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 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

I write well over a million words a year for this website. I do so knowing I’m only as good as my last post, and there isn’t a last post. Not until or unless some series of unfortunate events interrupts this endless marathon or, more likely, time takes its toll. In any event, when it’s all said and done, I probably won’t remember a word I’ve written. I will remember the friends I’ve made along the way and the precious moments I spent with my girls. As of this writing, only a few of these family moments have involved firearms . . .

The first one happened during one of my daughters’ bi-annual visits to Rhode Island (from their home in the U.K.). For whatever reason – all the years we’d spent together without shooting, interests that lay elsewhere, the tsuris and time-suck of my wife’s drug addiction – vacations with Daddy never involved shooting. Equally, my step-daughter Sasha was profoundly disinterested in firearms.

One day, out of the blue, Sasha said she wanted to go to the range. (I reckon she knew the boys in her gun-averse Quaker school would give her maximum props for shooting.) Though Rachel and Sarah were both older and leery of firearms, they usually followed Sasha’s lead when it came to setting out on an adventure. So the four of us headed to the range.

Rachel, the eldest, injured her wrists horse-riding. Even my .22 caliber SP-101 was too much. She quickly retired from the field. Meanwhile, Sarah and Sasha took to the Henry Golden Boy with the same passion and focus they bring to every challenge in life. The two teens, competing against each other, shot extremely well. And . . . that was it.

Since then, Sarah, my second born, helped me tape segments for the website. My youngest, Lola, would rather go to the dentist than the gun range. (Her final word on the subject: “Get a step-son.”) In short, I have not experienced any of the parental joy and bonding via firearms that I saw this weekend as I uploaded hundreds of readers’ photos of their children. The process left me sad for myself and my children.

To be fair, the odds were never in my favor. My father, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, didn’t come from a gun culture. My mother, a “fellow traveler,” is a fervent gun control supporter. The community in which I grew up – both the neighborhood and my school – was anti-gun. Culturally speaking, I come from a [profoundly ignorant] gun-free zone.

And I ain’t out of it yet. The eldest girls still live in the UK. ‘Nuff said. I lost Sasha in my second divorce. She lives with her father on the island of Tortola. (We’re not allowed communication.) Lola and I are in Texas. Austin, Texas. None of Lola’s friends or families go shooting. One of them isn’t even allowed to see a gun.

Despite all those gun-free childhood years and my relative isolation from gun culture, I haven’t given-up on the possibility of firearms fraternization with my children.

Post-divorce, my world is no longer a place of constant crisis and emotional upheaval. I’m more ready to introduce my eldest daughters to the joy of guns than I was anytime during the last ten years. Lola’s interest is only a matter of time; she knows well enough that she must arm herself against evil. Sasha? What can I say? My heart is broken. But that door will always be open.

This weekend I faced the fact that I will never have the pleasure of seeing my young children grow-up around guns. So be it. God willing, I’ll have a chance to see my kids appreciate firearms as adults. If not, maybe I’ll get a chance with grandchildren. And if not that, well, I take comfort in the TTAG readers’ family photos. By passing on your love of guns and liberty to your children you help keep my children safe. For that I am forever in your debt.

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  1. I second that. No kids as of yet, but funny enough the lady and I discussed the very topic of raising kids in our gun culture on the ride home from visiting family last night.

  2. Ouch.

    RF, know that you are at the cutting edge of firearms freedom. Although many of the people you share your passion with are strangers, I consider you a friend. The establishment that hates firearms has no love for you as well. No so with your countrymen over the ‘net. There’s ammo, scotch, and cigars for you aplenty should you or any of the other writers ever venture over to Brea, CA.

  3. I have a similar situation in that my son lives 1,200 miles away and now that he’s 21, time together is rare.
    It can be painful to think I have missed out on so much.
    In his younger years we would shoot together, and he developed an affection for the 1911. Dunno why; I never owned one ( I chalk it up to the foolishness of youth ).
    I know my son does not share the same passion for firearms as I and I am left to wonder what will happen to my modest collection when my eyesight has deteriorated so badly I can no longer shoot. I hope he would keep them, but I am not holding my breath.

    • I’m willing to discuss allowing you to adopt me and, if you treat me kindly enough, I will take on the burden of accepting your collection!

      • Thanks for the offer, but anyone I adopt from now on has to have four legs and a tail. Fetching the remote and the paper is preferred but will train an enthusiastic applicant.

    • Mark,

      I don’t have kids and don’t plan on ever having any.

      I have a pretty good collection going as well.

      I’ve already decided that if my nephew isn’t interested in guns in another 20 or 30 years, I will probably give quite a bit of my collection to someone just starting out in the hobby with passion but not a lot of money – perhaps even an ETS’d soldier.

