November is National Family Stories Month, which makes now a good time to reflect on parts of our family and personal heritage that involve firearms and the shooting sports. Here is part of my story.
There is no happier and more important memory from my childhood than the times my dad took my brother and me out shooting in Indiana. We collected the empty brass shell casings and kept them in a No. 10 can for a long time thereafter, treating them like treasure.
Getting the Family Involved with Firearms
My mother, though, was mildly anti-gun. Despite the fact her father had been an avid hunter, he had never tried to get my mom involved in shooting. I finally convinced her to come shooting with my dad and me in 1982 after I had started working as an undercover narcotics detective. She wanted to learn to shoot a handgun and started with the family Smith & Wesson .22 revolver. My mother did so well that I let her try my undercover duty pistol: a Star PD .45.
She shocked me and my dad by turning out an Annie Oakley performance! And she was no longer anti-gun. Sadly, my dad and I didn’t have many more opportunities to shoot with my mom. Shortly after buying her a Glock 17 for home defense, we noticed the signs of Alzheimer’s disease and had to take control of her gun. I carried her Glock 17 from time to time as a duty weapon and instructional gun and still treasure that gun. I will never part with it.
My dad and I continued to shoot together through the years. One of the most enjoyable came near the end of his life. He had purchased an M1 Garand for me as a birthday present. We took the Garand out and fired it off the bench at 100 yards. My dad was always a pretty fair hand with a rifle. He did very well with that M1. It was a beautiful fall day, and I was so happy we got a chance to fire it together.
Future Generations of Gun Owners
And now I have the opportunity to create new family shooting stories with my 7-year-old son Owen. From before he was born, I determined our child — boy or girl — would grow up in and around the shooting sports. And I couldn’t wait until he was old enough to start.
From early lessons on gun safety to a Daisy Model 25 BB gun to test guns featured on this blog, my son has been introduced to the joys of shooting as he has grown. The experience of teaching him has been wonderful for me, and he has a lot of fun learning.
In fact, while I was working on my column one morning a few weeks ago, Owen was also writing a review. With his Nerf gun laid on the couch similar to how I keep my firearms nearby while reviewing, he wrote:
“I have this gun with great range the only thing is it has only 12 rounds in its clip but has an extra dart in the grip. It only has one tactical rail on it…accessories that come with it. This is an older 2012 gun I got for my 7th birthday. It is a fast-cocking gun with a rate of 1-2 darts per second.”
Watching him review his Nerf gun, I knew his interest in the shooting sports could only grow. Our families’ and nation’s future depend on a solid love for Second Amendment rights. Talk to your kids and grandkids about how you got started. Then take them out there to have a good time. What’s your favorite family shooting memory? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or over in the USCCA Community.