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Called to Arms

We collect them, we hunt with them, we make them, and we pass them on to our kids. As these Texans will tell you, there’s nothing quite like our relationship with guns.

By and April 2016Comments

JoaquinJackson_0416

Joaquin Jackson, 80; retired Texas Ranger; Alpine
Photographed with a Winchester Model 94 .30-30
“You hear people going around talking about how much they love guns. I love my country, I love my family, but I don’t love guns. I just have a deep respect for them.”

Stacey

Stacy Garcia, 36; social worker; Lubbock
Photographed with a 9 mm Glock 17
“Joining the A Girl & A Gun club was a life-changer. When I go out shooting, I forget my worries, and it relieves all the stresses of daily life. It’s become my passion, not just a hobby.”

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Hector Gonzales, 63; ranch hand, Bar None Ranch; Poth
Photographed with a .22-caliber rifle
“I have been working on ranches my whole life. I used to cross the river every morning to go to work at the Tovar Ranch and would walk back into Mexico each night. When I was twenty, I got bit by a rattlesnake and almost died. I lost all my teeth and all my hair. Ever since that day, I always carry this .22 with me when working in the bushes. You never know if you will run into a coyote, a skunk, or another snake.”

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Charles Conrad Ammann, 37, with Conrad Carlos Ammann, 6, and Robert Conrad Ammann III, 69; hunting outfitter and owner, Picosa Paloma Ranch; Floresville
Photographed with a CZ Greenhead over/under 20-gauge shotgun (Charles), a Winchester Model 20 .410-bore shotgun (Conrad), and a Winchester Model 12 12-gauge shotgun (Robert)
Charles: “Many guns have passed through our home over my lifetime, but only one has a permanent spot in the gun safe: my grandfather Robert Conrad Ammann Jr.’s  Model 20 .410 Winchester. My grandfather, father, and I all shot our first dove, rabbit, raccoon, you name it, with that .410. Soon my son Conrad will have the privilege of shooting it and harvesting his first game animal with the same gun. As a kid, I never saw it as a rite of passage but more of a way of life. It was bigger than just shooting a gun; it gave me the feeling that I could provide for myself if I needed to.”

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Haylin Hanks, 13; competition shooter; Huntsville
Photographed with a Blaser F3 12-gauge shotgun
“I started shooting skeet when I was eight, and I loved it right away. There is nothing like the thrill of not knowing what’s coming next. I want to do this for the rest of my life. I just won the junior Professional Sporting Clays Association Shootout in San Antonio, and it felt amazing, like nothing can stop you if you work hard enough.”

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Jesse James, 46; founder, Jesse James Firearms Unlimited; Dripping Springs
Photographed with a Jesse James Firearms Nomad10S Precision Rifle
“I used to live in California, which is so regulated. A big part of my decision to move to Texas was the freedom. After I bought every cool gun I ever wanted, I decided to try and make one. And then people started buying them. I build them all by hand, and I now have a whole second career, driven by my greatest passion, that I never expected.”

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Allen Mack (center), 51, with Luis Padilla (left), 35, and Ricky Dolifka, 38; Buffalo soldier; Austin
Photographed with an 1853 Enfield musket (Mack), an 1859 New Model Sharps carbine (Padilla),* and an 1858 Remington revolver (Dolifka)
Mack: “As a kid, I was never taught enough about African American history, so as I got older, I was hungry to learn more. Becoming a Buffalo Soldier was a great honor. We travel around the state teaching kids about everything the soldiers did. Of course, they want to see the weapons, but we try to show them that the guns were just one of the many tools the soldiers used.”

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Linda Sue Murray, 69; concealed handgun license instructor; Alpine
Photographed with a .380-caliber Glock 42
“I became a CHL instructor in 2011. I retired from my education career and wanted in some way to continue teaching and also to promote awareness of the Second Amendment so as to empower women to have the confidence to be in control of their own protection, if needed. It is my right to own a gun. It is my right and my responsibility to be able to protect myself and my family.”

FEATURES---PHOTO ESSAY--0416

Taya Kyle, 41; author; Dallas-Fort Worth area
Photographed with a limited-edition Chris Kyle Weatherby Mark V Accumark rifle

“My dad was a hunter and in the Marine Corps, but I never had an interest in guns. It wasn’t until Chris [Kyle] went on his second deployment and I had my son that I felt I could kill someone if I had to, to protect my family. When you know the power of a weapon, you have a healthy respect for what you have in your hand. It’s not something responsible gun owners take lightly.”

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Kristen Kilpatrick, 25, with Will Arthur, 26; photographer; Fort Worth
Photographed with a Beretta 692 12-gauge shotgun (Arthur) and a Ducks Unlimited pump-action 28-gauge shotgun (Kilpatrick)
Kilpatrick: “Hunting together has been a bonding experience unlike anything else. We have matching hunting dogs and hunt birds, duck, and deer every chance we get. Will has taught me so much about the outdoors and animals, which has made the whole hunting experience more meaningful.”

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Jerry Patterson, 69; former Texas land commissioner; Austin
Photographed with a .45-caliber Colt 1911
“I love the history associated with firearms. While it may sound weird, I also like the way they smell. Old firearms with oil-impregnated wooden stocks and gunpowder residue smell like history and tradition to me. ‘Own a gun’—I don’t like that term. My God-given, constitutionally enumerated right extends far beyond just owning a gun. I have a right to ‘keep and bear’ a firearm.”

