From the September 1999 issue of "The Firearms MagEzine"

As I put the finishing touches on the July issue, my wife kicked the printer in to gear and handed me an article she had put together. I could not work it in to that issue but was certain that I wanted it in the next issue.

By Lori Wade

"What's that?" I asked on our first date. Bill had taken me back to the small house he was renting after a somewhat uncomfortable dinner cruise on the Missouri River. (Most first dates have a certain degree of discomfort - it's a rule).

"It's a loading bench," he replied

"What does it do?"

"I use it to reload my own ammunition."

"Is that safe?" I asked.

"Sure," he replied.

"Why is it in your dining room?"

The rest, as they say, is history.

When I met Bill, I was a complete novice when it came to guns. My dad had a shotgun and a .22, but they hung in the back of his closet - he never took them out, never cleaned them, and never shot them. Bill was a different story. "Avid" might come close to describing his attitude toward his hobby.

Before I met Bill, my ideas on gun control ranged from conservative to "guns kill people!" I had dated people who deer hunted, but I never participated - if that was something they felt they needed to do, that was fine, but leave me out of it. I couldn't bear the thought of people killing all of those innocent, furry little creatures (Did I mention that at the time I worked in medical research, "sacrificing" rats and mice for the advancement of medicine?)

I've now watched him clean guns, reload ammunition, practice at the target range, and yes, I went dove hunting with him once. The patience he has had with my ignorance is unflappable. No question I have is too ridiculous to answer. He's taught me safety; he's explained exactly what happens once the trigger is pulled; and he's described the difference between brands of powders, bullets, brass and primers. He's expanded my vocabulary as well as my mind. I now understand that hunting is a necessary part of life.

I am living evidence that the number one enemy of gun enthusiasts is ignorance. I've grown from never having touched a gun and, thanks to the media, thinking that they are the source of the majority of the problems in this country, to having my husband lovingly call me Annie Oakley at the target range when I obliterate a target at 25 yards.

We got past that uncomfortable first date, and rather quickly. Within three months of that evening we were trying to decide on a wedding date.

"I would like to get married in the fall," I said.

"OK, but not in November," he replied.

"Why not?"

"Deer season."

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