Hello Gun Shows Today visitors! I am so excited to provide you with some great firearms/shooting information in my future blogs. I am Kitty Austin and I have been shooting for over 45 years. My husband, Bill and I own Austin Originals, where we fabricate and carve pistol grips. We work in ivory, wood, and synthetic materials creating unique and personalized guns for our customers. I also teach self-defense to young mothers who want to learn non-physical ways to protect their homes, children and themselves from potential threats. I hold a certification as a NRA instructor for pistol, rifle and shotgun and a MSF RiderCoach for motorcycles. I work in an academic setting teaching within the Criminal Justice and the Life Skills fields. I also teach yoga classes; a Hatha Yoga and Chair Yoga three (3) days a week!?? Let me tell you how I got into this world and we can get to know each other a little better??
As a woman shooter with a 20 year career in the Criminal Justice system, I am constantly asked why I defend ‘the right to carry’ or the Second Amendment. My answer becomes a question, “How can I not?” But the reality is simple; it was because I was raised with the thought that the United States Constitution is the backbone of the Freedoms we enjoy. The answer is really a little more complicated than my couple of sentences. While growing up, I showed a real interest in firearms. At eight years old, I was shooting my father’s 44 handgun. He tells the story as he was out target practicing with me, I asked him to shoot the gun. As I had never shot before, he wanted to ensure I was safe while handling a handgun. He said ‘yes’ but handed me an unloaded gun. Two things he wanted to ensure happened; he wanted to make sure I didn’t “flinch” and hurt myself nor did he want me to turn the handgun toward him. That is the most sacred rule in my family, safety! As I pulled the trigger nothing happened and I was confused as to what I did wrong. My father learned two things that day; the first his teaching of firearms safety was engrained in his daughter and second, I was ready to learn how to shoot.
Not only did I learn how to shoot at eight years old, but I started to learn about the Second Amendment from my father. I learned how my grandfather fought in WWII for the freedoms Americans enjoy today. I learned that the Second Amendment not only allowed for citizens to protect their freedoms from oppressive governments but from individuals as well. Protection from another individual is, in my opinion, the second most important reason for the Second Amendment.
Being a young female working in high security male prisons, protection was even more prominent in my life. One of the most important facts that I recognized during my tenure was that “generally” criminals will walk away from a potentially harmful situation for “them”. While working with murders, rapist or just plan mean people, I found that most criminals wanted nothing to do with people who “carried guns” or who could protect themselves. People who commit crimes have no desire to take a chance of getting hurt. And, they enjoy praying on those they believe are weak. Which takes us back to protection, our society needs to protect themselves, which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
There are many instances where women are raped or killed because they are at the wrong place at the wrong time or because someone views them as an easy target. The Second Amendment ensures women who want to carry a firearm, to do just that – to help protect the women of the good ol’ US of A. My father once told me that I needed to be prepared to defend myself as there may not always be someone there to help me. One of the first points in being prepared, is to defend and maintain the Constitution. But, how do you guard it? For me, understanding the Constitution and what it means is the initial step.
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” so says the Second Amendment. There have been several debates on the interpretation of the Amendments. Taking a look at the statement one would might ask these questions: What is the “well regulated militia”? “The right of the people”, what rights do they have when it comes to owning a firearm? What are the limitations of “infringed”? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a militia for Anglo-Saxon people in medieval Europe included every able bodied male. Keeping this in mind, the founding fathers of our county came from a suppressed country and fought to free themselves from this oppression. Did our founding fathers want to ensure that the government they created would honor and respect the freedoms they fought and died for in the American Revolutionary War? I say, “Yes, they wanted to protect the country which was built on the dream of freedom.” However, as time marched on the definition of the word change to mean the National Guard, which is controlled by the state. Does that eliminate the rights of the people to fight for their freedom? From my perspective, the answer is “no”.
Moving on to the next few words, “being necessary to the security of a free state”, how to look at it? What does it mean? What comes to mind when you read those words? At first, the thought of protecting the security of the state (which means people) from outside threats comes to mind. And, I would agree it is important as the world becomes a smaller place to live. However, we must remember that our founding fathers were just recovering from a long hard War from Great Britain where their “own” government was the suppressor. They also lived in a wild country where they needed to protect themselves. I think those that drafted the Constitution were guarded and wanted to ensure that the people of the country they were forging would and could always fight for the freedoms that were so recently won.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is a great statement. The ‘right’ is an entitlement and freedom bestowed upon future generations. The people refer to us, The Citizens of the United States of America. To keep and bear arms or to possess and carry (if needed) firearms is that statement that shows it is up to the People to ensure the safety and security of the Country, both domestically and internationally. There are some who say the Constitution is a living document and should change with the times. I say “No! It says what it says to protect and to keep our great nation safe.” As a woman who understands the need to protect one’s self to the point of carrying a handgun if I want, the Second Amendment is a vital part of that protection. It is my responsibility as an American, a future generation to those that fought and died for my freedom, to continue that fight for Freedom.
Until next time…Kitty Austin