Bearing Arms

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.

November 2012

Martha Altman
Former employee at the Anschutz Medical Campus; plaintiff in the lawsuit that was brought against the University of Colorado Board of Regents in 2008

Guns are not in the forefront of my life. I have them, I’m comfortable with them. Guns allow me the choice of defending myself. I’m not always going to have someone around who will be able to protect me, and I have to do that myself. I was working at the Anschutz Medical Campus when the Colorado Supreme Court decision came down, and the first day it was legal to carry a gun, I drove on campus and I got out of my car with my weapon in my pocket. It was liberating. No one knows if I have it or not. My friends and family never ask. I may or may not have it, but people should just assume that I do.