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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

Epilogue


Written by Tim Schmidt Jr., 22 years old
(The same Tim Jr. I held in my arms that day when this whole thing started!)

I still remember the day when my dad first taught me how to shoot a gun. It was a .22 Long Rifle, and we were at the shooting range in Barton, Wisconsin — about 15 minutes from our house in West Bend (home of USCCA headquarters). My dad had been very careful to teach me, my sister and my brother the four rules of firearms safety like they were a code to live or die by. I remember sitting on that bench with the box of ammo on the table and the rifle in my arms, looking down the iron sights to the target ahead. I remember pulling the trigger, seeing the empty case shoot out of the firing mechanism and hearing the gunpowder explode. It gave me a sense of this powerful tool in my hands and the responsibility required to properly wield it. This experience ignited my interest in firearms and my curiosity about different calibers and guns (which, in retrospect, was probably a little odd for a 12-year-old). I will never forget that first time shooting a gun with my dad at the range.

Growing up, my dad was energetic and enjoyed hanging out with me and my siblings. Almost every Saturday when we were kids, we would go to a toy store on Main Street in West Bend, and while we never actually got to buy any toys in that store, we got to walk around with my dad and look at the toys, which was still so much fun. I think my dad wanted to instill in us the idea that if we wanted something, we had to earn the money to be able to buy it. He really cared about how we would act as adults once we moved out of the house and were on our own, and he modeled that for us in more ways than I can count.

One of those ways was how, when we were at home, he was not secretive about how he would carry a concealed handgun around in public. He wanted us to know that he was willing to stop anyone who threatened us harm, and that showed me he was willing to put himself in danger to protect us. Talk about the actions of an exemplary role model.

A saying that my grandpa instilled in my dad was, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” In addition to living that statement out, my dad really passed on this advice to me as well. He taught me that if I made a mess, I was the one who should clean it up. He taught me that I should accept responsibility for the mistakes I made and that I should not be immobilized by those mistakes but rather learn from them and move on. He taught me each of these important life lessons but also lived them out every single day. I always have (and always will) look up to him, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have someone like him guiding me and believing in me. I hope I can grow up to be a father like him someday. Something I heard recently that really stuck with me is that “a father is his son’s first hero.” I couldn’t agree with that statement more!

Tim Schmidt Jr.
Waco, Texas

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