I’m not about to get into the gun debate. It’s the third rail of political topics and just one more that I won’t talk about. Gun policy, abortion, prayer in schools, same sex marriage. You aren’t going to find me debating these topics.
This is a simple topic. Guns are mechanical. Guns are legal. Mechanical devices break, need maintenance, and need upgrading. In order to perform properly, people need trusted mechanics to do the work. I do not know how to work on cars. I do not know how to work on airplanes. I do know how to work on guns, and I’m pretty good at it. And there are more guns in America now than people, which means there are opportunities for people with the skills to do the work.
For a number of years now, I’ve been traveling to Montgomery Community College to take continuing education classes on gunsmithing. Nobody can figure out why, especially the Mrs. I already work 70 hours a week, why take time to learn another trade?
Ok, that’s not the only reason, but stay with me.
We are growing a business here. I have my kids working in the business and some day soon, they will be old enough to handle a day’s work without me. At some point, years down the road, they may even come back home and decide that they want to make farming their livelihood as well.
The best thing you can do as a manager is train your replacement to a point where you are no longer needed. The best thing you can do as a parent is to make your children self supporting and successful, where you are no longer needed. It’s fully my intention to do both to the best of my ability. Which means at some point, if I’m lucky, I’m going to be in the way and holding them back.
When that day comes, I’m not going to fight it. I’m not going to be scared to relinquish control (ok, maybe a bit). I’m going to be proud the kids are complaining about the old man being in the way and I hope that they’ll be right. When that day comes, I’m going to go to my shop and work on the guns that are waiting there for me. But you can’t turn on a switch and become a gunsmith overnight. It takes years of training and years of experience. And like our farming business, it takes years to build up a clientele to get to a point where it’s sustainable. So for the last several years, I’ve been building up my amateur gunsmith repertoire. This year, I’m making the step into professional gunsmithing and actually hanging out my shingle as a public gunsmith.
This does a few things. For one, it supports the farm because this is a revenue stream outside of farming. Two, it begins to build a business that I can grow into as I get older and cannot handle the physical demands of farming. Three, it allows me to utilize down time I have now, early in the morning, or between customers, or when the family is out of town and I’m home alone at night.
So if you support our farm, and you support farming, please support our gunsmithing if you happen to need a gunsmith. If you don’t like guns, that’s fine. You won’t see them on your visit. This is a totally separate business.