Firearms are woven into the historical fabric of the West. But while the coverage of tragedies—like the mass shootings at Columbine High School and, more recently, at an Aurora movie theater—often paints a simplistic picture of guns and gun owners, the reality is infinitely more complicated. Behind the divisive gun-control debate, there are people. Here are the stories of nine Colorado gun owners, in their own words.
Owner, Gunsmoke; star of American Guns on the Discovery Channel
I’ve been interested in the gun industry and gun culture all my life, but the opportunity to go on television with guns was an opportunity for my family and me to put guns forward in a positive light. Far more lives are saved by the use of firearms than have ever been taken by somebody who used a firearm inappropriately. I think the root of the fear is a lack of knowledge. If people knew more about guns, then they wouldn’t be afraid. Some people are actually afraid that a gun will just go off and kill them. And that fear is just as reasonable as being afraid one of your cars is going to start up and run you over when you walk into your garage. It’s not possible. I can load up this Winchester lever-action rifle, set it down on the counter, and if nobody ever touched it, no one would have ever been hurt. Guns are a positive thing for America. This country needs to get back to its roots. We started out with guns; we’re gonna end with guns.