TIME: Your mother — she was your protector. She often carried a gun, she seemed to be very fond of guns. Did you inherit your mother’s fondness for guns?
MAYA ANGELOU: Well, I do like to have guns around, I don’t like to carry them. But I like — if somebody is going to come into my house and I have not put out the welcome mat, I want to stop them.
TIME: Have you ever fired a weapon?
ANGELOU: Of course!
TIME: At a person?
ANGELOU: I’ve fired it period, not at a person I hope!
I was in my house in North Carolina. It was fall. I heard someone walking on the leaves. And somebody actually turned the knob. So I said, “Stand four feet back because I’m going to shoot now!” Boom! Boom! The police came by and said, “Ms. Angelou, the shots came from inside the house.” I said, “Well, I don’t know how that happened.”