By Dan Shea
This issue of SAR is being presented at the SHOT Show in Orlando, but it also coincides with what today (Christmas 2002) is being described as the projected time period of a war with Iraq. Tonight I am adding my prayers to go with those who may be in harm’s way while this issue is being printed. I would like to remind the readers of our “Cookies from Home for Shooters” program. If you give us the address of a deployed US Serviceman or woman whom you believe would like some good reading, we will send them about twenty assorted copies of Small Arms Review to hand around and read in those quiet moments they need to fill their minds with thoughts of home. There is no charge for this service, these people have done enough. It is just one small thing that we can do. I would like to ask our readers who publish their own magazines to consider the same program, it would be a nice show of support, and help fill the few idle hours that often accompany long days away in service to our country.
On the subject of active military, perhaps it is time for a moment’s reflection about our magazine, our hobby, our professions, our martial world. We at SAR consider ourselves in the realm of military firearms historians, shooters, and technicians. Many are enthusiasts who either collect or shoot. Many are in the industry, or are end users. We have a diverse group, and the interests are all very closely related, and perhaps that is worth some reflection.
One of the ways that the anti firearms ownership advocates operate, is to divide and conquer. We in the firearms owning community can be our own worst enemies…. Many are the times that I have heard a handgunner or a Trap & Skeet shooter talking down either hunters or those “Black Rifle” people. No reason for a man to own one of THOSE things, or to shoot animals either, they say. Well, the shooting sports in many ways were started as training for martial use of the firearms, or for hunting. Shooting sporting clays was a way to prove you could put birds on the table, feed your family. Pride in your skill, and bragging rights as well. Long range shooting is basically sniper training. For those who have studied the Second Amendment, it has always been clear that the Founding Fathers intended to protect the private ownership of “state of the art” military firearms. That is, an armed citizenry. Fact of the matter is that most handguns haven’t been used in the military, and neither have those fine hunting shotguns. If any authority ever gets around to doing a real analysis and goes with the intent of the Founders, the “Black Rifle” crowd and the military collectors are about the only ones with any Constitutional protection!
There is no way for us to ever be “Politically Correct”. Some of the submachine gun competition community have recently complained to me about us using the word “Sniper,” or including modern military information. I looked at the sport they engage in, with its shooting house courses, jungle walks, man-shaped popups, shoot/no shoot “Hostage” scenarios, etc, and I was struck by how much fun they have, and how politically incorrect they are themselves. Every aspect of the Class 3 community and the military firearms community is “politically incorrect”. There is nothing we can do about it, we can’t camouflage it, we can’t hide it, it is who we are. Perhaps we don’t need to put out “If they take our guns, how can we shoot the liberals” bumper stickers, the humor being lost on other than our peers, but maybe, just maybe, we should stay true to who we are. To our heritage, to our sports, to our collections, and to our memories, and to be unapologetic when someone tries to make us out to be other than who we are. We should stand tall and pass on the truth about military firearms and their use to our friends and heirs.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V6N6 (March 2003)