In Defense of the 2nd Amendment

Jerah Hutchins is owner of Texas-based Clearing the Chamber, a firearms training company in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. On Thursday, October 10, Ms. Hutchins was invited to testify at the DFW Gun Rights Hearing – a forum hosted by Texas state legislature, allowing citizens to express their views on firearms legislation and the 2nd Amendment.

Here is a video of Jerah’s amazing testimony:

While her words should encourage everyone to hold our elected officials accountable for standing up for our Constitutional rights, they are especially impactful to women. 

Make Your Vehicle a “Gun Sticker-Free Zone”

Tim Cooper
Family 1st Defense

One of my favorite columnists in the firearms industry is Beth Alcazar. She writes and blogs for the United States Concealed Carry Association, a fine organization to which I am also affiliated. Beth has a special gift for being passionate about firearms and our 2nd Amendment rights, without the bombastic demeanor exhibited by so many industry pundits.

In a recent USCCA post, Stick With This, Beth shares a recent conversation with an attorney friend and colleague who makes important distinctions between bumper stickers that display threatening and inflammatory messages about guns (“I don’t call 911, I call .357” for example), and those that simply promote causes and organizations we support (like “Crime Control, not Gun Control”). The attorney explains how the former might draw scrutiny from a prosecutor and jury in the aftermath of a shooting in self-defense, while the latter could demonstrate a commitment to safe and responsible behavior. He cautions owners to show restraint. This is great advice but I take an even more conservative approach when it comes to stickers on my car and truck: I avoid them altogether.

Making my vehicle a “gun sticker-free zone” draws attention from no one – and that’s just fine. If the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, the last thing I want to do is stand out from my surroundings. Although a USCCA decal on my rear window would not likely inflame a jury if – God forbid – I ever have to shoot someone in self-defense, it could telegraph the fact that I am armed. That makes me a high-priority target, threatens my safety and negates any tactical advantage I may have had. I also apply the same guarded philosophy to my wardrobe. I have lots of great looking, catchy, pro-2nd Amendment apparel but choose to save it for trips to the shooting range and events where I’m around like-minded people.

Bland bumpers, boring windows and politically-neutral tee shirts are statements unto themselves – we are not required to make every part of our world an extension of the narcissistic social media! Furthermore, it’s in our best interest to encourage drivers and passersby to pay attention to their surroundings. The bumper sticker phrase “if you can read this, you’re too close” comes to mind.

When it comes to publicly advertising your views about about firearms and the 2nd Amendment, my advice is just don’t do it. In the words of US President Theodore Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Meet an Average Concealed Pistol License Holder

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.