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Let’s Talk Guns

Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2022
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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28 Comments
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Let’s talk guns – and more-about smart policy, an approach that respects the Second Amendment, reinvigorates citizen security and self-reliance, reduces crime, and restores trust.

In the mid-1970s, more than half of all Americans owned a gun. Americans were not afraid of guns. They knew how to use them, trained on them, taught their kids to use them, and understood their value – to protect self and family, keep the government in check, hunt, and target practice on clays, bottles, or targets. Young Americans were trained by parents, local hunting groups, gun clubs, and NRA’s safe hunter training.

Interestingly, if one scrolls back to the start of WWII, leading generals – Bradley, Patton, Eisenhower, and Marshall – knew the value of a gun-savvy citizenry. Americans were comfortable with guns, allowing us to train fast. When the Nazis had 60 divisions, we had one. American kids, good with rifles, trained on clays and squirrels, closed that gap fast. 

But gun ownership is more about society, security through confidence, domestic peace through awareness, competence through training, and responsibility built on trust, teaching, and peer policing.

Two generations ago, most knew guns. When ownership was wider, training higher, comfort same as with cars, crime was lower, responsible management by kids assumed, safety understood, deterrence obvious, way less murder – mass or otherwise – and less drug trafficking, fewer gangs, more respect for how order was really kept.

Some will read this in disbelief. Put aside your misconceptions, believe. Gun ownership in the 1960s and 1970s was high, training common, and use wise. Murders were low, despite the disorder. Every Boy Scout – an institution properly-revered, knew life skills – and how to use a .22 rifle. 

When gun ownership was high in 1960, murders were below 10,000; today, with fewer households owning guns, murders are near 20,000. Violent crimes in 1960 tallied about 288,000. Today they top 1,245,000. In rural states – with higher per capita gun ownership – crime was even lower.

Skeptics ask about mass murders, a question worth asking. Tracking human behavior is always about independent variables, seeing what affects what. When legal gun ownership was higher, mass murders were minimal.

What? Yes – a fact. In the entire 1960s decade, we saw seven mass shootings, with an average of six dead.  This was a nation with hundreds of millions of legal firearms and no gun control legislation.  

Today, mass murders run up due to a dystopian society that encourages dismissal of traditions and trust, coddles teens into their 40s, expects little, offers dependence, and revels in leftist fear, dysfunction, alienation, and disrespect – for guns and others. Rather than seven in a decade, we get 12 in the first five months of 2022. 

See the issue? Here is some living history. When I was 12, we were all taught – in a rural classroom – how to use a rifle, training films, and a teacher. All families had firearms. The idea was, as with driver education, to know how to use them wisely, as you are expected to do so.

We learned safety, responsibility, and accuracy from the NRA safe hunter course. All boys were Boy Scouts, went to scout camps, and learned to manage firearms responsibly, chiefly .22 rifles – which we loved because we could compete and see who was better at this life skill.

In all the years after, I have not known one person who went through those courses and was less than respectful, responsible, and circumspect in managing firearms – not one. 

We learned these skills with humility, long before we learned to drive a car, which we also learned young. Adults held us to standards, instilled trust and responsibility, including for guns.

Later in the Navy, while young, we were serious-minded. We wanted to do well and live to the trust of those who believed we could. We learned to respect, manage, and get proficient with a 9mm handgun. At no time has anyone with whom I trained ever misused or betrayed that trust.

Recently, in an urban class filled with all races, ages, life purposes, and both genders, I reacquainted myself with proficiency in the 9mm, 40 hours. Not one person in that class, not for one day, hour, or minute, did less than their best at safety, drawing, shooting, and living to trust.

So, what is the point? What is the policy recommendation? How can we get back to a society that understands – and teaches – that trust is critical, gun ownership, use, storage, and proficiency are not just a privilege but arguably a 2nd Amendment duty?

How can we reeducate ourselves and the next generation to understand firearms are good, not something to be feared but respected, not misused but properly used, and how to keep perspective?

Firearms are, in the end, just tools, sources of personal and social security, deterring crime, encouraging public accountability, providing recreation, sustenance, herd husbandry. They offer a sense of proficiency, self-sufficiency, and self-respect. 

Like training America’s youth to drive properly, respect others on the road, work hard, pay bills, build things, honor life, give as they can, live with gratitude, and stand by their word, we must think about the value of having a citizenry well-armed, well trained, ready to keep the peace.

