Gun Owners: Trap and Skeet Shooter Dena Restaino

She’s not your typical gun owner. The White Plains physical therapist and single mother shoots for sport, but also knows the value of defending herself from afar.



Dena Restaino is a physical therapist and a single mother who lives in White Plains with her 6-year-old son. “I’m not your typical gun owner,” she says, acknowledging that many associate guns with “people in flannel and plaids.” She owns a gun so she can practice her sport: shooting trap and skeet. “When I go to the gun range, everyone is nicer than the next,” she says. “Respectful, courteous, very safe. Everybody is about safety and protecting the environment.”

Why do you enjoy having a gun? It’s my sport. It’s very Zen; when you’re shooting something at a target, it’s about your breathing control and really being precise, and that’s why I do it—for the relaxation.

Do you get why people were so upset about guns after Sandy Hook? You know what? I absolutely get it. I’m so sick from that I still can’t talk about it. But it wasn’t the gun—it was the person behind it. That’s hard for people to hear, because they are so emotional about the subject; guns are always associated with death.

Why do we need guns at all? Why can’t we just get rid of all them and make the world safer? If somebody’s coming into my house, I can hit you from fifty feet away; I don’t have to go near you. Or I can say, ‘I have a gun; you can get out. You’re not getting close to me.’ Even with a knife, you have to be close, it’s hand-to-hand combat—you’re going to be grappling with people. I don’t want people to get that close to me; I’m a little person—they are going to take me out!

And you use guns for sport. Tell me more about what it’s like on the gun range. If you went to the gun range, you would never meet a more humble group of people—they will help you, they will teach you properly, they are happy to have another person learn. Never in my life have I ever been treated better than by the people at the gun range, all professional people, a lot of them old military, World War II guys with their old revolvers. It’s wonderful; the history is wonderful. And that’s the gun-owner society that I know.