I have been advocating for gun rights in one way or another since I was a very young child living in Montana. It just made sense to me that good people needed guns for relatively important tasks like acquiring sustenance and protecting themselves and their loved ones from various dangers. I must admit that I also found shooting as fun as anything I could do, and certainly did not want the government stealing my joy. Next thing I knew, they’d be coming for my Big Wheel!
Growing up in the 1970s, the debate over gun ownership was real. Gallup polling showed that the country was evenly split on the question of whether the private possession of handguns should be banned. This truth is shocking to most gun owners in today’s world, where conversation about banning handguns is taboo even for most of the radical gun control organizations and nutty politicians like Chuck Schumer.
The political and popular support for handgun ownership in today’s America is the direct result of the NRA’s efforts through the decades. I have said it before, and I will say it again and again—if not for the NRA and its millions of members, we would be another England or Australia with regards to civilian disarmament.
Many believe I’m wrong about this since we have the Second Amendment as part of our Constitution. Well, remember that in 2008 a razor-thin majority of the U.S. Supreme Court recognized this amendment as anything more than silly blather from a bunch of dead guys. The justices who couldn’t care less about the intent of the founders or the meaning of their plain language could have just as easily prevailed.
It’s a beautiful thing to be able to boast of this clarity in life and thought, but really this issue is too simple for it to be a close call.As part of my personal effort to make a difference as a motivated NRA member, I would do things like stand up to my instructors in high school and college classes when they began to spew their anti-gun nonsense during lectures. It was hard to do as a mere kid and didn’t necessarily make me popular, but I didn’t really seem to have a choice because I knew it was the right thing to do. After college, I did some volunteer advocacy for gun rights in the Arizona State Legislature, then ultimately went to work as a lobbyist for NRA, where I proudly worked for more than 13 years.
People who know my history sometimes ask if I have ever questioned the righteousness of the gun rights cause. Without hesitation, I can say that I never have. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to boast of this clarity in life and thought, but in reality this issue is too simple for it to be a close call. No experience in life has dissuaded me from my belief that any self-respecting, independent, responsible, thinking American should be a gun rights advocate. If that sounds arrogant, I’m not sorry. This issue is too important to care about some weak, timid soul’s feelings.
The devastating storms that recently hit Texas and Florida are just two more of life’s stark reminders of why we need our guns. The gun-ban politicians who want to make us completely dependent on them and the rest of the “omnipotent state” for our most basic of human needs, including security, always tell us that the police will be there to protect us when we need them most. Our police work very hard to keep this promise, but they themselves know better than anyone that it’s an impossible aspiration.
As Hurricane Irma was bearing down on South Florida, Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi stepped into a press conference and told the public, “Don’t even call 911, because no one is going to answer.” He was referring to the period of time during the storm when winds exceeded 145 mph. Does this sound like a time when police would be able to keep the promises made by bigmouth, citizens-don’t-need-guns politicians who never have to put their lives on the line to save others?
In this case, all it took was winds to exceed 145 mph, and citizens were left to fend for themselves, whatever threats or challenges might arise. Whether it’s a roving gang of looters who want to take your prized possessions or whether it’s a more sinister bunch who want to do unspeakable things to your family, you are on your own.
To be clear, I contend that this is the right decision for the government to make. Law enforcement officers should not be exposed to such obvious and widespread risks associated with vicious storms to keep the general peace and answer calls. However, it is immoral for anti-gun government officials to know there will be serious interruptions in first-responder services while still working tirelessly to disarm peaceable Americans.
Who in their right mind would not want the most advanced and effective self-defense firearms in their hands at times like these when “no one is going to answer”? Could anyone say with a straight face that they would be better off unarmed? If so, I pity them and marvel at the soft world we live in that allows the weak to survive so well. Maybe they should accept that our soft world around us can become very hard and scary in an instant.
Who in their right mind would not want the most advanced and effective self-defense firearms in their hands at times like these when “no one is going to answer”?There will be times when the police just won’t be there to help. It might be because the weather gets windy, like it did in Monroe County, Fla., or because things have gotten so terrible in one way or another that law enforcement officers are forced to retreat to their own homes to take care of their families first. After all, preserving one’s own bloodline first is a characteristic programmed into all humans.
There are times when we must be equipped to save ourselves. This might involve glass breakers, seatbelt cutters and fire extinguishers, or it might involve cases where a scary-looking semi-automatic rifle with multiple 30-round magazines is the best tool for the job.
Many of us have seen the times before when “help” certainly was not on the way. In the case of the L.A. Riots when I was in college, these times have lasted for many days. It’s rare for a government official to be as honest and forthright as Gastesi was in Florida recently, but we should all remember his words the next time some politician or other gun control blowhard says we don’t need our guns because we have the police.
Yes, we have hundreds of thousands of great law enforcement officers throughout our land, but there will be those times when, for whatever reason, they are unable to act to protect the general public as they would like. Especially in these times, responsible citizens must be equipped to provide for their own safety. Gun control advocates who work to make this an impossibility are scoundrels and must be aggressively turned back.
Darren LaSorte lobbied with NRA-ILA for nearly 14 years and now lives and works in Dallas. His passions are shooting, hunting and self-defense training.