Gals n’ Guns

In the South, people take the 2nd Amendment very seriously. It’s a cultural thing. Maybe it has to do with the Civil War. Whatever else the Civil War was about, the threat of federal troops in one’s backyard left an indelible impression that bleeds into notions of self defense.

So many Southerners are rather fond of their guns. After all, the South has a culture that can support a magazine called Gardens and Guns. Many daddies teach children how to shoot at a very young age, by overall national standards. I’ve known young women who’ve received pistols as graduation presents, tucked away in the glove compartment of the traditional graduation car. They’re meant for self-protection. The bluest democrat I know, a gentlewoman of great compassion and charity towards her fellow man, can shoot the flame off a candle. (She’s also a little deaf from target practice back in the day before ear protection became mandatory.)

While I learned to shoot up North prior to a trip to Jerusalem (long story), when I moved South, I got myself a Concealed Weapon Permit. Why? Because I could. Later, I bought a gun, a 38-revolver known as a Pink Lady for its pink laminate grip and its light weight. It took me a while to find the time and occasion to fire it.

Then a friend asked if I’d like to accompany her and her husband to a local shooting range and at last get to fire that new gun of mine. I said yes. We went to a standard indoor range, satisfied ourselves that our weapons worked, our aim was serviceable, and our nerves still intact. The women tired first. My friend and I went to a lounge to wait for her husband to finish up. It was there we were treated to an only-in-the-South moment.

One of the ranges had been closed for a private party. NRA bigwigs? Hunters’ confab? No. Out of that door fluttered six twenty-something women, each flushed with pleasure, each in her own pink t-shirt reading “Caution: Gals with Guns”, each carrying pink ear and eye protection, pink targets, and huge smiles. I asked if they were a club. No, says they, we’re a bachelorette party!

Well, I thought, here’s something new under the sun. Let me investigate.

Me: So you’ve shot before?

Them: Only Shirley!

Me: How about the bride?

The bride: First time today!

Me: So, did you like it?

All of them: It was great! I never felt so empowered!

Me(to the bride): Does your intended shoot?

The bride: No.

Me: Keep it that way.

As their happy pink backs skipped out the door, an old man approached my friend and I. Very smart gals, says he. We concur. Know what you do with them pink targets? he continued. I’ll tell you. You put ‘em on the wall where a man lookin’ in from outside can see ‘em. Ain’t no low-life goin’ to enter a house that tells him from the git-go ‘There’s a gal in here with a gun. And she can shoot.’

He had a point, I suppose. But I don’t think even our bridal party would get past the idea of used targets, especially pink ones, as living room décor. Earth tones work much better there. Pink is for t-shirts and grips.

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