Confessions of a new gun owner

Even in suburbia, many are no longer confident our authorities would or could keep us safe. In a small suburb such as mine, what would happen if even 100 or 200 people bent on violence were to arrive at once? Could our small police force really handle it? Or would we be left to fend for ourselves like Mark and Pat McCloskey in St. Louis, who defended their home and were then treated as if they were criminals?

A few years back, I asked a former colleague whom I knew to be pro-Second Amendment philosophically if he owned a gun. He answered no, and then asked if I had one. I said I wouldn’t know what to write down as my reason for wanting one.

He told me, “Write down, ‘Because I don’t trust the government.’ ”

That might have worked for the Founding Fathers. But in today’s New Jersey—a state ranked by the Giffords Law Center’s annual Gun Law Scorecard as the nation’s most restrictive after California—the response might be 40 squad cars on the front lawn by morning. I say this only half in jest: Do other Americans buying guns for the first time find it as grating as I do to learn that we need government permission to exercise a constitutional right?