[Editor’s Note: Since we were asked by a fellow reader to comment on gun culture in the Redoubt, we decided we could offer a more complete picture with more than one writer. Redoubt Patriot started the column with details of his own experiences and Redoubt Analyst has added his stories in an addendum below.]
I remember the fear in the pit of my stomach rise as the sheriff pulled in behind me on a country road somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area 15 years ago. Of course, the red lights come on and I feel like a prisoner, just awaiting sentencing for crimes against the state. I remember thinking, “How could I be a felon in one state and a free man in another, and why? What was the point?” Control. Absolute unequivocal Nazi-like control of everyone and everything.
You see, I was coming back from a weekend camping trip with the boys in the Nevada desert, the only place the items in my truck were legal. I was one of thousands of holdouts that refused to register our evil items back in 2000. I was proud to stand tall, but quickly learned maybe I wanted to be invisible that afternoon!
Thankfully, the Deputy turned out to be a good ol’ boy anyway, but it could have gone very wrong for me. What a bunch of jackbooted Alt-Left tyrannical politicians that pass these kinds of laws! (Just as a side note checkpoints of any kind are illegal in Idaho. No ID checkpoints to be used as a ruse to find some trivial violation then search and seize your property. We are truly free here!)
Fast forward to our own Strategic Relocation to the American Redoubt. We moved here in 2006 after three years searching Idaho and Montana for the right property. I can remember Freedom swelling up inside me as we crossed the Idaho/Oregon border after leaving California behind, forever. Just as many of you have done and will do one day, we pulled over next to the “Welcome to Idaho” sign and got our rifles out and took an iconic picture we still hang today in our home!
What is the gun culture really like in the American Redoubt? Let’s cover a few examples of what is commonplace in the region.
When my eldest son turned 12 we both strapped on drop leg holsters and open-carried our Glock 19’s into town (Eureka, Montana) and had lunch. Yes, in Montana anyone 12 years or older and accompanied by an adult/guardian can open carry a handgun, or carry a rifle with a written note from the same. You should have seen the looks on the couple from back east that was there on vacation, they practically ran out of the deli as we ordered! It was fantastic.
I completed my first ‘back alley gun buy’ on the side of the road in a small Redoubt town almost 11 years ago, buying an SKS from a guy who had parked his pickup truck along the side of the road with a sign that said “Guns fer sail”. No, I’m not joking. In Idaho, Montana and Wyoming you can privately transfer any legal firearm with a handshake. (Note: It’s always best to verify ID and ensure the buyer is from the same Redoubt state)
Have you ever bartered for guns or ammo? Yup, me too. We negotiated some extra ammo one year for seven 5 gallon buckets full of local raw honey! We each got a great deal, that’s what barter is all about, especially in the Redoubt. We still have one of the pales left too!
Christmas in the American Redoubt? I can’t remember one that didn’t involve at least one firearm under the tree, oh and cases (not boxes) of ammo! Yes, it’s really like turning the clock back to the 1950’s in the Redoubt! Good people, warm smiles and hot barrels!
In both Wyoming and Idaho, anyone 21 year or older can carry a handgun openly or concealed without a permit. One item to mention in Idaho is that some local jurisdictions require a standard Idaho CWL to carry concealed inside city limits (like Boise, CDA and others). We have personally all got the Enhanced Idaho CWL as it covers us in Washington (especially when we go to Seattle on business) and in many other states.
Do folks really open carry here? Well, not so much. You can certainly do so, but we and almost everyone else tends to reserve that for the July 4th Independence Day parades around the Redoubt. (Why? Well, to be frank it’s just bad tactics. Why tell someone you’re armed? Ask any proficient trainer or combat veteran; Surprise, Speed and Violence of Action win the day in a gunfight, why give away your element of surprise?) Back to the July 4th festivities. It’s commonplace to see folks carrying their favorite weapons this joyful day. The hot sun glistens down off the barrels of battle rifles everywhere, in every small town in the Redoubt. Some even come with body armor and full kits. It’s not out of place at all. I’ve been to many Independence day celebrations over the past 11 years and I can tell you that at every single event, there are armed Patriots in and among the crowds, as well as youngsters with their parents too. A beautiful day it is!
In the Redoubt the gun culture is very strong. We even hold gun shows on public school campuses! Yes, we do! One example here locally is the Priest River, Idaho gun show, held each year at the local junior high school. We can also carry concealed firearms on college campuses and when we drop off and pick up our minor children at public school (provided the firearms is on your person under your control and you do not exit the vehicle).
It’s commonplace for gun racks to be full all year round, just the type of rifle changes with the hunting seasons. In many small towns folks don’t even lock their vehicles as the locals know frontier justice is swift in the Redoubt. Did I say swift?
Well, at this point I’m sure you all want to know what’s legal here in the Redoubt.
Pretty much everything. In fact there is nothing illegal in the Redoubt when it comes to arms and ammunition. Period. You just may need to have certain tax stamps from the feds (BATFE) for such items as rocket launchers, hand grenades, machine guns, short barreled rifles, and other fun stuff. You can even own tanks if you want, but you’ll need a tax stamp for the destructive device (cannon) if it’s operable.
To be short, basically everything you can’t have in the nanny states, you can own here, without paperwork or a background check, and they’re for sale in local mom and pop shops all the way to the big box retailers!