      I think that my choice is perfectly acceptable for those with children who would not be interested as well. Sure, they may sell them and make decent money, but most won’t and a few might even just let them sit and rust. That would be a shame.

      • Some of the best and most formative memories of my childhood revolve around learning to use and care for guns. It started early and was consistent and sometimes intense. I’ve never had any children of my own but I’ve spent many days with young adults trying to pass on some of the things I learned as a child and some of the things I went on to learn as an adult.
        I’m largely disinterested in what happens to my guns when I die. They are favorite objects but in the end only objects. What will trouble me in the end is that the ethical revelations I’ve reached and the skills I’ve learned will pass with me.

  4. It is tough to have something that you enjoy so much be viewed with disinterest by those with whom you would most like to share it. I have two daughters who initially showed interest and proved to be quick learners and good shots. Neither have shown any interest after accompanying me to several range sessions. I, like you, hold out hope that maybe as they get a little older, they will become interested but it makes me sad that if I want to go to the range, I know I’m going alone. On the plus side, they do enjoy using my various other manual implements of destruction and mayhem, and they believe in the importance of the Second Amendment, so they know what’s what! 🙂

  5. c’est la vie! I feel for you Robert. I always had dreams of starting my granddaughter in skeet at a young age. She is autistic and can’t stand loud noises. No interest at all in going to the range. I know it would be pure torture for her, and won’t ask her to go. Some things just arent meant to be.

  6. Find solace in teaching others. Make up for it in surrogate children of the gun. My kids aren’t old enough to shoot but I introduce others’ kids to the romance of the cold steel. I give them a chance to experience what their parents don’t understand or have experience enough to teach. I didn’t get hunting lessons out of my father, but his friends stepped up to the plate. My father was a shooting instructor for the Army among other things but his forte was never in the hunting arts. Be that friend who fills the void for others like my Dad’s friends did for me.

  7. Heartbreaking, Robert, and I’m not talking about the guns. Fortunately, children become adults, and hopefully the seeds you sowed will grow shoots.

  8. That’s a bummer. I’m a father of girls, too, and we’ve had some great times shooting.
    One enjoys it more than the other does, and I’m OK with that. They both know their way around most of the firearms I have around the house, and we still go out shooting from time to time. In fact, my oldest may be interested in a couple of my heirloom pistols and my trusty Makarov. (Like her father, she seems to gravitate toward oddball guns.)

    • Makerovs are a great little gun. They always do what they’re supposed to do, and a little over a decade ago I was able to buy one in Afghanistan for $20 USD. 🙂

      Sure they take oddball ammo, look ugly as sin, always somehow smell funny, and hurt the hell out of your hand after shooting them for a while… but they have character damn it!

      • I like Makarovs. Work, easy to conceal, common/cheap enough that I wont lose much sleep over losing one.

        PS: Did you buy the Makarov for 20 bucks?

  9. Some random thoughts in reply to your random thoughts….

    I am a generation ahead of you. About 10 years ago, in a nostalgic moment I wandered into a local outdoor store. One of those dark, dusty mom and pop stores. This was on a weekday and it was practically empty. As I walked about, I came to the fishing section. There, one middle aged guy was handling a fly rod and reel. As I watched from a safe distance he said the following “I’ve been wrapped up with the family for the last 20 years. I’d like to get into a sport now.” Those words could have come from my mouth. It was the perfect reflection of my life as I had lost 20 or 25 years to everything opposite of what I wanted. I am sure that some cosmic comedian was howling with laughter as he watched me from above. “See I’m mocking you, you stupid bastard !” “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

    Sure there are the macho guys out there who fish every morning, hunt on the weekends, go drinking and smoke cigars at nite with the boys at the weekly card game. I suspect the majority of guys live quite different lives. Most of adulthood is spent in some sort of quasi hell of work, debt, dance recitals and hanging out with the wifes family. Sad but if you haven’t done it before your married you probably ain’t doing it.

    The other thought thread is where your kids take you. Man that is some journey. Nearly everything goes into them. Financially, emotionally and time wise. But the end result is a pure crap shoot. I resigned myself to waving good bye to them when they got to their twenties. I really don’t care what they do or believe in now. They are adults and they are for all intents and purposes on their own now for the rest of eternity. I guess I’m lucky they didn’t wind up on drugs or in jail. But I’ve done my part.

    • If you haven’t done it before you’re married, you’re not going to do it — but that depends on what “it” is. Yeah, I had to kiss most of your free time and hobby money goodbye, and I still haven’t quite reconciled myself to the fact that as long as it’s already been, I’m still going to be working like a draft horse pulling my family’s prairie schooner for a very long time to come.

