I have been a gun owner since I was a teenager. Lots of folks would say it's a part of the culture in which I grew up (Texas). The southern U.S., Texas in particular, has often been the object of derision for many of it's cultural characteristics. One of the prominent topics of derision, in recent years, is it's "gun culture". I was born in Texas and have lived here all my life. Guns, of all varieties, have been part of my life. I was taught as a child respect for firearms, gun safety, and the use of all types of firearms. Almost every male raised in the rural south has had experience in the use of them. My father, a former law enforcement officer, taught me how to safely use rifles, shotguns, and pistols. As a teenager, I hunted rabbits, birds, wolves, and various other varmints. I have not done so in many years. In the 1970's, I took a job which required me to become a Commissioned Peace Officer. I held that license for two years before becoming an educator. When the State of Texas passed a Concealed Handgun License Law in the mid-1990s, I obtained mine that first year and have been "carrying" ever since. I have never had to use my weapon and hope never to have a reason to do so.
I am realist when it comes to violence in today's society. I know that there are "bad people" out there who would do my family or me harm if they had the opportunity. That is why I "carry". I do not want to become a victim or have anyone in my family become one.
I fully respect the right of anyone to avoid weapons of all kinds. I know that not everyone feels the way I do about firearms. I respect everyone's feelings when this volatile issue is discussed.
The following article was taken from the Pew Research Center's website. It is an excerpt. If you wish to read the whole report, follow the link at the end of the excerpt.
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.
Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993.