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Sheepdogs or Wolves?

By:  Bren Brown

Dear Karen,

It’s not what you think. I’m not talking down to you. I feel no sarcasm.  I get you.  Probably in ways you would not fathom. I’m a mom too.  My faith requires that I love you—and I do.  You are strong and confident and you speak your mind. I need you to hear me out on this though—guns are not killing your children, people are killing your children. Evil will exist in this world until the end. I hate to be the one telling you, but you cannot legislate criminals.

Can we talk more?

Bren

I want desperately to open a dialogue with Moms Demand Action.  I see you.  I hear you.  I watch you on the news every time they parade us out against each other.  But, here’s the deal.  I’m not against you.  I also don’t want children killed in schools.  I don’t want anyone’s son or daughter gunned down needlessly before their time should be up.  It causes me great despair.  We are for a lot of the same things.

But, what I’m against is taking firearms from law abiding citizens. 

Hear me out on this….I feel like this great debate whittles down to one fundamental question.  Do you believe in sheepdogs, wolves, both or neither?  Sheepdogs are the protectors.  The men and women who would lay their life down to save your life—even if they don’t know you.   Wolves are the evil in the world.  These are the criminals that for whatever reason have decided the rules we have agreed to as a society do not apply to them.  It could be mental health, drugs, poverty driven desperation—I’m not here to put words to this complexity.  It seems it is not small complications that spar evil.  But, what I do know is that from the beginning of time (in my faith, when Cain killed Abel with a rock) we have had these humans who do not subscribe to a polite society.  Evil will never go away.  Ever.  It is part of our free will as humans, and in many ways it is thriving now more than ever.  I believe it’s a corner of evil that continues to pit people on opposite sides rather than talking out where some middle ground can be achieved.

I think you believe in evil, but you have discounted or disregarded need for sheepdogs. 

This is where we differ.  I’m married to a sheepdog.  It is part of the reason I fundamentally believe in and am not fearful of law-abiding firearms owners.  I was raised by a sheepdog and I raised a sheepdog.  I am surrounded all the time by sheepdogs.  Don’t get me wrong, I also believe in the wolf—same as you I think they are always around, but I don’t believe if you take the sheepdog’s ability to protect from him, that the wolves will play nice and abide by the rules.  By nature of who they are, they do not regard rules.

When you legislate firearms you take away our security by disarming the sheepdogs and you leave society to the wolves. 

I hear your plea.  I empathize with the plight.  We just don’t agree on the means to the end.  I, like you, wish it were as easy as removing a tool, one tool, from our environments, but that is not how it works.  For if a wolf is intent on evil, he will perpetrate evil even if it comes to his bare hands.

Here is a short list of what I wish we could really discuss:

