©Bert Gildart: Two weeks ago I traded in a very sophisticated semi-automatic pistol for the simple-to-operate revolver shown here. Since making the purchase I’ve received two telephone calls — as revealed by my caller I.D. — to be from the NRA. Unfortunately, I was slow in climbing our stairs and was not able to answer before the contact was broken, but this may have been for the best. Now, should they call again, I’ll not be caught off guard. Read on if you want to learn how I might respond.
For years I was a member of the NRA but denounced membership back in 2003. At the time, I was in Spokane, Washington, attending a convention of the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America, which is supported by many national organizations such as the NRA, the Sierra Club – and by virtually all the major producers of outdoor products. Unfortunately, a spokesman for the NRA had a major disagreement with the Sierra Club, which at the time was attempting to persuade members that habitat had to been considered as a major factor in setting hunting guidelines. The NRA disagreed and in so many words, representative Kayne Robinson said at the organization’s sponsored luncheon that it was their way or the highway. Shortly thereafter I dropped my membership.
That was 12 years ago, and perhaps the NRA has changed its mind on habitat management, but new issues have materialized to include the issues of assault weapons, gun registration and the No Fly/No Buy suggestion regulation. So… if the NRA calls again, I do know what I’ll tell them.
I’ll tell them that I remain a gun enthusiasts, but that my three hunting rifles are bolt action guns and that each holds half-a-dozen bullets or so. Each time I fire, I must yank the bolt back and then, to chamber a bullet, I must slide the bolt forward. I can only do that about a six times before reloading, and each time I slide the bolt backward and forward I have to take my eye off the target. Not true, however, of the AR-15 semiautomatic assault weapon, which can accept magazines holding up to 100 bullets. But that disparity is not a problem for me, as my target is deer and elk, not people in a night club or children in a school.
As stated at the outset of this opinion piece I recently purchased the .22 magnum caliber pistol for the very rare occasion when Janie and I feel threatened. More than anything it provides psychological security, and our first line of defense would be bear spray — and I have had to use it while riding my bike, confronting dogs, so know it works.
L to R: Bear spray as mounted on my bicycle; Bill Hutchison demonstrates use of bear spray, our first line of defense for unpleasant situations.
Purchasing the pistol took about 15 minutes, and if it had been necessary to wait a day or two for a background check to determine whether I was mentally competent to own a gun, or to insure I was not on a No-Fly/No Buy list (hopefully to be implemented), that would not have bothered me. Certainly these “inconveniences” will save at least one life, and if it does then it’s worth it to me. I don’t believe my 2nd amendment right are being compromised. Several countries such as Britain and Australia have limited private ownership of assault weapons and time has shown that in some countries, some restrictions work.
And, so, that’s what I’ll tell the NRA should they call, and if they do, I hope I won’t slam the door shut on future deliberations – as did the NRA spokesman. However, it will take a lot to get me to re-up membership status.
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy