I was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1955, the third of seven children to Daniel J. Sr., and Stella A. Beatty. Having four brothers and two sisters, I am still surprised that my parents were able to maintain their sanity.
My father worked in the printing industry, and both of my parents did their best to instill in us the virtues of honesty and integrity. From a very young age, love of God and country were the order of the day. In those days, correcting your children was not a felony and my mom was a near-Ninja with a paddle. The stern discipline must have worked. Between my father, who passed on in 2001, four brothers, and three wives of brothers, we have served a total of 98 1⁄2 years of active military service. Not too many flag burners at our family reunions (at least not live ones).
My father allowed me to shoot a rifle for the first time when I was about five and I was hooked. Next, I received my own BB gun and then a 16 gauge shotgun when I was fourteen. Coming from a long line of hunters, Dad introduced me to what would not only become a great pastime, but a passion for firearms freedom that has brought many a public official a case of the willies.
While studying criminal justice at Northern Michigan University, I completed a thesis on Michigan’s registration law and discovered that, not only had it been useless as a crime fighting tool, it only burdened the law-abiding citizen and was costing Michigan taxpayers untold thousands of dollars a year.
In my high school years, believe it or not, I was relatively liberal in my thinking about gun control. I graduated from Arcanum High School in Arcanum, Ohio in 1974 and joined the U.S. Air Force the following October. I entered training as a B-52 electronics systems technician. I joined to further my education, and boy, did I get educated. It was my exposure to the military environment that caused me to realize the price that had been paid, in blood, for our freedoms.
I did not fire a center fire handgun until I was stationed at Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado in 1975. Volunteering for extra duty as a Security Police Augmentee, I qualified Expert on rifle and pistol and would hold that rating in small arms for 19 years. So much for my ignorance of firearms freedom. I was on a MISSION!
I read everything about guns that I could get my hands on. I bought, traded and shot just about any type of gun you could think of. I also studied the subject of “gun control” and came to know that its real definition is being able to hit your target. In the company of a group of military friends, my firearms experience broadened. In my first five years of duty, I must have fired a couple of hundred thousand rounds, most of it out of my own budget.
During this time, I began to get into the politics of “gun control.” Being a student of history, especially military history, I realized that if modern day “gun control” would have been in place in the past, we would be subjects of the throne and America wouldn’t exist. Thank the Lord for the wisdom and courage of our Founding Fathers.
I was assigned to K. I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan in 1981, and that’s where I got my first real taste of restrictive “gun control” laws. The State of Michigan, since the early 1920s, required that you register your handguns. I decided then and there that was something I would NEVER do again.
While studying criminal justice at Northern Michigan University, I completed a thesis on Michigan’s registration law and discovered that, not only had it been useless as a crime fighting tool, it only burdened the law-abiding citizen and was costing Michigan taxpayers untold thousands of dollars a year. When I left Michigan, I sold every registered firearm I owned and bought new ones when I arrived in Free America.
While stationed again in Colorado, the Denver city council proposed banning “assault weapons.” In spite of a valiant battle, the council passed their ban. Council President, Cathy Reynolds, went so far as to order the Sergeant-at-Arms to turn off the microphone while a pro-gun attorney was testifying against the proposal. This would not be the first time that my opinion of “gun control” would not be well taken in a public forum. If not for the escorting officers, I may have gotten lost on my way out of the building. Thankfully, the ban was thrown out by an appellate court.
With camera crew in tow, I was videotaped carrying a concealed pistol virtually everywhere the politicians in Toledo said I couldn’t. The segments aired on Friday, May 20, 2004, at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m…
After seeing what some of our elected “representatives” were capable of, I knew in my heart that the battle was joined and it would be a long one. I became very outspoken, attending every public meeting I was aware of, and enlisting every lawful gun owner I could.
About this time, a series of revelations came to me. My military duties as a Master Instructor conditioned me for public speaking. My Oath of Enlistment demanded that I protect our Great Nation, from all enemies, foreign and domestic. My status as an NCO required me to set the example.
And, most importantly, fatherhood meant that I was to be the shepherd, not a sheep. My three children depended upon the likes of me to protect their Rights for the future. WOW! What a realization! And all are now good shots.
