Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guns riding high on holiday gift lists


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - On Kevin Wence's 10th Christmas, he opened a gift from his father and discovered what would become "A Christmas Story" legend: a Red Ryder BB air rifle. His first gun.

Last week, Wence bought his 15th, a stainless-steel Smith & Wesson Model 686 revolver. Unlike the air rifle, this gun won't sit under the Christmas tree, he said. But it would be a family gift that he, his wife and his 24-year-old son, all trained in shooting, could use to protect their St. Petersburg home.

"In responsible hands, they're safe. They're fun. It's a hobby," Wence said as he signed a form authorizing a background check at the Pinellas Park Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure. "Once you fire a bullet, you can't take it back. But you can still have fun with them."

The desire for fun, the hunt or self-defense has drawn shoppers looking for the perfect Christmas gift to gun stores across Tampa Bay, dealers said. At most stores, the shopping is a family affair -- a father and daughter firing at the range, husbands semiauto shopping with their wives, parents price-checking hunting bows for their young son.

"It's a feeling of confidence, like having a shield," said Tony Orifici, a salesman at Dunedin's Florida Survivalist gun shop. "Grandpa wants a shotgun. Mom wants a revolver. ... We had a family come in and buy an AR-15, a shotgun and two handguns, one for each of them..."



Mark said...

Nothing against Americans on a PERSONAL level, but I just cannot get my head around why any sane, or insane, person should be allowed to carry arms!

Anonymous said...

Mark, I can't understand how any citizen can be talked into NOT being allowed to own fire arms. Protection is a very important thing. Protect us from what, you ask? Wild animals. Criminals (why should they be the only ones with guns?). Even governments can go terribly wrong--the reason Our Founding Fathers saw the need for :the Right of every citizen to Bear Arms" to be in our Constitution.

Vincenzo said...

Great answer Georgette! People should fear a government that fears an armed citizenry. The right to self defense was a preexisting right that all free people possess, our Constitution simply affirmed that this basic right would not be infringed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Vincenzo. You are exactly right. Your article is very interesting, too, and I do believe that buying weapsons is a family thing. I've been with my hubby for each gun he has bought, so I can definitely say it's the case with us, too.

BTW, I hope you are feeling better (Cathy of Alex said you were unwell, a few days ago -- but I only just read it. I'm always late for everthing!)

Mark said...

Georgette, I understand what you are saying, but look at it the other way round:

I come from a country and culture where almost NO ONE (with the exception of certain authorised - but not all - law enforcement personnel, farmers, other people with licences) is allowed to bear arms. I can't understand how anyone can be talked into being alllowed to own them.

Here we have a strict system of regulation, where you apply to the Police, justifying the need to bear arms. I agree with them to protect from Grizzlys, etc., but not to shoot the local yokel who trespasses on your property (a legal situation we don't completely recognise either, for we have only a limited law of tresspass, relating to fires and permanent encampments only)...

Mark said...

Vincenzo: just a different cultural standpoint... we fear people who crave the right to bear arms. It's just a different opinion; it doesn't mean our Government is corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Guns are not only for protection--people who want them--to shoot just for fun--target practice--should be allowed in a free society to own them. Just because I don't like to golf--you just chase a little ball around a bunch of holes--doesn't mean I would limit others from going out on the golf course.

Mark said...

With all due respect, Tara, golf-balls are less likely to kill. Guns kill, period. Their primary purpose is to fire a projectile, either for killing or maiming.

We need to look at this objectively, instead of getting hung up on the gun as yet another symbol.