My readers know that since I moved to Cuming County a few years ago, I am always exploring the area and learning more about it. My most recent venture took me to the Sportsman’s Club in West Point.

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor offered to take me shooting and I readily agreed to go. It was a sunny Friday afternoon, the end of the work week, and I couldn’t wait until the clock hit 5 p.m.- our agreed meeting time at the club.

Laying out his small arsenal, my neighbor patiently described each gun to me. I had been shooting before this particular outing, but with such long intervals I always needed a refresher. He gave me a few pointers, handed me earplugs, and let me fire away.

Growing up in the city, I was never exposed to firearms. My brother and father hunted occasionally, but our family was never a gun-toting family.

In fact, I would say I held an unconscious belief that “guns were bad.” They only caused harm, right?

Whether it was from the news media, movies, or just learning in school “not to touch guns,” my beliefs were formed concerning guns toward the negative.

After my enjoyable shooting experience with my neighbor, I had another experience last week observing the West Point Youth Trap Team at the Sportsman's Club. It struck me then again that there was such a difference between the relationship with these youths and firearms and how I grew up.

I watched how these students handled their shotguns and observed the rules of the trap shooting range, all while having fun in the process. It really makes a difference when you learn from a young age how to safely handle guns, I thought.

That led me to thinking further about how our environment and upbringing matters. Was I taught to be apprehensive and wary of guns because I was never exposed to them and the messages I received surrounding them were basically negative?

Since moving here, I’ve often found myself having to reevaluate my “city mentality.”

And as I observed in my target practice and at the trap shooting club, shooting is a great sport that requires marksmanship and skill.

I’m writing this at the same time the LB77 has passed in Nebraska which provides for the carrying of concealed handguns without a permit. Living in “the city,” at another time, I might have had a different opinion about the passing of this bill.

I believe the more familiar or exposed we become with a fear, the less afraid of it we are.

With the new law passing in Nebraska I’d be curious to see what some of my friends and family back home have to say about it. To get their city perspective.

In the meantime, I heard there is a trap shooting club for adults in West Point that meets in the fall.

This city girl just might have to join that.