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Gun owners called to unite

About three weeks ago I wrote a commentary about how the anti-gun legislators, leaders and common folk would be taking the recent school shooting and using it to further their own agenda, and the agenda of the President as he enters his second term. At that time I wasn’t sure how far the politicians would go in their clamp-down on our Constitutional right to bear arms, but I speculated we’d hear the first of their demands in coming weeks. That’s already happening.

Initially talk has been of simply tightening the ban on assault weapons. While that may sound relatively harmless (to all but the segment of the population who enjoy owning and shooting military-style weapons), I have two thoughts on the matter:

1) Will the President and his followers be happy to stop their tyranny against private gun ownership with a simple tightening of high-capacity ammunition clips for a select few rifles, or is that just the tip of the iceberg of their plans and intentions; and

2) Even for those who are not into assault rifles, is giving up any Constitutional right just a sign to the powers that be that we can be ordered, controlled and bullied into becoming harmless, defenseless worker bees.

I failed to mention in my last gun-related commentary that I’m personally not into owning and shooting assault rifles. I enjoy owning and hunting with traditional game hunting rifles and shotguns, and likewise enjoy owning and shooting handguns. I’ve never gotten into owning and shooting assault rifles simply because of the cost involved. Over the years I purchased two semi-automatic military rifles and sold both in short order after burning through way to much ammunition in a matter of minutes while target shooting. That said, while it’s not my thing, I know several friends and family members who own military assault-type weaponry which they enjoy shooting as a hobby. While most of these people are good marksmen, I suspect they could likely kill more people by running their car into a crowded sidewalk or bus than they could with their assault rifles.

On the other end of the spectrum, it doesn’t take an assault rifle to stop a would-be criminal from harming an innocent person. I’ll give you a real-life example. Out of respect for the person I’ll be talking about, I’m not going to mention his name at his request. But trust me when I say he is a real person, who lives in our area, and the scenario I’m about to tell you actually happened in the past two months. Just to make the story easier to tell, I’ll refer to this guy as “Bob”, but keep in mind that is not his real name.

Bob came into my office at the newspaper the week after the school shooting in the Northeast, a couple days after the President vowed to use his second term in office to (paraphrasing here) assure violence like the recent shootings are brought under control — i.e. to push stricter gun control for the general public. He asked to close the office door so we could speak in private. With the door closed he relayed the events of something which had happened to him only days earlier.

Bob explained how he had recently ended up driving a relative to St. Louis for a shopping outing prior to Christmas. Since he’s not much of a shopper himself, he chose to sit in the vehicle and wait. While Bob isn’t a mall shopper, he is the holder of a “concealed carry” permit issued by the state of Missouri. The handgun he often carries is small in size and easy to conceal. After all, what’s the use of going to the trouble of securing a concealed carry permit if you’re going to make it known publicly that you’re packing a gun everywhere you go? The real purpose is to legally possess a firearm which is out of sight and mind until needed. And the vast majority of concealed handguns will never be called into service. But that wasn’t the case for Bob this day.

As he told it, he had been sitting in the parking lot minding his own business for some time when he noticed a car maneuvering into a tight parking space in the row directly behind where he was parked. He glanced up and took a quick look at the driver of the car, and wondered then why the fellow had chosen to back his car into the small parking space in the packed lot instead of pulling into the opening like all the other vehicles were parked. At that, he later said, the thought passed and he returned to reading a book. Occasionally, he added, he would look up and see the driver still sitting alone in the car.

Bob went on to explain how after a short time he caught a glimpse of someone walking down the drive lane behind his vehicle. He looked in his mirror to see a woman headed to her car carrying a purse and several shopping bags. As the woman made her way to her car in the row directly behind his, he also noticed the young man sitting alone in his car starting to move … just two cars down from where the woman was now opening her trunk. As he watched, the young man crawled across the front seat of his car and exited the passenger door, looking nervously around the parking lot as he slipped the car door shut and began to walk around back of his car toward the unknowing shopper.

“I just had a feeling about what was going to happen,” Bob told me. Explaining how he had never done anything like this before, he said he opened his vehicle door and stepped out and shut the door loud enough to get the young man’s attention. As the guy looked his way as he was walking behind his own car, Bob slipped his small handgun from his pants pocket and held it in his open hand where the guy could see it. At the same time, without saying a word, Bob shook his head side to side, indicating “no”. He said the young man stopped in his tracks, immediately turned around and walked back around his car, climbed in and drove away.

