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Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Guns On The Mind

Firearms, Random Musings and Idle Chit Chat

I’ve had guns on my mind lately.

I recently purchased another handgun.  I’ve been making plans for the Second Annual Schuetzenfest.  I recently mentored a couple of young lads in safe firearm handling and marksmanship.  And Chicago passed a new handgun ordinance that went into effect this week.

The ordinance was passed in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that made the city's handgun ban unenforceable.

Among other things if a Chicagoan wants to get a handgun they must comply with the following:

  • Obtain a Chicago firearm permit - $100 and good for three years
  • Completion of four hours of classroom and one hour of range time.  Gun shops and ranges are forbidden so training must be completed somewhere other than Chicago.
  • Only one operable handgun may be possessed inside the dwelling.  It is illegal to have a handgun in the garage, on your porch or in your yard.

The SCOTUS decision upheld the right of a law abiding citizen to defend themselves and their loved ones has been met with a new law that largely attempts to use every legal mechanism possible to prevent that.

Mind you – this is in a city where it is not unusual to read of multiple dozens of shooting incidents within the passage of a few days.  Shootings largely committed by bad people who will continue to ignore the new law just like the old law.  My impression is that Chicago gun laws are of little practical use and are basically empty symbolic gestures.

It has occurred to me that this past weekend I violated every single element of this new law – right down to the part about the porch. It’s a good thing I live in Wisconsin.

Or does that make me a bad guy? 

Besides – I am convinced that a 12 gauge shotgun is far better suited to home defense.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is children learning a healthy dose of respect for firearms.

I grew-up in a family that had no hunters or shooters. My first encounter with a firearm was when I went away to camp.  The Salvatorian Brothers taught me to safely handle a bow and shoot a .22 rifle.  I was pretty good with both – but better with the rifle. 

Mom and dad gave me a target rifle on my 13th Christmas.  Competitions followed.  I learned to acquire a target and squeeze-off my shots from the standing, seated and prone positions.  Years later I earned a couple of NRA marksmanship qualifications.

All the time it was drilled into my young skull that you treat your weapon with loving care (lest it not shoot straight or fail you) and with a healthy dose of respect.

They’re dangerous after all.

Of course many things in life are dangerous.  Operating a chainsaw, riding a bicycle or climbing into an icy tree stand.  Even making applesauce.  I do all these things.  They all require you to be familiar with the risks of the device, its safe operation, regular maintenance and a healthy dose of respect.

Which is why I’ve been instructing a pair of fine young lads in simple weapons nomenclature, safety, handling and operation, safety, marksmanship and more safety.

Dude!  Are you crazy!  That kid has a handgun!

Yes he does.  This was the carrot to follow a demonstration of proper handling and operation of a bolt-action target rifle. 

I am of the belief that if you remove the shroud of mystery that sometimes leads to careless and reckless handling of firearms and drill on the basics of safe handling and operational proficiency the handling of a weapon can be both safe and fun.  The earlier you can start the better.  It might lead to a pursuit of excellence in a challenging competition.  It might also save your life some day.

I think that youngster harbors a more mature respect for firearms than most boys his age.

We could use more of that.

Reasonable people that lawfully own and safely operate firearms are not to be feared.

It is the bad guys that have no healthy dose of respect for guns OR the law that are to be feared.

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