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’m a Civil War and Indian Wars re-enactor and have been doing that for about the past 13 years all throughout the United States. My interest in guns started pretty much at the beginning of my re-enactment career. We use blanks on our horses, but I eventually graduated to live ammunition. I was mostly interested in the historical aspects of guns. But I realized I wanted to become accurate and see if I could hit anything using live ammo, because you have no idea shooting blanks. So I purchased some modern pistols, and we’d go to shooting courses, either outdoor or indoor, and it was fun. It was something I found other ladies enjoyed. We’d go shooting and then go and get a manicure and then maybe a latte. It’s something that really can be a part of your life.