      But new experiences and changes of direction aren’t impossible. I’ve been married for 17+ years now (dang, that makes me feel old), and I took up shooting only four years ago. And until the post-Newtown insanity combined with the recession to destroy my ammo budget, every weekend saw me out at the range shooting guns with my young son, who now has his own .22 rifle and still goes with me whenever we get the chance. My daughter isn’t as much into shooting, but she knows the basics and has been showing more interest in recent weeks; last weekend she actually prodded me to plan a range trip. My wife, who used to be reflexively anti-gun, saw the light pretty quickly; she doesn’t enjoy shooting like I do and doesn’t practice much at all, but she carries, and she actively encourages the kids to enjoy and respect firearms.

      So in some ways, yes, I know what you mean. I’ve given up a lot of things that I once wanted (and still want and will never have). But I’ve gained some things, too — joys I never would have known if I hadn’t taken the family road. And if I hadn’t gone the family route, who knows? I might have stayed in the “nobody really needs guns” assumptions I used to have, and never come around to the necessity and fun of guns at all. And I wouldn’t trade my experience with my kids for anything. I think it balances out in the end. At least it has done so far…

      • I found that the hobbies just “changed” with kids. Gone is the back-woods camping/white water kayaking and the project car is still in the garage waiting to be finished.
        We live rural and I found that shooting, especially with my girls, fills a bunch of those holes. We go out back with a half-dozen cans, toss them out on the “range”, and play the bb-gun equivalent of HORSE. We joke, laugh and connect- it’s a ton of fun.
        I just helped my oldest, a small 10 year old, 65# twig of a girl, through Hunter’s Ed. We studied, marched around the house in every possible carry and practiced going over imaginary fences. She was so nervous about passing that after the written part she bawled her eyes out in the car on the way home. But she passed, and did well too. 69 of 75. 100% on the practical.
        RF, I think you’ll see a turn-around. I’ve discovered that I can’t push either of my girls in certain directions, specifically, the one *I* want them to travel. I just do what I like doing and their curiosity sucks them in. Now that my eldest has her Hunter’s Ed card I’ll offer to get her a deer license if she wants it, but if she doesn’t, that’s okay too. I’ll still invite her. Even if she doesn’t come out I know that she was curious about it. If she wasn’t she wouldn’t ask me how it was and can I let her know before I go back out again. Maybe she’ll tag along this time. Best of all, she’s got a younger sister that’s even more curious…

  10. I taught both of my kids to shoot, starting with my son, and then taking my daughter when she felt left out. Both enjoy it. My son is a fan of shotguns, and someday would like to learn to hunt birds.There is a Wingmaster here for him when he does. My daughter enjoys handguns–9 mm–and actually shoots better with her nondominant hand. Sadly, I bought her a handgun for college grad (for personal protection), but she has been too busy to take it out even once in the two years since I gave it and a hundred rounds of ammo to go with it to her. But we do make time to visit the range on the few occasions she is home (she lives 2000 miles away). My wife (a hoplophobe) says she disapproves of guns, but makes sure there is tie for me to schedule range time with the kids.

    • Patience. My daughter is 26 and living on her own. She carries pepper spray and is highly self aware. We have talked about her “going armed”, at least keeping a gun or guns in her home. No movement as yet. But every now and again a tiny crack shows. Hopefully she will come around.

  11. Wow.

    Sir, I’d always, well, assumed your life to be more idyllic in the sense of guns and family than mine.

    You’ve my unalloyed sympathy and respect, and best wishes concerning your “missing” daughter once she reaches majority.

    Finally, I’ll treasure even more what moments I share with my [now adult] daughter, and be even more grateful that her mother was unsuccessful in installing a disdain for All Things Daddy.

    Thanks for giving us a window into the soul behind the blog.

  12. I was a late bloomer, and had to teach myself everything. There’s always hope that they’ll just pick it up someday.

  13. I hunted Pheasants with my Grandfather until he was 85 (passed away at 98). He passed on a tradition For our entire family and I hope to be hunting with my grandchildren when I’m in my mid-80s.

    I can’t relate to your situation Robert, but thank you for sharing so I can take a moment to reflect how lucky I’ve been with my own upbringing.

  14. First off, Thanks RF for sharing that story.

    Having at times run the youth program at my range, it is my humble opinion that kids need to make friends who also have the same interest. Its no fun having an interest that none of your other friends have. Some will not care and will do what they like, many others will be more interested if there is someone else they will shoot with…and some will never ever show any interest whatsoever.

    However, I find if you can have find other parents with kids and they become friends and you go and shoot together, it is easier to keep them interested because they have at least one other person for who they are able to discuss the sport with. It is like being on any other sports team. Its the camaraderie that enhances the experience and want them to do more.

