By Kevin G. O’Leary
Well, above is a picture of my favorite gun. I just chose to introduce this one as an example. In practice, I do not disclose the size of my total arsenal or what I have and don’t have. This is Mossberg 500 12 Gauge Pump Action Shotgun. Identical to mine as shown in the photo, I have the combo which includes the long 28 inch field barrel and the 24 inch standard barrel. I picked up my shotgun in pristine condition used for 175 dollars. I still think it was a steal. I am not interested in pretending like I am some bad-ass and getting the jungle camoflage or the black carbon finish. I really like the rich furniture wood finish.
I do not hunt animals. As a matter of fact, my parents live on a double 20 acre farmette which is somewhat of a private nature preserve and reforestation project. My father has his deer running around and has names for all of them. In his retirement he writes columns about his deer in residence and nature for the Rock River Times. Shooting guns anywhere near there is prohibited unless you are shooting guns to scare away trespassers who happen to come in shooting guns. My father is nearly 80 years, but is much larger than I and does not have the meek personality that I do. We finally convinced him that shooting out the tires of trespasser’s vehicles and picking unauthorized hunter’s cars up with his 60 year old Ferguson Bucket tractor is not always the best method to secure the land.
My Mossy was purchased for home defense and prerequisite target practice to protect the home. I stayed in one of the guest houses on the O’Leary Acres complex for a year and a half while working in Rockford, Illinois. Rockford in famous or infamous for making Forbes top ten list of the most miserable cities in America. The crime rate is one of the highest in nation. By some strange annexing and rezoning years ago, 2/3 of O’Leary Acres is in the city limits of Rockford. Police response rates are slower than we would like. I would like to have my hands wrapped around something that makes me feel more secure while I am waiting for the men in blue to find the house.
In a perfect home defense situation, I would prefer to have an 18 1/2 or even a 20 inch barrel instead of swinging a 24 inch pipe around smacking into the doorways and knocking the crystal off the table. But, what the heck. It’s a great gun and I can live with a longer 24 incher. Besides, with close quarters practice and self-training, I am getting better every time I test myself in my security drills. The ultimate goal is that never have to consider seriously using it. One of the most beautiful features of a 12 gauge pump shotgun is that the racking sound of chambering a live shell is unmistakable. Every potential intruder knows what it sounds like and just hearing the distinctive sound is often enough to make the threat dissapear.
I have another gun on my wish list. I would like to get a Stoeger double barreled coach shotgun. Once again, I like affordability and for the price and it is a pretty classy looking gun. Unlike the Mossberg, instead of cycling the shells one by one from the magazine to the chamber by pump, the coach gun loads two shells and you can squeeze off two shots without reloading. Although many people say the over under configuration is easier to handle, I like the looks of the side by side. It is just more like a firearm that Jed Clampett or Granny would use. Might even want the higher grade to get the nice metal engraving. The coach gun would come with a manageable 20 inch barrel better suited for home defense. They come in 12 gauge an 20 gauge. In close quarters home defense protecting yourself inside the home, I reckon there isn’t a dimes worth of difference in stopping power. However if you want to do a lot of long range field shooting, the more powerful 12 gauge is better. Another difference is there is not as much recoil or kick back on the Stoeger 20 gauge as the Mossberg 12 gauge has. Perhaps, if my my mother wants a good defense weapon on her side of farm, a 20 gauge would be fine. It won’t knock her backwards.
Now, you probably have determined a certified gun nut. Not so, really. Truth be known, as a youngster, I was not allowed to have a BB gun or a pellet gun. My parents hated guns so much they did not even like me playing with toy guns. I purchased my very first gun at age 44, because I did not feel safe sleeping in Rockford, Illinois. Not only was the gun an instrument of potential deadly force, it was also a distress signal alarm. My neighbors were told that I would never ever do any shooting on that farm and if they heard the clear blast of a 12 gauge, it was a pretty sure bet there was imminent danger and to react accordingly.
Enough of my personal opinions on my guns and what not. How do I really feel about what is going on in American gun politics? Well, first off, I have no desire whatsoever to ever own an assualt weapon. I do not feel I have need for one. I personally do not care if assualt weapons are banned. I am a responsible gun owner. My guns when I leave the country are stripped down and trigger housings removed and stored seperately and securely. I do not want to have a burglary and later find out one of my deadly firearms was stolen and used in a crime. I fully support background checks. I find absolutely nothing wrong with a waiting period when I go back to the USA and select my next firearm. While I am waiting, I still have my other firearms for protection. At the present time, the government does not require me to register my guns. What if they do in future? I say that is perfectly fine. I would not only gladly register all my firearms, I would even offer my services as a volunteer to assist in such a mammouth task just like we have volunteers in the voting polling stations. So, to sum it up full background checks, waiting periods and future full registration of firearms I would support.
I do not buy the argument that doing these things somehow attacks and targets law abiding gun owners. Wake up, America! More than 8000 people are killed annually by firearms. This is not normal. Firearm deaths in the commission of crime are largely done by people who are legally prohibited from having firearms in their possession. The problem is this. Firearms for the most part are almost always sold perfectly legally and legit on the first transaction. Then, they are illegally transferred or made accessible to thugs and people who are not allowed to be anywhere near a gun. With 8000 deaths and many of those in the commission of a felony, we must certainly look at full registration. Our government has a legal obligation to protect its innocent citizens from harm. The politicians who cannot recognize this are either stupid or cowards. This is especially true of today’s Republican party. The GOP is beholden to the National Rifle Association. The NRA is infested with lunatics which make otherwise sensible members look like idiots. I put a lot of thought into purchasing a firearm and never stop thinking about how I can be a more responsible gun owner. These people make all gun owners look like trigger happy rednecks.
Crazy Joe Biden was right on one comment that pertains to me. He said some gun owners just like the way a gun feels. Well, thats actually true with me sometimes. I do not hunt, but I love blowing up gallons of water, attacking quarry walls and pulverizing steel cans. Does that make me crazy? Well, it is my form of recreation. While I am away and living in gun-free country, what do I do to keep my sanity? I go the batting center and crack some balls. 100 yen for ten pitches. Even more fun when I connect. Yee Haw!
In my opinion, I think our President and many democrats are right on this one. Yet I am strong supporter of concealed carry in Illinois. Let’s get this gun problem fixed. From the outside of the United States looking in, my countrymen are beginning to look like lunatics. As an American, I want to keep my guns. But as an American, I am embarrassed by the actions of NRA. I won’t be the first. George H.W. Bush resigned his membership when they started getting too nutty for him.
The United States needs to wake up and smell the gun powder, by golly.