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If It Is To Be, It's Up To Me:

The Little-Known Backstory of the
United States Concealed Carry Association

If It Is To Be,
It's Up To Me:

The Little-Known Backstory of the United States Concealed Carry Association

Chapter 1:

Dad and Me


Tim: The first experience I had with a firearm was with my father when I was 11 years old. One thing Dad would always do is take each of his three kids, one-at-a-time each summer, on a father-son or father-daughter trip. It was usually a camping trip. I always looked forward to these trips. I know that my brother and sister did as well. And you know what, Roy? This is a tradition that I’ve continued with my three children. There’s something special about spending one-on-one time with each of your kids.

OK, back to the story … one of the reasons that our trips were usually camping trips was that both my parents were very frugal. Dad was a finance guy for a food processing plant, and he was very smart with money. We lived a very middle-class lifestyle, and we didn’t do a lot of fancy things.

Haha … here’s an example: We got to go out to dinner three times a year. It was on each of the kids’ birthdays, and it was always to Pizza Hut. That was a big deal, right? And we literally had to ask permission if we could order soda, because water was cheaper. 

And so, anyway, it was on one of those trips with just my dad and me. We were up in northern Wisconsin. And I remember one night we were sitting around the campfire, and we were just sitting there talking, and there was some rustling in the woods. And we didn’t camp in campgrounds. We just went out where you weren’t supposed to go, just in the middle of nowhere. And so it wasn’t like there were any forest rangers or anyone nearby.

It was very dark. Not many stars out. When I heard that rustling in the woods, I was scared. My dad instantly hopped up from the log we were sitting on and went into the tent. A few seconds later, he came back and sat next to me on the log. But now he had his 5-inch barrel, .357 Magnum, nickel-plated Smith & Wesson revolver with him.

And he didn’t say anything about it. He just had it sitting right there with him because we didn’t know what was in those woods. I went from feeling very scared to very safe. I just remember how safe I felt. There’s just something about that feeling when you’re with someone who you know will do ANYTHING to protect you. And my dad had his revolver with him to make sure nothing happened to me.

Roy, please bear with me … remembering my dad is tough for me.

I may get a little choked up because Dad died a few years ago. So I apologize in advance.

So then like two days later on that same trip, Dad and I were driving back home, and we just randomly happened to drive past this outdoor gun range. And Dad said, “Hey, let’s pull over here.” So we set up there. And, for the first time in my life, my dad let me shoot that gun.

I was scared to death. But it was exciting to shoot a gun. I knew that Smith & Wesson was probably my dad’s prized possession. I mean he would never let us touch that thing. Not just because it was a firearm, but because it was one of his prized possessions and he was a very frugal man, and when he had nice stuff, he didn’t want anyone touching it.

That’s just the way it was with my dad.

I can remember being at that shooting range with my dad like it was yesterday. It was way up in northern Wisconsin. Nobody else was shooting, so we had the whole range to ourselves.

Dad kept his prized revolver in this funny little brown case. Even though it had a lock on it, it certainly wasn’t made to store a gun. This was my frugal Dad at work here. He just didn’t think it was worth it to buy some fancy case when he had a case that would work just fine. It looked like that case used to store a shoe-cleaning kit or maybe a hairdryer.

But that didn’t matter. Dad had installed some foam pads inside, so it worked perfectly for his needs.

I can literally feel my dad looking down from heaven right now, shaking his head, saying, “Son, you don’t always have to buy the fancy stuff.”

So Dad got this case out and opened it up. There sat the gleaming revolver. As you can imagine, Dad kept it immaculately clean.

Dad took his time and made sure I understood the four universal rules of firearms safety. He helped me load the revolver chambers, and then we took turns shooting for what seemed like hours.

It was just SO much fun.

It was a really powerful experience for me, and it increased my connection with my dad. I was still very fearful of him, but, overall, I think it was a healthy relationship.

[Long pause]

Dad died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in the spring of 2017, which is just the most messed-up disease you can ever imagine.

I’ll never forget the day when he could barely talk, barely breathe for that matter, and he gave me that gun and said…

Roy: Take your time.

Tim: He said…

Roy: I guess this was sort of the ultimate passing of the torch between father and son.

Tim: [Nods his head yes]

Roy: I’m going to go check on that coffee.

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