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-   -   A Harford County Boy's Journey into 2A (https://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=232048)

Art3 January 30th, 2019 10:44 PM

A Harford County Boy's Journey into 2A
 
2 Attachment(s)
It's legislative season again, can you feel the magic in the air? I can certainly smell it as so many threads take a turn towards, "This is what you should be doing to take back the government." It can be especially frustrating when the scolding about not doing enough comes from out of state.

The worst part is, we aren't winning.

I don't have the answer for everyone, and I am certainly not intending to shame anyone into thinking they aren't doing enough. I would like to tell my humble story in the hopes that someone might connect with part of it and realize, "Yeah, I guess I maybe could do that."

I'd been around guns my entire life. While I wouldn't call myself an activist, I guess I unknowingly became sort of a grassroots 2A supporter very early on, writing papers and speeches for school. I don't know if I changed any minds, but it was safer back then. I certainly didn't get beat up for it.

I took just about every girlfriend I had shooting at least once. Many of them (ok...there weren't that many to begin with, so we'll say "most of them") had never even seen a firearm in real life. The majority of them really liked it and every single one admitted it was not as scary as they were told. I had the craziest-libbiest one of them ready to buy her own handgun...but the crazy took over and it kinda fell apart. I wouldn't be surprised at all if she did eventually buy one with her new boyfriend...who knows :shrug:

Katie came with her own guns :D

Attachment 252206

These were the halcyon days before 2013. The Clinton AWB was being survived and outlived. As far as I knew, we were safe under Bush. At first, Obama scared me enough to buy my M1A (and, in light of what was to come, I do owe him a debt of gratitude for that), but nothing really seemed to materialize. Maybe it was just blissful ignorance.

Honestly, I was almost unaware of what was brewing in 2013. I wasn't on MDS. I think it was a notification from the AGC that got Katie to join and learn about what was going on. We went to the big gun bill day (I think for the House...the one where they were not at all prepared for our numbers). We barely knew what was happening or where to go, but there were enough folks there who did. We were dressed nicely, had our little signs and made twenty some dollars worth of copies to surely go into the paper shredder. We signed up a little after 8 in the morning and finally got to speak somewhere around midnight. Katie couldn't make the next (Senate?) committee hearing, but I got a patriot (though not what anyone would call a "gun guy") co-worker to go with me. We were able to figure all this out without even knowing PP existed and only a brief inkling of MDS, although we most likely rubbed elbows with a lot of members.

After FSA2013 took effect, ending gun crime in Maryland, there didn't seem to be much going on...to us, at least. We started getting active on MDS and taking notice of the Patriot Picket. At first, they were too much. :o I'm not a people person anyway, and they just seemed too aggressive. Imagining myself in there position :eek: no, that was just waaayyy out of my comfort zone. Also, as others have worried, there were concerns about keeping my job. I work for the public school system, and there is a very clearly defined clause, including termination, for off-hours conduct. Katie's requisite security clearance could also be jeopardized.

Then, Rack got arrested. Maybe there had been embers starting to glow about wanting to get active, well, that threw gas on them. The first step was a collection for body cameras (thank you again, Slybarman). That was a great venue to throw money right at the problem, easy peasy! Like buying war bonds, I could do something without getting bloody. If I remember correctly, we watched the following Man Up Monday to make sure the Patriots were not going to be outnumbered by riot police. When it became clear that there were indeed more Patriots than handcuffs available, Katie said that she was going down there to the next one. Well, obviously that meant I was too...and it led to attending most of the Man Up Mondays.

