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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Evolution Of A Gun Owner

Over the years my thoughts, beliefs, and positions of firearm ownership have evolved. As a young boy living in Ohio I owned a single-shot bolt action .22 caliber rifle. I used to go into the woods near our home and shoot at tin cans and such. I also went hunting several times with my Navy vet neighbor and used one of his shotguns. Hunting never really appealed to me. As I grew older and became more interested in other things such as cars, girls, and making money for these things I forgot about the gun.

Once I entered the work world my focus turned to career. Eventually I got married to a girl that had a terrible tragic act of gun violence in her family and was terrified of firearms. I never thought of owning a firearm as my family began to grow. The thought of firearm ownership was virtually non-existence in my brain. I was very ambivalent on the general issue of firearm ownership. I did not much care if people owned or did not own a rifle or a pistol. It was their business – not mine. In one of my boyhood friends, who I grew up with and got into mischief with, owns many firearms including revolver and semi-automatic pistols. He also has a Concealed Carry Weapons permit (CCW) in his home state of Ohio, Michigan, and Texas where he and his wife vacation in the winter.

As my career grew and I spent considerable time traveling throughout the United States, Europe, Central America, and Asia both for business and with my family Firearms were not on my mind. Neither was personal self-defense beyond being on the watch for possible problems. Instead I became a serious armature photographer with a proclivity for better and more expensive cameras and lenses. This was a serious avocation that I still have.

Several years ago I went to a local shooting range with my brother, his son, and my daughter and rented a semi-automatic pistol. I believe it was a Beretta 92FS. I discovered that I enjoyed the sport of shooting and did not do too bad hitting the paper targets where I was supposed to. My interest in firearms was germinating.

Being a conservative and dedicated to the Constitution of the United States I began noticing the numerous articles and reports in the mainstream media pertaining to gun violence and the rise of the gun grabbing crowd who used these reports as the basis for their agenda. I began to realize that the gun banning crowd were either ignorant of the facts or eschewed them to advance their agenda based on the emotion of the day – or both.

For the past 30 or 40 years both the Federal and State governments have been not only taking extreme liberties with the Constitution they have been shredding it some cases. Regulations and policies of agencies such as the EPA, Department of Education, and the White House have been eroding our liberties on almost a daily basis. Sometimes the Courts throw up roadblocks to these infringements to our rights; most times they remain silent and allow the infringement to stand. Probably nowhere is this more evident than in the issue of our Second Amendment rights. The gun grabbing progressive left basis their arguments on emotions and the news of the day (or days when it comes to the 24-hour cable news outlets and the Internet). Most of these emotions rise when there are incidents of mass shootings by criminals, terrorists, or deranged individuals. These incidents, while newsworthy and tragic are not the norm and are rarer than people dying from lightning strikes.

Despite the hyperbole generated by groups such as “Moms Demand Action” and “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” FBI statistics prove we are more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than as the result of a mass shooting.

Columbine, Aurora and Sandy Hook are all battle cries designed to rally the troops into action, and pushing lawmakers into introducing stricter gun control measures. Although mass shooting incidents are unquestionably tragic, they also get perhaps far more attention than they deserve due to their rarity.

The FBI published its “Study of Active Shooter Incidents” in September 2013 at the request of President Barack Obama, and under the authority of the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act, to investigate “violent acts and shootings occurring in a place of public use.”

The report indicates that from the years 2000 to 2013, 486 Americans lost their lives in active shooter situations, which works out to approximately 37 deaths per year. Compare that to being killed by what everyone considers that rarest of circumstances–being struck by lightning.

Americans are 38% more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by an active shooter.

“According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, over theligs last 20 years, the United States averaged 51 annual lightning strike fatalities,” wrote U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeon Capt. Rocky Jedick in 2012.

What else are you more likely to die of than being killed by active shooter? Let’s have a look.

Riding a bicycle – 800 people were killed by bicycling accidents in 2010 alone.

Falling Down – 26,631 died from injuries sustained in various types of falls from 2010 – 2011.

There are an estimated 300 million firearms in the United States. Compare that number to the 30 people killed in mass shootings each year.

Certainly, I am not trying to negate the value of the lives lost to shooting incidents each year. However, when we’re talking about laws and policy making which will affect literally tens of millions of Americans we have to keep things in perspective.

How about that most used argument pertaining to having firearms in the house with children. After a New York Times blog was published suggesting that parents shouldn’t allow their children to visit the homes of playmates where family members are gun owners, writer Dr. John Lott decided to investigate further.

Lott reported in National Review Online:

“For all children younger than 10, there were 36 accidental gun deaths [in 2010, the latest year then available], and that is out of 41 million children. Perhaps most important, about two-thirds of these accidental gun deaths involving young children are not shots fired by other little kids but rather by adult males with criminal backgrounds. In other words, unless you send your child to play at a criminal’s home, he/she is exceedingly unlikely to get shot.”

