Many No Longer View Gun Ownership As 'Taboo'

Gun Show

Once upon a time, owning a gun was so common that it was almost more remarkable when you found someone who didn’t have one. Guns were plentiful and popular. Even those who didn’t own one did so for their own reasons and generally had no interest in getting in the way of their neighbors having them.


But that was a long, long time ago. Today, many view having a firearm as if it’s some kind of sacrilege; like you’re doing something wrong even if you’ve broken no laws.

For many, gun ownership is taboo. Yet that seems to be changing in many ways.

Outside of that one time going to target practice with some friends while he was in medical school, the first time David picked up a gun to learn how to use it — this time for protection — was five years ago, when he went to a range a few weeks after [killer’s name redacted] walked into the Tree of Life synagogue and killed 11 people who had gathered to worship not far from David’s home in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

“Handling a gun, let alone owning one, was not anything I had ever considered doing in my life,” said David, who asked that his full name not be used for fear of personal safety of himself and his family.

“Growing up, the mere thought of owning a gun or handling a gun was taboo. However, once I started having conversations with people after Tree of Life, I found the reality is everybody might be somebody who would buy a gun. It just depends on what it takes to get one,” he explained.

Still, he and his wife shelved the idea five years ago.

Then Oct. 7 happened — and everything else that went with it in the following days and weeks, like the brazen antisemitic graffiti splattered on the front wall of Allderdice High School and throughout the Summerset neighborhood, as well as the tire slashings, the defacing and burning of lawn signs that support Israel, and the woman using a hammer to hit the window of Marvista Design where a sign read “We Stand With Israel.”

His fear is justified. Antisemitism in this country has reached what the FBI categorizes as a “historic level.” Last month, the Anti-Defamation League reported antisemitic incidents in the United States rose by about 400% in the first two weeks alone after the war broke out. By the end of October, that number hit an average of 28 a day — and is still climbing.


Anyone who feels they might be the target of violence should look into arming themselves if they can do so lawfully. I’m not going to even look down on those who do so unlawfully, particularly when the laws preventing them from doing so are blatantly ridiculous.

Whether or not the threat is directed personally at one person or not, it just makes sense to take steps to protect yourself and your family.

Some will try to pretend you’re doing something wrong or that you’re losing sight of some important point, but the truth of the matter is that it’s up to you to protect you. Calling the police is great, but all too often, they get there just in the nick of time to draw a chalk outline around your body.

They want to protect you, they just can’t be everywhere and protect everyone.

Yet more and more people seem to be waking up to this fact, people who did think of having a gun as taboo but now see it as something reasonable people do to protect themselves and the people they care about.

Nothing about this should be surprising.

What is interesting is how many Jewish people are changing their minds of late. Jewish voters have long sided with Democrats, on the whole–a party that tends of favor gun control. It makes me wonder just how this shift in how many Jews view guns may impact the gun debate down the road.


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