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My reluctant relationship with guns

Writer and Radio Journalist Jay Allison

"What do you get out of shooting?" is a question with many layers here in the United States – a country that was founded, in part, on the right to bear arms. But that right comes with overwhelming responsibility and controversy. There are approximately 30,000 gun deaths in the U.S. every year. Many involve people who don't own guns, and many involve children. The nation seems torn, and even individuals who themselves want to own and shoot guns can find themselves conflicted.

Jay Allison is one of those people. He's an award winning journalist and radio producer, and after a period of national trauma and personal trauma, Allison found himself drawn to doing something many people want to do: buy a gun. Here’s his story.

JAY ALLISON: With my marriage failing, I thought again of owning a gun, a hand gun. Not for any aggressive reason, but because it seemed it might help me recall the security of childhood, while reminding me I was a man. And protect me, like a pioneer going into a harsh, new terrain alone.

Click the audio player above to listen to the full story. 

This story originally aired in 2004 on NPR’s All Things Considered.