I...kinda hate it. Don't get me wrong, being with the Patriots awesome, and seeing Rack, Stove, and DeepLurker in action is amazing. :mdpatriot They immediately embrace us as one of their own, and the camaraderie was untouchable. But...that urban setting is just not a place where this country bumpkin belongs. Going from the parking garage to the picket site, I'm looking for the city dweller boogie man to jump out and ask if I have a cigarette, or tell Katie that she's miiighty pretty...and of course I have nothing with which to defend us except my little flashlight. Once we're onsite, I'm trying to keep an eye on Katie the whole time, while not getting run over in a crosswalk or, God forbid, impeding the sidewalk or stepping out of bounds onto the mall. I'm sure the other Patriots are looking out for us the whole time. My fears probably aren't well founded at all, but that doesn't make them feel any less real. I am truly dreading going back there this season...
...but we do it :shrug: We probably won't change the minds of any legislators, but maybe one of our signs will strike a chord with a motorist or pedestrian and they'll remember. While the PP signs are bold and clever with clear targets in the legislature, we didn't always feel that we could adequately explain and express their message. The simple solution was to make our own signs, that we could stand behind with confidence.
Attachment 252207

Maybe talking to folks will enlighten one or two, or at least show them that gun owners can be people too. The way to their votes is through their hearts and minds. One woman we talked to last year, although probably not converted to voting Republican, seemed truly surprised that we could not get CCW. It seemed like maybe wheels started turning a little :shrug:

Then there's working the MSI booth...another out of comfort zone experience, that we're slowly getting comfortable with. Working with Howard and other members is great, but it took a big step to get into it.
I love being with good folks, but I'm definitely not a "people person." One of the things at gun shows that I HATE, even more than those stupid chemical reaction heating pads, is people aggressively hawking their wares...especially when their "wares" aren't even anything I can physically walk out with. I get uncomfortable trying to politely say that I'm not interested and I would never want to put someone else in that position.
Well...:o...when you get down to it, that's kinda what the MSI booth is about, right? :shrug: My solution, which seems to be working so far, is to let the customer come to me. I'll let them look at the sign and stuff before asking if they know about us or are interested. If they are walking by deliberately not looking (like I probably would be), I let them go without any harassment. Does that make me a less effective salesman/recruiter? :shrug: I don't know...but it lets me keep a clear conscience, and at least I'm showing up. Having a pretty girl at the booth next to me certainly doesn't hurt. :innocent0 Once they make eye contact with her...Gotcha! As far as my conscience goes, if you're looking at my wife, you've waived your rights to ignore me and my cause;)
Just like Rack's arrest lighting the fire under our butts to Man Up on Mondays, there was a catalyst to get me active for MSI. I joke that Bigfoot44 shamed me into it, but the truth is, I shamed myself on his behalf. I was hanging out with him as a "spectator" at the little gun show in Edgewood last year. When I first started chatting with him, I was still of the mindset that there is no way I could do something like this. After watching him in action and just a little coaching, I realized that I probably could be doing it. When I realized that he had driven over an hour to work this itty bitty show that was less than ten minutes from my house, I realized that I should be doing it.

Sooo...anybody still reading? Anybody find any encouragement or inspiration to find their own way to help the cause just a little bit more? Did the title happen to trick any of my fellow Harford Countians into reading this? You know...there is a gun show this weekend at the Bel Air Armory, and MSI can always use local help :innocent0

https://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=231873

Bob A January 31st, 2019 12:37 PM

It's hard to figure a useful reply to your post, but I feel it needs a bump.

Annapolis 2013 and its aftermath was an eye-opener for me. In excess of 4000 people showing up to protest a bill was heart-warming and unheard-of; the usual numbers topped out at around 40. The fact that the GA pushed the bill through anyway was pretty discouraging. Obviously something had to be done.

Joining MSI was a no-brainer, though I was unable to be any sort of active participant due to my job. Watching Rack doing his solo appearance at the White House over Ebola certainly brought him into focus, and demonstrated that demonstrating could have an effect.

PP evenings at Annapolis followed, and was enlightening regarding the feelings of our legislators, both pro and con, and meeting up with a number of like-minded folk was a good thing - I tend toward the reclusive, and finding people who felt strongly about this 2A issue was encouraging. I freely admit that Jeff's out front personality, and most especially his welcoming inclusiveness drew me in, and his determination inspired a similar response in me.