  1. You legislated “silencers” and put extra taxes and extra wait times on getting this accessory.  Silencers were painted by Hollywood to be the gun accessory of choice of ‘hit men’ (wolves) making no sound so you could sneak in by dark of night and kill and slip away.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They make noise, but it is muffled.  That saves the hearing of a sheepdog who practices regularly with his/her firearm.  It makes him/her more accurate in hunting, shooting sports and range time. Suppressors are also a powerful tool for home defense, protecting the ears of little ones in the event of a defensive shooting. You are effectively discriminating against the tools of a sport to make yourself feel better while hurting people’s long term hearing.  According to the ATF roughly .003 percent of silencers are used in crime each year. Across the globe, it’s actually considered impolite to shoot your firearm at a range without a suppressor on it, and yet, thanks to Hollywood and legislation from the early 1900’s, our citizenry has severely limited access to this tool. Did you know the silencer was designed and patented by the same man who designed the car muffler? Just as you can still hear your car run, you can hear a firearm with a silencer. Don’t fear an accessory because its actual use is unknown.
  2. You want to have universal background checks. Guess what?  We have background checks.  We do them every day.  I am not against them.  But, what you need to hear is that I’m not entirely sure how it works on the end or the government.  We put transactions through NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System).  What happens on the end of the FBI and what they are actually checking besides felony history is unclear.  We get three days for a ‘delay’ to be processed (if there is a delay) and if we do not get a ‘deny’ then the transaction can complete.  Some who are denied are not legitimately denied for any reason and they fight it and get cleared later.  My last firearm purchase received a ‘delay’ which we have to believe was a random pick because clearly I’m not a criminal and the government has everything short of my DNA being in this business.  I’m not complaining, but explaining.  But, what the public should be asking is:  what are you checking?  What data bases contain information causing a deny?  Do we have the infrastructure or man-power to do more background checks? (Often, the NICS line is “down” during high times and can barely deal with the volume of the sales that are required to go through.)  Do you trust the government to do these checks and do they have the resources to do it right?
  3. AR-15’s—let’s chat. First, if I shot you with a BB gun would you not consider that an “assault”?  Quit calling them Assault Rifles.  It’s not what they are.  The company that designed this firearm platform is named Armalite and its abbreviation for all models begins with AR. The Armalite Model 15 platform is light; it is accurate; and it is a fun gun to shoot.  Yes, fun.  It’s used in hunting and competition.  Every time a call for a ban comes along, it seems like a slippery slope to firearm enthusiasts. I’ll give you an example of why the firearms community believes this.  After the Mandalay Bay shooting where the shooter used a bump stock.  Everyone lost their minds and demanded this accessory be banned.  Here’s the funny thing, not a single firearms sporting individual really uses that accessory regularly.  It’s more of a novelty.  I liken it to the beer helmet –you know the one?  The stupid helmet that has cans that anchor on each side with a straw that feeds into the wearers mouth.  Yeah, you can drink a couple of beers like that.  It’s funny.  You might do it once and then toss that helmet in the closet to gather dust because it’s no way to enjoy a beer.  Same with the bump stock.  A novelty that if owned, likely is gathering dust somewhere.  But, when I suggested we give gun grabbers the bump stock in trade for the Hearing Suppression Act or National Reciprocity, the firearms community lost their minds.  I was attacked.  I was perplexed as to why this would upset anyone—anywhere.  Then it happened.  I was watching the news and a segment came on where a politician lumped banning the bump stock in with certain calibers of ammunition AND “high capacity” magazines.  This was because on the heels of Mandalay Bay came the Democrat who tried to kill Republicans practicing for an annual baseball game.  Aha-a light bulb came on.  Nothing is ever easy and simple.  It’s not one piece of legislation but always a slippery slope where there is gross overreach. At the end of the day, the word compromise is used a lot. But it’s funny, it’s gun owners that are always giving something up. With bump stocks, I was hopeful for the real meaning of the word compromise to happen. It was eye opening to see that the slippery slope never ends, and no quarter can be given. (Don’t believe me read the Covid 19 relief bill.)  Note:  The Supreme Court overruled the ban on the bump stock.
  4. Pistol braces are the newest items, mere accessories, on the new ATF director’s agenda to legislate. This brace just allows sporting folks to store and move firearms more easily. In fact, they were designed specifically to help disabled veteran’s shoot one handed, giving them more control of their firearm. That’s right, braces make the gun safer to use.  Banning them does NOTHING to effect criminal activity.  The argument is that it makes the firearm more readily concealable.  But we have conceal carry permits and abilities all across the nation, and again, even a BB gun can take life.  How do we control for those already sold?  What kind of infrastructure does or will exist to police this widespread item?  It’s unrealistic, uncalled for, and ineffective.
  5. The Second Amendment was written into our constitution for some very fundamental reasons. We fought the Revolutionary War to overthrow a ruling class and corrupt government.  Having lived through this, our founding fathers felt that we would need to protect our right to keep and bear arms.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  A well-regulated militia, composed of the people trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.  James Madison

 

A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.  George Washington

I get it.  You don’t think the rules of our founding fathers apply to today because technology has changed.  Society has changed.  We would argue that yes, technology has advanced but by very definition our charge is to stay commensurate with the forces ruling us in the event that a wolf perpetrates those forces and takes this country into territory that is evil.  By very definition we need the same technology as our armies have.  No one advocates for violence, but I have said it before and I will say it again—every single time I watch Schindlers List, I sit in horror asking, “How is it that a whole society walked to train cars and GOT IN?”  The answer is simple, one very small change at a time until it was too late and an entire society was led to slaughter, unarmed.

If you ever want to have a real talk, where there is not hate, no division and no cameras to try and record drama and hate.  We could chat.  I will always land on the long held truth that a firearm is merely a tool.  It is never evil on it’s own.  It needs a wolf.  I need sheepdogs, and so do you.  And, if you are ever in trouble, my posse of sheepdogs will be on the ready and I will forever fight for their ability to do so.  I want your kids to be safe and I want to be safe as well.  Please don’t spend your energy fighting a tool.  Fight the real enemy and that is the root of this evil that lies in education, father’s being in their kids lives and not as popular, but by far the MOST important in my eyes, a lack of a compass instilled by a faith in a Creator that is the ONLY way to true peace and safety.

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