I never thought I would shoot a gun in my life.
During a random morning two years ago, I was trying to make room for the food I knew I was about to conquer — a task that seemed impossible.
I was running on a treadmill in my friend’s backyard. It was still dark outside, but the birds were singing just enough for me to be motivated to take a few more strides. My stomach felt bloated, and for each step I took I could feel last night’s food partying in my stomach.
That night I gathered with the American family to celebrate the good times America brings.
After the meal and a couple of drinks the atmosphere was great; laughter and joy were filling up the room, illuminated by candles and discreet light.
During dessert, the joy and laughter eased out, the television was on, the guests with small children had left and the wine bottles were empty.
People were happy.
Suddenly, I was standing in the middle of a tiny room located just beside the kitchen. It was dark and cold. The lights were turned on and I saw myself in the surrounded by numerous guns; pistols and rifles of all sizes were placed precisely on shelves and some were locked in a glass cabinet.
I honestly got scared, and all I wanted was to run home. The father must have noticed my nervousness, tapped me on my shoulder and handed me an empty pistol, which in my hand looked more dangerous than on the shelf. I looked at him and forced a giggly smile while I handed him back the gun.
In America, to me it seems like everybody has a gun for protection or for hunting. The American people take huge pride in their gun laws and their guns. For instance, I have a teammate and a close friend who used to drive with a pistol in her car when going to practice two hours away from her house through a sketchy area.
Before coming to America I had never seen, held or thought about guns — but my first year in Asheville would change that.
I clearly remember on a hot summer day freshman year when I went to Brevard with my tennis team to spend the day and night in my friend’s cabin. Her father had promised us to show his guns and let us shoot them.
I honestly did not believe her when she told me, but I was soon very surprised. After going through all the security and safety parts of shooting a gun, he pulled out a shotgun, a rifle and a small pistol for us to either look at or shoot with.
Suddenly, I was standing with ear blockers on, aiming toward an empty beer can with the shotgun resting on my shoulder. Honestly, I thought I was about to piss my pants, I was so nervous. I pulled the trigger and fell a couple of steps behind, and actually hit the can.
In Denmark, only people with hunting certificates can buy a rifle strictly for hunting purposes only. There is extreme control, and no one can go into a pawn shop and buy a gun. It has to go carefully through the system.
When I tell my friends overseas I shot a shotgun in my friend’s backyard, or that some Americans own AK-47s, they will not believe me until I show them pictures of me holding tight onto a gun.
I clearly remember my first time in Wal-Mart. Besides all the chaos, something that blew my mind was that a person with a government-issued ID could buy a gun.
The guns were locked in glass cabinets. Some were pink, some were green and covered in a camouflage pattern, but they were all potentially deadly weapons, which could be bought in a retail store. It was like the guns were commercialized and aimed toward people’s personalities. They were made to look cute, which is disturbing. It is a gun, not a toy.
In Denmark, we have a strict knife law restricting the use of knives. It is illegal to carry knives in public places, and in order to have a knife blade exceed 12 centimeters, you must have permission from the police.
There is no chance you will find a pink or a camouflage colored gun in the local supermarket, and it is not possible to buy knives at the gas station.
These Danish laws are held in order to decrease violence, crime, killings and other incidents involving deadly weapons.
I am aware of the differences of society structure, government control and mentalities of Denmark and America, but I do believe guns and other deadly weapons are too easy to access in the states.
Honestly, I believe American gun laws are extremely casual. I understand the American pride regarding guns, but I do not think anybody should be proud of the innocent people get killed every year in America, either because of street or gang violence or police violence, and I believe this is due to the mentality concerning guns.
It saddens me innocent people get shot by police or innocent kids get caught in the middle of a drug war and lose their lives.
This problem cannot be solved by increasing the causality of weapons. It is about time the American gun industry is called out as well as its money and power is decreased.