History teaches us that – whether in our own past, modern Ukraine, or somewhere else if we are aware of our rights and teach the young to honor them, along with duties, we thrive. Done right, without paranoia, hysteria, fear, or friction, we are well served by teaching comfort with guns.

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ezed2109
ezed2109
1 year ago

On target for most of this… I grew up in the 60s and via Boy Scouts and the YMCA learned how to shoot. Also was a member of the 4H club! All great institutions for building character and teaching children how to grow up as responsible adults.
These experiences are just a important as safety in handling a firearm. (By the way I do not currently own a firearm only because I do not hunt and never felt the need to have one… but do now think of getting certified and purchasing one.)
As you point out – the gun is but a tool.
I do not think guns are the root problem. The fact they are very much a part of our past history and the same problems did not exist. The fact also our current society is plagued with many other problems: depression, record suicide levels, drugs, other non-gun crime and violence, anger and division… these are not gun issues but point to a bigger root problem that very well could explain the gun issues as well….

Irene
Irene
1 year ago

Learned responsibility with and about guns from family in the 60s too. The escalation in violence can be connected to the internet, and in recent years, “smart” devices and apps reeling in youth and taking over their thoughts, destroying their family loyalty, faith, and values. It’s all part of the long coup d’etat by those in the D party. More divorce does not help. Family problems and divisions help drive children away from the hearth. It’s manifesting in all sorts of horrible scenarios.

DonS
DonS
2 years ago

RBC
Great points and an outstanding illustration of responsibility that is NOT being recognized today!

Thank You!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 years ago

Common Sense Gun Laws:
o NO felons can acess from stores
o Automate background checks
o Make Uniform
o Revive Castle Defense doctorine
o High fines for crimes with guns.
o revive Death Penalty

Steve
Steve
2 years ago

Let’s not forget the progressive agenda here. The real issue is to control the American people. It is hard to control people who are armed. This not about saving lives, stopping mass shootings, preventing suicides or reducing crime. It is simply about control.

OCD
OCD
2 years ago

I grew up in a small city in TN. In the 5th and again in the 8th grade, every child in elementary school went to a camp on the lake for one week. Besides learning to swim, canoe, identify leaves, trees, plants, rocks, etc., every child in the entire City learned to shoot pistols, rifles, and shotguns. After felling a lot of trees and being kicked on your can from the shotgun, everyone respected the power of firearms. I never heard of anyone getting killed from guns growing up. An entire generation knew how to use and respect firearms, whether the families owned any guns or not. The kids will never forget Camp Oo-Tah-Nee-Noh-Chee.

Glenn Downes
Glenn Downes
2 years ago

I wish I knew how to pass this information along to friends and family. Good pertinent information that needs to be read and reread by all!! For too long, the media has, so to speak, allowed the tail to wag the dog. Penalties for illegal possession or gun related crime should be significantly increased and rigidly enforced. More restrictions on guns only limits legal ownership and the hoodlums essentially roam free.

Louis Mitzner
Louis Mitzner
2 years ago

I was born 9 years after the end of WWII, I learned to shoot from my Dad, and when I was a Boy Scout, it was one of my first Merit Badges. When I turned 13, I received a Remington 22, semi Automatic Rifle as a Birthday Present. We Didn’t have shooting ranges, we would walk out to the nearest creek, picking up bottles, cans, anything that would float, and I learned how to shoot at a moving bobbing target as it floated down the creek. If I needed ammo I walked down to the Lawlors Store where they sold Ammunition, Picking up soda bottles and turning them in at Erv’s Standard Station (Gas was only .25 cents a gallon then) and trade in the bottles for the recycling fee, Carrying my Rifle into the store was not a big deal, and everyone knew each other. Life was good.

