As a long-time gun owner, I’ve found there are two types of second amendment politicians—those that say what voters want to hear, so they can get the votes of gun owners, and those of us that have grown up with guns and our love for firearms comes not from our head, but from our history. If your second amendment position is a political calculation, then it can just as easily change if the political breeze blows in a different direction. But if your beliefs come from a deeper place, then they don’t change.
I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s in rural northern Colorado – son of a collector and avid hunter who passed on his values to me. Our family owned about a dozen handguns and had a similarly sized collection of rifles and shotguns for hunting. When it was out of season, my Dad and I would go down to the Larimer County dump and shoot at stuff – we’d just spot something and see who could hit it.
We hunted with dogs, and trained our own dogs. We weren’t that great at training, but I have great memories teaching them how to retrieve, how to not damage the bird or run off with it. They were by and large lazy, partly because we let them be house dogs as well. So if a duck dropped in the water, and it was at all cold out, they’d refuse – which meant it was me who had to take off my thermals and jump in the pond to swim back with the bird. (That I don’t miss quite so much.)
When my dad died suddenly, the only thing I wanted of his were a few guns from his collection – especially his 12 gauge Browning over/under. Even though I have others, the only ones I use regularly are the ones that were my Dad’s.
People who didn’t grow up with guns don’t appreciate that for most of us, we learned how to be a responsible person because we owned guns. My dad was no BS about gun safety, if I swung my barrel in the wrong direction while we were hunting, I was done for the day. When I got my Hunter’s Safety card, that was a proud day—I had to earn it, and that meant something to me. I grew up as a responsible and safe gun owner, as have nearly every gun owner in this state.