Whittling Away: Gun control

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By Dick Brooks

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

Lately guns and gun controls seem to be the topic of some of the news broadcasts I watch or listen to. 

They reminded me that I’m a gun owner so I thought I’d go see if I could find the gun that I own. 

Telly, my faithful canine companion, and I went out to my shop, found the step stool and went to the corner cabinet and there, on the top of it, where I put it years ago to keep it away from little hands, covered in a thick coating of dirt and sawdust, was the old canvas carrier where my rifle lives. 

I climbed down, blew the dust off and laid it on the workbench. I had Telly’s undivided attention. 

I unzipped it and there inside was my weapon of mass destruction, the .22-caliber single shot J.C. Higgins rifle I got for Christmas when I was 12. 

I picked it up and felt again the wonder of that Christmas long ago when Santa, via Montgomery Ward, had really delivered.

I already knew the basics of rifle safety thanks to my father’s teaching and the fact that I had owned my other weapon of mass destruction, a Daisy BB gun, for two years. I suppose I should say I had had it in my possession for only a year since shortly after I got it, also as a Christmas present, I learned the capital rule for keeping it in my possession — thou shalt not use your BB gun to shoot the windows out of the barn. 

I guess I had shown myself to be responsible enough to warrant the gifting of an honest-to-God firearm by not shooting out any more windows and only on occasion popping one of my brothers with it. 

My gun is about as simple a weapon as has ever been designed. You open the bolt, insert a bullet, close the bolt, pull back the knob on the end of the bolt and you are ready to fire.

Simple as it is, I provided a lot of meat for our sometimes-not-so-bountiful table. Mom would say something to the effect that partridge would be nice for Sunday dinner, and in a few days, I would be able to supply the menu items requested.

I knew where they roosted and could pop one or two off their favorite branch a day. Not very sporting, but tasty. 

There are places on the stock of my little gun that have been sanded carefully to give me a better grip on the stock. They were done about the same time I had lettered rather crudely on the case — Dick Brooks, Homeroom 101. The reason for both of these was, as strange as it seems today, on the first Wednesday of the month, I got on the school bus with my rifle.

The bolt was in one pocket and a box of ammo in my other pocket. When we got to our high school, I carried my gun to homeroom and placed it in the back near the other guns.  Wednesday was the meeting date for Rifle Club. After school we would meet in the basement where the shooting range was and compete. 

I put a light coat of oil on the barrel of my gun, put it back in its case, climbed on the step stool and put it back on top of the cabinet. Telly and I went back into the house. I got another cup of coffee and sat in my recliner, Telly lay in his favorite spot, within easy belly-rub distance, and we had a ponder. 

As is usual during these sessions, we solved the whole gun-control issue.

None of the real hunters that I know go into the woods with an assault rifle with a 30-shot clip. The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to bear arms. Why don’t we use just the arms that were in use when the Second Amendment was written? Flintlocks would solve a lot of the problems that need solving.

Telly thought it was a good idea but then he’s a most agreeable canine.

Thought for the week — “I don’t make jokes, I just watch the government and report the facts.”  –Will Rogers

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach columnist Dick Brooks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.

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