To Keep and Bear Memories

by Keith Coniglio

Given the current state of our nation, it's easy to fixate solely on the practical and political aspects of our Second Amendment. But I'd like you to take a moment to consider another facet; something deeper, more fundamental, and frankly more important.

Several weeks ago, I took my seven-year-old son to the range for some practice with his .22 rifle. As we left, we ran into another family unit - a boy and a girl about my son's age, their father, and his father - coming in for an afternoon of plinking.

As they set up, I couldn't help but overhear the girl refer to one of their rifles as "Grandpa's gun." Sure enough, I soon learned that it was the .22 the older gentleman had owned since his youth - a gift from his own parents, from before the Great Depression.

It struck me then that what we were doing went far beyond target practice. We were connecting our past to our futures.

My family inherited a number of guns from my father-in-law, a retired officer of the NYPD who walked a beat from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. We have both his S&W Model 10 duty revolver, its finish worn to a dull grey patina from years of holster carry, and his off-duty Model 36 snub nose. We also have his father's hunting rifle, a simple Remington .30-06, with Lyman sights somewhat crudely but effectively installed.

I've hunted deer with that rifle, the same one that put needed meat on the table when my father-in-law was a small boy. My wife, herself a concealed-carrier, chose to carry her dad's J-frame as her personal protection firearm. Our daughter, ready to move beyond .22s in her practice, is learning on the revolver her grandfather used to protect himself and a city of eight million during the violence-soaked "murder years" of New York City's history.

These simple machines of wood and blued steel are more than just utilitarian tools or relics of an unfathomable past. They're time machines, and tangible examples of why we need to preserve our Second Amendment.

Defending that Constitutional right isn't about dogmatically preserving some legal protection written almost two and half centuries ago. It's about lovingly preserving our history as a people, and family memories stretching back generations. It's about instilling in future citizens of our Republic the values that have defined American culture since our nation's inception: an independent spirit; the ability to provide for ourselves and our families; the willingness to meet evil head on with force, if needed. It's about the continuity of something noble and good, a light in the darkness.

By all means, keep training with your carry guns. Keep challenging political and legal threats to our rights as gun owners. But remember to take the time to make memories - lasting connections - for the next generations. Your future great-grandchildren will thank you.

Keith Coniglio is a father, software tester, NRA-certified pistol instructor, and devoted Second Amendment advocate. He is also the editor-in-chief of Descendants of Liberty Press, a site dedicated to rekindling Americans' passion for - and defense of - their Constitutional rights and personal liberty.