Rocky
Rocky
2 years ago

I am surprised no one mentioned the fact that all our schools today teach our children and grandchildren that guns are BAD…

MariaRose
MariaRose
2 years ago

Having lived myself as a child in the decades mentioned above and never doubting the statement that anything that you get the privilege to use, doesn’t eliminate any responsibility on using that right. We all still have rights to get whatever we strive for but ownership/ use is also assuming that we are taking on the responsibility for any use and the consequences.
So where did we, the children of those decades, go wrong in passing down this attitude to the generations that followed us. Did we find responsibility for the consequences of our actions too much of a burden, or did something else in history make us skeptical of what being responsible entitles because of what too many others got away with in their destructive behavior?

mark
mark
2 years ago

The DEMORAT’S are killing our history by the day and have been doing so for years ,, and people they wont stop until we make them go away ,, they have turned every right into a wrong and given away every thing this country has stood for ,, starting with GOD ,,, UNITED WE MUST STAND ,,,

Rhonda
Rhonda
2 years ago

I have a friend that lives in Australia. She just sent me a video that is available on line that shows a 13 year old boy that could not buy cigarettes, liquor, or a lottery ticket, but he could buy a rifle. She told me that the US was too violent, that we obviously have bad gun laws and that she would never live in the US.

The mother of the boy was the person taking the boy around to these different places. I have no doubt that the video was done by some left wing person or news agency, and probably the mother was paid.

I tried to give my friend some information about crime and what happens to some countries when guns are taken away from citizens, but it did not matter to her.

I could have pointed out some of the unbelievable things that Australia has done to its citizens during the last two years of covid, but I didn’t.

She is a contradiction in beliefs—on one hand, she believes that climate change and global warming are hoaxes, and that using green energy is inefficient and expensive. On the other hand, she supports Australia’s covid policies, their socialized medicine.

Sorry for the long post.

Nancy Arnett
Nancy Arnett
2 years ago

Let’s see…….Has anyone watched TV shows or movies over the last 10 -20 – 30 years or so?Have you noticed what most have in common?Hmmmm – interesting. You can thank Hollywood for most your violence today.Another thing that doesn’t help – the violent video games. Does anyone think our kids and grandkids could grow up with this s__t and there NOT be problems?Add one more thing to the mix – these lunatics that want their 15 minutes of fame and be remembered – say like Charles Manso — Hitler? Think about it.

Weary
Weary
2 years ago

This article needs to be on the front page of newspapers all over our country!

Mike
Mike
2 years ago

Back in the 60 when a youngster shot a squirrel, rabbit, they watched it die. As they grew up what that youngster shot had a good chance of being dinner.
Todays teens and preteens spend countless hours closed up in there rooms. Playing games like “Mortal Combat”. Where you shoot the enemy, poof their gone. The teen get shot. Game over reboot and try again. Nothing is real until that teen makes it real. At that point it is too late for reality remorse

John Tate
John Tate
2 years ago

Mr. Charles is right – but he omitted several other 60s and 70s realities. Firearms were for sale legally “over the counter” in lots of places: sporting goods & hardware stores, filling stations … and the street. And just as easily through the mail from vendors like Stoegers and Ye Old Hunter. Kids brought their guns to school so they could hunt on the way to and from school. Kids ~12 and up regularly went hunting or plinking by themselves or with other kids. These are all true … because I did these things.

JEFFREY JONES
JEFFREY JONES
1 year ago

SAVE THE U.S.A…..Exterminate all demonrats, commies, and nazis….It’s time for a new civil war against the leftie loonies!!!,,,…,,,,

Mark
Mark
1 year ago

Liked your article but you didn’t mention the shooters creed. Treat every firearm as loaded, never point your firearm toward another person, always point you firearm toward the ground while walking, know your backstop while target shooting or hunting, never take a sound shot while hunting, never point a loaded firearm toward a person. When hunting always shoot to kill your prey and never let an animal suffer. I might not have the shooters in order, it’s been awhile since I read the shooters creed and I remember it being placed where firearms and ammunition were sold. Too bad the creed isn’t displayed anymore.

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Unfortunately the second paragraph from the end is the America of the past. I don’t see much of this being taught in our country anymore. It’s called respect. The real reason there is so much gun violence now is a condition of the heart. There is little respect for anything (especially life) by too many people in our country now. Think about it, why can’t we display the ten commandments in our schools highlighting “thou shall not kill”? Is this concept really that “controversial”? Why can’t we have mandatory fire arms safety training (even without actually shooting a firearm) for our students highlighting the effects of the improper use of a fire arm and the penalties of doing so? And lastly, if firearms were really the “problem” we would have old west style shootouts everywhere every day due to the number of firearms that exist in this country. Why can’t the socialists and the “media” tell ALL the facts? Firearms have prevented many crimes from happening without any life being taken.

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