22 July 2010

Bare Arms

During our summer leave from Singapore, J and I made use of an American right that would bring us a punishment in our adopted city-state of not less than 5 years imprisonment coupled with at least 6 cane strokes.

It happened when we were in Garrison. Vermin live throughout our property, but the snakes, hawks, foxes, and coyotes naturally keep their numbers low. We do not interfere with the circle of life. However, when we discovered a colony of chipmunks destroying our front lawn we couldn't wait to let nature take its course. Their underground city was the size of Atlantis! We had to take matters into our own hands. J's solution: a .22.

Exercising our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bare arms, we set out to buy a rifle. We headed straight for the nation’s largest seller of firearms, Wal-Mart. To our surprise (and fright), all the guns were sold out! We then drove around aimlessly through the small towns of Putnam County to find a proper gun store, but we couldn’t find our target. We were forced to change tactic. We had to make inquiries, but where? It’s not as if one can simply roll down a car window and ask a passerby the whereabouts of the nearest gun store like it's a 7-Eleven. How awkward to pull up to a gas station and say, “Excuse me, but where can I buy a gun?” Do we query a tattoo parlor? Pool hall? A group of boys hanging in the park?

Bullseye! A Hardware Store!

Nestled between an edible florist and a pet store stood the gun and bait shop. As we walked in, a man was finalizing the purchase of an assault rifle that looked as if it could stop a charging elephant. On the walls leading up to the counter I spotted a handful of hooks and one rod and reel amid firearm accessories, such as jackets, holsters and scopes. The wall behind the counter was loaded with .22s and other weapons whose numbers I didn’t know. A man hanging out in the store as if it were a clubhouse bragged to me about owning 50 guns, including a pink pistol. When I asked him why he owns so many guns he replied, “Because they come in different colors.” Right.

After J made his choice, the salesman took his expired NY driver's license and Singapore driver's license and called the FBI for an on-the-spot background check. Just like that, our classic Belgium-made Browning joined the over 300+ million guns owned in America.

Next entry: I Was an Expat-NRA Wife.

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