Rifles > News

Top Shot Winner Becomes U.S. Citizen

On McChord AFB, Iain Harrison swore allegiance to the United States of America.


Just over 20 years ago, I hopped off a British military aircraft at McChord AFB in Washington, and boarded a bus to Ft. Lewis. At the time, I was accompanying my platoon on a training exercise, as a means of exchanging tactics with our American counterparts, and it was my first visit to the United States while in uniform.

Since then, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. In 1997, politicians in the country of my birth chose to vilify law-abiding gun owners as a means to appease the press and get themselves re-elected. As a result of the legislation passed, all legitimate handgun owners were forced to hand over legally held pistols and revolvers, or face up to 10 years in jail. There were a fair number of Brits who, rather than live in a country that would treat its citizens as serfs, chose to jump ship. My wife and I joined them, landing in upstate New York where we settled down to build our own version of the classic immigrant story. I quickly discovered that, like most aspects of life touched by central government, U.S. immigration policy can be arbitrary, capricious and subject to all sorts of arcane rules and odd priorities, all while serving as a convenient soapbox for elected representatives of both major parties. This isn't meant as a whine, just an observation from someone who has experienced it firsthand.

Having a Green Card means that you can live and work legally in the United States, subject to its laws, paying taxes and enjoying most of the freedoms assured by the U.S. Constitution. To gain permanent resident status, a prospective candidate needs to fill out a bunch of forms, be fingerprinted, go through a comprehensive background check in both the U.S. and the country of origin, demonstrate good moral character and hand over a sizable chunk of change. Of course, a resident, even a permanent one, doesn’t have one important privilegethe ability to vote.

With an election year looming, I wanted to make sure that my small voice was added to the throng so I could do my part in ensuring that the gun rights for which we've fought so hard can be passed on to other generations. So, on the 4th of July this year, I applied to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.

The journey to citizenship means you pretty much have to do the whole process over again with the addition of a personal interview and a test of knowledge on U.S. history and civics, which in my case was undertaken in an anonymous government building, reminiscent of the DMV.

This brings me full circle, back to McChord AFB. On the morning of December 3rd, 2011, the 446th Airlift Wing bestowed the enormous honor of swearing me in as a U.S. citizen in the cargo bay of one of its enormous C17 aircraft. In the afternoon we celebrated by (how else) shooting guns on one of the base ranges. Let freedom ring.

Share |



Enter your comments below, they will appear within 24 hours

Your Name

Your Email

Your Comment

38 Responses to Top Shot Winner Becomes U.S. Citizen

Jamie press wrote:
November 13, 2012

Wouldnt an abuse of freedom in the uk be going against the wishes of the majority. An overwhelming proportion of the public wanted handguns banned since dunblane and actually voted for the party that promised this. Even when they were legal, only around one in 800 adults owned a pistol. You have to remember that Britain is just not interested in guns and 95[%] of the population could either not care less if they were banned or would positively support a total ban. Having lived both in the UK and the States I feel more free in England than America with simple day today activities. Just one example I would not have gotten a $200 ticket for drinking a beer whilst waiting for a bus as a 37 year old man in the uk

Tony wrote:
March 11, 2012

Congratulations Ian!

Dennis wrote:
February 01, 2012

Welcome aboard, my friend!

van phillips wrote:
January 30, 2012

Congratulations! Glad to have you and your family here for life and liberty. Can you convince most of the press to apply for citizenship the other way around? Please!

dgiles wrote:
January 30, 2012

Welcome home.

Rob Moss wrote:
January 22, 2012

Congratulations Iain. Now if you can just go back and persuade all of your mates to come over that would help. As a naturalized Citizen it warms my heart to see more able Brits making the move to the US.

Joaquin Bustamante wrote:
December 23, 2011

Welcome aboard!!! My wife is also a legal immigrant and will eventually apply for citizenship also!

Christopher Zimmon wrote:
December 21, 2011

Welcome home sir. We're proud to know that you are now a fellow US Citizen.

Tj wrote:
December 19, 2011

Welcome! You entered both of my homes... Born and raised in upstate NY and stationed at McChord AFB for almost 14 years. We are overseas now, but plan to head back to Wa. Again, welcome and enjoy the freedoms we live and die for

Blake wrote:
December 13, 2011

Blessings and welcome! "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." Ronald Reagan, 1964

Gregory Markle wrote:
December 13, 2011

Welcome Iain! It was an honor to meet you at the NRA Meeting in Pittsburgh and I am proud to now call you a fellow American. The Country Where Great Britain Used to Be is just a little bit less great today.

Six wrote:
December 13, 2011

Congratulations and welcome home. We are so very glad you're here. I'm proud to call you brother.