    In the end, not everyone will enjoy the experience but it is always more fun to have a friend along for shared experiences.

  15. Robert, have a story from the other side. My dad was an avid hunter but I never cared for it at all. I was a big sci-fi/comic book nerd. I did try my hand at shooting one time when I was a kid but I wasn’t good at it and gave up. Over the years I though about getting a gun but never saw anything I really wanted until 2012 at the age of 46 I saw the Kriss Vector and wanted one bad. After doing my homework I jumped in with both feet and got the Kriss SBR; while waiting for the NFA paperwork to clear I got a Glock 21 and my CCW permit. My father and I spent a lot of time shooting together so I could pass the shooting part of the course. I will always remember the time spent together. You never know what the future has in store. Like they say you can’t stop with just one; since August I’ve gotten a XDS and a Tavor.

    • William,

      The man can probably type close to 100 words per minute. That’s only 27 minutes and change. Even at half that speed he’s still under an hour. What’s not included is the hours and hours spent poring over all manner of news websites and the sheer drudgery mixed with infuriation at the politics therein. A whole frickin’ lot of hours, I’m sure. Then there’s the business aspect of running this blog and associated websites. Trust me, I loath pop-up ads and such as much as anyone else here on God’s green earth, but it IS a business, and a business has to pay the bills or it quickly drowns. Simple as that. So I tell myself, anyway.


      • Perhaps this very first sentence slipped by you: “I write well over a million words a year for this website.”

        He said “for”, not “on”. I am sure he can clarify this.

        And you misinterpreted my post as malicious, because you harbor a negative opinion of me, which you are certainly entitled to harbor.

        I was responding to that initial sentence. I have no idea of Robert’s typing speed, which was never a part of my post in the first place. Are you with me so far? I was not criticizing Robert, although I doubt if he would have an apoplexy should I do that.

        Take a deep breath. I don’t see 2,740 words of Robert’s here daily, so correct me if I am missing something, by all means. 😀

        I didn’t question he types that many words a year on behalf of TTAG. I just don’t see it here.

        So, you see, it was a question, and not a slam. We cool now, Bro?

  16. I married a wonderful Russian lady in 1999 and she came complete with a 12 year old son. We are since divorced, more over cultural issues than personal, and all still good friends, but shortly after their arrival in the States I took Alex to a gun show without telling Anna ahead of time.

    You can imagine the fascination of a 12 year old Russian boy for the first time walking among the tables of firearms of every description that were freely available and for sale to anyone! He was hooked and even though Anna was less than thrilled I took the opportunity to give them both the basics of gun safety because I had several in the house at that time.

    When we moved to Washington I got them to a local range at our first opportunity. Alex was excited, Anna was initially reticent, but in the end she fired better groups with my S&W 686 than I generally do!

    Alex is back in California, unfortunately, and keeping his own guns, including the S&W 686 I gave him for his 18th birthday, under the radar. Anna is not POTG, but at least she is not an anti, and she does not flinch when we occasionally go places together even though she knows I am always carrying.

    Russians get it, so what is wrong with these American anti-2A weenies?

    • Russians are commies, it is obvious she only wants you to think she doesn’t mind guns. That way you won’t expect her to eat your brain or whatever it commies do. *duh*

      All that above is true, ex-president McCarthy told me so in a dream.

      I am glad though that things worked out for you, most people use less kind words to describe ex-wives or husbands.

    • I’m smiling that you did such good work for your son, Alex. Excellent work. It didn’t all work out, but that certainly is life.

      Congratulations. You done good!

  17. Your story shows me how blessed I am in my growing up. My Dad has been a competitive shooter all of my life and is currently a NRA instructor. I don’t remember NOT going to the gun range and shooting with him. To this day shooting is our “father/son time”.

  18. I don’t have any kids of my own, but last month I went shooting with my dad and cousin while on vacation. It was probably one of the best times shooting I’ve had in years. I hate the fact that I live so far away. Even as an adult, shooting with my dad is a fun memorable event.

  19. Hey, Robert.

    Thanks for sharing such an open & honest yearning for a better family connection around guns. I’ve got a lot of hobbies, including guns, that have that same isolating effect–caving and canyoneering, especially. For some reason, being buried alive and exploring “bottomless” pits where bats sometimes live only appeals to certain crowds. 🙂

    I’ve tried for years to get my brother involved in (or even just exposed to) some of these hobbies, but all for naught. I can’t get him near a gun, either. It’s too bad; he’s missing out on some really fun and exciting parts of life. All I can do is keep the invitation open.

    Meanwhile, I have a caving family, a canyoneering family and a shooting family, all adopted. Sometimes interests cross over; more often they do not. And so I wander and bounce in and out of these circles on my own journey, and that’s just the way it is.

