Second Amendment was for all of us, including women. Part of my journey included a burly motorcycle-riding co-worker who had a carry license. He was fond of saying, "When seconds count, police are only minutes away."

It made me think.

I have the greatest respect for our law enforcement officers but also realized they can only be in so many places at one time. What would I do if I was in a life-endangering situation and they were on the other side of town?

Carrying a firearm is a heavy responsibility. Both physically and mentally. But it's a right guaranteed to every American. Whenever I carry it, I'm reminded of our country's history and the men and women who defended our freedom.

There are many around you who might be surprised to learn you carry a firearm. You might be surprised that they're wondering if they should get a license. The most important step I feel we can all take is to open up the conversation whenever possible. We have plenty of news items to use as a starting point. And whenever anyone sides with erroneous assumptions, it only presents an opportunity to bring calm reason into the discussion.

I didn't arrive at this place in life all at once. Although my father had a hunting rifle, he never taught me how to handle it. But I've been making up for lost time by visiting local shooting ranges and practicing my aim. I've got a bad habit of pulling to the side before pulling the trigger, but I'm working on it. Someday soon, I'll have better accuracy with my shots. The important thing is that I keep trying.

And let others know that carrying is our Constitutional right.

After all, I want to make our Founding Fathers – and Dirty Harry – proud.

Mary Rose Maguire is an in-house copywriter for an e-Commerce site and a freedom-loving patriot. You can find her at, stirring it up on topics such as marketing, creativity and life.

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