A coalition of gun rights' groups and right-wing coalitions has declared this January 19th to be Gun Appreciation Day.


As someone who is terrified of guns, I am totally in favor of Gun Appreciation Day. In fact, I think every day should be Gun Appreciation Day.

But appreciating guns is the opposite of telling Obama "Hands Off My Guns!"—as the current Gun Appreciation Day aims to do. Appreciating guns should mean appreciating the way they're designed and the way they can easily blow the head off of someone you love.

This Thanksgiving, I shot a gun for the first time in my life. I spent Thanksgiving at my boyfriend's family's house and as sort of a rite-of-passage-bonding-ritual and an intentional step to overcome my repulsion to firearms, I asked my boyfriend's dad to take me out to the shooting range. Now here is a man who appreciates his guns. Before we went out to the range, my boyfriend's dad sat me down at the kitchen table and brought out the rifle he received for his eighth birthday and now stores unloaded in a gun safe. With breakfast cleared, he launched into a lengthy gun workshop that centered on one thing: safety. By the time we went out to the range, far away from all other humans, I knew how each piece of the gun worked and how they can be so effectively deadly. After shooting his rifle (turns out I'm a pretty good shot, by the way), I had a deeper appreciation for the danger guns present.

If gun-rights advocates are serious about appreciating guns, they should be against a laissez-faire approach to their ownership. They should understand that the only people who should have guns are people who are extremely devoted to storing, caring for, and using their guns in the utmost safest way possible. That means supporting regulations on who can buy guns and how they can be carried. Gun Appreciation Day should be a day for gun owners to rally in favor of background checks, mandatory waiting periods, and gun registration procedures at least as serious as those for owning a car. The "hands off!" approach will only continue our current epidemic of tragedy.