“The woman never knew what was about to happen, or what did happen,” Bob explained. “I hate to think of what he might have done to her if I hadn’t been there and let him know I was armed. I didn’t have to point the gun at him or create some big scene. He just had to know that someone was not going to let him (prey on an innocent person).”

Bob is not a gun-happy, assault rifle-toting, NRA cap-wearing redneck. He’s also not a survivalist, Communist, doomsday prepper or disgruntled type. He is an educated, highly-intelligent, sophisticated gentleman whom I have known of for the past decade or more. He’s not a close personal friend, although if our paths had crossed somewhere throughout the years I would be glad to call him a good friend. He’s the type of person I’d trust around my kids, my wife, or my wallet. And I’d sure be glad to know him, or someone like him, was watching over them if I wasn’t around at the time.

Bob didn’t tell me his story to make him sound like some kind of hero. Matter of fact he didn’t even tell me so I would use the story in the newspaper. Afterward he gave me permission to tell his story if I ever decided to, but asked that I in no way link it to him. You see, the person Bob was shopping with in the city doesn’t even know what happened that day. After the apparent would be assailant turned tail and left the area in a hurry, Bob slipped the handgun back into his pocket and climbed back in his car. He watched as the lady across the way finished stowing her packages in the trunk and merrily climbed in her car and drove off — clueless about what had just unfolded. He went back to reading his book and never mentioned the incident when his passenger came out of the store and got in the car.

It’s the “Bobs” of the world that need to maintain the right to bear arms. Eliminating gun ownership among the citizenry will mean that only the citizens with evil intent will be the ones left with guns. A criminal will always find a gun if he (or she) wants to harm someone … and if they can’t find a gun they’ll use a knife, a piece of pipe, an ice pick, a car or a bomb, or maybe they’ll simply push their victim in front of a subway train.

Sure, whack jobs sometimes get their hands on guns and harm people. But what of the countless lives lost each year as a result of drunk drivers, domestic disputes, tornadoes or abortion physicians. There’s no public outcry from the powers that be to totally eliminate booze, marriage, wind or careless sex. As I stated a couple weeks ago, the focus is being put on gun control … but not because that is the answer to a sometimes evil society. The recent school shooting tragedy is simply being used as publicity to further an agenda which was already in place years ago.

While I’m in no way condoning it, according to the website, a “coalition of gun rights and conservative groups has proclaimed January 19, 2013 as ‘Gun Appreciation Day’ and begun urging Americans nationwide to show their support for gun ownership by turning out en masse at gun stores, ranges, and shows from coast to coast.

“Scheduled to send a message to Washington two days before Obama’s second inauguration, the ‘Gun Appreciation Day’ is expected to be a public statement of protest against government policies.

“The Obama administration has shown that it is more than willing to trample the Constitution to impose its dictates upon the American people,” said Gun Appreciation Day chairman Larry Ward, president of Political Media, Inc. “If the American people don’t fight back now, Obama will do (to) the Second Amendment what he has already done to the First with Obamacare – gut it without a moment’s thought to our basic constitutional rights.”

“Gun Appreciation Day member organizations are urging their supporters to line up around the block at gun stores, gun counters, gun shows, and gun ranges to protest the Obama administration’s post Sandy Hook assault on gun rights. The organizations expect to reach more than 50 million Americans over the next two weeks in support of the Gun Appreciation Day online, on air and in their members’ inboxes.

“’We have never had a president who so callously disregards the Constitution, Congress, the courts, and the will of the American people,’ Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said. ‘And that’s why this outpouring of public support is so important for our constitutional safeguards to keep and bear arms. If, as this president claims, the American people are at risk from murderous rampagers, the logical solution is to arm, not present a docile target.’”

As I said before, I’m in no way affiliated with or associated with the “Gun Appreciation Day” movement. But I believe such an national show of support, if carried out in the proper manner, would surely send a message to Washington D.C. that the American people, or at least some of us, will not be stripped of our Constitutional rights and freedom to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and innocent people around us.

Doug Smith lives in an old house, drives an old truck, tinkers with old tractors, is married to a young woman, hunts and fishes often, and can be found on any given day wearing his Buffalo plaid flannel jacket and matching Elmer Fudd hat (… and just what he is or isn’t carrying beneath that jacket will remain a mystery.)

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