Got a Gun, or Shooting With Arthritis
by David Higginbotham: Gun
Law 101: National Firearms Act of 1934
I come from
a big southern family. We’re rural folk, for the most part.
Guns are part of our culture, and not just the men folk. My grandmother
lived alone in the woods of western Alabama for more than 20 years.
I can still remember the old break-action shotguns that she kept
beside the front and back doors. They were, she said, for wild dogs
that plagued that part of Alabama, roaming in mangy packs.
to believe the rumors, my grandmother’s shotguns were loaded
with rock-salt. It would sting real bad, I was told, but
wouldn’t kill a dog. Sounds like hogwash to me, like something
concocted to make a city kid feel better about his grandma shooting
The truth was,
even at 82, she was capable of defending herself. And prepared to
One of my aunts
still lives in the area. She’s getting close to 80. She was
out in her garden not long ago when she spotted an armadillo rooting
in her day lilies. After some quick work with a 12 gauge, she had
completely gutted her grandson’s football. Maybe, some in
the family whispered, it was time to take away the guns.
say. She tore up that football.
back in the big city
My mother is
72, and has just received her first concealed carry permit. She’s
shopping for something to replace my father’s old Iver
Johnson Cadet. She called me six months or so ago and asked
what she should get.
I had all kinds
of ideas. We talked for a couple of hours about different philosophies
of concealed carry, home defense, and various caliber options. Through
a steady process of elimination, we decided on a common solution.
We landed on a traditional .357 snub-nosed revolver. The
But we hadn’t
considered her hands. She has arthritis. But she still has the right,
and the will, to defend herself. So what’s the best option?
my mother (then)
The last time
I had shot with my mom, I was still in elementary school. My grandmother
died in 1987 when I was 13, so it had to be before then (as my father
and I only ever shot at my grandmother’s house). I remember
my mom embarrassing us with her skills and her apathy. She could
shoot accurately and we couldn’t, and she didn’t really
care one way or the other.
My father and
I would shoot (at) old tin pie pans. We’d make excuses for
distance, or wind. We’d shoot for a while and run through
the ammo. But before we finished, my mother would step out onto
porch and take the gun and poke five clean holes in the swinging
target. Every time. And effortlessly.
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