The most malicious claim against law-abiding gun owners is that we care more about guns than we do about protecting children. I am fed up with being painted as a monster. Second Amendment advocates fight for gun rights because we care about kids, and I am about to explain why demonizing gun rights in the name of child safety is a foul.
We Love Our Kids
Guns are not a guarantee, but they give us a choice and a chance. We have to be able to protect our own children when other defenses have failed. We have to hedge against the possibility of sudden violence in the future. We personally grasp the misery of an active-shooter lockdown and what it means for our families.
Being a dad has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My kids are loving, sweet and hilarious, and protecting them is my sacred duty as a parent. That takes a lot of forms — from making sure my son doesn’t launch himself off the couch to securing my guns to teaching my kids to manage their own risks. Protecting our kids is an extensive and continuous process. It can be exhausting. But it is also the most meaningful thing we do.
We Understand Violence and Responsibility
We live in a beautiful world with interesting people — most of whom are trying to get through the day and provide for their families. But there is also a small segment of the population that tries to ruin it for everybody.
Some of these people are greedy and are willing to harm you to steal your possessions. Others are angry and willing to murder you to make a point. A few are sociopaths and want to victimize you for entertainment. These types are rarely moved by our laws. Many will cause trouble even under the tightest gun control. Some of these individuals cannot be reasoned with and can only be countered through a credible threat or competent delivery of violence. That is a fact of life. We rely on law enforcement for protection, but police cannot be everywhere all the time. As a last line of defense, I have an obligation to be able to personally deliver that credible response to protect my family from harm.
It is a gun-grabber narrative that “good guy with a gun” incidents aren’t real. That is false. These incidents occur regularly, and you can read about them right here in this magazine. Does that mean I can guarantee my safety or yours with an AR-15? No, of course not. I can’t be everywhere, and I am not always in a viable position to intervene. It is just one line of defense, and I am not seeking a fight. Like most, I am looking to get through the day and provide for my family. But if the other layers fail, I have to be able to defeat an attacker.
I am fed up with being painted as a monster. Second Amendment advocates fight for gun rights because we care about kids, and I am about to explain why demonizing gun rights in the name of child safety is a foul.
We Understand the Terror of School Shooters
I have been through a lockdown. I work on a heavily guarded installation. My kids go to daycare across the parking lot from my office, and my wife works nearby. This installation is effectively a gun-free zone (much like Fort Hood was), and the security services have the absolute power to search anyone at any time. I do not carry a gun at work, as despite my extensive training and combat experience, I am not permitted to.
So, when the announcement came over the speakers that there was an active shooter on the compound, my co-workers and I huddled in a conference room. I looked for ways to barricade the door and repel an attacker. I searched for a device with which I could defend myself in proper military fashion. All I had was a keyboard. In the meantime, my toddler across the parking lot had less than that to protect her, as did my pregnant wife on the other side of the complex. What a feeling of helplessness. What an incredible waste of years of training and experience to leave my co-workers and me unarmed. What an overall shame.
Our Message to the Gun-Control Crowd
One of the worst mistakes you can make in an argument is to assume that your opponent is evil, stupid or crazy. That attitude alienates the very people you are trying to persuade, and it breaks down the mutual respect we must have to keep this republic healthy.
It’s hard sometimes; this is an emotionally charged issue for all of us. When we disagree so fundamentally, it is tempting to assume your side has a monopoly on the moral and intellectual high ground. But please consider the possibility that some of those on the other side are pretty smart or have seen and experienced things you have not. With a little mutual respect and mutual empathy, maybe we can have a constructive dialogue.
Bottom line: Gun control does not make our children “safe.” It just removes or degrades our last lines of defense.
Editor’s note: Part 2 of this article, which discusses the actual hazards that kids face, will be featured in the October 2020 issue of Concealed Carry Magazine.
Jim Doyle is a concerned citizen and gun rights advocate. His opinions are his alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of his or any other agency. References and links to other gun advocacy sites do not imply endorsement of those organizations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.