I grew up in rural western New Jersey, where guns, and hunting, were ubiquitous. There was no mystique about them, and no agenda; they were just another thing. I learned to shoot as a little boy, and used to love plinking with a .22 at the farm down the road where my best friend lived. I am still a gun owner, and consider our Second Amendment rights to be fundamental, and a priori — an extension of a “natural” right to self-preservation and the defense of liberty that is not “granted” by the Constitution, but pre-exists it, and is only acknowledged and protected by it. (I realize that the idea of “natural rights” is philosophically controversial, but the right to survival, and therefore self-defense, is one that a rational actor will “naturally” claim whether it is acknowledged or not, and it is in that sense that I use the term.)
My lovely wife Nina, on the other hand, grew up in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Her father (who was in many ways a very remarkable man indeed) was a committed pacifist (in fact, he won a landmark case in which he claimed conscientious-objector status on non-religious grounds during World War II). His aversion to firearms was so absolute that when Nina and her brother were little they were not even allowed to watch TV shows with guns in them. All of this rubbed off on my Nina, who finds guns horrifying, and has never touched one in her life.
While my wife’s upbringing was more hoplophobic than most, this sort of divergence is not uncommon in American marriages — and as you’d expect, far more often than not the differences fall out along predictable male-female lines. Here, then, is a thoughtful and understanding piece by a progressive woman, no lover of guns, who is married to a man who sees things otherwise. It’s a brief article, and well worth your time. (It also makes a nice companion piece to the item we linked to here.)