Passing Gun Rights on to New Generations

Divemedic recently left a comment that certainly resonated with me because I think all serious activists feel this way at some point:

I hate to say it, but I am getting to the age where I am not really fighting for my rights any longer, nor even my children’s rights. My children are all over 30 years old. They are old enough to fight for themselves.

To tell the truth, I am tired. I have been fighting this battle and arguing with misinformed nitwits for over 30 years, and they still use the same old, tired talking points.

At this point, I am fighting for the rights of my grandchildren.

I don’t disparage anyone who puts in years of working for a cause at all. It does get tiring. Even with blogging, there are very few issues we haven’t covered before. This isn’t an issue or hobby that sees exciting new changes every few months. There aren’t really any radical new discoveries to pull us back in when things get old.

But the notion of fighting for grandchildren got me thinking, especially where kids of gun owners haven’t really picked up the fight for gun rights in the same way. How will our descendants know about what was so dear to us? I don’t just mean the ones we know, but the ones we won’t ever know – 3rd, 5th, 7th great grandchildren.

And it’s not just a matter of us passing it on to our descendants, but what of our ancestors? In my family tree, there could easily be upwards of 7 generations of NRA members in theory. (In theory for my family because those early years were focused in Yankeeland, and my ancestors were all broke Southern farmers – including the Georgia & Tennessee boys who fought for the Union.) In reality, it’s more likely on recent generations for many people. But were my deceased grandfathers and great grandfathers ever members? I don’t know. Because I know there’s no real chance of ever getting NRA member records from the past opened up for research, I’m quite confident that I will never know.

But that’s where gun clubs & shooting match organizers can make a difference.

One way to make sure that news of the traditions are passed down would be submit news of shooting competitions and other events to the local media. That helps us now and documents our passions for the future.

The other thing that I believe gun clubs should seriously consider is some sort of historian officer who is charged with documenting, preserving, and thinking about all things history of the gun club and shooting sports. There’s the internal value of someone ready to share the history of the club with new members and make them see they are part of something bigger. And the fact that someone would be in charge of sorting & maintaining records, photos, and memorabilia that most people aren’t quite sure what to do with.

If you’re a member of a really, really old gun club, are there newsletters from the early days with people who are all deceased that could be digitized, bound, and donated to a local historical society? If they won’t take them, then consider starting a club blog that will share the history with the community in an interesting way. Most clubs have websites these days, so put them to use in sharing history and our present.

What about member applications from decades ago of long deceased members? Records that document people between censuses are genealogical gold in general, but if they also reflect the interests of the applicants at the time, that helps tell the story of those individuals. I realize there are privacy and safety implications in gun-related records, and I’m more than sensitive to those as someone whose information was published as a concealed carry license holder in Virginia who lived next to a threatening neighbor. That’s why I’m specifically saying to look for records for people who are long deceased.

For me, it starts small. In my genealogy software, I’ll mark the family members who I know are/were proud NRA members. Eventually, as time and people pass, that information will make it out into the family histories. For those who were really involved in the issue, it will make their obituaries. Hopefully we can do more to create a better documented history of our own contributions to protecting the Second Amendment so that the Second Amendment supporters in 50, 100, and hopefully 200 years will know they are part of something much bigger. They won’t be relying on wills and estate inventories to see if we owned guns or left some to the NRA. They will know because we spoke out.

11 thoughts on “Passing Gun Rights on to New Generations”

  1. Donald Trump is apparently moving forward with raising the age of purchasing “Assault Weapons” to 21, and putting them under the rules and regulations for all Handguns.

    Something also tells me that this bill going through the Washington State Legislature is being used as the primary model for what Trump wants now.

    Not much different than what my former and current congressmen have had some of their staffers tell me, and I’ve posted the details on this blog, twice before.

    If a Federal Law is passed, instituting the term “Assault Weapon”, even if it’s just a “middle-ground-control”, than an outright ban with physical GUN CONFISCATION, isn’t to far off in coming down the pipe on us.

  2. I like the idea of keeping up with the history of our local gun club. Here in my town we have a Club and Range that goes back to 1864 as a schutzen Club, Ad Topperwein’s father Ferdinand was one of the original members and Ad, born in 1869 started shooting here.

    Since we are in the city limits of Boerne Texas we are now a .22 rimfire only range with a 100 yard rang, the Old Schutzen range, a large 30 bench 50 yard range and a nice Steel Challenge Range. We are a grandfathered landmark and we work hard to be good local neighbors. We are strong supporters of the NRA, I am one of a number of NRA range safety officers and in our little zip code, the last time I checked we had two national NRA board of director members.

    As I understand it, up until the 1930’s all of the records of out club were kept in German and I know the local library has a lot of that stuff but it would be nice if we had some sort of updated history to share and keep going.

    I am and older guy with two daughters and a son, all married in shooting sports families and I have grand kids, the older ones already through the gun safety courses and the younger ones 5 and 7 have their own 10/22’s kept locked up for them to enjoy shooting under supervision.

    I have my grandfathers 12 ga. double barrel muzzle loader shotgun, made in England in the 1850’s that he taught my dad born in 1903 to shoot and it will be passed on down to one of my grandchildren. Years ago I thinned out my rifles and shotguns giving them to son and sons-in-law for them to have for their children and I think that helps the continuity of family respect and values and all that stuff.

    1. Oh how cool! Definitely see if you guys can get more of an organized historian function going. Your history is worth preserving and telling.

