Responsibility in recreation

Monday, November 10, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:59 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sarah Mounter owns two handguns and a shotgun. Although she doesn’t carry the handguns for protection, she said, as a woman, she feels more secure with them when she’s in her home alone.

“I do keep them accessible when I’m in my house and, yes, they do make me feel safer,” said the 40-year-old Mounter, who is a research associate in plant microbiology and pathology at MU.

When Mounter learned the concealed weapons bill had passed, she said she immediately thought she’d get a permit. However, because of the expense of the permit and training classes, she’s unsure about whether she’ll apply for one.

“I have always been a supporter of the right to bear arms, and I think that concealed carrying will deter crime, contrary to many of the notions I’m hearing,” Mounter said. “It’s like the old Western days. If you don’t know who’s armed and unarmed, there’s less aggression, and they’re less likely to invade your space if they think you’re armed.”

The daughter of a Fayette deputy sheriff who was also a gunsmith, Mounter received her first gun at age 12 — a single-shot rifle. Mounter’s father taught his children how to shoot and care for rifles and handguns, she said. He believed education about guns was better than ignorance and thought knowing about them would deter her and her sister from being irresponsible with them. Mounter said that’s her philosophy, too.

“The house had guns all over, and my sister and I both knew they weren’t our guns and not toys and that was never a problem,” Mounter said. She said with proper education and training guns are safe, though she locks them up when her nephews come visit.

After moving to Columbia seven years ago, Mounter said she decided she wanted to take up shooting as a hobby again. Not a member of any gun clubs or ranges, Mounter said she does target practice and skeet shooting north of Columbia or at a range in Jefferson City.

“I grew up around guns and did target practice as a child and decide I wanted to pick it up again as a hobby,” she said.

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