Portraits of Gun Owners in their Homes
P H O T O G R A P H S B Y K Y L E C A S S I D Y
Judi with her Remington 870 Express Hd, Donno with his AK47 SSR 85 C2Donno: I own guns for the same reason I own fire extinguishers -- while I certainly don't expect or hope for a worst case scenario, should one present itself, I am prepared to take an active role in ensuring that my family survives.... I grew up with guns in the house that were used regularly to put food on our table. I've known gun safety inside and out since I was a child. I'm confident my son will grow up with the same understanding [and] handle them with the same respect and care ... whether he chooses to own guns or not.
Judi: I grew up in the South and I come from a family of hunters. One of my first memories is learning to shoot a gun in my backyard. When I moved to Philadelphia, I quickly realized that I wanted to buy a gun for home defense. The bottom line is if someone is threatening my child or me, I want to be able to protect us. My shotgun will take care of any intruder and I know how to use it.
Maggie with her Marlin 22 and KelTec P-11, Gwen with her Kimber .45
Kit with her grandfathers W.Roberts 12 guage, Ivy with her Browing over-and-under
Ivy: I grew up on a farm, and I can't remember an age when I wasn't around guns. It was always clear to me that I was not to touch one without permission, but I was encouraged to learn to use them, and taught that shooting guns is an acceptable recreational activity. I've never hunted. It would be easier for me to shoot a human being invading my house than it would be to kill an animal whose natural habitat I'd invaded.
I grew up in the South and I come from a family of hunters. One of my first memories is learning to shoot a gun in my backyard. When I moved to Philadelphia, I quickly realized that I wanted to buy a gun for home defense. The bottom line is if someone is threatening my child or me, I want to be able to protect us. My shotgun will take care of any intruder and I know how to use it.
Kit: My grandfather gave me my first shotgun when I was eight years old. He taught any of his grandchildren who were willing to learn how to shoot. I don't think that I could ever kill anything but I enjoy shooting at targets Having grown up in Texas in a family where firearms were common, I never considered it out of place to have a gun in the house. I firmly believe that it's every citizen's right to own guns, and their responsibility to treat them with respect. Anything can be dangerous if misused.
Portia with her Beretta 96, Anthony with his Remington 870
Portia: I learned to shoot a gun when I was 10 or 11. My mother had a boyfriend who was a San Luis Obispo County Sherrif, and he lived in a teepee with a "wolf dog". We'd stay out there, eat ashcakes for breakfast and shoot his guns .The first time I shot a shotgun, I landed on my ass and laughed uncontrollably the way you do when you're a kid.
Anthony: I own a gun because I'm a fuckin' American and a Marine. It's my God-given right.
Chris with his Raven Arms .25, Cecilia with her six-gun tattoos.
Chris: I don't promote the fact that I have a gun, but I grew up in Maine. I don't believe in hunting, I'll still eat the meat, but I don't want to kill anything.
Cecilia: I grew up in Rappahannock county -- the land of very big trucks and very big guns. The gun trading post is right across the street from the church.
Joseph with his Remmington Model 700, 7mm Magnum
Joe: "The first time I was introduced to guns was when I was 5 years old; hunting with my dad, grandfather and uncle. I remember my dad shooting a ringneck pheasant and a rabbit. I carried those two animals until I thought my arms were going to fall off. As a little guy, that made a great impression on me. I've hunted all of my life; in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Colorado and Maine. I have a tremendous respect for life, especially wildlife. It never ceases to amaze me how much satisfaction I get from just simply being in the Great Outdoors, whether I make a kill or not."
David and Tara with their Glock 29 10mm and Savage 12 gauge pump, guarded by Raven the cat. Dave & Tara: We believe that WE are our first line of defense. In the extremely unlikely event that we are the victims of an attempted violent crime, we are both trained and ready to protect ourselves, our future children and our property from harm. We can't suggest strongly enough that if you take on the responsibility of firearms ownership, you take appropriate classes in safe gun handling and armed self-defense. We belong to a wonderful indoor range and are constantly taking new people with us to give shooting a try in a safe, clean, and friendly environment. Every single person we take ends up having a really good time, we've changed quite a few peoples negative views of firearms this way.
Barbara with her Ruger Mk I .22 target pistol, and Samson and Delilah Barbara: My dad took me target shooting when I was a kid but I was so small all I got to do was pull the rifle trigger. As an adult I really enjoy target shooting and am attracted to the energy and feeling of self empowerment.
Danielle, her Glock 26 and Zeke Danielle: My father was a Philadelphia Police Officer for over 30 years - 20+ of those years were spent in the Homicide Division. I remember stepping over his gun every night on the stairs on my way to bed - you didn't mess with daddy's gun - it wasn't a toy. Growing up the daughter of a cop you learn early on that the world can be a dangerous place and that you need to be able to protect yourself should you have to.
Bashir, his Bushmaster CAR-15 and Cisco Bashir: I just think it's a good thing to have.
Dan and his Mossberg Model 88, Bushmaster AR-15, Rock Island Armory / Sendra M16, Remington 700 PSS, Dan: I consider the ownership of arms not only a right, but the duty of a free people to themselves and future generations.