      I also can’t tell you how much I love the fact that you have your grandfather’s gun from so very long ago. That is absolutely amazing!

      I wish I knew if some of my ancestor’s guns were still around. Anytime I see a Revolutionary War-era firearm whose original is known, I look that person up in the DAR database to see if there are living descendants and send them pictures, along with information about where I saw it. I have a couple of pictures I need to do that with that were snapped at King’s Mountain. If I ever found out an ancestor’s musket or powder horn was preserved in a national park, I’d be on my way to visit within hours.

  3. I’m a latecomer to real gun ownership. I had a 22 rifle as a kid, but to my father’s dismay never got into hunting. Only at almost 40 did a friend(former army)who wanted to get back into marksmanship drag me to the range. I enjoyed it, and an interest in history prompted me to start buying iconic designs and WWII rifles. 8 years later I’m an NRA life member and a careful voter. I hope to get my at least one of little daughters shooting when they are older so I can ensure my grandfather’s Winchester stays in the family, and with any luck something of mine will be a treasured heirloom of some grandchild yet unborn.
    I guess what I’m saying is “I have not yet begun to fight!”

    1. Great! I think that demonstrating it’s a strong family tradition makes people think a little more seriously about it. Because if their family member owned it/joined it, it can’t be *that* bad, right? :)

    2. Older? What age are you thinking about?
      I would suggest a single digit age. 7-9 y.o. is good. Maybe 6 if they are enthusiastic about it.
      If you wait until puberty, you miss the opportunity to have their shooting ability be “hard-wired”. That is a huge benefit. Shooting skills don’t quickly disappear if they can’t get to the range often.

      They also need to go shooting more than just once to encourage an interest in the subject.
      Move them to reactive targets as soon as they get a handle on accuracy. Instant feedback is important in developing an interest in shooting. Shooting at paper bores most kids quickly. This is a common mistake adults make with kids. (If you are shooting at cans, use steel cans, NOT aluminum. Aluminum doesn’t react to most hits, especially the new, thinner cans.)

      1. The youngest(and obviously most adventurous, trust me!)is only 2. Her sister is 7, but #1 daughter is extremely cautious and adverse to loud noises. I expect she will demur when offered the chance to shoot until she feels she has to prove that she can do anything her little sister can do.

  4. Number one thing to do is to make sure our kids are at least gun knowledgeable, particularly if they’re daughters.

    One of my first “serious” girlfriends and I were talking (a very, very long time ago) about moving in together, and one thing she proclaimed is that should could NOT live in a home with a gun in it. At the time I wasn’t as pro-gun as I am now, but I had my grandfather’s pistol that was handed down and I wasn’t planning on giving it up. The conversations didn’t go far enough to bring that to a head before we broke up … but at the age of 21 would I have given up my gun(s) for the sake of a woman? Would she have given in and allowed me to keep it? I’m not sure. But if I had given up that first and only pistol I started out with, I doubt I would have ended up where I am now on the issue.

    My daughters don’t really enjoy shooting, but I’m making sure they own at least a .22 semi auto rifle each and a handgun before they move out. If they want to get rid of them right away, that’s on them, but at least they’ll be comfortable around guns/gun people.

    1. I do agree that’s very important. So many guys seem to follow the whims of their girlfriends or wives, which I’ll say that I don’t understand even though I’m a woman! A relationship is a partnership, which means there will be give and take, but someone shouldn’t have to give up family history or a hobby for someone else. If the guys aren’t already dedicated to it, then it’s much harder to convince them to stick with guns if it won’t keep the peace at home. When people decide they are fine without something, very few are dedicated enough to freedom to say, “Well just because it’s not my thing doesn’t mean I should stand by and let them take guns from others.” Most people tend to be of the attitude that if it doesn’t hurt them, then it doesn’t matter whose rights are infringed. And that’s a big problem. So I agree, make it something that neither gender will actively oppose and you’re already putting the future on better footing.

  5. Trump just endorsed EVERY thing I stated in an earlier comment. He just endorsed universal background checks, registration, ‘extreme risk’ confiscation, raising the age of a buying a gun to 21, banning bump stocks and now has all but endorsed feinsteins AWB.

    Looks like we won’t be able to pass gun rights to new generations as now we are possibly getting a sweeping gun ban with registration and confiscation. Only hope it all dies in the House.

  6. August 16th will be the 15th year I’ve been in this fight. I started with the NRA. Then stumbled onto blogs after an interview on Cam and company featuring Caleb from Call Me Ahab. Which in turn lead to Snowflakes In Hell, The Bitch Girls, Law Dog, Say Uncle, Sharp As A Marble, etc. What made me a believer was the JPFO. I’m already tired. The problem is exactly as Bitter stated. Nobody cares unless its hurting them. Most of them don’t care if it is hurting them or will. Facts mean nothing to them. Facts just interrupt watching television or scrolling through instagram. There is only a tiny minority willing to do anything besides parrot out the same tired cheap lines in the comment sections of articles on gun control or like/share on Facebook. “Guns don’t kill people/spoons make Rosie fat” etc. I’m discouraged because all we have ever done is give ground. So what’s the point if all we are doing is delaying the inevitable? I don’t want to lose our rights, but why if its only you who are willing to shed blood, sweat, and tears to keep them? Fifteen years of statistics, arguments, counter arguments, and technical information crammed into my head. A lot of time and money put into the war effort. All for what? I’m not out the fight yet. Gone to far to turn back now.

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