Tim Cooper, Family 1st Defense
I am pro-2nd Amendment, own guns and, yes, I have concealed a pistol license (CPL). Due to the stereotypes casually tossed around by certain politicians and members of the media, some try to peg me as a fringe element, overzealous religious fanatic, who might be planning the next sensational mass shooting. Of course, that is not true and you are probably not that judgmental. Still, you may have a few of misconceptions about the average CPL holder.
It’s my belief that the original intent of the 2nd Amendment was not to protect hunters’ rights or give the government the right to create the National Guard. It was intended to give individual, law-abiding citizens like you and me the right to own and carry firearms for self-defense. As an American, I take great pride in knowing the 2nd Amendment does not discriminate — it extends to all citizens regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. By the same token, I understand guns aren’t for everyone and respect the wishes of those who choose not to own and carry them.
As an average CPL holder, I am responsible and respect our laws, including those governing firearms. Did you know citizens who legally carry concealed in Michigan are required to register there fingerprints and handgun serial numbers with law enforcement? That’s right — I voluntarily give the police advance notice that I own and carry firearms, which makes it quite difficult for me to get away with a gun crime (or any crime at all for that matter). This fact helps explain the results of one recent study, published by the Crime Prevention Research Center. It found that, as a group, CPL holders have been convicted of 83% fewer of crimes than even police officers – in other words, we are among the most law-abiding people in the country.
I own multiple firearms, not as a “wannabe” cop or soldier but as an educated individual who recognizes different guns have different applications — hunting, home defense, and concealed carry to name a few. These weapons do not grant me special powers. They are simply last resort options, available to protect me and the ones I love. Carrying a gun is not a paranoid response to social issues. It’s a recognition that evil exists in this world. A CPL holder refuses to be a victim.
Some say a gun on my waist makes me dangerous but I pose a threat to no one. Safety is my top priority. I’m the prepared guy who drives around with a battery booster, flashlight, and tow straps in my truck, ready to help if you’re stranded. I lock-up my firearms to keep them away from children and criminals, and regularly train at local shooting ranges to pound safe gun handling habits into muscle memory. As an average CPL holder, I follow a code of conduct that encourages the mentorship of new gun owners to make them safe and responsible too.
But here is what you really need to know about me: In most ways, I’m just like you. I love my family, go to work every day, own a business in the local community, and stand behind you at the convenience store waiting to pay. By the way, that guy who just entered the store owns a gun too and stuffed it down his pants before getting out of his car. He’s looking for some quick cash to support his drug habit and doesn’t care who he hurts to get it. When one of us can finally make the 911 call, the police will be at least 4½ minutes away ….
Pleased to meet you. I’m an average CPL holder, joining millions of others across the United States who are men and women, Republicans and Democrats, members of every race and religion, LGBTQ and straight. Until you can guarantee me the bad guys aren’t carrying guns, I just feel safer having my own. You are welcome to disagree with my beliefs, but please refrain from lumping me in with the perpetrators of violent crime. I’m on your side.