I Resolve…

New Year’s Resolutions have been a tradition for as long as most of us can remember. But let’s face it, whether it’s vowing to lose weight or quit smoking, it’s the follow-through that determines whether or not we will succeed. And that only happens when we set goals that have “mile markers” we can track. When it comes to protecting my family, as well as my rights, I have a number of things I like to include each year.

Starting with the basics, I resolve to maintain awareness at all times, regardless of where I happen to be. Once we have been carrying for a long time, it is often easy to become complacent. Also, while we may experience heightened alert levels when we are in a dark parking garage or a “bad” part of town, the opposite is also true; we can let our guard down when our surroundings feel “safe” — like at church, a shopping mall or other “social” gathering places.

But recent events have shown how wrong that can be. “Soft” targets like these are precisely where mass murderers — whether radical terrorists or simply insane killers — choose to go to perpetrate their crimes. Stay alert wherever you go.

I resolve to avoid conflict by actively refusing to allow myself to become angry over the “small stuff.” Unfortunately, every year people end up killing each other over downright silly disagreements. Instead, I resolve to go out of my way to be courteous and polite to every person I encounter. And even if someone seems intent on provoking me, I will do whatever I can to defuse the situation rather than escalate it.

I resolve to improve my skills. I will set goals for the number of times I will go to the shooting range, as well as how many times each week I will practice things like drawing from concealment or doing dry-fire drills. I will also commit to some form of training; it is always a good idea to occasionally have a third party observe my shooting and help me eliminate bad habits or establish good ones. I will not let pride keep me from getting outside help.

I resolve to keep my firearms in “battle-ready” condition. This includes regular cleaning and maintenance. This also applies to holsters, magazines and other defensive equipment — an expensive tactical flashlight is useless with a dead or dying battery.

I resolve to do my part to protect our 2nd Amendment rights. Too often, a small group of dedicated activists do all of the work, carrying the burden for everyone else. If all of us simply did a couple of things each year, we would never have things like “assault weapons” bans. For starters, join one national gun rights organization and one local (state) group. I don’t care which ones, just get involved. And donate at least a few bucks to them; many gun owners don’t even spend the cost of one box of ammo to protect their rights. And then they whine when their rights are attacked.

Finally, I resolve to bring new people into the shooting community. One of the greatest ways to inoculate ourselves against future bad laws is to have more people in our camp. Over the last decade or so, the number of first-time gun owners has soared, especially among women. Commit to doing your part to help put them on the right track.

Happy New Year!

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