Guns Democratize Military Power As Chattanoogans Rush To Buy ‘High-Cap’ Clips

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - by David Tulis
Amiee Martin, an owner of Shooters Depot in Chattanooga, grabs a Mini-14 from a wall rack to show a customer.
Amiee Martin, an owner of Shooters Depot in Chattanooga, grabs a Mini-14 from a wall rack to show a customer.

On his 18th birthday my eldest son David went to Shooters Depot on Shallowford Road and purchased a Ruger 10/22, one of the world’s best .22-caliber semiautomatic rifles that comes with a standard-issue 10-bullet clip. 

On the same day he received from me a rifle. He spent some time and effort to modify his two weapons to suit a need to be “ready.” This state of mind is very guy. A second son, 16, keeps asking me when I am going to Shooters Depot so he can have replace a peep sight with another on a rifle I gave him for Christmas (he supposes he cannot transport it on a learner’s permit; will have to check on that).

John Martin, who owns Shooters Depot and deals with crowds of shoppers from behind the glass counter, understands the cultural frame of reference that makes Americans such as my sons seek a stake in the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Since the Sandy Hook massacre of public school children, the caterwauling against lawful gun-owners such as David, local banker Melissa Lopez and former corrections worker Shawn Haas has increased in all official media. 

It is said that massacres are the fault of pistols and rifles, and that to prevent angry and drug-addled people from going berserk, the rights of such common people as these need to be infringed by a holy prohibition, and the sooner the better. 

‘High capacity’ firepower, personal responsibility

Mr. Martin, whose family opened Shooters Depot in April 2010, says Americans are an armed and free people, and that their insistence on exercising their rights is a bar to totalitarianism. Driving sales at Chattanooga gun shops today is ammo clip size: “It’s simply high capacity.” 

He’s just talked about M1 carbines with customer Shawn Haas, 29, a former corrections officer who’s started work at Volkswagen. Mr. Haas explains why, at that moment, 13 customers are milling about the gunshop floor. “For their protection. It’s their right to protect themselves against anyone who wants to do them harm,” he says. “There’s not enough police and security to protect them. I don’t have a cop following me around every day to protect me. So it’s my responsibility.” 

Nearby, Miss Lopez, the woman employed at FSG bank, makes a similar comment: “I enjoy being able to know that I can protect myself if I were ever in a situation that I would be called to do so. I also enjoy shooting for the fun of it.” 

The spark igniting boom in business: Politicians

“Our sales are up 2½ times what they normally are,” Mr. Martin says. “I’m doing a month’s worth of work in a week. People are afraid they’re going to lose their firearm rights.” 

We’ve ducked into Mr. Martin’s office. Should every American have a stake in the 2nd Amendment? “If you want to defend yourself you should. Police response is probably 3 to 12 minutes in most situations. In three minutes you could be gone as a perpetrator. I could be hurt or a dead. If you want to defend yourself  you need a firearm. The police aren’t going to do it. The federal government can’t do it.  Who’s going to do it? Your neighbor?” 

I point out, as former judge Andrew Napolitano does in an excellent essay on Lewrockwell.com six days ago, that the United States lacks any lawful police power, one left to each of the 50 states within its own borders. 

No pussyfooting from behind pistol counter

“Firearms were developed to take life, whether it was game or humans. It’s a lethal weapon,” Mr. Martin declares. “The same thing as a knife. Same thing as a spear. Same thing as an arrow. However, over time we have turned those items to other functions. Knives you can cook with — culinary. Knives you can do surgery with — to save lives. Firearms haven’t evolved that much.  About all we do with firearms is entertain ourselves, and compete. Other than that, it is a weapon of destruction. And we teach responsible safety. We teach the law, provided by the state of Tennessee. We teach people how to use this weapon of destruction safely, so that they don’t harm anyone they do not intend to harm. We teach them the law and the law gives them the right to own a firearm and what they are allowed to do with that firearm. We don’t want a George Zimmerman and a Treyvon Martin situation here in Chattanooga.

