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Courageous Conversations: Guns in Rural America

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BRANSON MO NEWS: BRANSON, Mo. — To own a gun, or not to own a gun? That is the question that continues to prompt the ongoing debate — as the loss of life from gun violence across the nation continues. However, for people living in rural parts of the country, owning a gun is not as much about protection, or taking someone’s life, as it is a way of life.  “I was probably about 10 years old when I got my first gun. It was a shotgun,” said 18-year-old Gabriel Floyd who grew up in rural Missouri.”It was kind of a big step for me to move up from, like a pocket knife to a rifle…a shotgun, ” Floyd said.A 2017 study from the Pew Research Center reveals 46% of adults in rural American say they own a gun. By comparison, 28% in the suburbs say they own at least one — and 19% of those living in urban areas.”So, when I was younger, I would go out to my grandpa’s land,” Floyd said, “He had some property about ten acres. And I would just go out there with my family…might be my grandpa, might be my Dad…maybe some cousins. We’d just go out there and shoot some cans.” For Floyd, growing up with guns, meant learning to use them properly.”I know how to handle a firearm,” Floyd said, “I know how to be safe with it. How to point it in a safe direction at all times. Things like that. But I also know how to use one for personal protection”Kevin Moore, former police officer and owner of “76 Arms and Ammunition” in Harrison said,  “When you have kids handling firearms that’s not familiar with them… don’t have the education for it…mistakes happen.”     “Kids in more rural areas are hunting …



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