But what of other, perhaps less obvious dangers lurking in and around the home? Lott continued:

“Indeed, if you are going to worry about your child’s safety you should check into other, perhaps less obvious dangers lurking in the playmate’s house: swimming pools, bathtubs, water buckets, bicycles, and chemicals and medications that can cause fatal poisoning. Drownings alone claimed 609 deaths; fires, 262 lives; poisonings, 54 lives. And don’t forget to ask about the playmate’s parents’ car and their driving records if your child will ride with them: After all, motor-vehicle accidents killed 923 children younger than 10.”

All firearm deaths are tragic and worthy of investigation and debate. But any such debate must be based on honesty, something that’s sorely lacking from the left.

The gun grabbing crowd and left-leaning mainstream media has become so vocal in their emotional cries against guns, including guns in the hands of law enforcement officers (LEO) that cops are now reluctant to protect themselves against criminals by drawing their weapon.

Last Monday white police officer who was beaten unconscious and bloody by a man in Birmingham, Ala., and about the ugly reactions to the incident posted afterward on social media. It turns out that the comments, which celebrated the beating and intimated that the assailant overpowered the cop, were not only obscene but factually incorrect.

CNN reports via station KPIX that the detective said he resisted the impulse to use force against the suspect, whom he had stopped because his vehicle fit the description of one used in a string of burglaries, because he didn’t want to become the latest white police officer accused of needlessly killing an unarmed black man. The officer, whose identity remains unknown in order to protect his family, told reporters:

According to a recent report by Pew Research Center report national views on firearm ownership has not changed much in the past two years. The only real exception is the growing support for more background checks to wed out the mentally disturbed. The Pew report states:

“While there is broad support for several specific gun policy proposals – and opinion on these measures has not changed significantly since 2013 – the public continues to be more evenly divided in fundamental attitudes about whether it is more important to control gun ownership or to protect the right of Americans to own guns.

Currently, 50% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 47% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns.”

I have learned to view my world in four zones. The first I call Zone White. This is the zone where most people live. It is a luxury zone. It is the zone where you walk about on the street, mall, or theater paying little or no attention to things or people around you. It is a zone where you do not practice situation awareness. You see people, mainly young adults and people in groups walking about with earphones in or on their cell phones oblivious to what is going on around them. When something happens they are usually victims. I prefer not to live in this zone!

The next zone is the Yellow Zone. It is here that you walk or drive about being aware of what is going on around you. You constantly scan people and goings on in you near proximity. You are cautious and aware. This is my preferred zone.

The third zone I call the Orange Zone. This is where you perceive a potential problem or a person who might cause a problem. Yes, this is profiling. We all should profile our surroundings if we intend to protect ourselves or our families. An example might be walking to your car in a parking structure or stopping at your local ATM to withdraw some cash. Be aware. Even if you have a CCW permit and are carrying a firearm get out. Flight is better than fight. You are not a LEO. Do not act like one. Just get the hell out. Don’t stop at that lonely ATM or the gas station pump or AM/PM shop.

The fourth zone is the Red Zone. This zone pertains to those who are legally armed. Now you have to make a life changing decision – defend yourself and loved ones or become a victim. This is where you draw that weapon telling the potential perpetrator to stop and call 911. If the potential perp is mentally disarrange or and out and out criminal you will probably have to shoot. Now you problems will really begin. All responsible CCW permit holders know this and hopefully are well trained. You can find out more about this by clicking this link to download the free 20 page book from the USCCA. It’s worth your time if you are CCW permit holder, or considering too becoming one. Even if you self-defense shooting is righteous and justifiable you will still probably have to spend thousands of dollars to defend yourself from criminal or civil trials.

I hope you’ll never have to defend yourself or your family from a violent criminal.

And let’s be honest, chances are you never will. (Well, unless you live in certain parts of Detroit, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc… you get the picture!) But you know what, that’s not really what we’re talking about here.

Let me explain.

Since 1977, house fires are down 64.5%. Yet you and I still have fire extinguishers all over our houses and we still pay for fire insurance every single year.

Cars are significantly safer than they were only twenty years ago. Yet you and I still wear our seat belts and buy collision insurance.

Chances are you and I will never be in a serious auto accident and our houses will never burn down. But we still prepare for these kinds of events!

Why do we do this? Because that’s what responsible people do. And responsibly armed Americans make sure they’re educated, trained and properly insured. We plan for the possibility, not the probability.

If you are a CCW permit holder of a legal firearm or carry a firearm in those states that do not require permits you no doubt are a responsible firearm owner. But you still could be liable to criminal or civil trials. Organizations like USCCA have information, resources, and insurance that will assist you in this event. They are well worth a look see.

As a solid believer in the Second Amendment and the words “shall not infringe” I began my evolution to where I am today – a proud, safe, and responsible gun owner. I have taken and passed an 8-hour gun safety class and intend to continue my education and training. I wish not for me or my family to be a victim and will exercise my Constitutional rights to bear arms as long as they are not taken away by a dictatorial government.

In the meantime continue your training and be vigilant to the attempts by the gun grabbers to keep up their efforts to infringe on your Second Amendment rights. They have a mission – so do you!

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