Answer by Barkha Herman
I had a friend who was raped in her home when she was young. She became a gun enthusiast, and learnt how to defend herself. She slept a lot better after that.
When my daughter was 8 months old, we visited another friends house. My friend brought out some old toys for her to play with - among which as a toy gun. It did not have any projectiles, just made a noise. My daughter did not know what to do with it. She tried holding it in all directions, making it go like a car, couldn't figure out. Stared right into the barrel. No clue what to do with it.
When I got home, I bought her a Nerf gun. I needed her to know what it was so she did not accidently shoot herself (with real or toy guns).
My daughter, now 18, is an excellent marks(wo)man and loves going shooting with me.
Both me and my daughter are trained in martial arts, and are petite. Having sparred with enough men almost twice my size, I have no illusions of defending myself against a large man, intending to do me harm, especially if they surprised me. Huge difference between winning points in a sparring situation and a street fight. I would need the advantage of a gun in the knife / fist fight.
You have to decide at what point the danger outweighs the usefulness of something. It's the entire Prometheus / fire thing. Fire burns - but it's also darn useful. I for one would rather play with the new danger and learn to control it - than to avoid it. You seem the type as well.
Why not start with just taking the lessons, going to the gun range, practice, and see if you love it?