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.
I have guns for hunting, for sport. If I knew that somebody in my family was in danger, I know that I could handle a gun. We have some handguns, and we’ve shot them on a range, and I could protect myself or my family, I suppose. But for me its pretty much the sport: the shotgun for the birds and the rifles for the big game. We have young grandchildren, but I’d like to teach them to hunt when they get older. I’d want them to know that if you want to do this, it’s not a game. It can be dangerous, so you have to do it correctly and everyone needs to go through the classes. I’d teach them how to handle the meat, how to be ethical. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There are a lot of kids who don’t even know where a steak at the grocery store actually came from.