Why I own an AR-15.

From RedState.com, By: patrickmillsaps (Diary), January 9th, 2013 – Other than the occasional tweet, I have tried to stay out of the gun debate—largely because of Jonah Goldberg’s haunting and compelling statement:

AR_15-2“…I nonetheless resent being dragged into the political maw so quickly after a bunch of little kids were picked off by a madman with a gun.”

But something has changed that obliges me to share a personal story.

Maybe it was Wayne LaPierre’s, “Don’t-Blame-the-Second-Amendment-Blame-the-First-Amendment” speech.  Maybe it was Piers Morgan giving every wack-a-doodle, conspiracy theorist, “gun nut” a few minutes of airtime so that Mr. Morgan could look morally and academically superior (and, by the way, give himself a nice ratings boost).  Or maybe it was Joe Scarborough, who I respect and largely agree with on numerous issues, wondering aloud why reasonable people would ever want to own an “assault” rifle.

Well, I don’t think the First Amendment had anymore or less to do with some psychopath nut job killing small children than the Second Amendment–I don’t believe in selective Constitutionalism.  I can assure you that vast majority of gun owners in America are overwhelmingly rational people, leading very normal lives, and do not believe that anyone should be deported for having opposing views.  So, I’m left with answering the question that I can answer.  Why do I, as an attorney, the husband of a beautiful pharmacist, and the proud father of three precious daughters, own an AR-15?

In 2004, my wife and I moved from metro-Atlanta to her very small hometown in Southwest Georgia with our six-month-old daughter in tow.  Seven months later we were blessed with identical twin daughters.  (Your math is correct-we had three daughters in 13 months).  Shortly after the twins were born, one late afternoon, when the days were getting short and it got dark early, my wife was running errands with her parents, and I was at home with three infants.  I had just gotten off the phone with my wife, when I heard the “beep-beep” that our alarm system makes when someone opens door.  I didn’t think much of it.  The wind might have blown the door open.  It was an old house after all.  I made sure the kids were okay and went to the front of the house.  Our door was open and a vagrant, who I could not tell whether was a man or a woman, was standing in our foyer in tattered clothes, a bag over one shoulder, and holding something in their hand.  Having defended and prosecuted criminal defendants, this person’s gate, demeanor and glazed-over look told me that this person was blitzed out of their mind on something.

Now you may think you know what you would do in that situation.  You don’t.  The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to stay in between this person and the room with my baby girls.  The only thing I could think to say was a semi-polite, “May I help you?”  The response, in an aggravated and slurred shout  was, “I’m here to get my stuff,” as the unwelcome “guest” walked towards me.  I still didn’t know what was in this person’s hand, with a more angry tone, I threatened, “Get out or I’ll call the cops.”  The response was now a very aggressive, “Nah man, I’m here to get my (expletive) stuff.”

I cannot begin to tell you have quickly my brain started playing out scenarios.  What if I rush this person–they have a weapon—if something happens to me—the babies are unprotected.  If I run to the babies–I’ll lead this person right to them.  Do I go for the phone? No, there’s no time.  What do I say next?  This person is crazy.  That parental adrenalin that I had only read about kicked in and a voice from deep in side of me—one which I had never heard before or since—came out of my throat as I screamed something like (because I can’t remember exactly), “Get out of this house RIGHT NOW.”

By the grace of God, whatever I said or however I said it broke through the drug-riddled haze and stopped this person in her tracks.  SHE (I found out later she was a she) looked at me, told me to go (expletive) off and walked out of my house, as if what had just happened was no big deal.  I called the police and they picked her up lumbering down the middle of the road not 200 feet from my house.  She was a meth addict with a history of violence, burglary and drug possession.  I never did find out what she was carrying.  To be honest, I never really wanted to know.

You don’t easily get over an experience like that.  The “what if’s” are endless: Thank God my wife wasn’t here.  I wish my wife had been here. What if my wife had been here?  What if I had gotten my gun?  It took me way too long to get this drug addict out of my house.  Thank God the babies didn’t cry.  Could I really shoot someone?  What if I had to shoot another human being.  I never want to have to shoot someone.  But what if I had too?  Could I live with it?  To protect my family?  Probably.  Maybe.  I don’t know.

I own guns.  I’ve owned guns since I was twelve.  A dear rifle.  Several shot guns.  A few hand guns.  I have no idea how many rounds my clips hold.  But after this experience, these guns seemed, well, insufficient.  Ironically, the idea to buy an AR-15 actually came from a trip to New York two years prior to this incident.  New Yorkers may recall, in the immediate post-9/11 world, there were law enforcement official walking around the city in full tactical gear with semi-automatic so-called “assault rifles” strapped to their chest.  You couldn’t walk a city block without seeing armed security.  It was very reassuring.  Such a show of force was such a ferocious deterrent.  These guns looked mean because they were supposed to look mean.  They were in plain sight with the hopes of each and every officer that they would never have to use them.  This display of firepower ensured that it was unlikely that the firepower would every have to be used.

