In This Rural Ohio Community, ‘Guns Are Just a Part of Life'

For anyone living in a city or in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area, it can be easy to forget just how different life in rural communities can be. This story from daytondaily.com shows how firearms are just a part of everyday life, used as tools and protection.

In Butler County, Ohio, with a population of 368,130 people, 22,000 CCW permits have been issued since 2004, according to Sheriff Richard Jones.

"They like to carry firearms," Jones said of the county residents in the story. "It's OK to have guns."

Recently, Madison Township, a small community in the county, experienced a great tragedy when a 14-year-old 8th-grader allegedy brought a pistol to school, shot two classmates, and injured two more.

Jones said in the story that the suspect stole the gun from a relative.

According to residents who spoke with the Dayton Daily News, it is not a common thing for people in the township to not practice responsible gun ownership.

“Some said many homes in the township are surrounded by or near acres of fields and wooded areas where small animals, coyotes, and deer can be a nuisance and at times destructive…making a gun a useful tool.

“Mike Erter, manager at the Middletown Sportsmen’s Club, located a few miles from the school district, said the club has about 2,200 members and probably 200 are from Madison Twp. He isn’t surprise by the number of guns in the township of just over 8,600 people.

“‘Most of them hunt out here,’ he said.

“Erter said guns are perceived differently in rural communities. Residents there, because they were raised around firearms, aren’t intimidated by guns. Still, he said, he was “totally shocked” when news of the school shooting quickly spread Monday.”

“…“Gary Gabbard, vice president of Edgewood Board of Education, said in his rural district in St. Clair Twp., ‘guns are just a part of life out here.’

“’There’s no possible way that you can keep guns out of the hands of young students. There’s no possible way in this rural district we live in,’ Gabbard said. ‘We have a lot of hunters in this district and most kids probably rabbit hunt, squirrel hunt or deer hunt at some point in their life. (Teaching) loved ones about safety with guns is the biggest thing, I think.”

The story goes on to quote Don Roberson, a third-generation owner of Roberson Sporting Goods, who said hunting and fishing are "a heritage here. They're brought up around it."

He goes on to say he doesn’t understand why any person would commit an act like the recent school shooting.

"Maybe that's just the mindset of today's youth," he said. "It's like, 'Hurt me and I will hurt you bad.' Listen, when I was his age I got into my share of fist fights, and I lost more than I won. I also had a pocket knife and I never thought for a minute about cutting somebody let alone shooting somebody."