Oh, I almost forgot. There are great gun shops in the Redoubt as well as spectacular indoor and outdoor training facilities! In southern Idaho go learn force on force with ‘simunitions’ at Forward Movement Training Center. In northern Idaho be sure to check out Verretts Tactical Firearms Traning, where you can rent suppressors, machineguns and SBR’s to train with for the weekend both privately and as part of larger group sessions for reasonable fees. Vertac runs courses on a private ranch in Naples, Idaho where you can train from 5 yards to 500 yards!
My introduction to Redoubt gun culture came during my first Sunday at a new church. Knowing that I was connected with the survival and preparedness worlds, one older man asked what I thought about carrying in church. Seeing that I had no hysterical objections, he briefly revealed his firearm, and mentioned that most men in the church were armed, along with a fair number of ladies too. He shared this out of a desire to provide a sense of security to a newcomer. Other than this one time, I’ve never seen a firearm at church, but I know plenty are there. It is also a shock to extended family who come to visit and the security detail at church reassures the guest that all members of the security team are armed.
It’s not because the church members think their service is a target, more so than any other random location in the Redoubt. It’s just that they take the safety and security of their friends and family VERY seriously. If you live in a large, rural county with just one local sheriff as the sole law enforcement, relying on police to save you from disaster is just plain stupid. Response times could be 20 minutes or more for both Fire/EMS and the Deputy!
The shock of knowing that folks are armed at church is also a unique relic of older times in America. World Net Daily often highlights the speaking and ministry of Charl van Wyk, who saved a church gathering he attended by opening fire on some terrorists who showed up with lethal intent expecting a target rich environment like fish in a barrel. His book is titled “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense.” Van Wyk’s experience was in South Africa, but WND often reports on the church situation across America, from a Georgia legislative bill in 2011 seeking to overturn an outdated law forbidding the carrying of a firearm in places of worship, to a 2012 survey surprised that three quarters of Americans think NO ONE should be armed in a church, government building, or school.
I recall that the Charleston mass shooter, Dylann Roof, had tried to decide between targeting a school or a church because both were expected to be gun free zones, and ultimately settled on the church because it didn’t even have a security force. Yet again, a cardboard “Gun-Free” sign failed to save anybody. In fact, the key quote from the article is that every mass shooting since 1950 (with only two exceptions) targeted a gun-free zone.
I’ve been in very old churches where they still enforced a rule of “no swords allowed in the building.” Today, it’s more a ceremonial relic from almost two centuries ago, but hey – tradition.
Anyway, it would be great if America still had the average public virtue of the 1800’s where men were gentlemen and ladies acted like ladies and everyone could agree that certain locations were simply granted as a neutral no-combat zone. But those days of virtue are long gone, and pretending like all persons in America have that same virtuous respect and character of 200 years ago (or even 75 years ago) is just asking for reality to terminally correct the delusional.
The Redoubt by and large is a safer and more virtuous place than almost anywhere I’ve lived before (almost a dozen moves in my life). But that doesn’t mean some wacko or terrorist won’t drive across state lines to make a point. Better to be prepared than filled with regrets.
Another defining experience was when I took a client to the local outdoors store to buy some ammo for a day on the range. As we walked by shelves and shelves of ammo stacked higher than you can reach, this Californian exclaimed, “Wow, none of this is locked behind a glass counter. Amazing!” Just as burglar bars on the window of every local store says something about the locales in leftist territories (that the place has a serious crime problem), hundreds of thousands of rounds at a customer’s fingertips says the opposite about the locale in the Redoubt (we can trust our customers to safely handle ammunition).
Perception of Gun Culture
I also should highlight that there is a difference between a healthy gun culture, and gun culture as imagined by liberals who don’t like it and want to stamp it out.
The picture to the right says it all about the leftist idea of gun culture amongst patriots. I’ve never witnessed behavior anything like this in the Redoubt. People love their guns, but not like THAT. If you must dig further into the leftist mind, do a Google image search for “gun culture” and 95% of the resulting political cartoons capture the leftist imagination.
The reality of healthy gun culture is almost indistinguishable from normal life. Lots of folks are armed, but no one makes a big deal about it. Guns are just another tool for frontier living here. Your buddy might have a brand new Stihl chainsaw to cut wood this spring for heat for the coming winter, but he’s not going to be showing off unless you get together to cut some trees. Similarly, your neighbor might have a shiny new belt-fed AR with a suppressor but you probably won’t hear more than a passing mention unless you get together for a day on the back 40. The fellow who’s overly enthusiastic about his firearm might cause concern, just as the guy on a wood-cutting crew who is waving his chainsaw about like he’s auditioning for a horror movie causes everyone to scoot away to a safe distance, and then demand that the offender act responsibly or leave.
When I lived in liberal states, confessing to owning a gun was whispered as if you were confessing to three bodies you’d hidden under your floorboards. In the Redoubt, boasting about your firearm will either earn responses of “and you’re point?” – (since they probably have one too) – or if it is a really cool piece of hardware you are showing to an enthusiast you might get a simple, “Nice!”.
The bottom line? Dream of everything you could own and/or do with firearms in your state, then realize you can do that here!
Are you ready to move the the American Redoubt? Check out the Resources pages in the menu bar on the home page and get started! Then give American Redoubt Realty, at call!