FNS-9 Contest Entry: A Brit Expat’s Road to Firearm Enlightenment

By Simon A.

I came to the USA in my late twenties before the turn of the millennium. The reason was to marry my girlfriend and make a life here with my new family. My view of the USA had always been one of benign dominance and power, and most importantly to me the source of so much popular culture that held my attention. Always at the fringes though was the knowledge that “they had guns” and were very pleased about it. I didn’t have any idea why, so I did not understand it . . .

Growing up, I was only exposed to firearms in the guise of air rifles and my great uncle’s stash of handguns. I was young, so I knew no better, but the point was moot as well before I even had a chance of becoming interested there was a slew of mass killings; namely Hungerford and Dunblane. Within a short space of time all gun ownership was outlawed and everything had been confiscated. My great uncle wasn’t happy, but at the time, this all seemed like a good idea, and we all went about our business. I genuinely had no strong opinions about gun ownership, but it just never came up anymore.

Race forward a good ten years from my arrival in the US and I met someone who has since become a very good friend indeed. I don’t recall how it came up in conversation, but next thing I know he’s showing me a somewhat disturbing selection of firearms as if it were the most normal thing in the world. I’m not ashamed to admit that my first reaction was a mixture of “why would you need one of those?” and “are you paranoid or something?” with a healthy dose of “those are soooo dangerous!”. To his credit he patiently insisted I accompany him to the range.

Nobody was more surprised than me that I immediately became fascinated by all aspects of the sport. The engineering involved in a firearm engrossed me; the attention to detail, the tight tolerances required for the machine to work properly, the extreme forces involved in the act, yet the the finesse required to do it well. Where my euro-mindset once saw primitive brute force I now could appreciate the finer details. As is often so true in life; on the surface things appear black and white, but life is mostly shades of grey. That is especially true when speaking of guns.

I’ll cut to the chase; I now own a 9mm handgun, and a 12 gauge shotgun. While my interest lies generally in sporting activities, I am quietly reassured by the fact that I am also have the chance to defend my home (and self) from those that would choose to cause harm.

The idea that sealed it for me was that it really didn’t matter what the media says, or what government does, criminals will always be able to get guns. In my mind it was as simple as that. So if there’s a chance that a home-invader is going to be armed then wouldn’t it be prudent for me to do that same? Surely I have the right to defend myself and my family? Quite fundamental really.

comments

  1. avatar CharlieFoxtrot says:

    Where can I get that shirt? Love it!

  2. avatar O.E says:

    What good is a gun if you cannot feed its insatiable hunger for ammunition.

  3. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Ironically the British came up with the whole concept of a Bill of Rights a century before we colonists did.

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      Big difference between “concept” and “real-life implementation”.

      Big difference between “dreaming” and “doing” like looking up at the moon and now knowing that there is an American flag planted on it.

    2. avatar Cameron says:

      I think the magna carta is a bit older than 300 years.

      1. avatar Brad_in_MA says:

        Cam,

        I think “Gov. William J. Le Petomane” made a reference to the 1689 English Bill of Rights. Attorney Gura cited the document as part of his argument to win Heller in 2008.

        If memory serves, the Magna Carta — the basis for the core of the US Constitution — dates to the early 1200’s.

        Brad

      2. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        The Magna Carta was a bill of rights for the nobility. The English Bill of Rights applied to all British subjects. Among other things it restored the right to keep and bear arms and was highly influential to our own Bill of Rights.

  4. avatar Jeff says:

    I notice that a lot of Brits seem to not realize that gun ownership is still somewhat legal in the UK. There are some pretty heavy restrictions and requirements, but you can still own shotguns, handguns, rifles – even evil black rifles, though they cannot operate in semi-automatic fire and must be manually charged.

    Here is a good rundown of the requirements and restrictions:
    http://www.marplerifleandpistolclub.org.uk/general/gunlaw.htm

    All too often I hear someone from the UK claim that they banned all guns. Nope.. But, the selection is extremely limited, you have to jump through a ton of hoops, and if you use a gun to defend yourself – even in a clear-cut case of self-defense – you’ll likely still go to prison.

    http://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/the-u-k-s-upside-down-approach-to-crime-shoot-a-burglar-go-to-jail/

  5. avatar DrVino says:

    Are two mass killings “a slew”?

    1. avatar Gtfoxy says:

      No, the BBC just beat the pervrbial horse to death, & they still are.

      Notice a connection to what we see here now? Mustvdrive them nuts that the same tactics don’t work as effectively on us here in the states. Obviously due to our Rights being codified as they were, in conjunction with diversely abreast regions, leads to retention of stable mindsets in regard to reality.

  6. avatar Gtfoxy says:

    Good to see a Brit truely become an American Brother in Arms!

    Our li eage is similar, our Social decisions are not.

  7. avatar Bob Damon says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    This is a great example of how we can help in the fight, by enlightening the ones who don’t understand, getting them to the range.
    We should have a “Take an Anti to the Range Week”.

    1. avatar CCW Guy says:

      +1

    2. avatar Ardent says:

      Agreed! Take an anti to the range . . . but don’t bring them back.

  8. avatar michael says:

    This is my story as well, except I now own over 50 guns, including 10 Enfields!,,,
    Many Brits in America are into shooting.

    1. avatar Gtfoxy says:

      I say we take all the anti-gunners here and all the pro-gunners there, and illistrate a big swap.

      “Out with the Tories!”

  9. avatar Gazzer says:

    Me too. Lived here thirty years and am now a very proud citizen. I tell people i am from the place where England used to be. Sad, but true. The Brits don’t even realize how they have been conditioned over the years. I have a very good friend who I have known since school for over 40 years. Our common bond is cars, hot-rodding and things mechanical. He visits with his wife each year. I invited him to go shooting with me. He physically re-coiled in horror. I asked him why he would not be even slightly interested in the mechanics of it all, even if only to have an informed opinion to be against guns. He had no answer. The p*ssification of Europe continues apace…

  10. avatar janitor says:

    this read in a british accent for some reason.

  11. avatar BRBruce says:

    I think more Brits in the UK may get into shooting and armed self defense after the street attack they had recently.

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