Viewpoint: Gun owners must first think about the morality of defense

By Alexa Brackin

Guns have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My family uses them for hunting, recreation, sport and protection. From a very young age, I believed that guns were a natural part of everyone’s life.

One of the earliest memories I have of a gun is sitting on the back porch with my cousins at night and waiting for the coyotes to come out so we could shoot them.

I can remember very vividly my grandfather sitting at the table in the game room and cleaning all of his guns once every month or so. Most of the men in my family have a holster on their hip, and there is a gun in every closet in my house.

Needless to say, guns have always been a huge part of my life and remain so.

When it came time for me to get my first gun, I was so wrapped up in choosing the perfect gun, how it shot, what color grip I would add, and so on, that I essentially became numb to the fact that I was going to possess an instrument that could potentially take the life of another human being.

When this became apparent to me, I set out to learn everything I could about being both well-armed and well-educated.

In my family, gun safety was always promoted. Every kid knew how to properly handle a firearm, whether it was a handgun, shotgun or rifle.

While gun safety is important, I was already confident that I would not have a problem with this aspect of owning a gun. I was more concerned about the mental aspects of being a gun owner.

My uncle, who is a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy, asked me some questions that made me think about this. He asked questions that, as I attempted to answer, struck me to my core. I was asked, “Why do you need a gun?” “Do you believe that there are situations that make it OK to kill another person?” and “Do you feel that you possess the ability to aim at a person and take a lethal shot?”

The easy answer was “Of course,” but the more I thought about the reality of these questions, which involved shooting real people instead of animals, the more I began struggling..

For me, the journey to finding answers was a very personal one that forced me to examine my faith and morality.

Ultimately, I chose that I would be prepared to defend my own life or that of my family or any other innocent person, even if it resulted in the death of another person.

In order to put the situation in context for myself, I adopted a set of guidelines to follow if I were ever put in a life or death situation.

If I am held against my will, I will not go anywhere at gunpoint. If an attacker wants to take me somewhere, his or her motivation is to do something bad that he can’t do where I am at the time.

I will always shoot to kill. I will not give someone a second chance to get to me by not shooting to kill.

Lastly, I will fight back in defense of others or myself against attack, even if it means the loss of my own life or the person I’m defending.

However harsh, these decisions force me to confront what could happen if I were to protect myself with a gun. I was once told that if you do not carefully evaluate your capabilities and set limitations, then you put yourself and others at great risk. Choosing to carry a gun for self-defense was a very thought-provoking journey for me, which ultimately I am very happy to have made.

Now, not only am I confident in my ability to protect myself and not shy away from any potential situation, I am able to enjoy using guns as a hobby much more.

For those that are interested in taking control of your own self-defense, I encourage you to do a little research and set your own guidelines and limitations as well as getting familiar with gun laws.

That way, when you are confronted with the barrel of an attacker’s gun, you can respond without having to make weighty moral decisions in a split second that could cost you your life.

Alexa Brackin is a junior journalism major from Nederland. She is the news editor for the Baylor Lariat.