Rappin' with high schoolers about guns

The other day, I was asked for an interview by the high-schooler daughter of a friend of mine. She said she was writing an article on gun control for her school newspaper, and since her dad had mentioned to her that I own a handgun, she was curious to speak with me. Her dad knows me pretty well, so he probably had a good idea of how I would answer her questions. I'm not so sure our budding high school journalist knew what she was getting herself into!

However, since the young lady in question is a very cool kid, very smart, with excellent grades and her own website, I thought it might be kind of fun to see what kind of questions she would ask me. Besides, if she wanted to write about what I had to say, and IF her teacher would allow her to print everything I said, some of her school newspaper's readers might find the information both interesting and useful.

I had no idea if our high schooler was going to write from a pro-gun perspective, an anti-gun perspective, or try to give both sides a fair hearing. Following is our interview with the questions in bold font:

"Before I answer your question, let me give you a little background. I'm 64 years old, Grand Junction High School, class of 1962. Times were a LOT different when I was a kid. Boys carried pocket knives to school and nobody ever thought about using them to hurt other people. We would use them to cut an apple, or peel and orange in our lunch. Everybody owned guns in those days, and didn't think anything was unusual about that. Politically correct language and anti-gun propaganda was unheard of in those days. When we got to the right age where we could have the proper respect for the rules of shooting safety, most boys' dads taught them how to shoot with a .22 caliber rifle by going out in the country and just "plinking" at things like cans, bottles, sticks, rocks and paper targets. My dad taught me how to shoot, and his dad gave me a pump-action "410" shotgun. I gave one of my nephews a .22 caliber rifle for his 20th birthday. That's just how life was when I was a kid, that was the cultural background I was raised in. Guns were commonplace, the rule rather than a subject of contention by people who, for the most part, generally know virtually nothing about them.

Q: I understand you have a handgun. Why did you decide to own one?

A: Yes, I own a handgun, in fact I currently own three of them, two of .22LR caliber [click here to see my other ".22"], and one called a "45 automatic", Colt government model. I have owned several others during my lifetime, but have either sold them or given them away. I have a good friend who was an Army sharpshooter and national rifle shooting champion. When we were young we would go out into the country and shoot our handguns fairly regularly, as a skill sport, a contest of skills, if you will. When the rules of safety are properly followed, shooting guns can be lot of fun. Not a lot of careful philosophical thought lies behind my reason for owning a gun, whether a long gun or a handgun. It's just something a lot of people my age have done all their lives.

Q: Did you need a license to buy it?

A: No, I didn't have to have a license to buy any of my guns, handguns or long guns. Earlier on, they were not registered, but I think my newest two were automatically registered when I bought them new.

Q: Did they do a background check?

A: On my two newest handguns, which I bought at Jerry's Outdoor Sports, yes they did do a background check. It's done over the phone and is actually quite simple IF you have no criminal record (which I don't). I just went to lunch and the approval was done by the time I returned.

Q: Did you need special training?

A: I don't think you really need special training IF you have the cultural upbringing and background most guys my age do. However, I did happen to take the local NRA (National Rifle Association) certified class on handgun safety and home defense. It was fun and very informative. The Palisade police chief, Carroll Quarles, was a fantastic lecturer. When I am less busy, I would give consideration to becoming a certified firearms instructor.

Q: Do you have a concealed weapon's permit?

A: Yes, I have a concealed weapons permit.

Q: What extra did you have to do to get a concealed weapon's permit?

A: You have to show proof that you've taken a certified firearms class, fill out some forms, and write one check to the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation), and one check to the local sheriff's department to cover the cost of the background check and issuing the permit, which is a picture ID permit issued pursuant to C.R.S. (Colorado Revised Statutes) 18-12-201. Obviously, if you have a criminal record, or the sheriff thinks you are a dangerous person, you aren't going to get such a permit.

Q: What is your opinion on our current gun control laws (In Colorado)?

A: I think the gun laws in Colorado are basically OK — now, that is. They've gotten better over time. The so-called "make my day" law is good, but, in my opinion, it should be expanded to businesses, though, so business people can better defend themselves with less worry about bureaucratic hassles. I think there are pro-gunners working on that presently. Because I believe in the U.S. Constitution, which includes the 2nd Amendment, I wish them luck.

