What do guns, horses,fire extinguisher and swimming pools all have in common? May 29-June 1st there was a National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) rodeo event held inside the Southpoint Hotel and Casino. https://www.nbha.com/ There was also a gun show in the meeting hall right next door on the same weekend. I didn’t go into the gun show, walked right past it. Too expensive. Spent several hours watching amazingly fast horses instead. I started a long conversation with a woman who poo-poo’d the idea of guns and bristled at the thought of a gun show next door. She thought that gun shows were bad because they were totally unregulated and anyone could walk in and buy a gun with no questions asked! No wonder she was freaked out. I told her it’s just the same as walking into a retail gun store and buying a gun. All the same laws regarding back ground checks apply at the gun shows the same way they do everywhere else. Gun shows are held all over the country and they all must be in compliance with all Federal, State and local laws. I began to talk about the notion of guns for self protection and the bad rap given to responsible gun owners in the media. We don’t want bad guys walking into a gun show buying guns either! It makes us all look bad. Fairly early in our conversation I noticed a security guard (unarmed) and a guy with a big radio walking past us as we spoke. They were both giving me a long look and continued past. They camped out at the railing about 30ft to my right and stayed there for the duration of my conversation with this woman, about 40 minutes or so. As we spoke about the gun shows and gun laws, I drew her attention to the fact that I was carrying a small semi-auto handgun in a holster. We’d been talking for about 20 minutes by then. She never even noticed up to that point that she was standing about 36 inches away from a loaded gun. She looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. She leaned forward and asked sincerely, “Why do feel you need to carry around a gun?” I told her it’s a device to be used in case of emergency only. Like a fire extinguisher, you by it and you hope and pray that you never have to use it. She closed her eyes and nodded in agreement. Because when you do, that means something very bad has already begun to happen and it needs to be stopped immediately before it can cause any further damage or loss of life. I could tell by the look on her face that it made sense. I don’t think she’d never talked to anyone who owned a gun before. She was an older woman in her 60’s or 70’s born in Whales and lived for decades in Manhattan Beach, California. She said she and her husband paid $75,000 for a house in the Pines section near Rosecrans and PCH. As it turns out, her house used to be on the same street where my brother lives now. We hit it off and spoke about Southern California, horses, culture(or the deterioration of it) and other stuff. She brought up the idea of safety again and having a gun in the house with young kids. I told her that is my concern, too. In response, I asked her if she were to buy a home with a swimming pool, would she build a wall around it and hide it from her grand kids and pretend it wasn’t there, hoping they never found it by accident? Or would she teach them how dangerous water can be? Wouldn’t she have a set of strict rules that form the foundation of safe pool use for everyone? Would she teach them how to be confident, strong swimmers and keep watch over those who are too small to swim? Would she be there with them while they swim? Drowning is very common here in Las Vegas. We’re coming into the Drowning Season about now. We’ll see news stories of a large family gathering and a toddler drowning at a crowded party with 20 people close enough to reach. But no one to save the child because the adults are careless and don’t pay attention. Drowning is very quiet. You can’t scream when you’re under water. By the time the kid sinks under water and is discovered, it’s probably too late. The right thing to do is to teach them about the dangers to themselves and others who don’t know how to swim.
How much more than with a hand gun? Education, exposure, repetition and training works with gun ownership the way it works with a swimming pool. All in all, she was very receptive to me as I spoke. I don’t know how she feels about the idea of personal gun ownership, but at least she has a different perspective on guns and no longer holds erroneous views about gun shows and the people who own guns… I think. After talking with her I went looking for a drinking fountain. I was thirsty and did NOT want to pay $3.00 for a 16oz bottle of water. Stupid. So I went walking around the entire casino floor and hotel trying to find a drinking fountain. Never found one. And no one said anything to me about the gun on my hip. Oh! I almost forgot. As my daughter and I left the casino after 10:30pm, there was a large yellow sign with black lettering placed at the entrance telling everyone to have all firearms cased and unloaded before entering the casino. The sign was not there when we arrived about 5pm that afternoon. Hmmmm…..