Packing heat in a handbag: Why I don’t want a gun.

In the aftermath of the Aurora Theatre tragedy, there is lots of conversation about guns. The usual gun control debate is being rehashed like old episodes of MASH that you can recite every line of before they are spoken. However this time I’m seeing people I know talking about their own guns (what? you have a gun?), or the guns they might now go and get (really?), but most scary to me is the concealed carry permits they intend to pursue.

So this means, if they go ahead and do it, I will be hanging out with people I call my closest friends who are packing heat in their gucci handbags for ladies. People who believe that this will give them additional protection from … the world.

Far be it from me to tell them what to do. I know my own bias is as arguably blind as theirs. But I know myself, and I know that I could never own a gun.

I could definitely handle one, I guess. I’d get the right training, have all the right equipment, and probably be pretty badass. I would be able to fire it, and I’d practice so that I was really good. I’d keep it clean, all the good stuff.

If I were faced with a situation where I’d need to use it – and oh, doesn’t that sound so easy to determine? But gee, I don’t think that you get much warning or time to contemplate your decision – I would never get over being responsible for shooting someone. Possibly killing them. If he (and let’s face it, it’s likely to be a he) were intent on killing everyone with his own weaponry, and I was able to stop him by shooting him, I would likely do it.

And then never forgive myself. My life would end at the same time I took another person’s, no matter the reason or excuse. I’ve always been that way. It’s not heroic or cowardice. I just know my automatic response would be non-violent, even when faced with the most horrific violence imaginable. (Yeah, I don’t see the Army wanting to recruit me any time soon.)

I have no solution. Unless we can get rid of every single gun in the world, we’re not going to all agree on levels of gun control. Unless we can identify mentally unstable people early enough to intervene effectively without infriinging their civil rights, then we’re not going to catch them in time. Unless we can find some research that definitively states what violence in our entertainment culture does to our youth, then these things will continue to happen. It’s not one individual thing – it’s a mix of it all. Right now here in Colorado, it feels nearly impossible to work out how to move forward.

But for me, owning a gun or having one in the house is not the first step.




  • Girl, I agree with you. I would take a class to shoot a gun, but ONLY because my husband has a few in our house. I wouldn’t pack heat in my handbag. I agree also that we probably wouldn’t even know how to react when put in a crazy situation like that – we’re just not trained like the Army or police. It’s not an instinct. If that is truly how God wants me to leave this earth, then I guess that’s how it goes. As horrific as it is. I also worry about people who are carrying these concealed weapons jumping at every creak and accidentally shooting at more innocent people, it’s just creating a crazy ripple effect.

  • My husband and I were just talking about this at dinner the other night. Neither of us want to carry a gun with us. It’s too much pressure and not enough training. I’m just not convinced I could react when/if the time came either.

  • I think it is such a hard thing to even think about. I would like to think that if placed in a situation I would be able to save myself or my family but the idea of something accidentally happening during a nonevent weigh heavily on this decision for me.

  • What? We obviously have not Americanized you enough.

    In all seriousness what would a concealed weapon have done in this situation with gas floating in the air and people running in every direction? My heart was saddened to see that CO approved 25% more background checks for guns this past weekend than for this weekend a year ago. It really all reminds me of that Michael Moore cartoon on the History of the U.S. in his Bowling for Columbine movie.

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