    Keep the flame of hope alive, though. I did finally get my mom (in her mid-60’s) to go rappelling, and she loved it. Maybe your daughters have interests that you could bond over? Cross the bridge first & perhaps they’ll reciprocate and go shooting with you again.

    Regardless, here’s another salute from a friend & fan in AZ. Cheers!

  20. Nice article RF. I also grew up in a culture that had no interest in guns. I, myself, only became active in shooting and gun ownership during the past 4 years. Now, however, when my younger daughter, who lives in Brooklyn, comes to Sarasota to visit, the first thing she wants to do is go to the range. I introduced her to shooting just about 2 years ago and she loves it. No interest from my older daughter who lives in Florida, and I keep trying to get my wife interested, but I’m not holding my breath.

  21. I was lucky, my wife and I have three children and all adults now. I took them hunting, shooting and fishing. They grew up in this atmosphere. They all learned to respect, weapons and animals. My son was using a knife while cleaning the fish he caught and this was happening starting at the age of eight. What I’m saying is, they learned how to respect my weapons and became good and safe at these activities. Oh and the entire family are Conservatives. TTAG site is cool. Remember to hide the good guns and the cheapies can be findable by the government goons if it comes to past.

  22. When my son (now 15) started showing an interest in firearms, I seized the moment and started teaching him. He enjoys going to the range with me. I can’t get him to sign up for his school rifle team… but at least he does like to shoot…

  23. This was a tough read for me, especially the comments.

    I don’t come from a family that has a particular like for firearms , my father is neutral but doesn’t want guns in his house which I respect, my mother doesn’t like guns at all. I always felt conflicted since I always felt drawn to them but my family always told me they are bad.

    So when there was an “activity day” at school I signed up for shooting and got hooked, always had a natural affinity for firearms. Haven’t shot much lately due to school (AKA no time). I am glad that the range is one of the few places I am respected, I even taught people how to shoot. Mainly first graders and some of their parents.

  24. I’ve got little kids who have expressed some interest in shooting. I think I’ll get on the ball and get out there with them. Thanks Robert…

  25. Forgot to add to my previous post:

    What would happen if the kid whp can’t see a gun saw a gun? I mean if I was in the neighbourhood I would probably hang a picture of a gun in front of door and another one in the mailbox.

    When I think about it, I am maybe not so good (morally) as I thought earlier.

  26. Robert,

    As I read your words I felt that pain of estrangement that probably most all of us know one way or another, parent or not. But I cannot imagine the grief of a father for a lost daughter. I can only offer my poor sympathies. My own father, who lives in Kansas but did not raise me (it’s a long story), has long since gone in a different political direction than that of his own father, who did raise me. I’ve tried over the last several years to normalize relations between the three of us, but have failed. None of us are willing to back down from our long-entrenched political beliefs, which is well and fine, but when my dad turned on me that was a step too far. My 2 younger sisters, who he did raise, are what you would consider typical millenial hipsters – unfortunately, I don’t think either one of them has one iota of the importance of gun rights in this country. Also, I have a cousin who lives in San Jose, California. Makes a fortune as a computer whiz, but I sincerely fear for his future there with a wife and 2 kids, as much as my own, because of the the way California is going downhill. And I can’t help but wonder if he’s totally blind to that obvious fact simply because he makes so much money. Probably none of my 9 first cousins really see the big picture as much I’d like to hope. Maybe that’s just me – I’m the poorest and least accomplished by far, so maybe it’s just my nature to be fatalistic. But all I can do is try one day at a time, if not for myself then for the rest of my family. Even if they don’t know or appreciate it. Thank you for writing your story – as long as you stay the course, know that it will not be in vain.


  27. Just a few thoughts on Arkansas Act 746 and the Right to Bear Arms, which is protected by the U.S. Constitution and The Arkansas State Constitution. Since Act 746 has gone into effect I have been one to Open Carry, because I truly believe I have that civil right. By doing so, it is not my intent to cause alarm to anyone. It is for my own self protection and yours, if need be. Many do not understand the law. Here it is… word for word.
    Arkansas Code § 5-73-120 Carrying a weapon.

    (a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she
    possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a
    vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

    So, as long as the person can legally own a weapon and has no intent to use it against a person
    unlawfully, it’s perfectly legal.

    Most people would think that I would be antigun, if they knew my family history. Without going into much detail, I will say that my sister was killed by her husband with their 3 small children at her side and moments later he took his life.
    Still, to this day, I do not blame the tool he used. Yes, a hand gun is a tool.

    I was a single parent of a troubled teen. I recognized the possibilty
    of a problem and removed all firearms from my home, unlike many of todays parents who are not involved in the nurturing of their children and teaching them the value of a human life. My child grew up without causing any problems
    because I chose to be there and put positive people in his life.

