tl:dr-Stepdad (who is a “responsible gun owner”) shot himself in the hand, still owns 9 guns, and wants to get another because now he “won’t get overconfident again”

I have mixed feeling about gun ownership. I grew up in the rural Midwest, and it seemed like most people owned guns. My dad owned several and used them for hunting. Since we were pretty poor, the deer meat was a really good way to save on groceries.

However, as an adult, I’ve felt really uncomfortable with many gun owners attitudes—namely that EVERYONE considers themselves a “responsible gun owner.”

My stepdad (who I dislike for a variety of reasons, but the main one of importance here is that he has a terrible, uncontrollable temper) LOVES guns. He’s a veteran*, he loves to point out, he’s trained and respects the weapon.

A couple of years ago, he related a story where he flashed his concealed hand gun at a couple of “thugs” (I’m nearly certain this means black or hispanic teenage kids who might have been sagging their pants) who were “eyeing” him. He related this triumphantly, because flashing his gun caused these kids to “change their mind real quick” (Since hearing this, I’ve always felt horrified about these teenagers hanging out at a gas station when a very imposing 60 year old man with a maniacal look on his face flashed a gun at them).

My mom hates the fact he has guns, but she isn’t willing to give him an ultimatum about it. Anyway, I’ve always felt like he would end up like George Zimmerman and shoot someone while trying to be a vigilante.

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But, I was wrong. Back in April, stepdad shot himself in the hand. Miraculously, they were able to save it. But since April, he’s had a ton of appointments. There was nerve damage and he’s still going to physical therapy to try to regain use of some of his fingers. It was touch-and-go for a while if he was going to need a skin graft.

When I first heard he had shot himself, I assumed he was at a gun range and maybe the gun had jammed or something. Nope. He was in a PARKING LOT. He was with his son who had to quickly run inside. Stepdad decided to entertain himself by playing with a loaded gun. My mom was horrified because he had always told her the guns weren’t loaded.

When he had to admit this to us all, he was very sheepish. He admitted he had become complacent. Deep down, I was glad, because I figured my mom would be able to put her foot down and he’d be willing to give up his guns.

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A couple of days ago, he posted a link to a handgun with the caption “Replacement for my Glock 20?” (That’s the one he shot himself with). I was so pissed that I couldn’t even comment. SehjMan replied with a picture of a supersoaker and said “I think you should stick to this.” Since then, stepdad has been posting a string of excuses about why he needs to get another gun. (he was in Europe and couldn’t go to the range for 5 years, he was overconfident because of his 7 years in the army, etc—though I’m not sure why that means you’d be handling your gun in a public parking lot) In one comment, he counted up the guns he currently owns “5 hand guns 1 shot gun 2 rifles and a Sturmgeweher58FAL assault rifle”

I’ve always thought he was a dumbass, but now I have LESS THAN 0% confidence in him. He’s talking now about all the new safety rules he’s instituting. (“1st hole in the revolvers is empty and nothing in the tube”—But wait a minute I thought the OLD rule was that it was not loaded?!?).

I know it’s going to cause all sorts of family strife, but for all future visits, I’m going to ask to see all the guns locked in a safe, and keep the key with me for the duration of my visit, because again, I trust him LESS THAN 0%. If “the gun is never loaded” turns into “I’m playing with my loaded gun in a parking lot,” I have no idea what he’s capable of.

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*He loves to loudly proclaim his Disabled Veteran status. Because of his age (66), people wrongfully assume he wounded in combat in Vietnam. He does not correct them. In truth, he joined after Vietnam and was stationed in Europe. He lived on base with his family. He injured himself during a training exercise. It drives me even more crazy because my dad did serve in Vietnam and was awarded a Gold Star.

So, uh....thanks for reading this whole rant. It’s 3 posts in 3 days for me, so hopefully I’ve got all my feels out. Feel free to share any family/gun control/other stuff you want to.