While hanging around the clubhouse with four or five club members as a guest at a Grasslands duck club last season, firearms seemed to be the lowest common denominator of our discussion.
Thinking about my firearms in the general sense led me to introspectively consider which firearms were my favorite and then I began to wonder why I have such affection for my shotguns and rifles – nearly all firearms with which I hunt.
I decided to propose a question to the group. The question was this: “Why do we have strong emotions about our firearms? Is it that they are beautiful? Or precise? Or is it something else, less obvious?”
Having sipped down several glasses of red wine each, the discussion was earnest and thoughtful, but not fulfilling and by the time we moved on, nobody had come up with the answer.
For a day or two, I continued to think about my favorite firearms. My emotions about them were very positive, but they are inanimate objects, unlike most of the things we love. But I had to admit, love was not too strong of a description for the emotion I have for my favorite rifles and shotguns.
I wondered about my best archery equipment and my favorite fly rods. I appreciate their value and practice with them to improve my hunting or fishing effectiveness. For many years I only hunted with bow and arrow. I have spent at least as much time in the woods with my archery equipment as with my rifle. Yet, I do not have the same kind of emotion for the former.
This comparison helped me understand that my love for the firearms I own has nothing to do with their physical makeup, their beauty or their performance. Finally I had discovered where I was going wrong.
The reason I love my firearms has everything to do with self-pride. I am proud that I am permitted to own such a powerful tool. I am humbled by the fact that I am trusted to be the custodian of something that has the ability to do tremendous damage if mishandled.
I use the utmost caution when handling my firearms and I do my best to set a standard for safety that others can follow. I never take safety for granted and I recognize the responsibility and power granted to me, an individual, by our constitution.
My firearms are a symbol of what is great about being an American.