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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Friday, November 01, 2002
8:39 AM

Columnist Donna Britt has an interesting piece about how she doesn't understand the fascination with guns. She decides never to go to a shooting range--that might reduce her hatred of guns, as she explains--but she also does a decent job of un-demonizing (that must be a word) the decent, law-abiding gunners she encounters.

I wanted Printz to show me the weapon that stole 10 decent lives. And perhaps to help me comprehend why some will never blame guns for their absence.

A half-hour later -- after examining a Civil War Spencer carbine whose Gettysburg-bound owner carved his name onto its stock and marveling at an 18th-century Japanese "smooth bore" as graceful as calligraphy -- I realized:

Immerse yourself in any aficionado's passion -- antique buying, Thai cooking, guns and other weapons -- and you'll get a glimmer of understanding.

Whatever its object, love's expansiveness pulls you in.

As a boy in Northwest Washington, Printz fashioned weapons from walnuts, tire pumps and firecrackers. "I've always enjoyed history -- guns are part of history," he says. Most owners have personal gun histories -- "my dad had a gun, my uncle. . . . "

Printz paused. "You'd be surprised at the people you know who own guns," he said.

"And who'd never admit it," Andrée added.

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