By: Robert C. Koehler

You may find this shocking, but a little over a decade ago I spent a weekend learning how to shoot a handgun — under the auspices of the NRA. I wound up earning myself an NRA “personal protection in the home” certificate.

For years I have pondered writing about this weekend, but never found quite the right context for doing so. But the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen — declaring that the possession of pistols in public is a constitutional right — has pulled that weekend up from my memory (as well as from the pages of the journal entry I made afterwards, on May 2, 2011).

The ruling, as Karrie Jacobs has written, intensifies the danger we all face simply by being out in public, noting that in its wake “our sense of security in crowded places may be more permanently damaged than it was by the pandemic.”

She adds, “It advances a perception of the United States as a dystopian nation where day-to-day survival depends on being armed.”

This is the American paradox in full blossom: The more people there are carrying guns, especially in public places, the more dangerous it is simply to be out and about; the more dangerous it is to be out in public, the more credibility Second Amendment aficionados have when they claim they are only safe if they’re carrying a weapon.

See more in this weeks Boone County Journal

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