Re Charles Byrd letter, "Armed self-defense is a right," April 1:
The writer totally disagrees with an earlier writer who prefers that decent citizens not be allowed to carry concealed weapons. While they both make some sense of their arguments, I feel somehow that there is a little more to the gun issue than just making a show of arms.
I acquired a .22 caliber rifle as a very young man. Not being allowed to fire firearms in the city, I went to the woods to test my skills. My stupidity allowed me to shoot a young owl out of a tree, just to see if I could bag him. I did, but I didn't kill him. Upon approaching my prey, I hated what I had to look at. The poor little thing helplessly laid on the ground staring at me. I had no choice but to put him out of pain. I still have that rifle somewhere in my home but have never fired it at a living creature again.
Self-defense for fear of your life or that of a loved one is something quite different. I think it may be justified for a family to keep a firearm in their home. If intruders wish to chance coming through that door and threatening a man's family, he may be well-justified in using that gun.
However, the desire of some to walk the streets carrying unconcealed guns on their person for the purpose of warning off any would-be threats seems a little like going back to the days of the Old West. We have been there and done that. Pretty soon we will be reading about who is the fastest gun alive.
It seems to me that if you are going to carry a gun, it's got to be that you want to pull it in a situation.
It then follows that if you get that far in fear or anger, then you have to be prepared in your mind to kill someone. Do you really want to live with taking a person's life?
It's been over 55 years since I killed that little owl, and I have never forgotten it or forgiven myself.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.