A Discussion With an Anonymous Westchester Gun Owner
While the Hawthorne resident believes in his rights to bare arms, he’s against automatic weapons ownership and believes the government should focus on gun safety rather than a weapons ban.
This gun owner lives in Hawthorne and runs a store in Rye Brook. Both he and his wife keep guns in their home, where they live with their 11-year-old daughter, and they consider themselves responsible gun owners. “My guns are locked up—they aren’t laying around,” he says. Still, he wants to remain anonymous for this piece, explaining, “There are a lot of people out there who are completely against guns, and I just don’t want it to affect my livelihood. I don’t want people outside my place or banning me because I exercise my Second Amendment rights…They think you’re crazy. They think about [the person] who killed those kids.”
When the Journal News published your name and address as a gun owner, how did it make you feel? My wife was pretty offended that her name was on that list and on that map. She doesn’t need her colleagues or bosses or whoever to look her up to see if she owns a gun. She feels nervous for her job. She feels nervous that everybody and their mothers know that she owns weapons. I mean, it’s really none of their business. I don’t know what kind of TV you have in your house, why should you know what kind of gun I have?
Do you think any guns should be illegal? Absolutely. I think automatic weapons should be illegal. I mean, do you need to shoot one hundred rounds in ten seconds? I think that’s a little crazy.
Why do you and your wife even own guns? Think about it. We live in Westchester County. We’re twenty miles away from eight million people who live on an island. If something catastrophic happens, where do you think they are going to go? They’re not going to jump into the water and swim across the river. They are going to walk uptown, upstate, which we’re considered. They are going to walk up the parkways, up the highways. Look what happened with Superstorm Sandy—there were so many people from the City in my neighborhood, clogging up our gas stations, fist-fighting, stealing gas—and that’s over gasoline. What do you think is going to happen if something really catastrophic goes down, and there’s no food, no water, no medicine for your kids, no heat? Call me crazy, but you will go to the end of the earth to protect your family, wouldn’t you?
How do you explain owning a gun to your daughter? My daughter was very saddened by what happened in Sandy Hook. I don’t keep her in the dark; I want her to know that there are bad people in the world. She did ask me, ‘Why do you own guns?’ ‘To protect our family.’
You’ve said that you’re against many aspects of the legislation that was just passed in Albany. What should the government be doing instead? They should be focusing on gun safety. If you’re going to buy a gun, there should be things in place—like you have to prove that the gun has a trigger lock, you have to prove that it’s locked up. And then have checks that they do once a year, twice a year, to ensure those guns are in place, where they belong. If you think about what happened at Sandy Hook, the blame should be placed on the mother who had assault rifles lying around the house with a mentally ill child.
Alyson Krueger is a freelance journalist based in New York City. She’s recently contributed to the New York Times, Wired, the Village Voice, Tablet, and the Pennsylvania Gazette, among other publications. She covers a range of topics.