The gun in my basement.
In my basement, I have a safe. And in that safe, under expired passports and birth certificates, there's a gun. It's unloaded. Hasn't been loaded in probably twenty years, and yet every time I take it out, I check to make sure.
If you're a gun nerd, it's a 9 shot .22 revolver. On this website, it says that "it is true that many people have been killed by a .22 LR in the course of history," but the writer concludes that this weapon is a bad choice for self defense.
I didn't buy it for self defense. I didn't even buy it. It was my father's and after he died, my mother gave it me, along with an Elgin watch he'd worn for years. The watch was weathered and worn and I took it to be restored. The jeweler refused, saying it was worthless. Two decades later, the watch is still in my jewelry box. There's no need for it to be locked up.
I have no idea if this gun is in my possession legally. No idea if my father had a permit for it, or what my obligations were when it was passed to me.
I shot it several times with him when I was a child. Often, I'd take along a pellet rifle and we'd shoot beer cans. The handgun was louder, and harder for me to aim. It was a good time, but no better than going to Phillies games with him.
My own son is an adult, now, and we raised him more or less with the same attitudes towards guns that I was. That is to say, we weren't gun people or not-gun people. He went through a Nerf gun phase, and then a paint ball phase and finally an Airsoft phase. A few times, he discussed an interest in getting a "real" gun but not fervently.
Now far more interested in Sixers jerseys, last year my son asked me to help him sell his Airsoft guns, which only shoot tiny plastic pellets. Yet despite the fact that virtually any human can buy an AR15, if you list an Airsoft gun on Craigslist, the ad will be pulled down in minutes. I know this because I've tried.
A few years back, shortly after another school shooting that made me reconsider my relationship with the .22, I offered to sell it to a friend of mine. He is the only close friend I have that believes in fervent gun ownership and we had many productive conversations about how opposing views such as ours could come together. At any rate, he and his wife sold all of their possessions and bought an old sailboat, so he never bought my gun. I suspect the handgun he used to carry in his pickup is now hidden on the sailboat, but I don't know that for a fact. It's quite possible when he minimized his life, he decided it wasn't something he needed. While he believed quite strongly in gun rights, I think he believes in sailing more.
Many times after a massacre - be it Vegas or the school shooting of the week - I have an impulsive reaction to take the gun out of my safe, drive to the nearest police station and just give it to somebody. To finally cast my vote to not be one of "them." You know: the gun people. To be one of the white people in a world of black and white.
But I never do that. And for the most part, I'm glad I don't. The older I get, the more I believe that the world isn't simple, no matter how much we'd like it to be, and despite our cravings for black and white, truth is we are all drowning in a sea of grey. I want to help the world realize that a gun owner like myself can say the NRA is wrong. Flat out wrong. That certain weapons absolutely, positively should not be sold. To anyone. That the Constitution is as ripe for interpretation as any work that's ever been written. I'd like to be that guy.
But still, if somebody were to find a way to ensure that no school killings would ever happen again, or that even if it might work, and if that method were to involve me handing over my .22, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
Until then, it will be locked in my safe.