What a Handgun Means to Me
by Lee Brooks
A handgun means many things to me. Mostly I feel that it is a duty of citizenship. Duty, a much used word and I think a poorly understood one. To me it is much more than a responsibility. Webster’s defines duty as; “conduct due to parents and superiors, the action required by one’s position or occupation, the force of moral obligation.” When was the last time you felt so strongly about something that it became more than a responsibility, It became a duty. A moral obligation.
“… I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and obey the laws of the pack”
– Cub Scout Motto
As a parent I have always considered it my duty, my moral obligation, to educate my children. It may be the schools’ responsibility to provide classes and teachers, but it is my duty to ensure that education is appropriate to the conduct that our family approves of. As Californians, the message my children received at school was something like “Guns are the root of all evil.” While at home it was Eddie Eagle’s “Stop, Don’t Touch, Walk Away, Tell an Adult” along with BB guns and Gun Safety 101 with Professor Dad. (Sorry, no grading curve in this class.) I am proud to say that my children, now young adults, are excellent citizens that enjoy all shooting sports. We are safe and responsible shooters be it a pistol competition, trap after church, or tactical shotgun and rifle. (They do have a malicious kind of laugh when they pop their Dad in paintball.) It is my most sincere hope that they will look back at our time together as fondly as I recall my childhood days with my Grandfather. The sounds of the tractor running, the feel of the 12 gauge side by side recoiling, and the sight of crows on the wing fleeing the garden or taking turns with Dad on his .22 pump getting squirrels at daybreak on a Fall morning.
I have both of those guns now and I’m sure you know what I mean when I say they are priceless. They are part of my heritage. I consider it a duty to maintain the ownership of them and to pass them along to my children along with all the stories so that one day, they can relive them to their children. Heritage.
My Grandfather served with the Army in France during WW I as Dough Boy in the trenches. I can only imagine what he experienced. The mustard gas, the bombs, the death he saw and the wounds he experienced. When I asked him, his reply was “It brought me to God.” His duty.
My Father served with the Army Air Corps in Europe during WW II. He was on his way to the Pacific theater when they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. His duty. I served in the Navy, (there’s one in every family), during an outbreak of peace. My duty.
My family’s duty continued after service to God, Country, community and family. It continues still.
These days there is so much misinformation being produced regarding gun ownership and an outright assault on the second amendment by gun control groups that I find myself with a renewed sense of duty. I too can use my first amendment rights and I do! Not only do I belong to the N.R.A. but to the California Rifle and Pistol Association, and Gun Owners of America and am a member of both of my local gun clubs. I would join and donate more to Pro-Gun organizations if I could afford it. I stay informed on pending legislation, both state and federal. I write my elected officials on each one. I have been known to write to other state senators to apologize for the actions of my two senators from California. As I like to say, “They may be my elected officials but they in no way represent me.” How dare they usurp the constitution they swore to uphold when they took office. I’m offended and will work until the end to oppose their treasonous actions. I will not apologize for exercising my constitutional right to firearm ownership. I and gun owners that I know are a exemplary citizens. We attend church, donate our time and money to our communities, serve as volunteer firefighters, support charities and pay taxes. We deserve to be treated better. The efforts to thwart the rights my relatives and I have served to maintain is like spitting in our faces. The gun grabbing legislators and their mindless supporters insult my heritage. We are law-abiding citizens.
Yes, I own a handgun. Furthermore, I carry that handgun. This means that I have paid hundreds of dollars for the permits and training. A permit process that involves fingerprinting, background checks and essentially opening up my past and present personal life for scrutiny. The process is repeated every two years. I’ve carried for 15 years and in all that time I have never had to present my handgun to ward off danger. (Thank God). So why do I continue to carry? Why go to that expense and scrutiny? Duty.
I am not counting on the Deputy to be with me 24/7. While they may be their responsibility to protect me and my family, as a husband and father, it is my duty. My moral obligation. I will jump through every beaurocratic hoop they can find to fulfill that duty. I am a good citizen that carries a handgun.
And because I carry a handgun there is an additional duty of acquiring and maintaining a level of skill beyond that of the average gun owner. To that end, I have taken multiple classes to improve my skills. At the Front Sight 4 day tactical pistol class there was much to be learned. The class was informative and humbling. I thought I had good skills but there is always more to learn and new skills to master. Presenting from concealed carry, malfunction drills, etc. One great thing was the patience of the well-informed and highly skilled instructors. The entire staff seems to understand why I was there and was ready to help me in any way. Another was the class members I met. Each and every one was an upstanding citizen. It was a very positive experience. Now I make it a point to attend my clubs weekly pistol shoot to keep my skills up. (Not to mention I have a great time with those folks. An armed society is a polite society.)
So just what does a handgun mean to me? It means that I can fulfill my duty. A duty that extends to my country, community, friends and family. It also means that I have committed myself to the lawful exercise of my constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It requires me to involved in the political process to guard all my constitutional freedoms from the misinformed knee jerk reactions of politicians that have lost sight of our Heritage and the fact that they should not fear their citizens. It means that I must continue with the highest standards of conduct and to be a role model of the armed citizen so that I may show the ignorant and undecided just how important gun ownership is to our nations freedom.