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.
Team chief, 8th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, State of Colorado
I don’t think everybody should own a gun. I’ve got a number of friends who are afraid of guns, and you do what you can to get them out of that mindset. They’re ignorant about it. They’re not stupid; they just don’t know. They’ve never been in a position to handle a gun. They’ve never been out to shoot a gun. I’d own a gun even if I wasn’t in the military, but about 75 percent of the military brethren who I hang out with don’t own guns, and don’t want to own guns. That’s their prerogative. They still like to go out and shoot; they just don’t want guns in the house. A lot of that comes from having kids, because most of them are married with children. And I understand. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.