Springfield XD, FN Five-seveN, H&K USP, Sig Sauer P226, Colt Commander 1911, and Glock 22
Howard with his C. Sharps Arms Co. Model 1874 in .45-70 Howard: I love history and I love old mechanical devices -- guns are both. I also enjoy target shooting.
Eleanor and Drew with Obie and their SKS 776, 1958 .22 cal Single Bolt Action, Mossberg Drew: Owning a firearm brings me some sort of balance. When I am angry at the world I find relief in dropping a clip into the air. And, at the same time, if the world threatens me or those I love, I find relief in the protection it gives me.
Single shot 12g, Mossberg 12g pump, and Ruger P90 .45 cal
(l-r) Gwen, Jep and Diana with Lilly, the cat Jep: The “Gun Culture” is an enormous part of my heritage; it has become part of my wife’s throughout the past 23 years we have been best friends…and it will be a part of our children’s heritage as well, so long as we can protect it.
The "Gun Culture" I grew up with (and still live within) has nothing to do with violence. In fact, it has much to do with just the opposite...it is about bringing people together. Shooting is a great way to spend time with family and friends. It builds confidence in youth, promotes hand-eye coordination, and rewards patience and concentration with the grin of a well-placed shot.
It is learning about the firearms that have been used in the family, from putting meet on the table, to defending our nation, to target shooting & plinking. It is about that first hunt, and the rifle you’re carrying belonged to your father…or mother.
It is learning to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a fine gun, new or old, about the technical aspects of bullet weight & powder loads, shooting distances, and establishing common bonds across many social and economic thresholds with others who feel as we do about firearms.
My wife and I also believe fervently in the sovereignty of the individual and the family unit. We are citizens, with inalienable rights, not subjects to be ruled. Our right to keep and bear arms comes from our Bill of Rights, and this right, as enumerated, is not granted by any local, state or federal authority. It is a recognized right, endowed by our creator, upon every freeborn citizen in this country. The right to keep and bear arms isn’t so that the citizens can hunt or target shoot. It is recognized so that they may protect this country, their state, their community, their families and themselves against those that may wish to do them harm, be it a foreign enemy, their own federal, state or local government…or some brutal thug.
Nick with his Colt AR15. Nick: I have 32 handguns and 17 long arms. I'm not a collector. I just love to purchase firearms. I don't know if I could choose -- between my guns and my motorcycle.
Valerini and Andrew with his BT99 trap gun and CZ 75. Andrew: I've been shooting trap competitively since I was ten and just kept up with it.
Aaron and Brittny with their Keltec Sub 2000, Glock 34, Glock 19, and Ruger Mark II Aaron: My parents taught me to shoot, growing up in Utah. I got a gun here because we live in kind of a rough neighborhood and I take the subway home from work. I figured that since the bad-guys had guns, I should have one too.
Brittny: After practicing together and getting better, target shooting turned into a fun hobby that we could share.
Jerry and Colin and their Browning Citori's. Jerry: We are our own last line of defense. I haven't seen a compelling argument from the anti's as to why law abiding citizens shouldn't have guns. I think we all agree that criminals shouldn't have them; but what's the advantage of taking guns from good people?"
Colin: My dad taught me to shoot when I was five or six and it's how we still spend time together. He's a terrible golfer, but he's a great shot. We've definitely bonded over the years shooting sporting clays. What's the alternative? You go over to visit, Bar-B-Q and watch TV?"
Jim and Nicky with his Taurus .38 snub nose special, Colt 380-Auto, Pony Pocketlite and Sig Sauer P232 .380.
Jim: When I was diagnosed with cancer I found myself and my family in need of protection. I was too old to fight, too sick to run, and since cancer took my vocal cords, I couldn't yell for help. I purchased
my first ever firearm.
Jean and Fleming and his Winchester .410 model 42
Fleming: I was born and raised 12 miles down the road from where Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed -- this was in 1935. As a result of that incident, Northern Louisiana gained a reputation for being a very violent part of the world. And indeed, everybody -- that I knew anyway -- had at least two guns; a shotgun, and a .22 rifle. But these weapons were looked upon mostly as implements for harvesting food, mutch like you do with hoes, rakes, shovels, and things like that. Because they were used to take wild game. And in a country at that time where there was no electricity, no trains to speak of, you couldn't buy anything. If you didn't grow it or kill it yourself, you didn't eat. So everybody that I new of, went out to hunt for food and shells were expensive -- it was on the edge of the depression, shortly before World War II and people learned to practice gun economy, i guess you would say. People took care of guns, guns were cherished ... and you didn't mess with somebody's gun. They were used as something to acquire food. That was all they were used for. This business about people shooting each other -- that has come about, I think, as a result of money being introduced into our culture. Some people didn't have any, and some people wanted some, so they went out an "liberated" it.
For me, it's a sport. I don't go very often, but when I do, I enjoy walking in the woods. I never take more animals than we can eat. I think, in a way, a gun, if it's used properly, can be a tool to teach good citizenship. Because it teaches people to be frugal, to not be wasteful, and above all, it teaches people not to waste our heritage; take what you need, but don't take any more. I like to see kids, out in the woods, doing what they do, in a way that is responsible. The more contentious among us all take their children out to the woods at a very early age and let them practice woodsmanship.
Jean: I hate guns. Don't get me started.
Portraits of Gun Owners in their Homes
P H O T O G R A P H S B Y K Y L E C A S S I D Y