Roger The Rifleman

I am for gun ownership, I have some of course (rifles & shotguns). Gun safety needs to be #1 when you own them, marksmanship #2. This is from “Notes To My Kids” and shows how I used my Dad’s gun safety methods with my own son.

To Roger:

When I was a kid, Granddad Tom took me dove and quail hunting on some family member’s farm. When I was small and did not have a gun, he made we walk behind him and check where I was at all times. He did that to keep me safe and teach me where not be when a group is hunting. When I was older and got my first gun, he always asked if it, a Daisy BB gun, was on safety or not. Later when I got my first shotgun, an Ithaca .20 gauge, the lessons continued unabated as before, each time he asked if my gun was on safety or not. With your granddad, safety was first before marksmanship or making a shot. He was never the type that went out in the country and “shot everything that moved,” like some people we knew did. Those lessons paid off. None of us were ever hurt or got shot because of the strict safety drill he taught. Those lessons stayed with me. When you wanted a gun, I continued his ways.

One Christmas, I decided to get you a .22 rifle instead of a shotgun. Why you ask? Well, after my BB gun, your granddad had me practice on his .22. What was good enough for Granddad and I was good enough for you and me I thought. I went to Wal-Mart and bought the gun, which was placed under the tree along with ammo for it, too. When you opened it up, you were very excited to see it, a real gun in your midst—I remember the Christmas when I got my shotgun and was excited just the same.

Since we did not have a farm to go shoot at, we went to the gun range at Whiskey Flats to teach you to shoot. I showed you how to load the gun and most importantly where the safety was. Just like my dad, I started the endless process of asking if your gun was on safety and telling you how to handle it. I explained why I was doing that; you were perhaps a little irritated at the endless safety quiz; hence you were just like me when I was young. I knew why Granddad asked what he did, but every 20 seconds? Yes, the question was asked frequently to get you into the habit of being aware of the gun’s safety and what it was set on. You learned to shoot okay at the range, too. In the end, you became Roger the Rifleman in my mind.

As you grew up, you retained an interest in guns. Not the shotguns and rifles your granddad and I had—but handguns, which were more to your liking. Now you have a CHL and own a handgun or two. I don’t know if your original .22 sparked this interest, but it at least continues the practice of shooting guns in the family. Therefore, it seems that Roger the Rifleman has become Roger the Grown-up Handgun Owner, who shoots at the range. So when you pick up your gun at the range and slip in a clip, check your safety and always remember me asking you if it was on at the Whiskey Flats range. And rest assured, my son, I can still hear my dad asking me the same simple question when I was young: “Is your safety on?”

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