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I owned my first BB gun at the young age of eight years. By then, my father and I had been over every lesson a young boy might need in order to safely handle a weapon. How did he teach me? Of course, he led by example. And maybe I followed through fear, a little. Fearing a father’s wrath back then was the norm– fearing the consequence of my actions was the lesson learned. At any rate, I learned quickly how to handle a gun safely and proficiently.
The year I turned fourteen, I was given a Mossberg 20-gauge bolt-action shotgun. Quickly I learned how to disassemble, clean, and assemble my gun. As we hunted the tracks west of town that year, I got the honor of carrying that shotgun around… empty. I thought my dad was just being mean. Then came the lesson. I tripped in the soft dirt– just a stumble, but enough to fill the end of my gun up with that soft dirt. Dad was angry, not because I tripped, but because I had the barrel pointed to the ground, and because I didn’t check the barrel after I tripped. Good thing it wasn’t loaded.
At fifteen, I shot my first double, a couple of ring-necks at the end of a cornfield he and the beagle were fighting through. Dad put me in just the right place. His quick temper was well known to us, but when we were hunting or fishing, he turned into a teacher with the patience of Job. And he was proud. The tail feathers of that first double stuck in the visor of every truck he ever owned after that. This was his way of saying “I love you, and I‘m proud of you.”
At sixteen, I was in the basement many a winter night re-loading shotgun shells for practice at the gun club. Also that year I was hunting without dad– on my own. Not that I was the safest hunter in the woods, but I certainly had the knowledge to be safe and respect guns, and my dad was the teacher. He took it as one of the responsibilities of a father, to teach his children how to handle guns. It was his duty, and he took it seriously.
Why do I bring this up? Because I think it’s what we are missing these days. For whatever reason, for whoever’s fault it may be, parents are dropping the ball. Maybe they don’t like hunting, maybe they weren’t taught themselves– doesn’t matter. We should all own a gun, and we should all know how to use it. It’s our duty as Americans to be armed and ready when the tyrants of this world come knocking on our doors. These tyrants, whoever they may be, should be scared to even stick their neck out from behind the trees– but they aren’t. For whatever reason, we dropped the ball, and we have to pick it back up now– before things get worse.
We are smart enough to fix this. We alone, it seems, know the difference between hunting guns and weapons of mass destruction. If we want to buy a shotgun for hunting or a pistol for protection, our government should stand behind us. If you are in and out of prison or mental health facilities and you try to buy a machine gun, I hope our government keeps you from doing that. It’s just common sense.
There are many reasons a person should be able to own a gun. But one reason rises above them all. We need to be ready to defend ourselves, should our government fail-safes fail. When it breaks down, when it all falls apart, this is our fail-safe.
It’s time to fight for our rights. It’s time to get involved. Make sure you know the laws. Make sure you know what your representative is doing when it comes to gun control. Make sure you know how your president is dealing with this situation. If your government is not using common sense, be heard. Stand at every street corner, holler until your voice is tired.
And, at all cost, don’t let them disarm you.