Finally retired, MSI at gun shows was also outside my comfort zone; my ability to use written words does not transfer to my speaking ability. Nevertheless, I am able to rope in a number of potential members, while leaving the salesmanship to those who excel at it. Michael Burke, that's you. It is a little disappointing to see the same folks manning the MSI booths; I would encourage all MSI members to sign up at least once, to see how it works. I can't adequately express my respect for those who do this regularly. ShafTed lives in PA, and does nearly every show; certainly some who live closer ought to come by and lend a hand if they can.

It's our Constitution, for as long as we can keep it. Don't leave it in someone else's hand to preserve and protect - it will be someone else's hand who grabs your guns, and such rights as may remain.

Art3 January 31st, 2019 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob A (Post 5463290)
It's hard to figure a useful reply to your post, but I feel it needs a bump.

Annapolis 2013 and its aftermath was an eye-opener for me. In excess of 4000 people showing up to protest a bill was heart-warming and unheard-of; the usual numbers topped out at around 40. The fact that the GA pushed the bill through anyway was pretty discouraging. Obviously something had to be done.

Joining MSI was a no-brainer, though I was unable to be any sort of active participant due to my job. Watching Rack doing his solo appearance at the White House over Ebola certainly brought him into focus, and demonstrated that demonstrating could have an effect.

PP evenings at Annapolis followed, and was enlightening regarding the feelings of our legislators, both pro and con, and meeting up with a number of like-minded folk was a good thing - I tend toward the reclusive, and finding people who felt strongly about this 2A issue was encouraging. I freely admit that Jeff's out front personality, and most especially his welcoming inclusiveness drew me in, and his determination inspired a similar response in me.

Finally retired, MSI at gun shows was also outside my comfort zone; my ability to use written words does not transfer to my speaking ability. Nevertheless, I am able to rope in a number of potential members, while leaving the salesmanship to those who excel at it. Michael Burke, that's you. It is a little disappointing to see the same folks manning the MSI booths; I would encourage all MSI members to sign up at least once, to see how it works. I can't adequately express my respect for those who do this regularly. ShafTed lives in PA, and does nearly every show; certainly some who live closer ought to come by and lend a hand if they can.

It's our Constitution, for as long as we can keep it. Don't leave it in someone else's hand to preserve and protect - it will be someone else's hand who grabs your guns, and such rights as may remain.

Hmm...:tap:...you're right. I guess I sure didn't leave much invitation for a response :o Thank you for the well though out reply and continued support :mdpatriot

knovotny February 1st, 2019 11:49 AM

I'm glad you've been such a good sport with me dragging you into things that are out of your comfort zone.

Fighting the good fight gets emotionally draining. The SAD has been strong this winter and I've struggled with the emotional energy to be involved with it the past couple of months. Fortunately the days are getting longer, and the SAD is lifting, so it's time to get to work again.

Then I read the posts on here about when are we going to start fighting back. I wish I could reach through my phone and slap those people. Especially the out of staters who ask when we are going to finally get serious and take a stand. Just take a stand and stop them. Right... Because 2013 worked. Yes we keep fighting, and I am eternally grateful for those who are really out there on the front lines year round, day after day, year after year.

But Art3, back to your post. I am so lucky to go through this life with my Harford County boy who is willing to fight for the 2a right beside me. You are the smartest, funniest person I know, and you really make a difference with your well thought out, well spoken discussions with people. Unlike my rambling musings in this post.

DivingDriver February 1st, 2019 12:27 PM

Good post. I am able to usually work the booth at the Chantily VA show and the Southern MD events,usually with my bride by my side also. Funny thing is she gets more people to sign up than I do. All the folks you listed are in my opinion real heroes. Many travel great distances to get there and then put in an eight hour plus day,then drive back home.
I suffered from the same fears that you did but like you found out that this can be fun! The people that we meet and fellow MSI and MD Shooters that introduce themselves to me are a great experience and we really enjoy chatting to them. You guys might be surprised but a lot of our MSI members are from other states than Maryland.
Living in a rural area like we do it can be a pain to get up early in the morning to make your shift but we find ourselves working the afternoon gig also just to help out.
The Patriot Picket presence at nap town is also another great time together. You get to watch the politicians scurry over to the other side of the street while desperately trying to ignore you.
Guess what I’m trying to say is if you’ve never participated come on down! The waters fine and I promise you no one will judge you. Hell you might find out that you have a gift you never knew about. To all those that I’ve worked the booth with,walked the line with,stood up to people that were just out of their ever loving minds screaming at us I consider it a privilege that you allow me to stand next to you .

