I collect and make knives. I am a gunsmith and honestly don't know how many guns are in my house. In Texas nearly anything is legal so I collect and carry a wide variety of weapons and tools. My normal pocket carry is a leatherman, a spring-assisted karambit, two small flashlights, a lighter and a small pocket screwdriver set. I don't always carry a gun but there is a gun in all of my cars and my boat. Also in each vehicle is a heavy walking stick and in my truck, there is a sword. I carry a Ruger LC9pro for if I concealed carry.
I am sort of a boy scout in that I am always prepared. My vehicles each have a get home bag that would allow me to walk overland for several days if I had to. I guess I'm a prepper but I was doing this long before there was such a thing. My Dad called it being self-sufficient. He taught me how to feed my family under any condition and made sure that I knew how to protect me and mine. With that start, I built upon it and can not only survive but thrive without much or any of the modern conveniences. I am as comfortable in the woods as my wolf spirit. Drop me anywhere in North America and I can clothe, feed and shelter myself fairly easily.
I think that a lot of preppers are often misunderstood. I prepare for all sorts of things. I've lived in the Hurricane zone all of my life and been through the eye three times. When a hurricane heads our way I don't have to get prepared. I stay prepared. I live in a rural place and when a storm blows through we might be without power for a week or two. After Rita, some here were without power for 6 weeks. Prepping is like any other insurance. I have life insurance, car insurance, insurance on my home, etc. I hope I don't die suddenly or have a wreck or my home burn down BUT I have insurance so my family is taken care of. Being prepared is just another form of insurance that I may not need but feel that it is my job to make sure that I can care for and protect my loved ones.
My gun and knife collection is a pleasure to me. It is no different from my collection of cups and saucers from occupied Japan. Despite being regularly armed I am a peaceful soul. I stop and help people on the road. I am friendly and have no real enemies. I am a big believer though in the "Walk softly and carry a big stick." Philosophy.
After fire, knives were man's earliest and greatest inventions. Since man got very little in the ways of fangs and claws the knife was a must in his growth from prey to predator. With no knife skinning an animal to eat is tough, to say the least, and actually killing prey is a chore. A sharp edge gives man his fangs and claws. Just as there seems to be an almost instinctive attraction to fire I think that the knife has been a part of our personal tool kits so long that it is an almost instinctive thing to seek them out. When I was a boy getting your first knife was a huge step and a sign that you were growing up. I feel naked without a knife. I have carried one every day of my life since I was 8 or 9 years old. I started collecting them both large and small while I was a kid.
Eventually, I wanted to make my own and started doing that when I was about 20. I have a small forge and make some that way and some from tool steel blanks, circular saw blades, files and truck springs. When I make a knife I put a little of myself into them. There has always been a lot of superstition about certain blades. When you force your will onto a piece of steel and shape it with fire and pounding you make a connection to it that may well be somewhat mystical. As you handle steel it changes. The more time you spend on it the more it is changed. There is a condition call work hardening where a knife, ax, sword or tool actually becomes stronger as it is used.
I have the knives of 4 generations of men. They offer me a connection to them. My knives will go on when I am gone and carry a small piece of me to those in the future that appreciate the value of a well-made tool. Maybe some will be like me and be able to feel that little bit of soul that I placed into the steel...