Photo courtesy The Tennessean.

by John Naese

( – Back in the day, Johnny Cash had a hit song, “One Piece at a Time” in which he told the story of working on a car assembly line, and taking home the pieces to build his own Caddilac, one piece at a time.  It took so many years to bring home all the parts, he had a car that stretched over 20 model years, and looked nothing like what he thought it would.  The parts didn’t all fit together, and he had to do some drilling and some adapting to make it work.

The position of guns in our society reminds me of that song.  We all have a picture in our minds of what gun rights and the gun culture should look like.  But we can’t get what we have a picture of in our mind all at once; in the song, the guy couldn’t afford it, in our case, it just does not exist as most of us remember it or would like it to.

But we can put gun rights and the gun culture back together, one piece at a time.

Some fed-up regular folks and some risk-taking attorneys took up the Heller case – and got a favorable decision.  That’s one piece of the gun culture.

The NRA has grown from a governing body for competition shooting to the 800 pound gorilla of the lobbying and political world, with over 4 million members.  That’s another piece of the gun culture put where it should be.

Other groups, such as, have grown up to fill the niches not being filled by the national or state groups.  Another piece on the way to our goal.

New sports, such as sporting clays and cowboy action shooting, are giving people reasons to get back out to the range, after an absence of years.  Another piece stolen from the anti-gunners who want to legislate our culture out of existence.

But as the assembly line worker found out in the song, it’s not easy to get all the pieces we need to complete our project – nor is it quick.

So what can you, personally, do to help restore gun rights and the gun culture?

1.  Get out and shoot.  Join a club or a range and make it a point to get out there regularly.  Have a goal in mind, and then implement a plan to achieve that goal.  Try a sport or a discipline.  Try several, in fact, and when you find a passion for one, pursue it.

2.  Get some training.  (Goes right along with #1.)  If you think you’re too old or too self-consious to get training, get over it and do it anyway.  You’re never too old to start having fun, and if you learn to do a discipline right, you’ll have a lot more fun doing it.  And just about any type of sport shooting is lot more fun than most of what’s on TV nowadays.  So turn off the TV and start having some real fun.

3.  Get others involved.  Don’t go to the range by yourself; invite someone to come with you.  Try different team shooting drills, take turns spotting for each other, and have some fun at the range.  The same goes for training events; there’s no sense driving by yourself if you can go with someone else to share the expense, the ride, and the experience.

4.  After you’ve done 1, 2, and 3, take up some of the burden.  Organize a shoot at your range, and try to get people out for it.  It’s difficult; don’t give up if only two people show up for the first shoot you supervise.  Persist.  Talk it up, keep recruiting, and pretty soon you’ll have folks thanking you for giving them a chance to get off the couch and come out to a fun event.

There are lots of other things you can do, but the most important thing you can do is do something.  Talk is not “something”.  Thinking about doing something is not “something”.  Making excuses (I’ll get out to the range when X,Y, and Z are done) is not doing “something.”

Gun rights and the gun culture will not magically appear in your driveway.  You’ve got to help build it, “One Piece at a Time”.