A reader emails me the following after reading Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks about gun owners who are not hunters:
When I was a teenager, I participated in the Junior Olympics program. I was the highest ranked male shooter in my state under 21 one year and got to go to the national championships. It was thrilling to spend a week at the US Olympic Headquarters, stay in the dorms with the real athletes, go to the cafeteria and walk past the tour groups who had to stay outside so we wouldn’t be disturbed while eating. The jokes then were NRA meant “Not really athletes” because there was a shotgun champion who was over 300 pounds. But it was still an amazing experience.
I’m 41 now, I still have never gone hunting. I’ve stopped competing in smallbore rifle. I have participated in some local matches with pistol and shotgun. I still enjoy going to the range (haven’t been in a few years since my daughter was born) just to see if I can improve my ability.
One other point about Biden’s comments irritate me. One of the guns I have is a M1 Garand, similar to what both my grandfathers carried in WWII. One was an engineer in Italy, the other a mechanic in the Pacific. Both are gone now, but that rifle reminds me of them. Under New York’s 7 round limit, the 8 round Garand is illegal now, I guess. The rifle is a “main battle rifle” though classified as a “curio & relic” and I obtained it from the government through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. The government has a program to arm the populace because it is (and has always been) in the best interest of the country to have an armed citizen who is trained to use those arms. This is what I’ve always understood to be the root of the “well regulated militia”. Regulated meaning to be made standard (regular) and not overburdened with procedural requirements.
The second amendment has never been the right to hunt and fish. The Vice Presidents comments are disappointing, but I wish there was more effort to educate everyone about what responsible gun ownership looks like. It’s not just a choice between supporting hunters, gang-bangers, or mentally deranged people.
What happened in Newtown really hurts, I’m worried about my three year old and the world she’s growing up in. None of the responses I’ve heard would have changed that. It’s just very frustrating to see how many people who know so little about firearms, yet think they’re experts and think that what I’m doing is the problem.