Particularly when I submit the ammunition bill for reimbursement. I do it for several reasons. First and foremost, firearms are a contentious subject. Many of my students have never picked up a firearm in their lives. I, myself, did not until a colleague in residency taught me. Many people have a quite irrational fear of firearms. Personally, I’m more frightened of chain saws. I know how to handle a firearm safely. I cannot say the same for a chainsaw.
Secondly, I find shooting to be an enjoyable pastime. One has to concentrate on safety and proper procedures to get the bullet on the target. I find it quiets my mind, and forces me to concentrate on one thing and one thing only. I understand why some Zen practitioners use archery. We both are trying to reach the same state of being in the moment.
Then, of course, it is difficult. There is always pleasure in taking a difficult task and doing it well, be it a chess game, golf, cards, magic, carpentry, what have you. Humans are weird, we and our fellow primates sometimes like to make things difficult for the fun of it. Golf is the perfect exemplar of this behaviour. Personally, I think a golf course is a waste of a good rifle range. But it is hard, and therefore it’s fun. To each their own.
Finally, it is a skill that can be used for self-defense. More eloquent people than I have pointed out that firearms are a force equalizer. And that the police, well intentioned though they may be, have no duty to protect anyone that they do not have a “special relationship” with. [One doesn’t want a special relationship with law enforcement, it means one is in custody, and therefore cannot take care of oneself]. I’m a big fan of insurance and preparation so I can take care of myself if (God forbid) bad things happen. I have insurance, fire extinguisher training, and emergency supplies in the car and the basement.
As Oleg Volk said recently:
Violence may not be exactly common but it happens from time to time. Just as I like having air bags and seat belts in my car just in case defensive driving isn’t enough, I like having some means of stopping purposeful evil from having its way with me and mine. And since I can’t be everywhere to look after my friends, the next best thing is to provide them with the skills necessary to fend for themselves. “Teach a man to fish” approach. Since I am no professional trainer, at most I can give someone a taste of the ability and they can get more serious training later on.