Jennifer asked for us to share our stories about how we became “gunnies”.
If you’ve read the “about me” blurb in my blogger profile, you already know that I’m a redneck by birth, so it goes without saying that I’ve never lived in a home without guns.
But I wouldn’t say that I was raised as a gunnie. The guns I grew up with were tools. They were never points of fascination or great enthusiasm. Having a gun in the house held about as much significance for my family as having a hammer or chainsaw.
That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy shooting. I did. I shot BB guns constantly as a kid, played Cowboys and Indians and Army with my brothers with toy guns, got my first .22lr rifle as a young teen and just about wore it slam out (I still have that rifle). My friends and I used to go shooting all the time as a teenager. But there were other things I enjoyed as well. Shooting wasn’t my life by any stretch of the imagination.
Gun ownership carried over into my adult life and, like I mentioned, I don’t believe I’ve ever lived in a home that didn’t have at least a couple of guns around.
I shot fairly regularly, but I wouldn’t call it “often”. I’d go to the range (or a friend’s backyard range when available) every few months. Whenever I went home on leave, I’d take a couple of guns with me to shoot in the back yard reminiscent of my youth.
I always took gun ownership for granted. It never occurred to me that this American tradition could ever be endangered. Of course, by the time I reached the age to become conscious at all about politics and laws, the Gun Control Act of 1968 was ancient history so it seemed to me that there had ALWAYS been some level of government control over gun ownership.
Then in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s, gun control really seemed to pick up some steam. They had a run there for a while where it really seemed like they were on track to get gun ownership banned completely.
The passage of the Brady bill and the faux assault weapon ban in 1994 was the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak and I began to get politically active with respect to the Second Amendment, began studying the history and the laws, joined the NRA as well as several of the other smaller civil rights organizations, and made a point to get more practice and range time in. It wasn’t long after that I started shooting with the Navy Marksmanship team as well.
My first few years in the movement was taken up with attending rallies, writing letters to the editor (even got one or two published) and to our representatives and senators in Washington, but sometime in 2005, I discovered blogs and Captain of a Crew of One was born.
You might notice that my archives only go back to 2006. That’s because after about a year or so of blogging regularly, the blog was beginning to feel like a job, rather than something I was doing because I enjoyed it. I shut Captain of a Crew of One down and even deleted it from blogger. I took about a 6 month or so break and then started it back up again late in 2006, determined that I was not going to be a slave to it and that I’d only worry about posting when I had something to say.
As regular readers well know, I’ve kept to that decision very diligently, which explains the weeks-long lapses in posting from time to time.
At any rate, it was basically the successes of the anti-freedom lobby that spurred me to action. Since I’ve become active in the politics, I’ve also become much more active in the community in general. I’m now an NRA and 4H instructor, Range Safety Officer, Active in both National and Virginia gun rights politics, and still even blog occasionally.
It was the successes of the Brady Campaign and their ilk in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s that proved to be their downfall. Many of us were spurred to get active in Second Amendment politics around that time. They woke the sleeping giant, and boy was he pissed.
The battle’s not over and probably never will be, but the successes that we’ve realized, through the tireless efforts of many great and dedicated patriotic Americans, are difficult to believe having come from where we were just a few short years ago.
I’m proud to have been able to play a tiny part (and, believe me, my part has been TINY) in that success, and seeing young, up and coming activists and representatives of the shooting community like Jennifer and her husband Michael, is very encouraging for us old codgers.