I lived a completely gun-free life -- until now

The thing is, I don’t come from a gun-happy culture. Apart from my husband, I doubt any of my near relations have experience with firearms. Mind you, I was raised by conservatives, but Mormons trend towards a communitarian, good-government brand of conservatism. They’re rarely drawn to the more suspicious and individualistic culture of the N.R.A. If my parents had any gun-owning friends when I was growing up, I wasn’t aware.

Thus, I can tell you how it feels when you’ve lived a completely gun-free life, and suddenly have a gun under your roof. Your instincts tell you: we don’t need it. It’s threatening. Bad things happen to people who own guns.

I’m pretty sure this instinct is dramatically reinforced by the violence-drenched entertainment that we (like most Americans) consume in considerable quantities. This might seem counter-intuitive, especially to men, but psychologically it feels to me like the obvious dividing line between the world of television (in which people regularly die horrible deaths) and the world I live in (in which they don’t) is the presence of guns. Leave guns alone and they’ll leave me alone, or so my subconscious tells me. It’s worked for me so far.

There’s a reason I’m admitting to all of this. It’s a kind of public service.