In following online forums and comments, we noticed crime stories around the Northeast often lead to discussions about gun ownership. In this four-part series, we’ll hear from four Northeast residents on why they own guns, and their beliefs surrounding gun laws. You can read part one here.
This is Mike. The 45-year-old Fox Chase resident owns nine guns.
NEast Philly: How long have you been a gun owner?
Mike: Thirty-one years.
NEP: Why do you own a guns? Was there a specific event that motivated you to get one?
M: No specific event motivated me to buy a firearm, as I grew up with them. I was taught the fundamentals of shooting and firearm safety at an early age. My dad bought my brother and me a .22 bolt-action rifle when we were kids and taught us how to target shoot. We further learned about rifle and shotgun safety when my brother and I were in the Boy Scouts and participated in the S.P.O.R.T. (Sportsmen Policing Our Ranks Together) program. I didn’t acquire my first handgun until nine years ago.
NEP: Are your guns registered?
NEP: Have you ever had to use, or come close to using your guns?
M: Fortunately, I haven’t.
NEP: Does owning guns make you feel safe?
M: Owning a firearm alone doesn’t make me feel safe. Owning a gun in addition to being aware of my surroundings, places to avoid, observing anything that looks out of place, and keeping my property secured does. I see a firearm as a tool that I’d rather have and not need than need and not have. I would only use my weapon after I exhausted all other options and believed my life was in grave danger.
NEP: Is owning guns relevant to where you live? Would you not own one if you lived someplace else?
M: Not necessarily. Anybody can be a victim of violent crime regardless of whether one lives in the city, suburbs or country.
NEP: Do you keep your guns loaded?
NEP: Do you keep your guns locked?
NEP: How accessible are your guns when they’re not on you?
M: It’s available at a moment’s notice
NEP: Do you carry in the house, or in the street?
M: Sometimes in the house. On the street, yes. I do have a conceal-carry permit issued by the City of Philadelphia. (Note: Mike lives in the house with his wife.)
NEP: Would you encourage others to own a gun?
M: Yes, provided they don’t have any physical or psychological problems that may prevent them from safely owning or handling a firearm. I also encourage anyone considering firearm ownership to take gun safety courses taught by qualified instructors and learn the fundamentals of shooting. I especially encourage women, as they can often be targets of perpetrators physically much larger and stronger than themselves.