JEFFERSONVILLE — Allyson Condra has been around guns all of her life. She has taught classes on gun safety and has all the background and education needed to be a responsible owner of firearms.
But nothing could have prepared her for a confrontation she had several years ago while checking on her uncle's home in Louisville.
When she pulled into the driveway of the home, which she said was in what is considered a safe neighborhood, she noticed the front door had been damaged. She called her dad, who told her to wait for him or police to arrive, and reminded her that her uncle had a .45-caliber pistol inside the home. She decided to open the door to see if the home had been broken into.
As she entered a room, she grabbed the gun and began walking through the house. She walked down the hallway and could see someone standing in her uncle's bedroom.
“This guy looked like a linebacker,” said Condra, who is a mere 4 feet, 11 inches tall.
She pointed her gun right at him.
“You always hear people say 'I would shoot someone if they broke into my house,'” she said. “This guy looked at me and said don't shoot me. But I didn't know if he had a weapon or not.”
Condra found out later he was just 14 years old. Had she pulled the trigger, which she easily could have done under the circumstances, she could have killed him.
“To this day, it still disturbs me,” she said. “I pointed a gun at a 14-year-old kid. Nothing in that house would have been worth his life or my life. it still rubs me the wrong way when someone says 'if someone breaks into my truck I will just shoot them.' They have no idea.”
GUN RIGHTS AND VOTING
She supports gun rights and owns guns, but she said the key is education. While you may not know how someone will react in a situation, knowing how to handle a gun can mean the difference between life and death.
“I am almost afraid to go to gun ranges. I have seen people do some stupid things,” she said. “People need to be educated and have background checks. There should be a way to get a background check in 30 or 40 minutes.”
Condra's father was always involved in shooting and is a huge advocate of gun safety. She was one of the first female instructors to be licensed to teach conceal-and-carry classes with her father. She is not a hunter, but enjoys target and skeet shooting. However, she is not a fan of assault weapons.
“There is no way we will ever be able to take guns off the street, so why not educate people on how to handle them and do background checks,” Condra said.
And, she said, it's even more important to educate children about gun safety.
“One of the first things my dad will tell parents is whether it's a gun or something cooking on the stove, if you tell a child not to touch it they will try to touch it,” she said. “I tell my kids if a friend wants to see one of our guns to come get me and I will get it out and show it to them. It's important we have that conversation with children. Just because we tell them that guns are scary is not enough. Talk to them about guns and gun safety.”
She said her neighbor is against all guns and she respects her opinion.
“I am not going to argue or debate gun control with anyone. But if I can educate someone, I will do that,” she said. “And nationwide, background checks are so important. You can look at mental health history … it's not normal for any person to want to harm another person.”
Condra votes, but said she looks at more than one issue when choosing a candidate.
"That [gun rights] is just one of the things on my plate," she said. "The way the judicial system is made up, one person does not have the power to change gun laws. From a financial standpoint when a Democrat is in office it tends to increase the value of guns and ammunition. Most people think Democrats are anti-gun and Republicans are pro-gun but that is not always the case."
Condra said just because a Democrat is in office doesn't mean gun rights will be taken away.
"That is pretty far down my list [for picking a candidate]," she said. "I would say for president it's probably five or a little higher. There are much bigger issues to worry about. People just seem to get in a panic."
Condra said she thinks police officers and firefighters should have online access to records on who owns guns for safety reasons.
"They have a right to know what they are walking into," she said. "I don't have a problem with all of my guns being registered. But I don't think that should be public record."