Except for shotguns (firing one feels like being punched by a prizefighter), I enjoy shooting. At the range where I practice, most of the staff knows me by sight if not by name. I’m the guy in the metrosexual eyeglasses and Ralph Lauren polo, and I ask a lot of questions: What’s the best way to maintain my sight picture with both eyes open? How do I clear a stove-piped round?

There is pleasure to be had in exercising one’s rights, learning something new in midlife and mastering the operation of a complex tool, which is one thing a gun is. But I won’t deny the seductive psychological power that firearms possess. I grew up playing shooting games, pretending to be Starsky or Hutch or one of the patrolmen on “Adam-12,” the two most boring TV cops in history…

There are a lot of reasons that a gun feels right in my hand, but I also own firearms to protect my family. I hope I never have to use one for this purpose, and I doubt I ever will. But I am my family’s last line of defense. I have chosen to meet this responsibility, in part, by being armed. It wasn’t a choice I made lightly. I am aware that, statistically speaking, a gun in the home represents a far greater danger to its inhabitants than to an intruder. But not every choice we make is data-driven. A lot comes from the gut.