When it comes to our attitudes toward guns in real life, however, I would guess that writers' opinions vary wildly. My own relationship with guns is complicated. I was raised as a regional hybrid; I spent half my youth in the Deep South, where guns are considered a rite of passage. The other half I spent hanging around Harvard types in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that bastion of anti-gun sentiment.
The South won the first battle. I was shooting skeet by the time I was 14, and target practice was a regular hobby. As a freshman at Wellesley College, I thought it was wildly amusing when I posted one of my shot-up targets on the door of my dorm room (doing that today would undoubtedly get me sent straight to Mental Health).
After college, my interest in guns waned. I didn't want to own them around children. Plus, I'd witnessed first-hand how firearms and flinty Irish tempers can prove a volatile mix, especially when combined with alcohol. (One male relative in my extended clan was shot--twice, on separate occasions--by his then-girlfriend. The couple later wed. I'm still scratching my head over that one.)
Recently my feelings about guns have been put to the test. I'm about to inherit a small arsenal of weapons from a gun-toting relative. I have mixed feelings about this impending bounty; on the one hand, the children are out of the house, and there's been a recent uptick in violent crime in my area. A gun might be useful, especially if I could somehow wrangle a concealed carry permit. On the other hand: owning a gun is still an awesome responsibility. I never can quite relax when there are guns in the house.
For now, I'm simply trying to get familiar with the darned things again. One of my bequests-to-be is a Walther PPK, the gun of choice for James Bond. With apologies to Ian Fleming, it doesn't seem all that easy to use. When a bad guy's coming at you, who has time to draw and then push back a balky slide before aiming? Maybe the one I'm getting needs oiling. Or maybe I need training.
For now, I'm just having fun getting acquainted with all these firearms. We took a few pictures--I think the fur adds a certain Jane Bondish je ne sais quois, don't you?