Art3 October 10th, 2019 11:34 PM

Bumping this thread...to trick local folks into looking at this one:
https://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=238819 :innocent0

I'm kinda proud of my "Hazzard" (ugh...yes, everyone has to make that joke at some point :rolleye12 ) County, especially from a 2A standpoint. My Sheriff Gahler was down there in Annapolis with us until 4am, and it was my Delegate Arikan who shredded the HBAR ban fool.:party29:

There are a lot of members on here from Harford. Some show it proudly as their location or introduction. Some don't wave the flag, but let it slip where they are from in conversation...and I notice ;)

It frustrates me, though, that MSI has such a hard time staffing the booth at our shows. Sure, volunteers are hard to find anywhere, but, these are my people...our people.:sad20:

As keeper of the booth, Howard (ShafTed), has to drive here (1.5hrs) and back twice just to bring the show. I am grateful and humbled by his dedication :bowdown: I'm sure he would love to not have to make that three hour round trip this Saturday.

I was feeling a little guilty that I scheduled a fun day for myself at the AGC steel match this Saturday :o But, darnit!, there has to be somebody else who can help :shrug: Maybe...maybe Mike Burke or someone will swoop in to save the day. :fingerscrossed: (but he isn't exactly local either).

Sure, Harford shows are small, but that's a great way to start out. After working with/watching one of the "regulars," it's a pretty simple gig to figure out. It's not like we are in enemy territory. In addition to helping the 2A community, it is also very eye opening for the volunteer. You can meet some genuine fudds that are worthless to our cause, some die hard supporters, and a lot of folks who not only have no idea what is (has been) going on in Annapolis, but also don't think/know that there is anything they can do.

Getting them on board (even if it's just the mailing list), and empowering them to engage their voices in Annapolis is what it is all about. Who knows, the member you sign up this weekend just might run the booth at the next show. :shrug: It's kind of like a pyramid scheme...that we all win. :mdpatriot

hodgepodge October 14th, 2019 08:39 PM

I agree with the OP.

So we keep fighting. Any way we can.

Art3 February 16th, 2020 11:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This session has been expensive. My Ol' Jeep (the good ones are always "Ol'," right?) doesn't do very well on the highways, so we've been taking Katie's truck to the range and Annapolis. Well, those miles were adding up...so, to help out, I did the best thing I could think of and brought a 2013 Ford Flex named Ruby home from Carmax two weeks ago (in 5.5 years, she'll be all mine). What else could I have done? :shrug:

Attachment 278032

Ruby handles the highways like a dream...but it is still getting old. When all is said and done, I figure I'll have burned about 12 days of leave. For all her sexiness, Ruby ain't exactly easy on gas. I'm guestermating about $15+ in gas each day. $5 to park, $8 for the shuttle and whatever two tunnel tolls cost...plus food. Even taking a car payment out of the equation, it adds up. I also bought a new suit and even got one of those smarty phones (the kind that doesn't fold in half) to be able to keep up with MDS in Annapolis. Those weren't welcomed expenses right after Christmas either :innocent0...but, for the cause, right? :shrug:

There will not be a vacation this summer, and a lot of the wish list is on hold. :sad20:

Katie has been down there even more than I have. Fortunately, she's been on night shift, so she only uses a little bit of leave on the days that run long. I just couldn't go with her every time. I won't quite deplete all of my leave by the end of session, but my lack of being on the job is already wearing thin.

How many other Constitutional rights cost this much to keep?:mad54:

Kicken Wing February 18th, 2020 12:02 AM

I am glad that you bumped this post. This is the first time that I have sen it. I have to say that we have somethings in common outside of guns.