AR_15-1And that is why I bought an AR-15.  I didn’t buy one so I could feel cool.  And I didn’t buy one just so I show it off or feel manly or because I like the fact that I can shoot a bunch of rounds.  I bought an AR-15 with the hopes that the sight of it would scare the crap out of anybody–sober or high.  I bought an AR-15 so I could have the security of a New Yorker while living in a town with a population of roughly 5,000..  I bought an AR-15 so that I wouldn’t have to ask twice for a criminal to get out of my house.  I bought an AR-15 with the hopes that I would never, ever, have to pull the trigger in defense of my family.

Follow me on the Twitter: @PatrickMillsaps


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3 responses

  1. Senator_Blutarsky

    He said what ? ….” wondering aloud why reasonable people would ever want to own an “assault” rifle. ” & ” I bought an AR-15 so that I wouldn’t have to ask twice for a criminal to get out of my house. I bought an AR-15 with the hopes that I would never, ever, have to pull the trigger in defense of my family.”

    Vin Suprynowicz

    A couple of loyal readers asked me, in response to my recent evisceration of the discredited “militia clause” argument, “But Vin, do you think the Founders would have written the Second Amendment that way if they’d known we’d have Uzis”?

    Leaving aside the fact that it takes extraordinary dedication and commitment (and loot) for a “civilian” of average means to legally acquire a fully automatic Israeli machine pistol in America today (since, in blatant violation of the Constitution, the federal government bans both their import and their domestic manufacture for “civilian” use), the answer is, “Yes.”

    The Founders had every opportunity to add “except for bombs, mortars, artillery, and other devices that can kill more than one person at a time” — all of which were well known by 1787. They did not. Quite to the contrary, noted federalist and friend of Madison Tench Coxe wrote in defense of the proposed Constitution, in the Pennsylvania Gazette of Feb. 20, 1788: “Their swords, and every other terrible instrument of the soldier, are the birth right of an American. … The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or the state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

    Note “unlimited.” Note “every terrible instrument.”

    Under the form of government which we’re told Americans still enjoy, the government can exercise only those powers which are delegated to it by the people. You cannot delegate a right or power which you do not already possess. Therefore, if members of the United States Army have legitimate authority to “keep and bear” Uzis and nuclear weapons, they can only have gotten that right from the individual Americans who delegated it to them.

    It doesn’t matter whether you “think this is a good idea.” If you want to contend we now have a form of government in which our rulers start with all rights and powers, and allow to the peasantry only those lesser included liberties as they see fit, say so out loud now, please. And tell me when the original Constitution was voided, and by what legal process.

    Nor do we usually or necessarily abdicate a right when we delegate it: We delegate to police the duty to chase down fleeing felons, but each citizen retains the right to go ahead and do this, himself, if circumstances dictate. Similarly, the Second and 14th amendments guarantee that we have not given up our private, individual right to keep and bear howitzers and really big machine guns, just because we have also delegated this right to the Army.

    Of particular interest is the fact that several of this week’s questioners work in the newspaper business. How would they respond, I wonder, to the proposition that the First Amendment protects only the freedom to use old-fashioned hand presses — that the Founders can’t possibly have meant to authorize unrestricted use of today’s far more dangerous, high-speed electrical presses, with their ability to spread lies and seditious, anti-government propaganda hundreds of times faster than Ben Franklin or James Madison could ever have imagined?

  2. Senator_Blutarsky

    Here is a snippet from Judge Andrew Napolitanos’ latest missive –

    The principal reason the colonists won the American Revolution is that they possessed weapons equivalent in power and precision to those of the British government. If the colonists had been limited to crossbows that they had registered with the king’s government in London, while the British troops used gunpowder when they fought us here, George Washington and Jefferson would have been captured and hanged.

    We also defeated the king’s soldiers because they didn’t know who among us was armed, because there was no requirement of a permission slip from the government in order to exercise the right to self-defense. (Imagine the howls of protest if permission were required as a precondition to exercising the freedom of speech.) Today, the limitations on the power and precision of the guns we can lawfully own not only violate our natural right to self-defense and our personal sovereignties; they assure that a tyrant can more easily disarm and overcome us.

    The historical reality of the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms is not that it protects the right to shoot deer. It protects the right to shoot tyrants, and it protects the right to shoot at them effectively, thus, with the same instruments they would use upon us.”

    full article –

    Maybe attorney Millsap needs to study the Constitution a bit more

  3. Senator_Blutarsky

    Wyoming Threatens Arrests for Federal Gun Grabbers-

    As details continue to emerge regarding gun control plans that President Barack Obama and the Democrats are pushing behind the scenes, Wyoming lawmakers have a message for the federal government: “Don’t tread on us.”

    Local radio station KTWO reports that lawmakers in Wyoming have proposed a “Firearms Protection Act” that provides a state-level annulment of any ban against semi-automatics or magazines that hold 20 or 30 rounds or more.

    full link here-

    I am sure King & Estes and Governor Dewhurst will be proposing the same, right ?

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