How the Sandy Hook tragedy prompted suburban moms to purchase and begin to carry guns.
FIRST PUBLISHED September 2015 Indianapolis Monthly Magazine
She didn’t grow up with guns and didn’t want them in her home—then Sandy Hook happened, and everything changed. And she’s not alone. In June 2014, the number of Hoosier women with active gun permits rose 47.5 percent over the previous year.
As someone who didn’t grow up around guns, and now a parent myself with young children, I used to think guns had no place in our home. Plus, we live in Westfield, where crime isn’t really anything we worry too much about. My husband and I debated the topic more than once. Ultimately, he applied for his carry-and-conceal license, bought a handgun, and showed me how to work the safe where it’s kept. Only once—when someone who’d purchased furniture from me via Craigslist was coming to pay for it while my husband was traveling—did I ever hide the gun nearby.
Then December 14, 2012, happened. The shootings at Sandy Hook shook me to my core. I work with small children, and I began imagining similar horrible situations. I knew, even unarmed, I would protect my students, and it started to make sense that I learn how to protect my home and family within my Second Amendment right.
My first visit to a shooting range was scary, nerve-wracking, and downright nauseating. I didn’t enjoy it but also knew it didn’t do any good to own a gun if I didn’t know how to use it. So I attended a ladies-only gun-safety class. The instructor was fantastic. He built up our confidence the entire day, and I transitioned from timid and scared to excited and confident. I intend to continue my training to make our home safe, though I have yet to purchase my own gun. My husband bought a gun for himself, and I was handed down his original one—a pistol.
I don’t tell many people we own guns, which is why I don’t want to be identified here. I’m not sure how that would go over with other moms. I don’t want them to be afraid to let their children be at my house because we have guns—guns, I might add, that are always locked up in our safe. I don’t carry it with me, either; until recently, it was a felony to have a gun on school property, where I work. Now you can have one, but you have to leave it locked in your car, and, well, it’s not going to do me any good locked in my car.