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Natasha Snodgrass, 42; proprietor of the Goddess Armory; Lubbock
Photograph with her Glock 19
“I started Goddess Armoury boutique because I got fed up with going into male-dominated gun stores and them always trying to get me to buy a small pink gun. I wanted to create a place where women can come in and talk guns and not feel belittled.”

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAN WINTERS; INTERVIEWS BY LAUREN SMITH FORD

*Correction: A previous version of this story said that Luis Padilla, a Buffalo Soldier re-enactor, was photographed with an 1873 Springfield rifle. In fact, he’s holding an 1859 New Model Sharps carbine without a patch box. We regret the error.

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  • Natasha Rose Snodgrass

    I think my favorite of these is Linda Sue’s photo! She embodies what so many women are doing and she is just gorgeous!

  • Dan Decker

    I met Joaquin Jackson many years ago when I lived in Alpine, taught high school there. He would never call himself that but he is a true Texas hero.

    • GMG268

      Jackson is the Enemy within the gates……

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSGySNLyACE

      • Dan Decker

        Until I watched the video, I would have thought you to be a member of the criminal element. But I didn’t know Jackson had these views about assault weapons. First of all, it is already illegal to possess actual assault weapons, defined as fully automatic firearms. What the libs and dems are calling assault weapons are auto-loading weapons, but they fire only one bullet per trigger pull. Secondly, Jackson is under the mistaken opinion that the 2nd Amendment is meant to protect hunting rights. That is not its purpose. The 2nd Amendment is to protect us from our own government should it ever become tyrannical. I personally know Jackson, but I’ve never discussed weapons or the 2nd Amendment with him. Next time I see him, I will do so.

        • GMG268

          It IS legal to Posess Automatic Weapons made Before 1986 with the proper licensing in most states,……..

          Bill Ruger was also the reason we were stuck with the 10 round magazines during the “Clinton AWB” ….

          http://www.thegunzone.com/rkba/papabill.html

          • Dan Decker

            Good luck on getting that “special license” these days, even in Texas.

          • GMG268

            $200 tax stamp and about 9 month wait,……the hard part is affording one,…..all the Hughes Amendment did to the Firearms Owners Protection act of 1986 did was drive prices up,…..and make automatic weapons a rich mans toy…..

          • Dan Decker

            And I’m one of those who is far from being a rich man. I can’t even justify a “real” Colt 1911.

          • Ryan

            Like Jackson has no love for guns. I have no love for him and his butter views.

  • GMG268

    Of the three re-enactors the left one is carrying a 1860 or 65 Spencer Carbine not an 1873 Springfield…….

  • Fantasy Maker

    Pathetic how people try and make gun owners feel. Liberal, sniveling pantywaists

    • don76550

      These sniveling left wing looney tunes don’t make me feel bad at all about owning a gun. However, in deference to these delicate little snowflakes I promise to never use my gun to protect them from a criminal attack.

  • the45er

    Texas born and raised and very proud to say so. God bless Texas. I love my country too and never thought I’d even consider the notion of supporting Texas’ seceding from the U.S. but the last eight years and the high probability of another 8 years under a gun-hating liberal is starting to let such thoughts creep into my mind! Kudos for Governor Abbott for standing tall for our rights!

    • wessexmom

      SECEDE NOW! PLEASE!

      • pegasusx86

        WHY are you even here on this site reading about guns if you hate them so much and us Texans? What a whinny moron you are

  • wessexmom

    Gee, for their next project, perhaps Ms. Ford could style and gussy up a few victims of gunshot wounds (before they’re taken to the morgue) for Mr. Winters to photograph! Then we could see just how romantic this culture really is!
    It really is too bad they’ve decided not to allow guns in Cleveland this summer!

    • the45er

      I pray every day that I NEVER have to use one of my guns on another human being. The only thing I pray for more is that no deranged, sadistic or criminally inclined human being “does his thing” to someone I love. 100% of the tens of thousands of rounds of ammo I’ve shot in my lifetime has been hunting, plinking, or competitively target shooting for recreation, and I hope to keep it that way. Take my word for it wessexmom, 99.9% of Texas gun owners feel the same way, and I don’t relate at all to the 0.1% of those that don’t.

    • don76550

      You should see a psychiatrist and explore you pathological hatred of guns and the law abiding citizens who own them. I am disinclined to forfeit my right to own a gun merely because liberal looney tunes assume the fetal position and suck their thumbs when they hear the word “gun.” It just so happens law abiding gun owners use a firearm to thwart a criminal attack over 2100 times every day in this country. I really hope you are accosted by a criminal in your home. Then you can write “gun law” on a piece of paper and wave it at him. See how that works out for you.

    • Jerry Patterson

      You are so predictably indignant and superior. How do you cope with being around us chromosone missing Texas troglodytes? How do you allow yourself to venture outside among all of us who carry handguns? Aren’t you uncomfortable being out among all these lesser intellects such as myself? Jerry Patterson

  • Ryan

    Now if we can just ger rid of the need for a license in Texas we’ll actually be free.
    Until then we’re being taxed for our natural right to defend ourselves.