“And thank God we haven’t had one yet. We have six handgun carry classes a week, David — six. We have 15 people in a class. You can do the math. That’s a hundred a week. 

“People are afraid” because of a poor economy. “People are afraid. And now we got a president that’s making a bully platform saying he’s going to do something to curtail  your rights to own a handgun or a long rifle, or, as he likes to constantly refer to it, an assault weapon — because it just looks like an M16.” 

A gentle contradiction worth considering

“We as a population, we as a nation, have a right to defend ourselves against an aggressive nation. Our forefathers were talking about our own country.  They weren’t talking about England, or France, or Iraq or Iran. They were talking about an aggressive nation that wanted to impose its will on us. That’s why it’s intrinsic. That’s why it’s important. We have the right to defend ourselves from an army that marches on us from Washington, D.C. Do you know that the largest army in the world is the state of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota? There are more deer  hunting licenses sold in Michigan and Wisconsin and Minnesota than the army of China. That’s why they’re afraid of America. That’s why our government is afraid of us because we have the right to defend ourselves.” 

“So the United States is afraid of America — the United States Inc.?” I ask him why he is such a pessimist, given that firearms permeate American culture and are as rooted in it as the right to vote or the right of free speech. 

Mr. Martin presses on in speculative bleakness into the next 50 to 100 years. “People will lose interest in the shooting sports, which is hunting and competition. Then the only guns that are going to be left are the guns that are truly personal and self-defense. And I believe that at some point in time the ability to own a firearm to protect yourself will be eradicated from this country. I believe that with all my heart.” 

“Maybe they’ll go bankrupt first,” I growl. 

“Maybe we will,” Mr. Martin says, breaking into a laugh.

— David Tulis writes for Nooganomics.com, which covers local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.

Dr. Livesay Should Step Down From Bryan College Leadership - And Response (8)

I am writing in response to the July 25th article, "Online Petition Seeks Removal of Bryan College President, Board Chair".  As a graduate of Bryan College (1984), I am saddened by the response of Dr. Stephen Livesay and the Board of Trustees regarding the online petition.  The purpose of the petition really has little to do with the school’s “clarification” of its ... (click for more)

A Pox On Both Their Houses

Americans all across this country should be aware of how really dishonest both major political parties are being with their constituents as they try to rally voters to their side of the health care debate.   First of all, on the Republican side, having the defunding of Planned Parenthood in their bill means they are already behind the eight ball as they try to muster the ... (click for more)

Bill Kilbride To Retire As Chamber CEO; To Step Down Dec. 31; Chamber Starts Transition Process

Bill Kilbride, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber, has announced that he is retiring from his position effective  Dec. 31 .   Larry Buie, chairman of the Chamber board of directors, expressed his appreciation for Bill's efforts. He said, “Bill Kilbride has led us through the past three years to a place of excellence in terms of strategic leadership. Among ... (click for more)

Corker Votes For Amendment To Repeal Core Elements Of Obamacare; Alexander Votes Against It

Senator Bob Corker voted for an amendment to repeal the core elements of Obamacare, while allowing for a reasonable transition period for a replacement to be developed and implemented. “As I have said before, I believe the best path forward is for Congress to repeal Obamacare after a reasonable transition period,” said Senator Corker. “This amendment would take us back ... (click for more)

Barons Bounce Back Wednesday Beating Lookouts, 3-1

After dropping game one, 9-4, Tuesday, the Birmingham Barons (13-19) nipped the Chattanooga Lookouts (24-8), 3-1. Fans at Wednesday night's game were treated to a pitcher's duel between two former first-round draft picks -- Chattanooga's Kohl Stewart and Birmingham's Stephen Kopech. Kopech struck out 12 hitters over six innings and the Barons' bullpen did the rest. Kopech ... (click for more)

SEC Annouces Television Schedule For First Three Weeks Of 2017 Season

The SEC Office on Tuesday announced the start times for games on the SEC Network during the first three weeks of the 2017 season.   The SEC Network Saturday schedule opens with three games on September 2 .  The Network will air six games on the second week of the season and five games in Week 3.  The first Conference matchup of the year on the ... (click for more)