Gun Control Will Only Happen if Gun Families Make It Happen – VICE

Alexis Lagan. Photo courtesy USA Shooting

Alexis Lagan was ten years old when she got her first taste for competitive shooting. Her father, Barry, took her to a firearms class at a youth center in Las Vegas, and one thing stood out. “It was all boys,” she said over the phone from Boulder City, Nevada, while her dad listened in on the line from Las Vegas.

Lagan is an athlete with USA Shooting and a 2020 Olympic hopeful in the 10m Air Pistol and 25m Sport Pistol events. At the end of that first class 15 years ago, the instructor, a man named Mr. Moose, set up three competitions.

“I think I placed second, first, and second,” Alexis said.

“First, second, first, kiddo,” piped up Barry, a Las Vegas police officer and co-owner of a firearm instruction company.

“And I ended up beating all those boys,” Alexis continued.

“Pretty badly, too,” her dad added.

“A couple of them went home crying,” she went on, “because this ten-year-old girl in a pink jacket with rhinestones beat them all out.”

Alexis is an outlier in a few ways: Most gun owners aren’t Olympic shooting hopefuls, and women are less likely than men to own and shoot guns. But she and her father are evidence of a fact that’s not entirely shocking, yet still illuminating in the context of America’s never-ending gun debate: According to the Pew Research Center, the vast majority of gun owners in America grew up in a house with guns. That means the fight over gun reform in America is about far more than the Constitution or public safety or how mass shootings take place. It is, in part, a fight over a family tradition. Over a way of life.

The finding—from a 2017 study titled America’s Complex Relationship With

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