Some years ago, a colleague on the NRA Publications technical staff engaged me in a conversation about the fundamental nature of firearms, specifically challenging me to define “gun” in the simplest terms. And while my hastily offered answer was not particularly well-crafted, he didn’t dismiss it entirely. He did, however, make his opinion known by suggesting: “A gun is an engine that converts chemical energy into kinetic energy.” As I pondered that, I came to realize that it was a succinct and technically astute description; but, as time passed, I considered the matter in even simpler, more general, terms. Today, I think I would offer the following: “A gun is a tool.” And I would stipulate that it is only in the mind and through the hands of the user that such a tool can be commanded to accomplish any particular task.
Of course, such logical discourse stands in opposition to the steady stream of lies and disinformation from the left that attempts to marginalize and vilify gun owners and their interest in the legitimate purchase and use of arms in America—whether for sport, survival or self-defense. When it comes to that first category—sport—few countries in history have managed to best America at the highest levels of international competition. And, in the November 2021 issue, we take a look at how dedicated Olympians from the United States have exemplified the principles of discipline and determination, in both body and mind, to compete with guns throughout the years. Our coverage spans from a glance back at the 1908 London games to an overview of the 2020 games in Tokyo.
For many of these competitors— in fact, for most NRA members—the introduction to firearms came at an early age, and often from a family member. For example, the author of this month’s Favorite Firearms column, citing his prized Remington 788 rifle as “one of the most reliable tools in my chest,” recalls his father’s admonition: “There were no excuses for irresponsible gun ownership.” It is but one of countless personal stories that illustrate how firearms have traditionally been the objects of a positive, bonding experience for young people, helping to instill in them the weighty nature of personal responsibility.
This focus on our national heritage and pride in firearms and their skillful and responsible use comes during an important anniversary for your association and is chronicled in the new hardbound book To Keep & Bear Freedom: 150 Years Of The National Rifle Association. It was produced by the staff of the NRA Publications Division and is available at nrastore.com. In it, you will find myriad examples of the responsible and life-saving use of guns in America by competitors, home defenders, law-enforcement officers and soldiers alike. Such use has always been endorsed, supported and encouraged by your NRA and continues to this day all across our land—albeit with ever-increasing and unconstitutional restrictions—just as it has since the founding of our nation.
My hope is that, in our magazines and on our website, you always will find informative and helpful material about all sorts of guns—along with the inspiration to strive for discipline and determination in their use in a manner befitting our uniquely American values.