This is a post I was not sure if I wanted to write or not. After long consideration, I decided to put my thoughts on the computer screen because I feel this topic is something that cannot be ignored. Here at LA65 our main mission is to provide valuable content worth reading and even if you don’t agree with what I have to say, my hope is I gave you something to think about. Even if you are one of our readers from outside the United States.
For a long time, ever since I’ve left the Army I didn’t feel any urge to own a firearm. Probably because I’ve had enough of war and wanted to focus on the rest of my life. I was also looking to start dating and eventually be a part of a relationship that can go the distance. I also didn’t want the women I was with to feel uncomfortable about me owning a firearm. I had to draw the line at cats though. If she didn’t like cats then that was a non-starter.
Recently, maybe with another twenty years of age, my views have not exactly changed but I am open to more things and the reasons behind them. I credit my renewed interest in firearms to my mother. Since she moved back we have started to reconnect and go out to breakfast just about every Saturday. We have the hard conversations that most people don’t like to have. All the taboo topics; politics, climate change, equality, money, religion, and guns are talked about. We don’t agree on everything but the dialog is real and we respect each other’s views. During one of these conversations, my mom suggested that we go shooting at the range. She recently acquired a firearm for self-defense and wanted me to give her my thoughts. This led to a discussion about how shooting could be a mother/son activity. It took me several months to see if this was something I wanted to do because if I was going to take up shooting I wanted to go all the way. To me, all the way is knocking all the rust off my military skills and becoming a proficient and competent gun owner.
Going to the shooting range with my mom was not the only reason I chose to buy a firearm. For the last four months, I’ve conducted extensive research on every aspect of what it means to own a gun. I’ve researched the laws, the lifestyle, and the overall gun debate. What I deem the greatest aspect of all is the responsibility of gun ownership. Ultimately I am responsible for the safety of those around me, how I store my firearms and every time I pull the trigger. Whether that trigger pull is for a paper target or a human coming at me or a loved one with deadly intent I am responsible for every bullet I shoot. This brings me to the other reason I bought a gun. I want to be able to protect, pure and simple. Maybe I missed my law enforcement calling but I feel there is more than one way to act as a protector.
Train As You Fight
A lot of people think that buying a firearm is about keeping something on your nightstand or putting holes through targets. I can assure you there is much more to being a responsible gun owner. Being proficient in using your gun is a very loose statement. If you can hit a bullseye from 7 yards away that’s great. Now do it under duress with your kids behind you and a truck-load of adrenaline pumping in your veins. In the military, we have this saying “train as you fight” which means practice doing it for real. The more realistic your training is the better you will perform in whatever you are training for.
The next evolutionary step for me in being a responsible gun owner was to obtain my Concealed Pistol License (CPL). This license enables me to carry a firearm with me at all times unless I’m entering a gun free zone. This class was a great course because it explained all the laws associated with firearms and explained what deadly force actually is and when you’re authorized to use it. The man focus of this class to me was on the responsibility of owning and carrying a firearm. If it was up to me everyone who buys a gun should have to take a CPL course. There are ways a responsible gun owner should act and there are ways they should not. The CPL course is a good first step in establishing those guidelines.
As I become comfortable carrying my firearm I will seek out education to further my knowledge. The directions I would like to go would be advanced defensive pistol shooting and possibly some classes on de-escalation of situations. A responsible gun owner will never consider using their firearm unless someone has the intent and ability to do great bodily harm, both criteria need to be met. I hope that time will never come but I also refuse to be a victim or not have the ability to protect those who are around me.