I grew up in north-eastern VT in the heart of hunting territory. As such, I was exposed to firearms at an early age, developing an appreciation as well as a healthy respect for them. They were viewed as both a tool as well as a means of healthy enjoyment and fun when used appropriately. Although their potential dangers were always made abundantly evident, it was understood that there is nothing inherently sinister about guns, only people. No different than cars, chainsaws, alcohol or trans-fats. In the wrong hands, they are all dangerous.
In moving to MA I was forced to surrender my weapons at the border upon entry. At one point many years ago I decided to obtain licensing and got an Firearms Identification (FID) card from the town of Lexington. This was stamped right on the card, "good for life". Well, apparently the life term is defined by the same folks who define life in prison. Thus, life ended many years ago. Now there is a new process and requirements. I've been meaning to get a new permit for years but as I have no firearms in MA, it hasn't been on the top of the priority list.
This winter my buddy Chris has organized a biathlon club out of the Harvard Sportsmen's Club. This peaked my interest and gave me some new found incentive. Chris also hooked me up with a couple of his friends, De and Hanwei, who are NRA certified firearms safety instructors as well as competitive shooters. Their business is www.massfirearmsafety.com and they are really great guys. We registered for their class in pistol safety along with another couple. This class is a pre-requisite for application for firearms permit licensing in the state of MA. It consisted of a 4 hour classroom session and another 4 hour session at the range. We started with a safety recap and then progressed through the handguns from .22 revolvers up to .38 and .357 revolvers and onto .9mm and .45 semi-automatics. We finished off with some AR-15 .223 semi-automatic rifles, which Cathy was most fond of.
All in all, an excellent course taught by instructors that were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic. Everyone came away with a thorough understanding of the weapons, their proper handling and overall firearms safety. Everyone also had a really good time.