To put another face to the gun debate, Yahoo News asked gun owners to talk about the firearms they own and what they use them for. Here's one gun owner's perspective.
COMMENTARY | Though not a firearms enthusiast, I am a passionate believer in the Second Amendment and supporter of the National Rifle Association. A father to three children, I am ever mindful of equally compelling responsibilities of protecting my kids and ensuring my home never offers unreasonable risks for younger inhabitants. As such, I'm a gun owner who values its potential in defending my family, but strongly considers firearms safety.
In my own childhood, only a few decades ago, the world appeared safer to many. Perhaps this belief was naive, but I was thus not raised around firearms. We didn't hunt or take father-son trips to a shooting range. Video games and summer camp archery were the closest I got to target practice.
Developing new values in a world where violence became more of a reality, I quickly appreciated the benefits guns provide. Many do hunt, collect antique weapons, or enjoy marksmanship. Though still not embracing such passions, following careful research, I purchased a small .22 caliber handgun for personal protection when our first child was born in 2002.
Thankfully, I have never fired my Ruger pistol in fear. However, I practice shooting, keep the gun properly maintained, and occasionally reach for it when a noise awakens my family. Such reasonable rights must be preserved, and I hope my children eventually value them. Finally, because gun safety is an equal priority, that weapon resides in a locked safe beside my bed. This ensures reliable and ready access, but only by my wife and me.
Jeff Briscoe is an attorney and writer from Port Charlotte, Fla., who is a regular contributor to the Yahoo! Contributor Network.