I was not a gun owner until the summer of 2012. Then December of that year rolls around and the the Newtown Connecticut tragedy happened. The TV news was non-stop anti-gun from sun up to sun down. The push for anti gun legislation on a national level was in the main spotlight. This is when I started paying attention to the political aspect of gun ownership. I Immediately joined the NRA. Eventually I joined MSI, GOA, Second Amendment Foundation and FPC. I gave money and sent emails when they called for action. It was my first time felling like "I was doing something" vs just sitting back and doing nothing.

The next thing I know, FSA of 2013 was being pushed through the MGA. I read that bill and kept up with the amendments. I went on a buying spree, purchasing the things that I really wanted. I was surprised to find out that when I brought up this gun legislation with my friends that were long time gun owners, they had no idea of the law that was moving forward. No details at all. I still have the first draft printed out in a binder as well as the final bill. There are a lot of highlighted areas in that notebook as well as notes in the margins. I did a lot of research from the beginning of January 2013 all the way up until the last day, October 1, 2013 when the law took affect. I did good in terms of securing a stash of goodies. I was still left with the feeling of shock about my firearm friendly friends and their lack of what just happened.

I was lurking on this site before I actually signed up and joined in 2014. It took a long time for me to start posting. I used this site as a source of info and I felt like it kept me in the loop in terms of what was going on in terms of 2A issues.

Skip forward to last year's MGA session, I was glued to my computer watching the hearings while I was trying to work on my projects at the same time. My attention for several days was laser focused on the MGA hearings and work went off to the side. I watched all day and all night long. I felt like i was missing my calling last year at the hearings. I wanted my voice to be heard.

Forward to December of this year. I KNEW I was not going to sit back and NOT participate in SOMETHING this year. I watched the procedure on my pc live last year. I had a feeling for what takes place inside of the buildings. After attending my first MSI meeting in December, I met a handful of you guys, Art3, Stoveman, Bigfoot44, ShafTed, Jeff and a few others. I asked Jeff and a small group of you guys what to expect at the hearing and how things go down. I was already determined that I was down for this upcoming session.

Once the sessions started this year I was fortunate enough to stumble into Art3 and Knvotony in the Senate building as I was ready to upload testimony. I was also fortunate enough to get to tag along with you all day and meet some people that I otherwise would not have come into contact with. The day was interesting to say the least and I was happy that I went to express myself before the Senate and the House. I had testimony prepared for the Senate but nothing for the House. Art3 convinced me to just sign up for oral testimony and say a few words. I did it.

I made my second trip to Annapolis this year on February 5 for SB208 and HB265. I felt a little more comfortable this time, knowing what to expect. The first thing I saw when I walked into the Senate building was Bigfoot44, smiling as usual. We stuck together for a while that day, uploading testimony and joining the PP for some sidewalk messaging. I felt far more comfortable testifying before the Senate this time. More confidence. I am not a people person either and arguing is not one of my favorite things to do. I would rather be having some fun indulging in one of my many hobbies. I also worked a shift at the MSI booth this year in Frederick, the first show by Appalachian along with ShafTed and Bigfoot44. I greatly appreciate their guidance and I plan on working one shift at the Frederick shows from her on out. I am not a salesman either but I learned a lot by watching those 2 guys that day. As long as I have some good people beside of me like those 2, I have no problem taking up a shift at a show that is close by.

Circling back to the first post in this thread, I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone this year and I am glad that I did. I am meeting a lot of great people this year. I have 2 more definite dates that I can make this session. If the AWB makes it to hearing, then I will attend those as well. I am just going to say this... to anyone that is sitting back and feeling like they are missing their calling when all of this is going on, jump in and do something. If I can do it then so can you.

Art3 February 18th, 2020 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kicken Wing (Post 5789863)
I am glad that you bumped this post. This is the first time that I have sen it. I have to say that we have somethings in common outside of guns.

I was not a gun owner until the summer of 2012. Then December of that year rolls around and the the Newtown Connecticut tragedy happened. The TV news was non-stop anti-gun from sun up to sun down. The push for anti gun legislation on a national level was in the main spotlight. This is when I started paying attention to the political aspect of gun ownership. I Immediately joined the NRA. Eventually I joined MSI, GOA, Second Amendment Foundation and FPC. I gave money and sent emails when they called for action. It was my first time felling like "I was doing something" vs just sitting back and doing nothing.

