Armed Liberal? Lefty Gun Worshiper? What is this all about?
Well, as the old adage goes, an anti-gunner is a gun owner that just hasn't been mugged yet. Let me tell the story about how this 'almost-Progressive' Liberal became a 'gun nut'.
I grew up and lived in Illinois most of my life. I've had an interest in guns and gun culture from a very young age, thanks to my older brother who enjoyed shooting guns, reloading his own ammo and lived at home with us. As a Boy Scout (made it to Life but not Eagle) I got to shoot .22 rifles and .410 shotguns. When I tried to get into the Army for Operation Desert Shield, I was looking at getting $2000 in signing bonuses due to my high ASVAB score (94, woot!), getting several buddies to enlist and wanting to go into EOD (the guys who survived ended up mostly training the guys that explode IADs in Iraq and Afghanistan today). This money was going to go to either a .50 Cal Desert Eagle, a Colt .45 or a few things of the nature along with my FOID card. Well, thanks to a Navy Dr, I never made it into the Army and my life unfolded the way it did. The only regrets that I have is not getting those pistols somehow anyway or at least getting my FOID card and stocking away VERY cheap pre-1994 ammo.
Fast forward several years. I've been married to a Canadian Resident Alien and have a nine year old son. We've moved from Illinois to the wilds of St Louis, MO. My hobbies at this point include tabletop war gaming, paintball and woodworking. No guns, they are very much against what my wife is comfortable with. I hadn't been shooting since my days as a DEPP (Delayed Entry Program Participant, my pre-Army time).
Then, December 1 2010 everything changes.
At 4:05pm I get a call at work. My wife is panicked. Our house got broken into while she was picking our son up at school. She came home, unlocked the front door and saw that the back door had been kicked in, our big screen TV and Wii were gone and it was still warm in the house. The cats are both ok but hiding. the thieves also kicked in the service entrance to the garage but didn't take anything from there. the police were on their way, she called me second. There were footprints in the snow leading to the abandoned house behind ours.
At this point, discussions on what we could do started up after a co-worker drove me home. First, I got three 2x4's, screwed two into the baseboard and one along side the door jam to hold the back door closed until the landlord could get the door jam fixed and the service entrance to the garage replaced. Then we decided that it was time that we look into increased home and personal security.
Over the next few months, I find out that MO has some of the most nonrestrictive gun laws in the nation and also has a CCW permit that has reciprocity with several other states. There are issues, however. In MO you need to be a US Citizen in order to exercise your Natural Right to self-defense. Thankfully, my wife is very nearly a US Citizen so this is not too large an issue, especially since I was born in IL. One thing that was instilled in me during my Scouting days was a LOVE of the Constitution, which continues unabated today.
I checked out some gun stores in our area such as Cabela's, Bass Pro Shop, Rural King (well, in IL so no pistols w/o paying shipping and an FFL transfer...pesky interstate commerce regulations!) and a couple of Local Gun Shops. Most places were semi-friendly and mostly helpful. I did get a strong 'he's not MY POTUS!' and 'Liberals are Scum' vibe off of some of the gun shops so I don't go back there. Then we found a new range that had opened recently in the next county over. I figured I'd give them a shot, so to speak.
I went there on a Saturday. $20 per hour of lane time, $10 for access to their rental guns and moderate prices on the ammo that can be put into the rentals. The range doesn't own the rentals, they are on loan from the manufacturers to assist in sales so what goes into the guns is regulated to ensure no harm comes to the guns. They are fairly busy but make the time to make sure I have everything I need and to show me the proper operation of the guns I picked (some .380-based handguns as self-defense was my interest). I did pretty well, and found that I still REALLY enjoyed putting holes in paper and also found that I was pretty good with even unfamiliar pistols at 30 feet. After shooting a box of 50 .380 Auto cartridges, I had 50 holes in the black silhouette target most inside the 9 ring.
Also around this time, States Attorney Lisa Madigan of IL was calling for the Illinois State Police to release the names of all of the FOID card holders in Illinois. This sparked my desire to see the 2nd Amendment and the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution protected as much as I had worked to keep the 1st Amendment safe. The release of that information would give criminals a veritable menu of peoples' homes to burgle while they were not home to get guns fairly easily.
Over the years I had considered joining the NRA but was massively put off by the NRA-ILA's portrayal of all Liberals as Gun Grabbing 2nd Amendment haters that want to keep everyone disarmed. There were some other groups that were less anti-Liberal, but then I found the Liberal Gun Club (http://theliberalgunclub.com/). It took me less than an hour of reading what they were about and some of the forum posts to decide that this was the group for me. I signed up on the spot. The only issue - a hotly-contested one by 99% of the active membership - is that of high-capacity magazines. Otherwise, they are right along with what I believe.
Now I have started two main things, to expand the CCW permit in MO to legal immigrant aliens and to be a champion of RKBA (the Right to Keep and Bear Arms) as not a conservative-vs-liberal issue but an issue of Natural Rights vs. Gun Restriction Laws.
While I do believe that those who commit violent felonies have chosen to give up access to their rights by proving that they can not exist in society, I do not feel that guns should be restricted from any other group. Someone who has been found guilty of a non-violent Felony or a misdemeanor non-violent crime with a sentance over a year should have some method to repeal the blockage of their rights under the Contitution. Likewise, non-Citizens that are in the US as permanent residents who may or may not be heading twards Citizenship should have access to their Natural Rights as well.
While I do get some level of acceptance from conservatives when I explain my stance on being a Liberal and a RKBA activist, I have gotten a lot of pushback on the Resident Alien CCW issue.