Q: Do you hunt?

A: I used to hunt regularly when I was younger. I don't anymore. In my younger days I spent a number of years working in all phases of the meat industry. Part of that experience consisted of substituting for a worker on what is called "the kill floor". Because I didn't have the necessary skills to work in that part of the plant (I was a "boner"), my job was to kill the animals. I personally paid the spiritual and emotional price for the people who buy all the nice pretty little packages of meat in the supermarkets without any thought for, or understanding of, the process by which they got there. For the non-squeamish meat eater, a major revelation can be had by searching "cattle slaughter", "pig slaughter", and "sheep slaughter" on YouTube. I even spent several years as a vegetarian. I eat meat again, mostly salmon and chicken, but, in my old age, I have come to appreciate the miracle of life in general too much to kill animals with my own hands. As I said, I've already done that more than enough to pay for the little amount of meat I buy and eat now. I joke with my friends that I am the "Apostle Paul" of animal killers. So, no, I don't currently hunt, although I still have more than sufficient skills and tools for survival purposes.

Let me add a point you didn't ask about. I truly believe guns are crucial to the self-defense of the individual. Every being in the universe has the ABSOLUTE right to try to preserve its own existence by defending itself from attacks by others. Most ignorant (sorry, but that's the blunt, un-PC truth) anti-gunners are simply unaware that the police have no legal obligation whatsoever to defend you. In the case of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, 109 S.Ct. 998 (1989) (http://supreme.justia.com/us/489/189/case.html), the U.S. Supreme Court has said, in effect, that you cannot sue the police for failure to protect you, because you have no constitutional right to be protected by the police from crime, even in life threatening situations. The actual words of the court were, "A State's failure to protect an individual against private violence generally does not constitute a violation of the Due Process Clause, because the Clause imposes no duty on the State to provide members of the general public with adequate protective services. The Clause is phrased as a limitation on the State's power to act, not as a guarantee of certain minimal levels of safety and security; while it forbids the State itself to deprive individuals of life, liberty, and property without due process of law, its language cannot fairly be read to impose an affirmative obligation on the State to ensure that those interests do not come to harm through other means." 

The gross ignorance of most anti-gunners notwithstanding, the DeShaney decision clearly shows how important it is for individuals to have the right to use guns to defend themselves, especially in their homes. Fortunately, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court agrees. The specific holding of the court in the case of District of Columbia, et al, v. Heller, No. 07-290. Argued March 18, 2008--Decided June 26, 2008, is: "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." You can read that decision in its entirety at http://supreme.justia.com/us/554/07-290/opinion.html. I absolutely LOVE the Heller decision because now all the manipulative intellectually dishonest anti-gunners who have been routinely lying about history as a strategic propaganda tool can now either shut up about what the 2nd Amendment means, or do the work necessary to repeal the 2nd Amendment according to the proper procedure provided for in Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which would require two thirds of Congress and three fourths of the state legislatures, a HUGE and daunting job — as making changes to a constitution should be.
I don't mind people being against guns, they have a 1st Amendment right to believe whatever they wish. I DO VERY MUCH mind people lying about history just to achieve their political agendas, which, up to now, the anti-gunners have routinely done. But, in my opinion, arguably the best thing about guns is that, not only can they provide you with food during hard times, but they allow a little 90 pound 90 year-old lady to successfully defend her life and her home against a 300 pound fire-breathing NFL lineman gone berserk. In my opinion, in the vast universe that surrounds us, there is just something spiritually and intellectually comforting about that fact. Maybe it's "karma" or something. But whatever it is, it doesn't bother me the least bit philosophically like it apparently does some people who are ignorant about guns.
In my opinion, young people should always be suspicious of anti-gun, anti-self-defense talking points. From a viewpoint of human history, that's how self-perceived-as-clever sociopathic people have always stolen the labor of simpler, less clever, less aggressive people. America's Founders very specifically wrote the 2nd Amendment because, having lived under the "government" tyranny of King George III, they realized full well that slave masters have aways had the guns, while the slaves were never allowed to have guns (or swords). It was the Founders' historical intent that such a condition of two-tier master-slave feudalism would NEVER be possible in America, no matter what name (e.g. "socialism", "communism") was given to the steal-and-redistribute economic scheme, unless the 2nd Amendment is repealed per Article 5."
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