voteWhat’s the difference between a vote and a gun? Votes kill slower.

That’s a startling thought. However, it is true. Thus, both are a big responsibility.

As a person who legally owns a gun (as opposed to gang bangers who are not interested in obeying the law and doing the right thing and may illegally have a gun) you have the responsibility to keep the gun safely stored and carried. You have the responsibility to handle it properly, practice with it safely (if you practice at all) and remember to leave it locked up at home if you go into certain buildings (post offices, government buildings, etc.; depending on the laws of your state). If you own a gun that you don’t carry with you, like a rifle, shotgun, or the ever-popular AR-15, you have the responsibility to make sure that it is kept in your gun safe at home, or stored in such a way that it cannot be taken if your house is robbed. That’s a big responsibility. It takes a lot of care, thought and planning ahead.

Owning a gun means informing those who question you and educating them on why gun ownership is not dangerous to them. It means talking to people about the Second Amendment and what it means to you — and to them. It means teaching your children about gun safety and deciding when each of them is responsible and mature enough to handle a gun.

Gun ownership means staying informed of changes in the laws that govern your ownership and reacting accordingly. It also means understanding the impact that those changes will have on your gun ownership. Will a new law require that you properly dispose of a fifteen round magazine and cut back to no more than nine rounds? Will it require that you use stock magazines instead of after market high capability magazines? Will it require any kind of registration of anything you already own, re-licensing, or is there anything new you need to do?

The same care, thought and planning ahead is needed for your vote.

Your gun possession also means that you have to stand up for your Second Amendment rights and be ready to do your due diligence and inform yourself as to who is running for public office so that you can support and vote for those who will stand up for your Second Amendment rights. It’s not good enough to just vote the party line. RINOs and Independents can be as anti-gun rights as any progressive Democrat. So voting party line can be as losing a proposition as voting against the Constitution.

Your vote determines who will be in the House, Senate, presidency; as well as state, county and city governments. They will make the laws that will govern our federal and local governments — possibly for years to come, if not for the rest of your life. Your vote determines what kind of money the government will take out of your pocket as well as for what that money is used. What if you decide to vote without informing yourself and your vote winds up putting someone in office who not only is anti-Second Amendment, but also votes to use your money to fight your right to “keep and bear arms”? Would your vote represent you, your beliefs, desires, and political principles? If not, then why vote blindly? Why vote party line if that person is not truly committed to standing for whole U.S. Constitution and the rights that are delineated within it as your God-given rights?

Remember, just because the party platform states the beliefs you have, that does not mean that the individual politician/candidate who has voluntarily associated themselves with that party actually has those beliefs. Want an example? How many of you remember Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” in which he encouraged his listeners to change to the Democratic Party for their area’s Primary Election so that they could vote for Hillary Clinton and keep her in the race for a while longer? Remember how successful that was? Remember that those people, soon after the primaries, switched back to their original party? Did they believe in the Democratic Party platform while they were in it to vote for Hillary? No? Same thing happens for candidates. They may have switched to a more conservative party in order to run without opposition, to look more conservative than they really are, or to please their wife, campaign manager, or golf buddy. Who knows why?

The real questions to ask a political candidate are not, “What party do you belong to?” “Is there a (D), (R), (I), etc., after your name?” or even “Do you believe in the Second Amendment?” Instead ask, “When it comes to taking away our Second Amendment rights, indeed any constitutional rights, when will you be pushed to the stopping point and say ‘Enough! I will be pushed no further!’?” If the candidate answers honestly (which is a questionable thing with today’s candidates [Just an aside here: Don't you wish they would make a "Truth in advertising" law that covers politicians?]), you can gauge what is important to that candidate by how far they are willing to be pushed. When will they stop “compromising”? Something to remember about that is that “compromise” always means you give something up. What are you willing to give up in order to vote for a candidate who will compromise, “reach across the aisle”, cooperate, be “bipartisan”?

For that is what is happening. You are being made to give something up in voting for a candidate who will compromise instead of a candidate who will hold the line and push back harder than their opposition. They are getting a reputation for “cooperation” and probably benefiting from it. After all, McCain goes to dinner with the president then attacks Sen. Rand Paul for a filibuster that got an answer from the current administration to an important question that pertained to our rights. It was McCain, however, who got the accolades from the liberal media, not Paul who stood up for the rights of the journalists who trashed Paul. Amazing to see that the Senator standing up for the journalists’ rights was trashed while the Senator willing to compromise and sell out the rights of the journalists was hailed as a heroic “bipartisan”.

Your “right to keep and bear arms” is important enough for you to do your due diligence and to spend the next twenty months (now until November 2014) learning who is running for office, hearing them speak and asking them questions when they are available to answer them (or making a special effort to contact them) and educating others about what you have learned. It’s also important enough for you to stand up and do the right thing — even if it means voting “outside of the box” and outside of your political party. Studying the candidate is the only way to be sure who you are getting as a representative. Make the time and the effort or pay the price later.

As you can see, it is imperative that you educate yourself about who the candidates are, what they believe and how far they are willing to “compromise” (read: how much are they “willing to give up“). For as surely as a gun can kill, politicians can also kill: they kill good laws via votes; kill babies en utero via making laws that allow such a thing to happen; kill rights via laws they vote in favor of. Current example: we currently have an administration that is trying to kill our Second Amendment rights. The way they’re going about it is just slower than a bullet from a gun.