    I took an Oath to Uphold and Defend the Constitution of the United States
    when I joined the US Army, in 1975 at the young age of 17, and I still
    respect and honor that oath some 38 years later. I have an ancestor who was a delegate from the State of North Carolina who signed the Constitution. I can only imagine him and his fellow delegates rolling over in their graves today, as so many try rewrite this great document.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! It’s NOT the GUN, nor the hammer, nor the rock that Cain killed Able with. Those are only tools used to do harm. The problem lies in the person with bad intentions.

    Wayne Helms
    Fort Smith Arkansas

  28. Definitely not the direction I thought the post was going to go from the title, but I very much appreciate the sincere, heartfelt story RF.
    God Bless and keep up the good work

  29. Man, right in the old feels. I wish you luck in pursuing that someday-moment with your kids, Robert.

    This site and others like it have helped to solidify my own, long-napping love of firearms and commitment to RKBA, and I am well on my way to infecting my three wee ones with The Bug. For helping to give me that opportunity, I am deeply grateful.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, sir.

  30. In my case, my dad was always a hunter, but never really a rereational shooter. He bought me my first .22LR rifle, a Marlin 60, out of the local classifieds when I was in 8th grade in ’96. It was my reward for finally getting a straight-A report card. I came home, walked into my room, and there was a rifle on my bed & a nice note from my dad.

    I ended up enjoying and working on guns more than my dad did. I loved to take things apart, tinker with them, and put them back together, and guns weren’t any exception.

    My dad and I still go to the range from time to time, but for him it’s usually to sight in his hunting rifle before season starts, and while he may pop off a few rounds from an AK, he doesn’t really “get it” and he wonder aloud sometimes why I enjoy them as much as I do – but the words “nobody should be able to own one of those,” or “why do you need that?” NEVER are said by my dad. He gets THAT part of it.

    When my wife and I started talking about having kids, I started collecting AK parts kits to build a couple rifles for our first children… I’m just hoping that our three month-old son enjoys shooting as much as I do, but if he enjoys something else more, that’s okay too.

    • Thanks for this post. It serves to illustrate the wideness of the spectrum of what we here call “People of the Gun”.

      They may not all be so rabid as us about gun rights, but they can be made to understand just what’s at stake with respect to intentions to disarm us.

  31. LIke so many have said, thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us. When I married, my wife wanted nothing to do with guns. Over time, she gave them a try, and now has her own SP101 that she shoots once or twice a year, but she absolutely loves to cook and throw parties. My daughter will shoot with me if I prod her, but would much rather spend her time with a bow. My middle son, the outdoor and gun nut after his father’s heart, loves to shoot, loves to backpack, can’t wait to hunt, but was absolutely thrilled with the origami books he got for his birthday. If he’s not folding paper, he’s drawing on it. My youngest likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Nerf guns and anything noisy. As a result, I help cook and throw parties, shoot the bow, do origami and drawing, play Neverland Pirates and set up Legos to knock over with Nerf guns. From time to time, we go camping and shoot together. We all share our passions with each other, and as a family we grow closer.

    Now, let me tell you about the wonders of shooting stiff, nasty Nerf guns for teaching you trigger control…

    • I also loved origami, drawing, Nerf guns, and devouring all the science & history books that I could as a young boy. Shooting guns & blowing stuff up (safely) is just part of a well-rounded boyhood experience.

  32. It’s tough, chief, but I do feel your pain. My daughter lives with her mother in another state and I do not get much chance to take her shooting anymore. As you, I hope I can spend time with her when she is an adult. She is my only child and I’ve had to make arrangements concerning willing my firearms where she is concerned due to the possibility she might turn out like her mother and….well, you know.

    Hang in there dude, and keep as much exposure to them as possible. Maybe a competition or two will incite them.

  33. My kids (oldest now 40) sadly show no interest in guns. My hope is to get my grandchildren interested even if they live half the country away.

    • Sadly, they can see no usefulness in guns. They figure that on the off chance that there will be trouble, the state will see to their welfare.

      Of course, they could not be more wrong. Time will tell if they will see their error in time to see their error.

      Good luck with the grandkids. You can only hope at this time.
      Best of luck. Bide your time and hope for the best.

      Fortunately, my daughter, 27, wants one, and I am going to help her get one very soon. Her son, nearly 9, wants her to get one so that he will feel safer.

      Happily, we live only 50 feet apart, and she’s looking for a big house for all of us to live together in.

      Personally, I love living alone, but I’m willing to make a change, but I will always be stubborn, in some key ways. :/

    • 😀
      We’re just yanking your chain, Nick. I don’t read most of your gun/gear reviews, because I’m not in for the market for them. But I recognize they have value.