Bill W wrote:
December 13, 2011

Having a son in law who just has become a citizen as well, I appreciate the difficulties! BUT...Welcome home!

TJIC wrote:
December 13, 2011

Awesome! Glad to have you!

Gregory Markle wrote:
December 13, 2011

Welcome Iain! It was an honor to meet you at the NRA Meeting in Pittsburgh and I am proud to now call you a fellow American. The Country Where Great Britain Used to Be is just a little bit less great today.

Borepatch wrote:
December 13, 2011

The French author Ted Morgan described his naturalization journey in his fabulous book, "On Becoming American". In it, he made the interesting observation that all Americans are either revolutionaries, or are descended from revolutionaries. So welcome, revolutionary! Your journey from being a subject of Her Majesty to a citizen reminds the rest of us what this is all about.

John Oglesby wrote:
December 13, 2011

Congrats and welcome.

New Jovian Thunderbolt wrote:
December 13, 2011

Woot! Congratulations! Now if we can just do something about your head licking habit...

RobertM wrote:
December 13, 2011

Congratulations, I'm honored you chose to join us.

George wrote:
December 13, 2011

Welcome, Ian! We need more like you.

Sean D Sorrentino wrote:
December 13, 2011

Welcome home Ian. Home is the place where when you go there, they have to let you in. You're all ours now. My mom moved to the US from Luton, England in the early 60s and lived as a resident alien until 1996 when she was sworn in as a US Citizen. If you're ever in north western PA, you should stop in for tea. I'm sure she and my Dad would want to welcome you.

Mike Blazer wrote:
December 12, 2011

Wow! Welcome aboard. It's easy to forget the freedoms we are born with, but you only have to watch then news to see what not having the 1st and 2nd Amendments really mean.

Jay G wrote:
December 12, 2011

Congratulations Iain! We could use several million more just like you.

Johnny wrote:
December 12, 2011

Cograts Ian! Now go out and buy yourself an M82A1!! Think of it as presen to yourself!

MadcapMagician wrote:
December 12, 2011

WELL DONE FRIEND, AND FELLOW AMERICAN. =) welcome to even though with it's flaws and problems is THE BEST NATION on the face of the planet for personal freedoms.

John Webber wrote:
December 12, 2011

Dear Sir: I compliment your Citizenship and your views too bad people hear hide their heads in the sand. Congrates and never let freedom die. John P.S. I am former Military and Law Enforcement

Paul Weyman wrote:
December 12, 2011

Excellent to hear. Your an American. Now You can move to Utah rather than New York. Congratulations to you

Paul wrote:
December 12, 2011

Wherever this gentleman is from, I hope he remembers that he swore an allegence to this country the Good OL USA and he should give up his original country's allegence...

Kim Adams wrote:
December 12, 2011

Welcome to Your country! Was great to see you on TopShot! Let freedom ring!

Jim Stafford wrote:
December 12, 2011

Outstanding Ian. Welcome to the United States!

Marty Callan wrote:
December 09, 2011

Welcome! We are glad to have you!

nmbdvc wrote:
December 09, 2011

Congratulations, Ian! Welcome and proud to have you aboard. Thank you for your promotion of liberty in general and our 2nd Amendment in particular. God Bless to you and yours.

CG wrote:
December 08, 2011

Congrats and may you prosper here in the States. Good Luck! BTW get out of NY, there are many gun friendly States, NY isn't one of them. You do know we'd still be a colony if it was for our guns. Best to you and family on this new amazing journey.

Skip LeMay wrote:
December 08, 2011

Good on ya', Ian!I have tremendous respect for those people who CHOSE to become US citizens. I tend to believe that you have a greater appreciation of what we have in this country than most of us who were born here. God bless you with a wonderful life here.

Mark Brinton wrote:
December 08, 2011

That is awesome! Welcome Citizen!

Reb Allen wrote:
December 08, 2011

Welcome aboard Ian. We can always use another loyal and patriotic citizen. I wish you and your wife long, prosperous and happy lives as voting citizens and supporters of our 2d amendment. CXan I assume that you are a member of the NRA? I have been a Life member for over 60 years. Reb

Walter Zirbes III wrote:
December 08, 2011

Congrats, new citizen. Watched you win Top Shot. Been thru the beaucratic mess with several folks who became citizens and met several Holacaust Survivors along the way. Served 28 yrs active in the U S Navy. elzombie@earthlink.net if you wish to say Hello to another Vet.

Kris Minefee wrote:
December 08, 2011

Congratulation, Ian. You are an inspiration both for your shooting and more importantly for your dedication and commitment to live free. God bless you.