Gun Rights Are About More Than Guns

​by Dean Rieck

When proponents of gun control listen to the arguments made by proponents of gun rights, all they hear is "guns." That's what they think it's all about - guns, guns, and more guns. And they couldn't be more wrong.

That's the frustrating part about this particular policy debate. Gun control activists are so focused on guns, they can't see past the hardware. They're so afraid of pistols, they can't fathom why people own them. They're so confounded by rifles, they don't understand why hunters love them.

They just don't get it. When those of us in the pro-gun camp talk about gun rights, we're talking about more than guns. A lot more. We're talking about ...

The spirit of independence.

The ideal of self-reliance.

The celebration of tradition.

The discipline of marksmanship.

The satisfaction of putting food on the table.

The obligation of protecting ourselves and our families.

The pride of collecting and smithing.

The camaraderie of friends, family, and team mates.

And the sheer joy that comes from the doing of something, and doing it well.

We're talking about the history of a free country and how such a valuable prize requires such a high price and eternal vigilance.

We're talking about the faith in our founders who knew all too well that no country or king can be trusted with too much power and that evil can overrun any government from within or without.

We're talking about equality, not the feeble equality of words but the vigorous equality of citizens who stand firm in the face of adversity and refuse to be the helpless victims of predators, bigots, and madmen.

When we pay our dues to the NRA, and write our letters to the representatives, and cast our votes for the candidates who vow to protect the Second Amendment, we're talking about something that's far more than a gun, something that lives deep within us and puts a lump in our throats and brings tears to our eyes.

When former NRA President Charlton Heston held aloft a muzzle loader from the Revolutionary War and in a loud, firm voice declared to the world that it could only be taken from his "cold, dead hands," every gun rights supporter knew exactly what he was talking about. And it wasn't about that rifle.

It was a challenge. But it was also a prayer, a voice lifted up in steely resolve calling to Americans like you and me who hold in our hands something more powerful than a gun, something that must be cherished and guarded each day. It's something no one has ever invented a word for but which we all know to be true.

It's that something that "they" just don't get. And they never will. But they are not our enemies. They are simply people who don't understand. Our true enemy is us. We are the enemy of our own freedom and liberty if we forget what that something is. Because if we let that something wither and die, they will take it from our cold, dead hands. And our children will never hold it or even understand it. And America will never be the same.

Dean Rieck is the Marketing Director of Second Call Defense and Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association.