      Just not for me. I’m in it for the political value.

      Don’t stop, Nick.

  34. Your article struck a chord for me as someone living on the completely opposite age spectrum.
    I’m only 21 years old and I’ve all ready resigned myself to the fact that I honestly don’t want to have kids (marriage is a whole other bag of problems to consider). Not as much for financial reasons, but cultural. I don’t want to spend potentially fruitless hours showing my kid primary sources from my home library to combat the sanitized, pc crap he’ll be taught in history class. I don’t want to have to tell my kid why the majority of his friends are morons along with their parents for thinking life-long dependence on government is a good thing. I don’t want to have to tell my kid how to answer questions posed by some doctor with an agenda (make no mistake, there will be MANY more of those soon) so he isn’t stigmatized for life. I’d just rather not have the depressing experience of combating (maybe even hopelessly) the growing insanity we see today that would be taught as “normal” to my kid.
    Despite this, I have promised myself to be one of those old guys young people in my neighborhood consider to be a “badass” or just plain cool to talk to about life on his porch in the summer time. What remains of my militaria and gun collection by that point will probably be gifted to whichever local kid I see as most likely to keep his head straight, not blindly follow a crowd, and succeed in life. Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if there will be any of those types left when I’m in my 80’s…

    • Just a thought: if you don’t have children, this is how the antis will win. They have children, and they teach their kids that guns and gun owners are bad people, or at least are misguided.

      It’s hard to match them if you’re not teaching someone who’s coming up in the world today. Would you at least agree to mentor one child, as a Big Brother? How are we going to win otherwise?

      Having a kid involves a lot of pain; I’m sure you’ve considered this, and that you’ve based your view upon pain avoidance.

      Having a spouse involves even more pain and heartbreak. Statistically, you will fail at that. I know. I’ve been through more pain than I could have imagined. When my daughter’s mother is around, it all comes back to me. Often.

      But please consider this in your decision-making process. Fact is, we need you.

      Even if you fail in the relationship, it may well turn out to have been all worthwhile. I have so many friends who are part of long-time couple relationships, and every one of them said they “didn’t want to bring a child into this kind of world.”

      Well, damn. Every one of them REALLY chose this too avoid being unselfish, if truth be told. Selfish pigs, is what they really are. Unwilling to give of their “valuable” time (their inexhaustible “me” time) to help bring another soul to take their place in the world coming into being.

      And I despise that in them, thought I don’t despise them personally.

      Think about this carefully. Life is pain and suffering, but bringing up a child also brings indescribable joys, so take that into consideration.

      • I’ve all ready been teaching one of my younger cousins to shoot for two years and have successfully converted two of my fence-sitting friends into 2nd Amendment supporters since Sandy Hook. I, by no means, will ever consider myself “done”. When I find a kid to mentor while living on my own in a couple of years, of course I’ll show him the ropes. I can be a friend and teacher to someone else’s kids, but the idea of watching my own be tempted by the nanny-state mentality so thoroughly that my lessons would be futile is just too much for me. Call me a young man with a weak heart, but that’s just the way it is. However, I’ll never stop teaching people the values of gun rights and ownership who otherwise would still be on the fence or half-committed antis, all I ask is that they keep an open mind and have some patience.

        • Well, I certainly understand the pain more than you will ever know. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job, and I applaud your work.

          In my case, the ex marginalized me with cruelty. She took a female partner, and moved me to a remote part of the home I put a down payment on. I was the one with a job; she took care of other people’s kids for little or no money, doing her best to make the parents see her as a perfect saint. And they were happy to play her for the sucker.

          So she took a woman as a lover, moved me to a part of the place with no bathroom or even running water, no heat or air conditioning. She piled her things on the stairs, as if she were walling me off from the world. Incredibly painful.

          Now, when she’s at my daughter’s nearby, I have to struggle not to relive it all. Even though it was two decades ago. That was the end of relationships for me, I assure you!!! :/

          You are doing admirably, in my book.

    • “I’m only 21 years old and I’ve all ready resigned myself to the fact that I honestly don’t want to have kids (marriage is a whole other bag of problems to consider). Not as much for financial reasons, but cultural. I don’t want to spend potentially fruitless hours showing my kid primary sources from my home library to combat the sanitized, pc crap he’ll be taught in history class. I don’t want to have to tell my kid why the majority of his friends are morons along with their parents for thinking life-long dependence on government is a good thing. I don’t want to have to tell my kid how to answer questions posed by some doctor with an agenda (make no mistake, there will be MANY more of those soon) so he isn’t stigmatized for life. I’d just rather not have the depressing experience of combating (maybe even hopelessly) the growing insanity we see today that would be taught as “normal” to my kid.”

