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We’ve been working on this design for 3 years now. Finally we have it completed! I’ve always been fascinated with guns. My Grandfather was a backwoods trapper and hunter from Wisconsin. He passed on the hunting torch to his 4 sons. And my Father taught me how to hunt around the age of 10. After learning the art of shooting a BB gun, I upgraded to a pellet gun. Then he got me a shotgun and I got honed my skills bird hunting. When I became a teenager, I was old enough to hunt big game like deer and javelina. I took the hunters safety course and that added to me being more proficient at handling firearms.  After passing that class, we went javelina hunting in the Fort Huachuca area. After 4 days with no luck, we started the drive home. My Dad spotted a good lookout area off the road, so we pulled over for one last chance. After glassing the hill for half an hour, my Dad spotted a javelina. I was the only one with a rifle, and my Dad really wanted me to succeed on the hunt, so I got the first shot. Through the scope I saw a javelina for the first time. Up until that point, I really had no idea what they looked like. I held my breath and fired hitting pig in the perfect spot. He was dead, but then it happened. Another javelina, who I assumed was his mother, ran to his rescue and stood over the body of the dead pig as if to protect him. The bristles on her back stood on end as my Father yelled “give me the gun!” I was mortified as the realization that I killed her baby. I held onto the gun until the mother ran off, and my Dad didn’t get the shot.

After that, I stopped hunting big game and only went bird hunting a couple more times. When I went off to college, my Dad decided to give me his .22 pistol. He’d had it when he was a kid, and passed it on to me. I didn’t feel the need to hunt with it anymore, but I still loved target shooting. I kept the pistol underneath my waterbed (it was the early 90s and they were in). But one day I got the urge to take the gun out from hiding, and put it on my headboard. To this day, there is no logical reason for why I did that. Anyways, a day or two later my friends and I went to a party. We returned that night pretty buzzed from the kegger. I remember Bob Marley’s “don’t worry bout a thing” playing when suddenly the door busted open. Around 15 people stormed into our apartment. My friends were laughing at what was going on, but I felt something was wrong. So I got up from the couch and walked towards my bedroom. One of the intruders asked if this was where the party was? By that time I was looking down the hallway with my back to my bedroom. My friend Scott was seated in a chair facing one of the guys. He told Scott to stand up, which he did, and then he cold cocked him knocking him unconscious and fracturing his cheek. The moment that happened, chaos ensued. More intruders ran inside and all of my friends began being pummeled. James tried to stop that guy from kicking unconscious Scott, but got punched in the eye and knocked down. That hit broke his eye socket. Nikki, Scott’s sister, got punched when she screamed. Tom and Crystal, who were in the other bedroom, came running out and were immediately attacked.

So I leaped onto my bed and grabbed the pistol. I pulled it out of the leather holster and positioned myself in the narrow hallway. I tried to fire it in the air but it didn’t work. So I cocked the action and tried again, it’s still not working. I cocked it again and saw a bullet eject, it’s still not working! Then I realized the safety was on. While I was trying to fire the gun, one of the intruders threw a bottle of beer at my head. It missed me and flew into my bedroom hitting my black light. The fluorescent tubes exploded. A full bottle of wine was also chucked at my head. It narrowly missed me and hit the clock to my right, deeply denting the brass corner. I later found wine and beer all over my gun and me, but was oblivious to both bottle projectiles.  So I pushed down on the safety with my thumb and it clicked in slow motion.

BOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!!!

The gun fired into the ceiling. Instantly everybody in the apartment, that was still conscious, was looking at me with their full attention. Who knew how loud a gun could be when it was fired indoors? I remember seeing Nikki’s eyes after the boom, she was terrified. There were 20 to 25 intruders in our house now. I later learned there was a party across the apartment complex, and that is where these guys had come from. The first instigator, the one who punched Scott, looked at me and yelled “Shoot me!!” He took a step forward and repeated it. I pointed the gun at him, just for a split second, then pointed it back at the ceiling. I was taught to NEVER point a gun at somebody, and that stuck with me. So I took a step back, and he took a step forward telling me again to shoot him. I had 6 or 7 bullets left in the clip, and I was clearly not ready for this moment. I pointed the gun at his chest this time as he took another step forward. He was now about 8 feet from me.

Right at that moment, some guy popped his head into our apartment and said “you guys can’t be in here, get out!” I later learned that he was the one throwing the neighboring party, and that one of the party goers / intruders had a sawed off shotgun. He said they were out for blood that night. Also spectators outside said there were 45 people that went up our stairs. There were so many that there was a line from the bottom of the stairs all the way into our apartment. So fortunately, right after that guy yelled at them, they all took off. All of my friends were battered, bruised, and broken, but I was untouched. I felt guilty about that for some time even though it doesn’t make sense. We ended up getting evicted because I shot a hole in the ceiling, but I am glad we had to move. I couldn’t live there anymore. I was traumatized.

After that, I moved back home for a few months. I couldn’t remember what any of the intruders looked like and that made things worse. Any male could be one of them. So I bought a riot shotgun and slept next to it at night. I also got my concealed carry permit and began carrying a 9mm full time. After a year of that, I realized that I was being held prisoner by this trauma. I stopped carrying that pistol with me everywhere, and let my permit lapse.

Fast forward 20 years. My friends and I went to a gun shoot called the Big Sandy Shoot. It was there I was able to shoot a Browning M2. $20 bought me 10 rounds which I shot at a car. It was SO cool! The power this gun had was insane!

So as you may have imagined, I have a love / hate relationship with guns.  I’ve used them to put food on the table, for fun / target shooting, and for protecting my friend’s as well as my own life. Most people that hear my story say I should have shot that guy, he was asking for it. Yes he was literally asking me to shoot him. And I’ve been telling them that being in that position is not the same as hearing a story. It was real. Had I shot him, my life would have taken a very different path. Maybe the guy with the sawed off shotgun would have killed us all? Or maybe I would have been tried for homicide? My ordeal only lasted a few minutes, but it haunted me for 10+ years. Just writing this has me in cold sweats again. I can only imagine what it’s like to experience this on a regular basis as a police officer, or as a soldier. It’s no wonder both professions have such high rates of suicide and depression.

This design is an expression of my life with guns. Big thanks to our team for helping make it become a reality. And my heart goes out to servicemen and women around the world that use a firearm as a work tool…

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