“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
It was not that arduous a journey, actually; I expected much worse. About a month before Gerry’s post about being shot at, I had completed the certification course required by Massachusetts in order to be allowed to apply for permission to buy a gun.
The course itself was hugely educational (as was, I’m sure, at least part of the point). It cost me $100 for a day of classroom course work and a day at the shooting range to qualify. The instructor, Mike, was an ex-military guy who was willing to spend as long as it took to make sure my classmate and I understood absolutely everything there was to know about guns and their history, from the invention of gunpowder to the present.
Now, I did not grow up in a family that hunted or fished. An occasional horseback ride at girls’ camp was the extent of my exposure to the great wild outdoors. So handling guns did not come naturally to me. But Mike, with infectious enthusiasm, had brought pretty much every firearm he owns, and patiently showed us the workings of each one.
By 5:00 in the afternoon, we were exhausted and ready to take our written test. Due to Mike’s tutelage, we both passed, my classmate with 92% and I with 96%.
The next day, we got to shoot! Bright and early, we met at the police range. Mike had us assure ourselves that we were the only patrons present, and then had us both walk the range, looking at the shooting booths, the target area, the layout of the range, everything. Shooters started to arrive and set up, and Mike announced that we were there to qualify. We were warmly welcomed, and Mike arranged our targets (to my eyes, ominously far away).
Eyeing the position of the targets, one of the shooters asked with a straight face, “You gonna just throw stones at those?” Then he laughed and wished us good luck.
After shooting some practice rounds with a .22, a .38 revolver, and a .45 (and boy, did that thing ever kick!), I qualified with the .22, getting five rounds in the black, and all 10 within the required white circle. I was quite pleased with myself. My classmate qualified as well, and we congratulated each other while Mike gave us our certificates.
And the very next day, I went to our local police station to apply for my license to carry concealed–and there goes another $100! Officer Cody made the process very easy and pleasant, even the part where he took my fingerprints. After the 30-minute interview-and-print-taking, he let me know that it would probably take six to eight weeks for my application to be processed, and then our Police Chief has to sign it.
So what I want to do is get a nice little Beretta U22 Neos as a starter gun to learn on. Sadly, Massachusetts gun dealers are not allowed to sell Berettas. Now what do I do?