Being that I work at OOW, a manufacturer of firearms, I am constantly surrounded by “gun guys”- dudes who love firearms and make it both a passion and a profession.
Some people just plain don’t like guns. That’s fine… firearms, like anything else in life, aren’t for everyone. In fact, I am even more okay with people that don’t like firearms not buying, selling or carrying firearms around. Why should they?
So you have your “gun guys” (or girls) and those less enthused about the whole gun thing. In a strange way, they are two well defined groups.
Guns have become so pervasive in American culture that taking them away by trampling on the 2nd Amendment would be removing more than just the pieces of metal- even more than the loss of jobs, paychecks, and benefits- it would be castrating a part of who Americans are.
I can think of two good examples just outside my office door.
There’s Steve, the charismatic ex-Marine who just doesn’t know how to do things the wrong way.
Then there’s Chris, the good-’ole-boy with a twang in his voice and a twinkle in his eye.
Both men come from different places in life, but both are merged personally and professionally because of firearms. Each of them reached their passion in their unique way, but both can revel in it because of the freedoms that Americans have to buy, sell, own, and in some cases, manufacture firearms.
I cannot imagine how different these men, both licensed firearms owners, would be if these freedoms weren’t available.
Would Chris have applied his technical savvy and mechanical expertise to say, the automotive industry?
Would Steve have taken his by-the-book, rock-solid consistency to the health care field to improve lives?
It’s difficult to imagine the doppelgangers of these men without a handgun neatly cradled in a holster on their side.
It truly would be a parallel universe.
But some people still want to take these things away.
The truth is, gun dudes like Steve and Chris are the norm, not the exception.
A few bad apples here or there cannot underscore the fact that both men would, in an instant, help a stranger in dire need or a life-threatening situation, even if it meant drawing their firearm.
What makes them good men is that they would loathe doing so.
This is what you get by keeping firearms legal, and keeping the red tape from destroying the chance for good people- gun people- to arm themselves.
The gunmen that commit heinous shootings and senseless acts aren’t good people like Steve or Chris in the down home sense of the word… they are the people who, if a gun wasn’t available, would find another way to cause destruction. Their goal for causing pain supersedes the vessel in which they choose to carry out their endgame.
The resourceful nature of a mind bent on violence cannot be eradicated with legislation against firearms… no way, no how.
Yet gun opponents don’t realize that putting more barriers up to keep good people from arming themselves handicaps those same people in a game where the stakes can quickly be calculated in terms of life-and-death, against an opponent that sometimes doesn’t care about winning or losing.
Every time I pass a “gun guy”, I shudder at the thought of that parallel universe- one ruled by fear- where the wicked have a red carpet rolled out in front of them to terrorize good people.
The fact is I would feel much safer roaming the streets knowing that guys like Steve and Chris are out there with the means to protect themselves and each other. It’s because I know a bit about the character of these men that I can say something like that.
And that’s the overall point- people who take the time to lawfully arm themselves- to go through the process- are more often than not people of character. Every time I meet another “gun guy”, the point is driven home further.
These men wouldn’t just draw down on anybody- only those that want to use weapons as a tool for doing very, very bad things- because such a scenario represents something more than just a criminal act.
It’s an attack on a way of life.
The men that have holsters on their hips or a license and a concealed weapon are protecting more than just their lives, or the lives of the innocent- they are making a case for the preservation of the good things about this great country.
Take guns away and America is different- much weaker in a profound way.
Some of the fabric of this union is woven with the individual that adds to the collective strength of the community, not stands apart from it- the individual that says “I am going to protect myself and those I love” and arms themselves to do so.
How docile would the other scenario be?
It would be a paradigm shift from “I am going to protect myself and loved ones” to “somebody else protect me”.
This is the critical crossroads of the issue, and in a larger scope, a fulcrum for where America will soon be headed. One tilt in the wrong direction and the freedoms that make the “gun guys” the good guys can quickly vanish.
Every time I step outside of my office, I appreciate men like Steve and Chris more and more. I would trust these men with my safety if the need called for it.
Can I say the same about some faceless government goon charged with my protection?
Here’s toasting the freedoms of America, and the hope that I never have to answer that question.
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