More recently, I have been very active in the battle for concealed carry in Ohio. After a long struggle, Ohio finally passed a CCW law, which took effect on April 8, 2004. From the beginning, the anti-gunners crawled out from under their rocks. .Unable to stop the legislation, they managed to insert some ludicrous restrictions into the law
Additionally, numerous cities and towns passed or proposed ordinances that would prohibit concealed carry in places such as parks, bus stops, public transportation, jogging paths, etc. All the places where you get mugged, robbed, raped and murdered. The gauntlet was thrown and I picked it up.
The Mayor of Toledo, my hometown, decreed that there were to be severe restrictions on CCW, without even consulting with city council. Clyde and Arcanum, Ohio city councils passed ordinances banning CCW in certain areas. All of this is in direct violation of the Constitution of the State of Ohio, Ohio Revised Code, recent State Supreme Court rulings, and, in the case of Toledo, their own Municipal Code, which prohibits interfering with the legitimate use of a firearm.
After about a month of attempting to educate these public officials as to the error of their ways, and being ignored, snubbed and insulted, I took action. First, I had the occasion to speak face to face with the Attorney General for the State of Ohio and present him my position papers on the issue. Within two weeks, his office issued a statewide press release advising municipalities in Ohio that said bans were invalid, as the cities and towns did not have the authority to override the state legislature.
After Toledo refused to retreat, I called Bill Hormann, a reporter for the local ABC news affiliate 13 Action News. With camera crew in tow, I was videotaped carrying a concealed pistol virtually everywhere the politicians in Toledo said I couldn’t. The segments aired on Friday, May 20, 2004, at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m., and Mr. Hormann did a spectacular job choreographing the story. He asked the politicians the right questions and really put them on the spot, actually getting the law director for the city of Toledo to admit the city could not charge anyone with a crime for carrying concealed in compliance with state law.
I waited a couple of days, then e-mailed every official in Toledo from the mayor on down, advising them that if they intended to prosecute me, all the evidence they needed was on video at the studio; let me know when you have the warrant filled out, I’ll gladly turn myself in.
As I expected, they did nothing. Clyde, however, is a different story. After refusing to repeal their ordinance, they were sued by Ohioans for Concealed Carry: www.ofcc.net. As this case is still in litigation, I cannot comment further, except to say that I believe Clyde will lose.
Arcanum, on the other hand, got the hint. I addressed their village council in June of last year, and when they understood that they had not only overstepped their authority, but also that every member of village government that voted for the ordinance had committed interference with a Civil Right, a criminal violation of Ohio Revised Code, and could get up to six months in jail, they modified the ordinance to comply with state law on July 27, 2004.
…teach the children: not only about firearms safety, but also of their heritage and to be thankful to be an American.
In closing, I wish to pass on some advice:
- Do your homework; it pays off. Not only is it satisfying to prove the opposition wrong, I’ve found it almost recreational to beat politicians at their own game. Elected officials are not used to being reminded that they are servants, not masters.
- NEVER allow yourself to say anything you cannot ABSOLUTELY verify. If, even through an honest mistake, you state something that is not true, the opposition will barbecue you on the spit of public opinion. Should you make a mistake, ADMIT it, and correct it IMMEDIATELY.
- No matter what level of hostility you face, always keep your cool. Never let them see you sweat. Instead of strengthening their argument, anti-gunners tend to raise their voices. Let them prove the fallacy of their argument by their loss of control. Fact, logic, knowledge and common sense beat hysteria, falsehoods, emotions and lies every time.
- Be the image of courtesy, diplomacy and decorum. You will be yelled at, vilified, besmirched, insulted, ignored and even threatened. Smile, shake their hand and NEVER let a discouraging word be heard. Being nice drives them nuts. Use it to your advantage.
- Understand that you can’t win all the battles, but we can win the war.
Finally, don’t give up; don’t give in; and certainly do not be afraid to confront public officials. One person not only can, but DOES, make a difference. Remember what happened in Congress in 1994. Politicians, as a group, tend to be egomaniacs, which means they like power and their primary objective, far too often, is re-election. I have publicly challenged numerous officials to openly debate this issue and very few will do it. They don’t want to lose face in the public arena and will avoid any chance of that like the plague, especially when they KNOW they are wrong. Encourage others to get in the fight by writing letters, e-mails, making phone calls, etc. Challenge the media, repeatedly if necessary, when they spew forth the lie of “sensible gun control.” If you present yourself as intelligent, informed and courteous, you will be amazed at how often you are treated with respect.
