Growing Up With Guns And The Circle of Life


Recently the gun grabbers have been at it again.  Little noticed by most people was the attempt by five groups who petitioned the EPA to ban lead bullets, lead shot, and lead fishing sinkers.  The NRA stepped up to the plate to fight the ban, saying that it’s a back door attempt to limit hunting and impose gun control.  Fortunately the EPA rejected the petition on 27 Aug. 2010 saying that this is a Second Amendment Issue which they don’t have jurisdiction over.

Earlier in 2010 the Obama administration rejected a proposal by South Korea to sell more than 100,000 M1 Garands and M1 Carbines back to us.  South Korea wanted to sell the vintage, Korean War M1s because they’re obsolete.  Initially the sale was approved though.  M1s have been sold in the civilian market in the past and there’s no good reason to prevent those rifles from being sold now.  This is a good example of gun grabbers being in control.

It’s long been whispered that Obama is a closet gun control advocate.  These recent actions are a good indication of where his sympathies lie in regards to the Second Amendment and gun rights in general.  Fortunately for gun owners, the timing was bad for the proposed ban on lead bullets.  A fight over gun rights isn’t something the Democrats want right before elections.

I decided several years ago that a well reasoned argument against gun control is a waste of breath with most gun grabbers.  I wish I could take them out to the desert and shoot up a hillside full of targets with several different guns so they could experience first hand that it’s a fun, safe sport.  Even Anthony Bourdain got a big grin when he was burning through the ammo with Ted Nugent.      

I have fond memories of growing up and the trips when dad or grandpa would take my brother and me out shooting.  Living in the city we didn’t get a chance to do it very often.

But mom and dad were both from a small town in southern Idaho and when we’d go back to visit, my brother and I both knew that we’d probably get a chance to go shooting.  The first gun I remember shooting was grandpas old .22 single shot rifle.  It was an accurate rifle and being a single shot we learned fire discipline and marksmanship.

“Grandpa, will you take us shootin?” was one of the first things I asked when I saw him.

I can’t honestly say how old I was when I first shot a gun.  I must’ve been quite young because I can’t remember it.

More often than not we managed to fit in a shooting trip during our trips to Idaho.  Grandpa would take the .22, get a box or two of bullets and out we’d go.  As we got a little older he’d grab the .22 revolver, later still came the .38 revolver and the 16 gauge shotgun, and we’d get to shoot them too. 

Sometimes we’d shoot squirrels, but usually we’d just shoot tin cans.  Early on we’d take the old Plymouth, later that was replaced by a Chevy pickup.  We’d leave town and drive for miles on dirt roads before we’d stop and set up targets.  It was on these trips that I learned the etiquette of always closing gates behind you in the country.  That’s an important rule for anyone, but one that I don’t think a lot of city kids fully appreciates.

When I was eight years old I got my first rifle, a Daisy BB gun.  That was OK, I had a gun that I could shoot at home in the backyard, and I’d take it on trips to the dump and things like that.  But it was just a BB gun and I’d already fired the real thing.

Then came the big day, I was ten years old, both my brother and me got our own .22 rifles.  Naturally we were thrilled; we each had our own gun, a real gun and not just a BB gun.  Of course we always took the rifles on our trips to Idaho.  These were our own guns, new guns, they weren’t scratched or anything.  Although grandpa had taught us to take care of guns, and treat them with respect, my brother and I both had a new appreciation for that.

Years later, after I returned home from the Navy guns still played a big part in my life.  There were more outings spotlighting jack rabbits that I can count.   Two years in a row I received guns for Christmas, first a 12 gauge Remington, pump shotgun, then a .357 Ruger Blackhawk. 

After I got the .357 I purchased some RCBS reloading equipment.  Ammunition for the .22s was relatively cheap, but not so for the .357.  By reloading, or “rolling my own”, the cost dropped significantly.  Being a gun guy, reloading is another activity that I enjoy.  I like trying out different types and different weight bullets, loading them with various amounts and different types of powder, and comparing them against one another.

My gift to my brother one Christmas was a 12 gauge, bottom eject, Ithaca, pump shotgun.  I thought that was the perfect shotgun for him, being a left hand shooter.  I broke the shotgun down and packed it in a large box and stuffed it with balled up newspapers so that it wouldn’t shake.  It was a hoot watching him heft that package trying to judge the weight, and shaking it looking for clues as to what was in the box.

My dad and I both had our birthdays on the same day.  He helped me greatly when I bought my first home and I wanted to get him something special for his birthday that year, my way of saying thanks for everything.  Mom told me that he’d been looking at a .22 pistol, a top break revolver, the same handgun that grandpa had. 

I stopped by to drop off his present after work on our birthday not expecting anyone to be home yet.  Luckily for me dad was and I gave him his gift and wished him happy birthday.  A look of disbelief came over him as he unwrapped his gift.  Tears actually welled up in his eyes and he gave me a big hug.

“How’d you know I wanted that?” he asked.

“A little birdie told me so,” I replied, an inside family joke.

That’s one of my favorite memories with dad.  After he passed away that gun passed on to me.  I’ll never part with it, there’s too much sentimental value in it.

My own son spent most of his time growing up in California with my ex wife.  When he’d come out to Utah to visit I made a point of taking him out shooting, knowing that if he didn’t experience that here he probably never would.  I’m glad we did that.  It’s something he enjoys, and he’s now sharing that with his wife, another Californian who’d never shot guns before.  She likes it too.

I got him shooting a pellet gun when he was only four years old and he was a pretty good shot.  Next he was shooting a .22 revolver, the rifles were still to long for him to shoulder properly.

Then came the big day, Christmas, he was 11 years old.  Santa brought a Marlin, bolt action .22 rifle, a brick of ammunition, and some accessories.  I think all parents remember that look of delight when their child receives a gift of something that’s truly special to them.  Personally, I felt like the circle of life had made a full turn.  It felt good and it felt right.

For those of you who’ve never had the opportunity to shoot guns, you’re missing out.  I encourage you to go out with someone you know personally who does, someone you know that will practice gun safety, or hookup with a gun club and try it out.  In the mean time I think I’ll go out target shooting.  Yeah, good times.