      Homeschool! Then you won’t have to worry so much about others pushing propaganda on your children.

  35. Robert – I understand the feelings you expressed, in large part because I shared in them. My eldest (daughter) never cared for guns, nor had any great interest. She did agree to join me dove hunting once or twice, but (I suspect) just to humor the old man. My son didn’t like ’em, and didn’t mind telling me so!

    Today they’re 34 and 31. My daughter married an ex cop who loves to talk guns, politics and shooting! My daughter smiles quietly and just enjoys the bond guns provide for he and I. My son, at about the age of 29 or so, told me one day he’d like to have a Model 1911. You can guess at how long it took me to take an example of JMB’s handiwork to him! (Interestingly, I also took an XD in .45 and offered him a choice. Yes – okay. I was a bit disappointed when he selected the XD.) But since then, his interest has grown, and I love it when he calls to ask about merits of brass or steel cases, night sights, bullet drop, barrel length, bullet weight… all the arcane details gun guys love to discuss and argue!

    Hang in there… all of your girls have got a lot of living still to do! And with a patient, knowledgeable gun dad like you, I like your chances!

  36. Robert – I understand the feelings you expressed, in large part because I shared in them. My eldest (daughter) never cared for guns, nor had any great interest. She did agree to join me dove hunting once or twice, but (I suspect) just to humor the old man. My son didn’t like ’em, and didn’t mind telling me so!

    Today they’re 34 and 31. My daughter married an ex cop who loves to talk guns, politics and shooting! My daughter smiles quietly and just enjoys the bond guns provide for he and I. My son, at about the age of 29 or so, told me one day he’d like to have a Model 1911. You can guess at how long it took me to take an example of JMB’s handiwork to him! (Interestingly, I also took an XD in .45 and offered him a choice. Yes – okay. I was a bit disappointed when he selected the XD.) But since then, his interest has grown, and I love it when he calls to ask about caliber options, the merits of brass or steel cases, night sights, optics, barrel length, bullet weight… all the arcane details gun guys love to discuss and argue!

    Hang in there… all of your girls have got a lot of living still to do! And with a patient, knowledgeable gun dad like you, I like your chances!

  37. Wait until the girls get a little older.

    In my family, shooting mostly meant hunting, which I though was gross and evil until my early 20s. I still have the 1100 LT Mom gave me once I finally took an interest.

    Being a young woman driving back and forth to college cemented my interest in firearms. Colleges are perv magnets, and so is the side of the highway when your car is broken down. Sex predators make some gals see the light. I do not wish that on your girls though.

    San Antonio is the US center of shotgun sports, and girls in my part of town are into that. Perhaps Austin doesn’t have that South Texas culture we enjoy in SA.

  38. I think you’re doing a good job. In my case, the ex marginalized me in the most cruel way imaginable.

    She took a woman lover and moved me to a remote part of the home, without bathroom, running water, heat or AC. She piled her things on the stairs as if I were being walled-off, like in THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO.

    She took care of other people’s kids for almost no money so she would appear as a saint to them. To them, she was a mark. Parents actually left their kids there for days at a time, many times. I swear this is true. And a lot more.

    When she visits our daughter ( two doors down), I struggle to not let the pain return again, after two decades.

  39. There are worse things than not sharing a love of guns. Hang in there RF. I’m happy my sons all talk to me. Women can drive you insane if you let ’em. I’m happy with what I got. I wasn’t into guns or 2A until a few years ago but none of my wives or girlfriends was ever actively anti-gun. BTW a million words a year is entirely possible-even feasible.

  40. I live in the Austin area and will try to ensure my newborn son has the same appreciation of the culture that I do. When he gets old enough, you are more than welcome to come to the range with us 😀

  41. I took my daughter out for the first time, just her and me, a couple of weekends ago. She’s 14 now. She’s shot twice before, but only for a very limited number of shots. Quite frankly, she just wasn’t physically big enough for any of the weapons I owned…and now she is. Her brother started shooting at 12, but he’s 6’+ at 16 now, and at 12 he was already almost as tall as I with bigger hands and longer fingers.

    The bonus was that I have a couple of good friends at the range, one of whom is one of their chief instructors, who looked on as she was shooting and praised her for her form, and the fact that she was leaning in and on the balls of her feet, instead of leaning back like most first time shooters. Plus we got a great shot of her advertising the range with a tshirt I bought her so that brass didn’t fly down her top, heh.

    She doesn’t have the natural insane talent her brother does (his first time shooting anything ever was a pearl handled 1911 and he put the first 3 shots into a quarter sized grouping on the bulls-eye at 21 feet)…but she did very well and made her old man proud.


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