The Supreme Court
Has Confirmed My - Responsibilities
By: William P. Flinn
Back in June 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in the D.C. versus Heller case the only way that it could, in my opinion – that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, membership in an organized militia not required. To me, this not only confirms my individual rights, but my ability to live up to some of my individual responsibilities using the methods and tools that I think will best help me do the job.
There are the general “common sense” responsibilities of gun ownership, to be sure: Be safe, keep guns out of the hands of those who only like to commit crimes with them, and all that. But that particular aspect of responsibility is not the focus of this article. What I am talking about are the responsibilities that we as gun owners have decided to accept with regard to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation as a whole. Gun owners, and our reasons for owning guns, contribute greatly to the health and well being of our country.
To set the stage, let’s take a look first at why we own firearms, then break it down to see how the responsibilities are connected. According to a 2005 Gallop poll, the three main reasons for owning guns are personal protection (67%), target shooting (66%), and hunting (58%).
Personal Protection: One of the primary reasons the Supreme Court was deciding the D.C. versus Heller case. We as individuals have a right to protect ourselves and our families. I will go farther and say that we have the responsibility to do so. Even the Supreme Court has ruled that police departments and the government do not have the responsibility to protect individuals, as ruled in cases such as Castle Rock versus Gonzales, and Warren versus The District of Columbia. And heaven forbid we should have another terrorist attack on our soil. Our embassy in Istanbul, Turkey was recently attacked by terrorists with handguns and shotguns. How long before they take their show on the road (to the U.S.) again?
Target Shooting: Whether for casual recreation or organized sport, target shooting helps to meet a wide variety of responsible behavior. Keeping shooting skills sharp, making sure that firearms operate correctly, sighting in our scopes. By doing so, I believe that we are living up to our responsibilities of being proficient so that we can hunt effectively and harvest game in the most humane way possible. The connection to personal protection should be obvious – if I’m going to shoot in self defense, I want to make sure it is the bad guy who gets shot!
Hunting: It is a known fact that hunters are among the most effective resource conservationists and stewards of wildlife. Hunting helps maintain wildlife populations, keeps our natural resources strong, and provides a means of sustenance. If the tools for hunting were no longer allowed, I shudder to think what would happen to wildlife populations. Wildlife populations are thriving today because of the responsible practices of hunters.
Our individual right to own firearms was recently confirmed, but what was also confirmed is our ability to use a particular tool with which to carry out our individual responsibilities. In doing so, we are not only practicing our individual rights, but practicing responsible citizenship as well. In my opinion, it isn’t the politicians who are responsible for protecting our families and managing wildlife. It is We the People who are responsible. We have the right: we have the responsibility.
About The Author: "The Gonz" is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor (Pistol, PPiTH, RTBAV), US Concealed Carry Association Affiliate Instructor, and an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer. Additionally, he a trained and certified Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member, with several years of training in the Incident Command System (ICS) procedures and practices.