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.
Attorney, Mountain States Legal Foundation
I represent a group of students called Students for Concealed Carry that sued the University of Colorado to overturn the university’s ban on licensed concealed carry on campus. That case started in 2008 and finally finished at the Colorado Supreme Court in March 2012, which overturned CU’s ban. Licensed concealed carry is now recognized as a legally protected right at the University of Colorado as it’s been for the past decade at Colorado State University. Guns represent a choice, and that’s why I represent the students in the CU case. Guns are about the choice to fight back if your life is threatened. I think that is a corollary of individualism: You own your life and you have the right to defend it and the right to defend the people that you love. With the gun ban, CU was saying to students, “You are no longer individuals when you step onto this campus. You don’t have the right to defend yourself anymore.” And I think that’s wrong. When you take away gun rights, you take away a little bit of that individuality, a little bit of that independence.