I like shooting guns. And I’m pretty unapologetic about that. I’m also pretty tired of being marginalized by leftists who insist I need to give up something I really enjoy because a handful of scumbags misuse guns. It’s become a trite and tired saying, but that doesn’t make it any less true; guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And those killers use their hands, knives, baseball bats, trucks, explosives, planes and yes, guns. Funny thing though, Michael Bloomberg isn’t promising to give $25 Million to anti-truck causes this year.
Leftist politicians and media hacks like to spout that guns are designed to do one thing and one thing only, and that is kill as many people as possible. But here’s the thing—guns have been a part of my life for over 50 years, and I have personally owed one for 42 years, and not once have any of my guns ever killed even a single person, let alone as many people as possible. This despite the firing of tens of thousands of rounds. Yes, that’s not an exaggeration, tens of thousands. As I said, I like to shoot. A lot.
The Best Christmas Ever
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The years was 1975. The world was in a general state of turmoil. My world specifically was also in turmoil. A few months into fourth grade, we had to move, leaving the only small town I ever knew as home. Change was hard, and I didn’t make friends easily. It was a rough fall.
My dad grew up hunting and while I was a young lad, he let me tag along. For some reason, I became fascinated with guns and hunting. Some kids take to football, some to baseball. Some even like soccer, though I have no idea why. I took to shooting and hunting. As the weather started to get cold in 1975, the thing I wanted more than anything for Christmas was a Daisey PowerLine 760 pellet gun.
My mom wasn’t a big fan of guns, but she must have felt bad enough about our living situation that she got that 760 for me. Being the punk little kid I was, I figured out where she hid our presents and found it about 3 weeks before Christmas. I had to feign surprise come Christmas morning, though to be honest, it wasn’t that hard. I had my first gun! Sure, it was a pellet gun, but if you pumped it up 10 times, it would launch a .177 pellet at over 800 feet per second! Starting that morning, I shot the heck out of that gun. No tin can was safe in our trash can—I grabbed them all and shot them full of holes. I can’t even begin to tell you how many cartons of BBs and pellets I went through, but every time we went to K-Mart, I was spending my allowance on another gold milk carton of copper plated BBs. My love affair with shooting and gun collecting had begun.
My First Real Gun
A few years later, my desire for a “real” gun had grown into a full-fledged burning passion. My dad made the mistake of bringing home the 1977 Gun Digest Annual and I spent every waking moment absorbing every word and photo. I decided what I really wanted was a Winchester 94 in 30-30. My dad said I wasn’t ready for that yet—probably wise as I was just 11—and when I had recently shot his Savage Model 99 in 30-30, it knocked me right on my can. I was a small kid, what can I say. But that moment was exhilarating.
So I set my sights on a Winchester Model 9422. It looked pretty much like a Model 94, but fired the much more sedate .22 Long Rifle. Well, it turns out a kid from a lower middle class family in 1977 had a tough time coming up with the then several hundred dollar price tag for a new 9422.
One day, my dad came up to my room and asked me how much I had saved up for my gun. I told him $50. He said he had a line on something we might want to go look at. I think I was in the front seat of his truck before he even collected his keys. I can still remember the house we went to go look at this gun. I can see it clearly, I remember how it smelled, and oh do I remember the gun. An older gentleman who clearly hadn’t shaved in a few days brought out a Remington Nylon 66 in Navajo Black. Having previously memorized the entire Gun Digest Annual, I knew all about this gun.
Instead of a wooden stock, the Nylon 66 used—you guessed it—Nylon. It was impervious to weather, which was good because we lived in Rochester, NY where it rained. A lot. More than Seattle I learned later. The cover for the receiver was bright chrome and there was a white diamond inlaid in the fore end. It wasn’t a 9422, but he was only asking $60 for it. My entire life savings was $50, so my dad tried to negotiate. The unshaven and slightly disheveled old man held firm. My dad could tell I didn’t want to go home without it, so he offered to loan me $10, to be repaid promptly from my allowance.
For the first time, I was a gun owner. At the ripe old age of 11, I had purchased my first firearm. Sadly, eight or nine years later, I sold it to raise money for another project that I can’t even remember. It’s the only gun I’ve ever sold. I now have a strict no-sale gun policy, unless they are going to family members. Someday, I’ll find another one and I’ll have to buy it. And it will likely set me back more than $60.
I Could Go On
It would be easy to go on and tell you the story of every single gun I’ve ever purchased. Even though that number is now in the high teens, I remember Every. Single. One. I remember how each one made me feel when I took it home. I remember the anticipation of taking each of them out to shoot for the first time. I remember learning how to break them down for cleaning. The aroma of Hoppes Old #9. The yearning to get it back out to the range for another session.
There is an emotional attachment that goes into each one of these machines. Like children, I appreciate them all individually. Some of them, like that Savage 99 that I now own are special for the memories of shooting and hunting with my dad. Others I shoot in competition which makes me a better shooter and I think, a better person. There are few with which I trust with my life when I slip them into the holster every day. A couple of them were built by me, and there’s a tremendous sense of satisfaction shooting a gun I built. And some, like my .22 single action revolver just bring a huge smile to my face every time I pull the trigger.
And did I mention that not one of them has ever been so much as pointed at another person? Well, there was that one time when the drunk guy showed up on my porch at 2 AM. He was pretty pissed that he was locked out of “his” house. The very presence of my 870 shotgun in my hands kept him safely on the porch until the po-po showed up and gave him his very own magic carpet ride. All while my wife and two little girls were asleep upstairs.
Guns are Cool and Shooting is Fun
The gun-hating media likes to portray guns as evil. And yes, there are some evil people who do evil things with guns. No one can deny that. However, there are somewhere north of 100 million gun owners in this country. And while not all of them have this passion for shooting that I do, very, very, very few of them are criminals. The anti-gun, leftist media machine likes to tell us we shouldn’t paint all of Islam with the broad brush of terrorism, then goes on to paint all gun-owners as “gun nuts” who are stuck in the dark ages, clinging to their guns and religion. Oh wait, that was the previous President.
The sad thing is, most of them—maybe none of them—have ever actually shot a gun. They’ve never experienced the satisfaction of putting three rounds into one hole at 500 yards. They’ve never felt the exhilaration of running a clean stage at a pistol match. And they’re missing out on the sheer giggle factor of dumping a 30-round mag of .223 from an AR as fast as possible. Well, there was that one guy from what was it, the New York Post, who shot an AR and got PTSD. But I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like BBQ either, so there you go.
The men and women I know who are part of the “gun culture” are some of the best people I’ve ever met. Every week I meet new people at IDPA and other local matches who are just good people. Most of us gun owners just want to be left alone. We want to make the choice for ourselves how we will protect the ones we love. When we carry a gun into Trader Joe’s, Burger Republic or your kids’ school, we are a danger to absolutely no one. Unless some criminal shows up and we have to take care of business. While the odds of that are extremely rare, it did just happen in Nashville at a shoe store last week. Three thugs came in the back door shooting and one dude—he had to be a competitive shooter—engaged them all and send them to flight. No one was hurt. Well, except for the criminals.
Ultimately, this article is the purpose of this blog. I am a gun owner, and I’m not ashamed of that. Shooting and building firearms is my passion and I’m not going to apologize for it. I don’t feel the need to apologize on behalf of the 100 Million lawful gun owners in this country who have yet to bother anyone. I condemn senseless acts of violence however they are committed and those perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But I’m not one of those people.
That’s it. I’m a gun guy, and I’m not ashamed of it.