Learning about guns, turkey shoots and other Southern charms one shot at a time

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

 I’m hardly a sharp-shooter, and most likely wont’ be an expert gunslinger anytime soon.

And while that suits me just fine, my boyfriend insists I practice my marksmanship, for safety, of course.

It’s not uncommon for me to find a text message on my phone alerting me to a gun purchase, or a phone call announcing a family membership to a local gun range.

At first I was hesitant, but now I find myself enjoying trips to the gun range. Apparently all my yoga, running and herb gardening aren’t enough to completely rid me of stress, but firing a few hundred rounds at a target seems to do the trick.

I don’t own a gun. Instead, I have been using my boyfriend’s .22-caliber pistol. He thinks I’m ready to move up to a bigger caliber, specifically a 9-millimeter, but I’m happy right now wading in the kiddy pool. I’ll move up to the deep end only when I feel I’ve master the .22. And, to be completely honest, it could take a while.

I didn’t grow up around guns. My family didn’t hunt. I grew up in New Jersey—the quaint, small-town part. Only after I moved to North Carolina did I realize so many people had guns, and some of those people had several guns.

I assumed one gun would work for any situation—a one-size-fits-all theory. I certainly couldn’t understand why anyone would need an assault rifle. I was naïve to the reality of responsible gun owners. I simply thought anyone who needed a gun was up to no good.

I reckon that’s the silly Yankee in me.

For the record, when I say, “responsible gun owners,” I’m not talking about a bunch of teenagers bringing guns to a birthday party where malt liquor and cocaine are flowing freely.

But, again, since moving south, I have learned many things about hunting, fishing, guns—you name it. Around the holidays you can find many stories about turkey shoots in the Beacon. Well, until only about a year or two ago, I thought those folks were out there doing their darndest to shoot turkeys running around, hoping not to be on the Thanksgiving table.

There goes that Yankee again.

Needless to say, my thinking about guns has evolved since moving down south, and even more since I began shooting.

I have a healthy respect that borders on fear for firearms. I know what they’re capable of doing. Trust me, I’ve written enough stories and studied enough autopsies to know what they’re capable of.

But they’re also something empowering about knowing if, God forbid, the time came and you had to defend yourself or your family, you could. Or, at the very least, you would know what to do.

Like I said, I don’t expect to be in any serious shooting competitions any time soon, but I might try my hand at one of ’em good, ol’ fashion Brunswick County turkey shoots next time they come around.

Caroline Curran is a staff writer and columnist at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or ccurran@brunswickbeacon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @cgcurran.