I’m the son of a cop. That means I was raised in a house where a gun was a daily fact of life. It was as much a part of my old man’s job description as his badge and did far more than that metal shield ever did to make sure he got to come home at the end of his shift. Growing up, I’d have thought something was wrong if they had been locked in fancy safes, or hidden on high shelves, if the triggers were locked, or the ammunition was stored on the other side of the house. I was taught proper safety, use, and maintenance of a firearm long before one was ever put into my hand. At my father’s knee I learned that a gun was a tool, nothing more, nothing less.
In my 34 years, I’ve shot paper targets and bottles, clay pigeons and real ones, groundhogs, squirrels, and an assortment of other (tasty) animals. In that time, I’ve never, not once, drawn another human being into my sights. Every responsible gun owner knows that you never point a weapon at anything you’re not fully prepared to annihilate. People who do are criminals, but it’s going to be the responsible firearms owners who are called to account for the deranged actions of a handfull in this nation of 300+ million.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution tells me that I have the right (read that again… the Right) to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t say I have the right to keep a single barrel shotgun for duck season and a bolt action rifle for deer season. It doesn’t say I have only the right to hang a relic over the mantle for some ambiance. I have the right to keep and bear arms. I’ve read the Constitution and Bill of Rights just to make sure and still my president and my vice president and the governors of my beloved home state of Maryland and his counterpart in New York tell me that it’s a right that can be taken away by an act of Congress or the signing of a single name on an Executive Order. I dare say it’s not going to be that simple. A free people aren’t likely to be so easily disarmed.
For the first time in a decade, a few minutes ago I renewed by membership in the National Rifle Association. I know they’re not everyone’s favorite organization, even among gun owners. But friends, I urge you, if you value your Second Amendment freedoms, join the NRA, join Ducks Unlimited, join your local sportsmen’s club, visit your local shooting range to meet like minded individuals, and for God’s sake get involved and let your elected leaders (such as they are) know that you know your rights and demand that they be preserved. Whatever you do, don’t simply lay down. Don’t roll over. Don’t let your guard falter for even one moment, because that’s all it’s going to take before honest, responsible, law abiding gun owners will wake up wondering what happened and where their country has gone… and on that day all is lost.
Stand up. Be counted. Be a patriot.