"Liberals don't know anything about guns."
I've heard that stereotype more than a few times in my life, and more so in the months since the massacre at Newtown, Conn.
Like most stereotypes, it's a twisted view of reality, repeated by people trying to prop up their argument -- in this case, the pro-gun argument.
Actually, a lot of liberals know a lot about guns. They just don't worship them the way a lot of conservatives do.
They don't hold the Second Amendment sacred and ignore the rest of the Constitution. They don't mindlessly reject any and all attempts at sensible gun control.
And, apparently, neither do all conservatives. Check the polls. Americans overwhelmingly support background checks on gun buyers.
Opinions on something as monumental as guns -- something that can both take and protect a life -- should never be knee-jerk. They should be formed, with great care, over time -- and maybe changed as the world around us changes.
I grew up in a tiny, three-bedroom house in rural Pennsylvania. When I was a kid, we usually kept about six guns on hand in that house: a 20-gauge shotgun for squirrel hunting; the .30-.30 lever-action rifle that I used for my first few buck seasons; the new .243 bolt-action that replaced it as I got older; my dad's .30-06 deer rifle; the little .25-caliber pistol he brought back from Vietnam; and the .22-caliber rifle that was for ... well, everybody had one of those.
There was plenty of ammunition for each, and there were no gun locks or safes or even a cabinet. The shotgun and rifles were just propped up against the wall inside my dad's bedroom closet. The pistol lay on the shelf above.