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I AM A GUN OWNER

by Michael Mitchell

I am a gun owner.

I have a beautiful wife and two wonderful children, whom I love very much. I have a job I’m good at, that pays reasonably well. I live in a modest house in the suburbs of a moderate-sized American city.

I am a gun owner.

I pay the taxes required of me. I have never been issued anything other than a traffic warning by any law enforcement officer. I have never accidentally or intentionally injured anyone. I have never been in a physical fight. I abhor violence, and I believe in gentle, rational problem resolution wherever possible.

I am a gun owner.

I support my local law enforcement agencies, respecting the difficult work they do. I have been a member of national police associations, dedicated to the protection of civilians against criminal activity. I recognize that the police cannot be everywhere at once, however, and that they are not a bodyguard service. I am responsible for my immediate protection.

I am a gun owner.

I teach my children about the dangers of firearms. They are under strict instructions never to touch a gun without an adult present. However, I will gladly show them the weapons whenever they ask. They have been instructed in basic gun safety rules. By so doing, I remove the mystery surrounding guns and teach them responsibility. More important, the “forbidden fruit” of guns is no longer forbidden - removing its fascination.

I am a gun owner.

I do not hunt, but I respect the freedoms of those who do. I recognize that hunting is a valuable asset to our society, that it serves to control the populations of species that would otherwise overrun their habitat and starve, or suffer massive disease epidemics. I rarely participate in sport shooting events, but I enjoy the competition and have watched various types of shooting matches. I prefer a full-sized handgun for defensive purposes, but I understand the needs of those who cannot afford these tools and therefore choose the smaller-caliber, affordable handgun for that purpose. My preferred firearm action is semiautomatic - due to reduced recoil and inherently safer design - but I respect those who choose other types of weapons.

I am a gun owner.

I respect your right to choose not to own guns. I ask that you respect my choice to own personal weapons. I recognize that my ownership of guns, in some measure, protects you, since the presence of guns in civilian hands provides a general deterrent to crime. I hope that you can realize this as well.

I am a gun owner.

I believe in the natural right of self-defense, exercised by all living creatures. I believe that submission to violence only breeds more violence, as it encourages the assailant, while resistance discourages criminal behavior. I have never fired a weapon at anything alive, and I hope never to have to. I am resolute, however, that, should the need arise, I will use whatever level of force is required to protect innocent lives, including mine, my family’s, or some other person’s. As is legal. And, unfortunately, sometimes necessary.

I am a gun owner.

I believe in the importance of personal responsibility. I recognize that ownership of guns carries with it a profound requirement for careful management of their deadly power. I am a fanatic regarding gun safety rules, and I cringe when I watch Hollywood actors and politicians handle weapons. I have carefully studied the legal requirements surrounding the use of deadly force, and I have read many books and articles detailing the various confrontational circumstances in which other gun owners have found themselves. I have learned from their mistakes, however minor.

I am a gun owner.

I carry a gun with me most of the time. I recognize that the gun is an emergency tool, to be used only when absolutely necessary. I also recognize that crime knows no boundaries. Criminals do not politely ply their trade only in so-called ‘high crime’ neighborhoods. No place is immune from criminal activity, so I must always be prepared.

I am a gun owner.

I lobby my legislators to leave intact my freedom to keep and bear arms. I believe that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is still the law of the land and that, until proven otherwise, private citizens are worthy to be trusted with guns. I merely wish to be left alone by those in government, and to be acknowledged as the peaceable person I am. I want government officials and the media to stop blaming me for the crimes committed by others. I want punishment to be directed at the guilty parties, not at me.

I am a gun owner.

I behaved peaceably today, as I have every other day of my life. As I expect to behave tomorrow. I hope I never have to use deadly force on another human being. I intend no harm to anyone unless that individual gives me no other choice. And, even then, I will only shoot if he fails to stop his activity when confronted with a gun.

I am a gun owner.

I am just like 80,000,000 other Americans, your neighbors and friends. I am safe, responsible, and stable. I merely recognize that my safety is my responsibility, and no one else’s.

I am not your enemy. I am your neighbor, and, I hope, your friend. I am a gun owner.


Copyright 2000 Michael A. Mitchell. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article in its entirety, including this copyright notice. Mike writes for http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com; read some of his other work at http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com/Mitchell. You can contact Mike at mmitch6121@aol.com.

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 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against tyranny, which though now appears remote in America, history has proven to be always possible. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey

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