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A mother's journey to bearing arms

By Tracy Scarpulla, Special to CNN
updated 11:24 AM EDT, Tue April 2, 2013
Tracy Scarpulla and her three children, Emma, Georgia and Remmington, outside of their home.
Tracy Scarpulla and her three children, Emma, Georgia and Remmington, outside of their home.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tracy Scarpulla used to be adamant about not having guns in the house
  • Her husband, a Marine, firmly believes in the right to bear arms
  • After a decade, she's changed her view and supports gun ownership
  • Have a personal essay to share with the world? Submit at CNN iReport

Editor's note: Tracy Scarpulla is a traveling nurse and a mother of three from Albany, New York. For years, she was adamant about not having a gun in the house, especially when she had children. Her husband, a Marine, is a firm believer in the right to bear arms. Scarpulla's story first appeared on CNN iReport.

(CNN) -- I am the mother of three amazing children. Before having children, I was a firm believer that guns were dangerous. But I did nothing to educate myself about guns or gun safety. I feared the unknown and the danger guns seemed to possess.

But after 10 years, I now have a gun in my home. Listening to President Obama's news conference on Thursday marking 100 days after Sandy Hook, and the whole gun control debate, prompted me to get my viewpoint across.

I married a U.S. Marine. He of course was a firm believer in his right to bear arms. This posed no issue until our son was born. I was adamant that no gun be allowed in our home, while he felt quite the opposite. We agreed on one gun locked in a safe, and his other hunting guns were stored at his parents.'

Tracy Scarpulla with her daughter, Georgia
Tracy Scarpulla with her daughter, Georgia

Slowly over the years, I became more and more fearful of being home alone on the nights he worked, especially after I had children. We were living in Maryland on a farm in the middle of nowhere. One night, I got a call from my husband telling me to lock all doors and windows as he had just spoken with a sheriff down the road who was looking for an escaped convict.

I was terrified.

We had that one gun, but I had no idea how to use it. That changed very quickly over the following weeks, as we went out for target practice. I learned how to shoot and for the first time in years, I slept well. I finally felt safe at night.

Over the 11 years of our marriage, I slowly learned about guns. I began to accept that the gun itself posed no danger -- any danger was in the hand and heart of the beholder. I learned there were safe ways to teach your children about guns. Guns were a tool like any tool; they have multiple purposes and uses. I learned more about our Constitution and our rights as U. S. citizens. I learned I had nothing to fear and a lot to gain from owning a gun.

Why would someone own a military-style rifle?

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I think mothers need to educate themselves and learn how to best educate their kids. I work with a lot of other mothers, and many of them are shocked that I was taught how to shoot. I understand because I was there at one point -- I was scared of guns. But I no longer fear them.

Marine to senator: I won't 'register my weapons'

So Mr. Obama and your gun control advocates: I am not physically capable of stopping a 200-pound man from raping me or my daughters. I am not physically capable of stopping a 200-pound man from entering my home and doing what he may. However, my gun is very capable of stopping such a criminal if such an act were to occur.

Parents defend right to keep guns in the home

We live in a society where no one is there to protect us. The police come after the crime, not before. I do not have 24/7 armed protection like you do, Mr. President. Neither do my children.

So until you can explain to this nation why your old city of Chicago has rising murder rates by guns, despite some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, I will continue to support the NRA, I will continue to urge others to support the Second Amendment and I will continue to vote for those politicians that support my views. I will also support the notion of placing armed police, veterans, etc. in our schools.

Why should your children, Mr. President, be of the select few children in this country who are protected by armed guards? Why are your children more special than mine?

Guns on campus: NRA to announce school safety measures

The fact is they are not. All children are special and have the right to be cared for and protected.

I am a mom, and I am proud to support the NRA and my right to bear arms.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tracy Scarpulla.

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