Gun World - - Contents -

“Iwon’t be taken alive if you try to take my guns,” he said re­peat­edly.

We had a war­rant for his ar­rest re­lated to a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dent, and not only were we go­ing to take him, we were go­ing to con­fis­cate his guns.

Af­ter a brief strug­gle, my part­ner and I wres­tled him to the ground and took him into cus­tody with­out fur­ther in­ci­dent. All the way to jail, he went on a rant about the Sec­ond Amend­ment.

“My right to bear arms is too im­por­tant to me. That’s the way I am,” he said, hand­cuffed be­hind the back in the rear of the pa­trol car. “If you try to take my guns, I won’t be taken alive.”

He said it over and over. Af­ter a while, if it hadn’t been so sad, it might have been laugh­able.

Fi­nally, I turned to him and said, “Just so it’s clear, no­tice we al­ready did take your guns, and we al­ready did take you alive.”


This gen­tle­man’s gun col­lec­tion amounted to sev­eral old, rusty long guns, mostly sin­gle-shot shot­guns and bolt-ac­tion .22s— the type his grand­fa­ther might have pur­chased cheaply at Sears or Montgomery Ward 60 or 70 years ago. But they were his prized pos­ses­sions. The ru­ral house at which we caught up with him had a dirt floor. Those guns were im­por­tant to him.

At the time, it got me think­ing: There were no col­lec­tor-grade guns in my mod­est col­lec­tion ei­ther. But if I ever fell on hard times fi­nan­cially, what would I give up be­fore I gave up my guns? And if it ever came to give up some of my guns, which could I part with first, and which would I hold onto un­til the very last?

We were get­ting close to re­tire­ment, so we could prob­a­bly give up the sec­ond car. And the kids were grown, so we could prob­a­bly down­size and get a smaller house. Of course, my wife, Dawn, would have some say in the mat­ter, and I could an­tic­i­pate some re­sis­tance to those ideas.

And what about my guns? The Sec­ond Amend­ment pro­tects my right to bear arms—but not my fi­nan­cial abil­ity to buy them. My prob­lem is that ev­ery­day carry for self-de­fense isn’t the only thing im­por­tant to me. I love all types of hunt­ing, too, and have dab­bled in dif­fer­ent types of com­pe­ti­tions. In­for­mal plink­ing has al­ways been a re­cre­ation I’ve re­ally en­joyed.

Okay; first, I’d have to elim­i­nate du­pli­ca­tion. Shh! Don’t let Dawn hear, but I don’t need a half-dozen deer ri­fles or as many shot­guns. The same goes for my hand­guns. I could prob­a­bly stay wellde­fended with one or two fewer carry guns.

So, af­ter the first cut along this thought process, I de­cided I’d keep one cen­ter­fire hunt­ing ri­fle, prob­a­bly a bolt-ac­tion, for big game and one .22 LR rim­fire for small game. I’d keep one 12-gauge shot­gun with three in­ter­change­able bar­rels: a short smooth­bore for de­fense, a long smooth­bore for birds and a ri­fled bar­rel for sabot slugs.

THE SEC­OND AMEND­MENT PRO­TECTS MY RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS— BUT NOT MY FI­NAN­CIAL ABIL­ITY TO BUY THEM. For hand­guns, I’d want to keep one each in .22, 9mm, .45 ACP, .357 and one long-bar­reled .44 Mag­num for hunt­ing. The trou­ble is that I would hate to give up all my lever-ac­tion and semiauto ri­fles, my sin­gle-ac­tion re­volvers and my 10mm hand­guns (in­clud­ing that new long-bar­reled one). And I’d re­ally love to hold on to more than one 1911.

I Lit­tle by lit­tle, pieces are be­ing cut from the Sec­ond Amend­ment, so all gun own­ers, not just hand­gun­ners, should be­ware. If you don’t rec­og­nize it, this is what an AR-15 looks like in New York State now— no col­lapsi­ble stock, no pistol grip, no bay­o­net lug, no flash sup­pres­sor, no muz­zle brake, no threaded bar­rel, no sup­pres­sors and only 10-round mag­a­zines.

Whit­tling down his hand­guns and car­tridges to just a few keep­ers, the au­thor might se­lect (start­ing at the top left) a Ruger Mark II .22LR; Ruger Su­per Black­hawk Hunter .44 Mag.; (mid­dle left) Glock 19 9mm; Oriskany Arms 1911 .45ACP; (bot­tom) Ruger GP100 .357 Mag.

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