The next thing I know, FSA of 2013 was being pushed through the MGA. I read that bill and kept up with the amendments. I went on a buying spree, purchasing the things that I really wanted. I was surprised to find out that when I brought up this gun legislation with my friends that were long time gun owners, they had no idea of the law that was moving forward. No details at all. I still have the first draft printed out in a binder as well as the final bill. There are a lot of highlighted areas in that notebook as well as notes in the margins. I did a lot of research from the beginning of January 2013 all the way up until the last day, October 1, 2013 when the law took affect. I did good in terms of securing a stash of goodies. I was still left with the feeling of shock about my firearm friendly friends and their lack of what just happened.

I was lurking on this site before I actually signed up and joined in 2014. It took a long time for me to start posting. I used this site as a source of info and I felt like it kept me in the loop in terms of what was going on in terms of 2A issues.

Skip forward to last year's MGA session, I was glued to my computer watching the hearings while I was trying to work on my projects at the same time. My attention for several days was laser focused on the MGA hearings and work went off to the side. I watched all day and all night long. I felt like i was missing my calling last year at the hearings. I wanted my voice to be heard.

Forward to December of this year. I KNEW I was not going to sit back and NOT participate in SOMETHING this year. I watched the procedure on my pc live last year. I had a feeling for what takes place inside of the buildings. After attending my first MSI meeting in December, I met a handful of you guys, Art3, Stoveman, Bigfoot44, ShafTed, Jeff and a few others. I asked Jeff and a small group of you guys what to expect at the hearing and how things go down. I was already determined that I was down for this upcoming session.

Once the sessions started this year I was fortunate enough to stumble into Art3 and Knvotony in the Senate building as I was ready to upload testimony. I was also fortunate enough to get to tag along with you all day and meet some people that I otherwise would not have come into contact with. The day was interesting to say the least and I was happy that I went to express myself before the Senate and the House. I had testimony prepared for the Senate but nothing for the House. Art3 convinced me to just sign up for oral testimony and say a few words. I did it.

I made my second trip to Annapolis this year on February 5 for SB208 and HB265. I felt a little more comfortable this time, knowing what to expect. The first thing I saw when I walked into the Senate building was Bigfoot44, smiling as usual. We stuck together for a while that day, uploading testimony and joining the PP for some sidewalk messaging. I felt far more comfortable testifying before the Senate this time. More confidence. I am not a people person either and arguing is not one of my favorite things to do. I would rather be having some fun indulging in one of my many hobbies. I also worked a shift at the MSI booth this year in Frederick, the first show by Appalachian along with ShafTed and Bigfoot44. I greatly appreciate their guidance and I plan on working one shift at the Frederick shows from her on out. I am not a salesman either but I learned a lot by watching those 2 guys that day. As long as I have some good people beside of me like those 2, I have no problem taking up a shift at a show that is close by.

Circling back to the first post in this thread, I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone this year and I am glad that I did. I am meeting a lot of great people this year. I have 2 more definite dates that I can make this session. If the AWB makes it to hearing, then I will attend those as well. I am just going to say this... to anyone that is sitting back and feeling like they are missing their calling when all of this is going on, jump in and do something. If I can do it then so can you.

I remember reading your thread before the session even started about being ready to fight. I'm glad you've lived up to it! You've certainly rocketed up to the "A-team" in my book, and it is always an honor sharing the fight with you :mdpatriot

It's a frustratingly stupid fight though...and by that I mean it is stupid that we have to fight so hard for something that should be so clear. If only the Founding Fathers had used less confusing language than, "right of the people," and, "shall not be infringed" :sarcasm:

Just imagine what good could be done in this state if all the energy (time, money, resources, thought process, keyboarding, pestering legislators, etc.) that was poured into this "stupid fight," from both sides, could be put together towards something positive:sad20:

About the only upside to the "stupid fight" is getting to meet awesome patriots that we never would have otherwise :party29:


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