IN MY ORBIT: My Weekend of Hole Punching and Building Community

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

You can thank my husband for part of the title. He said that with the way things are going, we’ll have to find euphemisms for speaking about going to the range, so he came up with “Hole Punching”! This weekend, we did a lot of it, as well as some great community building.

We bought our first two guns this year: a Glock 17, and a Springfield Armory XD9101. Thanks to the owner of Fowler Gun Room in Orange County, Calif., we found a great continuation training site not far from us where we could stay on our gun ownership journey, and gain proficiency in using our new semiautomatics.

We have always been pro-gun, but just never had the money, and sometimes time, to take the steps to get properly trained. In 2019, a Yoga student (let that blow your mind) gave me and my husband some of his credits to Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, so we took a 4-day defensive gun course. It was well worth it, but crazy, scary, intimidating, and exhausting on so many levels. At the end of those days we definitely knew two things 1) we were gun people; 2) we needed to purchase our own and get more training.

The pandemic messed up 2020 for anything, especially with our stupid state’s attempts to make gun stores and ranges non-essential, in an effort to shut them down permanently. We didn’t waste time for 2021 to attempt more of the same, especially with gun-grabbing Dementia Joe looking to put more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. Thanks to the last stimulus, we booked a 2-day gun training at Firearms Training Academy, run by a couple of retired cops.

Gun training also gives us another opportunity to grow together as a couple and bond, as well as get more familiar with the 2A community and lifestyle—because it is a lifestyle. You are either a gun person or you’re not. We are blessed to have found a new tribe!

I always appreciate any community that wants to encourage people to do things properly, build new skills and refine them, and bond over a common goal. Think about it—a lot of communities are about exclusion rather than inclusion; one of them is the Christian church. I’ve felt unwelcome in more churches than I’ve felt welcomed, for a number of reasons that I won’t address here. But, the two communities that I have found that unqualified welcome are the Amateur Radio Community and the 2A Community. In both of them, the members of the community have no problem if you know absolutely nothing, and they delight in that, because they are happy to show you the right way.

I can proudly say I am a part of both. I was introduced to Amateur Radio by my then-boyfriend (now husband) in 2006, and became a Ham in 2007. It has been a fun adventure ever since. It was the first thing my husband and I found that we could participate in together, and it has expanded my knowledge and my connection to the wider world. I am always amazed at the truly intelligent people who gravitate to Ham Radio, and the chance to interact with people all over the globe. We have gotten to do emergency radio communications in hospitals, and event communications like the L.A. Marathon, and Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay. Even if you have no desire to do any events, it is fun jawing on the net with unique and varied humans who you would not have otherwise met.

It’s the same with the 2A Community. Totally antithesis to how the media loves to paint and otherize gun owners, we are the true multicultural, multiethnic, and multi-generational community. We represent a wide variety of humans in terms of age, sex, race, and financial demographics. This 2–day training course had over 50 people in it, and ranged from a 10-year old Asian girl there with her mom and aunt, to a 70-year old grandma who wanted to prove to her husband that she could shoot! More than half of the group were women, one, a single mom with two daughters, had the purpose of being able to protect herself and her kids. Among my different worlds, very few of them are focused first and foremost on safety and protection, as well as care for others. The mindset that you must learn and embody on the range, and in handling a firearm, filters to off-the-range and into other areas of life. Once you hear stories that embody the firearm curriculum and lessons, and then learn how to handle a weapon, you never view the world or humanity in quite the same way again.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Next up for us: concealed carry, and then some defensive night-shoot training. Very excited to get stretched beyond my boundaries!

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