I’m fairly confident I didn’t need another reason to give someone a gun for Christmas this year, but a weak-kneed, irrational member of The New York Times editorial board provided it anyway. Francis X. Clines’ recent nonsense in the Editorial Notebook lamented that this year’s Black Friday set a new record for FBI firearm background checks conducted on this annual day of shopping madness. The bottom line is that a bunch of freedom-loving Americans think giving a gun for Christmas is a great thing to do. That it offends poor Francis’ sensibilities has inspired me to head to my local gun store to close out my shopping for the season.
As a kid growing up in Montana and Minnesota in the 1970s and 80s, I remember being consumed with the thought that Santa might bring me a gun. I had been shooting since I was old enough to hold a smoke pole and keep it pointed in a safe direction, but I hadn’t gotten one of my own. Then, on my sixth or seventh Christmas morning, the dream came true. It was a family hand-me-down, but it didn’t matter a bit. The 80-year-old Stevens single-shot .22 leaning up against the tree was mine.
The bottom line is that a bunch of freedom-loving Americans think giving a gun for Christmas is a great thing to do.We were inseparable. The mere thought of it would make Francis sweat like a tightrope walker with an ear infection, but that rifle went everywhere with me. I always handled it safely around all of the other kids in the dirt-road neighborhood and used it to help keep the populations of nuisance wildlife in check. I am convinced that carrying that rifle helped teach me important principles of maturity and individual responsibility. I knew that I’d never see that beloved gun again if I did anything remotely unsafe with it.
My sister and I differ when it comes to just about everything. For example, she and Francis would get along just fine as they discuss all the ways Europe is better than America. Just this past week, I learned that the reason she stopped going to our parents’ house in Montana for the holidays is because I gave my father a scary-looking AR-15 with a lot of extra full-capacity magazines for Christmas in 2010. She was clearly not as enthused about the high-dollar gift as he was.
This example in my own family makes it clear that guns might not be right for everyone when it comes to gift-giving, but it is simply hard to beat them when the right person is involved. They will last a lifetime and offer a real means of providing personal security, a sense of empowerment and the most wholesome, truly organic food available anywhere. The pure fun and challenge they bring to life cannot be forgotten either.
So I am pledging to myself today that I will give at least one deserving person, child or adult, a new gun for Christmas every season from here on out. And like George Bailey in the amazing “It’s a Wonderful Life” thinks of Clarence every time he hears a bell ring, I’ll be thinking of little Francis.
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.