Oh, and teach the children: not only about firearms safety, but also of their heritage and to be thankful to be an American. Introduce them at a young age to God and the Constitution and discuss both with them, often. Remember, believing is 90% of the battle. Keep the faith and victory is ours. I am a former law enforcement officer, an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor and Patron Member. Feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCM: Was there a specific incident that caused you to carry a gun?
Bruce: In the late 1970s, I was stationed in Colorado with the U.S. Air Force and had a part time job managing a 24-unit apartment complex. I had large amounts of cash at hand and a wife and daughter to protect.
CCM: Have you ever had to use your firearm in a defensive situation?
Bruce: I was mugged in 1988 by a man who brought a knife to a gunfight, and my home was invaded in 1987. Both cases resulted in no injuries, but I believe 2 individuals took up another line of work (one for the state).
CCM: What training methods do you employ? Do you have any recommendations?
Bruce: Usually I practice random distance, multiple target, fast identification and response drills. 4 Recommendations: Know thy handgun well, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
CCM: How long have you carried a concealed weapon?
Bruce: On and off for about 27 years; steadily for the past 10.
CCM: What weapons do you carry?
Bruce: Colt 1991A1 Compact .45 auto; Kimber Custom II .45 auto; Smith & Wesson model 13 3” .357 mag; Glock models 17 and 26, 9mm.
CCM: What type of ammunition do you carry?
Bruce: Speer Gold Dot 185 gr. 45; Speer Gold Dot 125 gr. 357; Federal Hydra-Shok 124 gr. 9mm.
CCM: What concealment holsters do you use?
Bruce: Don Hume JIT Slide for the Colt and Smith; Dillon Leather Belt Slide for the Glocks; Bianchi IWB for Colt and Glocks.
CCM: What do you do for a living?
Bruce: I am an independent telecommunications technician, doing new systems installation and upgrades for major telecommunications companies. (Also, retired USAF electronics systems specialist).
CCM: Do you have any advice for our readers?
Bruce: First and foremost, realize our enemies are not just the criminal element. Well meaning, but ignorant anti-gun individuals and groups do not seem to understand that self defense is a very personal issue, and no amount of “gun control” will reduce the risks we take by merely leaving our homes.
Get in the FIGHT! I have been fortunate in that I have had the ability to become very involved in defending our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. One of my major reasons is to inspire and motivate others to take up the battle. Since Ohio passed a shall-issue concealed carry law in 2004, numerous cities, towns and villages have attempted to restrict that Right by passing local ordinances, which are in violation of state law, the state constitution, and in some cases, local law. I have done a great deal of research into this matter and have spoken to the Ohio Attorney General in person regarding this issue (He apparently agreed with me; shortly after our conversation, his office issued a press release advising municipalities that Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Constitution prohibit restrictions on concealed carry that do not conform with state law).
Additionally, do not fear contacting (or even confronting, diplomatically, of course) elected officials. Remind them that you sign their paycheck and demand that they obey their Oaths of Office wherein they swear a solemn Oath to protect and defend your Rights. Trust me, most do not like to be reminded of this, but do not give up.
Also, do your homework—never make a statement you can’t back up, and if you do make a mistake, issue a correction or retraction immediately, before our opponents make political hay out of it. Once you lose your credibility, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to regain it.
Finally, spread the word! Anti-gun propaganda is very easy to counter with facts and logic. Cultivate a good relationship with the local media. This will take time, but search out those media members that at least will hear your side. Write letters (editorials, to politicians, station managers, school boards, etc.), make phone calls, use talk radio, attend “town hall”-type meetings, talk to teachers, your children’s friends and parents, local police officers and officials—anyone and everyone that you can. Always—and I can’t stress this enough—always keep your cool. Our position will not be welcomed by all, but with patience, diligence, facts, logic, diplomacy, courtesy and the truth, we will prevail.
One more recommendation: become a subject matter expert. Get all of the training and knowledge you can. Join Gun Owners of America, the National Rifle Association, your local and state firearms groups, and help recruit more members. Get involved with youth training and safety programs. You can make a difference.