My dad died in December of last year. In my arms, in my home, and in a moment. Before the calendar turned and the ball fell, before cities burned and before a virus from China threatened our lives and livelihoods.
But even then, he knew how fickle safety and security could be. He didn’t partake in conspiracy theories or prep for some inevitable disaster. In fact, he voted as a blue dog Democrat most of his life. That was until we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
He knew few things about government or politics, but he knew that a man’s right and responsibility to defend his home, provide for his family, and make decisions for his own life were as necessary and American as the Constitution protecting such freedoms.
So, just a few weeks before Christmas, as he was known to do, he gave me his last gift. My entire inheritance, a Remington Woodsmaster Model 742 chambered in 30-06. A “Jammaster,” as these early model semi-automatic hunting rifles are so affectionately called in the gun community.
His words were simple, “Son, I know you have all those fancy guns, but this one’s been with me since I was 16 years old. It’s never jammed on me, I never missed with it. It put food on the table, and protected us for 40 years. And I want you to have it.”
That very sentiment is exactly what’s on the ballot in 2020.
The radical left would have you believe they only seek to ban, or restrict, or take away “guns of war.” These are “assault rifles,” as they love to say. But a 1960s, wooden stock, deer rifle like my dad’s is as deadly and more powerful than any AR-15 on the market.
An assault on one undefinable group of guns is no doubt an assault on all popular sporting and defense rifles. Among their thinly veiled attempts to disarm our citizenry, even my dad’s legal ability to pass that gun to me, his son, with a handshake and a hug is in jeopardy when you have the likes of failed Texas politician, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, promised a seat in a Biden administration.
The conversation surrounding our Second Amendment has been largely ignored this election cycle. Notwithstanding a line from President Trump at every rally, the rest of the political machine, including politicians, media and their organizational support, have completely ignored this issue.
Why? Because Democrats know they have lost on this topic. Democrats see that the American people are rewarding pro-gun politicians and policies and have left this hot topic on ice for the 2020 election.
After four years of exploiting tragedies and singling out the National Rifle Association, with nothing more than a less than overwhelming midterm win in 2018 to show for it, Democrats are seeing right now, today, that the American people are moving toward gun ownership.
Perhaps this is a rapid response to state governments’ authoritarian policies dealing with COVID-19, and riots breaking out all over the country, and disasters like the California wildfires.
Just this week, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, giving the court a presumably 6-3 conservation majority on most heavily partisan cases. Although during Barrett’s confirmation hearings Senate Democrats focused largely on an ongoing case dealing with ObamaCare, it’s no small secret that Barrett’s placement on the high court locks in the Second Amendment-friendly majority Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have been waiting for.
To those who may not believe the Second Amendment is a motivating factor for voters in places where it counts, let me be clear, the gun vote exists and we’re listening.
Today there are nearly 340 million guns in America, in 70 million homes. More than 40% of gun owners say they own a gun for self-defense. Common sense and conversations tell us that there must be a pretty strong correlation between the riots, movements to defund police, virus lockdowns and voters’ decisions at the ballot box. Especially in the Midwest, where Minneapolis became an epicenter of rioting and unrest.
The Second Amendment, our constitutional right to protect our home, family and life, isn’t a partisan issue.
President Trump won states like Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016 that many pollsters and consultants believed were an iron wall of Democrat voters. The gun vote undoubtedly played a role in a region where the opening day of deer season is a school holiday.
If growing metropolises in Texas and Georgia really do have these otherwise stalwart red states in play for Democrats, you can bet that gun owners will show up at the polls to have their voices heard. These two states particularly have rolled back restrictions on guns in recent year.
Just last year Texas passed a series of laws loosening gun restrictions.
But guns aren’t just an important issue to rural, red state voters. Nationally, gun sales and ownership have surged. I spoke with fellow Marine Corps veteran Shelby Lasater, director of marketing and business development at Glock Inc. Glock is one of the largest handgun manufactures in the U.S. and their iconic pistol is commonly used in movies and television.
I asked Shelby about the surge in gun sales this year. His response was succinct, “We are selling guns so fast we can’t produce them fast enough. We have dealers telling us that a lot of them are first time buyers.”
That statement is supported by self-reporting within the industry, as well as background check data reported by the FBI. Gun sales were up an annual 71% from January to July of 2020, with a record 5 million new gun owners. A National Shooting Sports Foundation survey showed that Black men and women made up 58% of new gun buyers, with women accounting for 40% of all gun sales. A study by UC Davis showed California had a gun sales spike of 500%. The state most famous for its restrictions on guns had lines sprawling around city blocks to get into gun stores all summer.
So, what should we learn from citizens like my late father, or the nation’s 5 million new gun owners, or the hundreds of thousands of new gun owners in a solidly blue state like California?
That the Second Amendment, our constitutional right to protect our home, family and life, isn’t a partisan issue. Yes, only one party is attempting to remove guns from our society, and, for the most part, only one party is trying to preserve this right. But for Americans outside the “Beltway,” and for those witnessing riots firsthand and reluctantly living in city-wide lockdowns, the right to own and possess a common firearm has never seemed more common sense.
I don’t believe we are a society on the brink of civil war. Nor that we’re on the eve of a revolution. However, I do believe that perhaps now more than any time since the West was won, we understand our inherent responsibilities and inalienable rights are, in fact, inseparable.
The right to true freedom commands the right to defend yourself and what’s yours, and the right to defend your own life demands the freedoms to do so. This isn’t a fight to save some antiquated lifestyle contained in remote parts of the country. No, this is a fight to defend, preserve and respect life itself, and the right of each citizen to do so, no matter where he or she resides in these United States.
Politicians may try to divide us, but “We the People” know the truth. Gun culture is American culture, and whether you vote to “Make America Great Again” or “Build Back Better,” you have the right to do so with all your rights intact and freely exercised. Including the right to arm yourself.