My grandparents owned guns.
My dad owned a gun. My mother feared them and when they divorced, there were no guns in the house.
I did have toy guns in abundance and I played "guns" and "war" with my friends.
Playing war also gave start to my life long interest in military vehicles and equipment. I began to acquire books on the topic. Those books led to books about where the technology fit in historically then more books about more general history.
Those games gave way to table top role playing games such as Top Secret, Traveller and Twilight 2000.
Knowing about real guns could give you an edge in a game that used real guns, a few ounces off the encumbrance, a couple extra shots... Important stuff!
I fired my first real gun around 4th grade while we were visiting Iowa from Chicago and one my uncles decided to take his son and me out shooting. It was some kind of .22 semi-auto and we had a great time. Mostly making noise because I don't think I understood the sights.
Still, guns were NEAT!
I had friends here and there who owned guns, but the prohibition from Mom meant a bb gun was barely tolerated. I suppose I should clarify about her; she was not opposed to people owning guns, she was just afraid to be around them.
Those friends took me shooting and I learned a lot about the guns and how to shoot.
Then I joined the Army.
Gunnie heaven! In 1987 the Army was transitioning from the weapons of the late '60s into the weapons of the early '90's. I trained on both the M1 and M60A3 tanks. I learned both the M2HB and M85 .50 cal machineguns. I qualified with the M240 in the turret. We got "familiarized" with the M3A1 greasegun and M9 pistol. We qualified with the M16A1 and M1911A1.
Part of my Army adventure was an object lesson in just how thin the veneer of society was and the only way to insure your safety from being oppressed by an outside power was to be armed to the teeth. That lesson stuck.
The first gun I bought when I got out of the Army was a Ruger Mini-14, then a first gen Glock 17.
NOW, I was a member of the culture and was suddenly struck with the fact that there were people who were working to eradicate that culture from the nation. Then we got the AWB.
I couldn't figure it out. What the Brady Act and AWB actually did wasn't what the proponents of the bills said they addressed. Lies? Why would they lie? What was the real motive?
Remember that lesson that stuck? Remember how I collected military history books? It seemed a pattern was emerging and it wasn't a pretty one.
I remembered the long rambling rants of my great grandfather and how they had to flee Italy.
I see this pattern emerging again. Interestingly I see the same damned names attached to the new spate of laws as the last time. Will no one rid us of these meddlesome senators?
I remember "never again" and note that "again" is the culmination of the pattern.