American’s Right to Own a Firearm, a Short Biography

American’s Right to Own a Firearm, a Short Biography

            Americans treasure their right to own firearms for many reasons. Some use firearms for hunting, for competition, for recreation and target shooting, others use them in their profession, and then there are those that use them for self-defense. There are always those loud few who don’t treasure their right to own firearms, and some that don’t even see it as a right but as a privilege. This essay will be a short biography of the history of firearm ownership leading up to the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court decisions protecting that right up into the early 21st century.

From the beginning of recorded time, man has had a universally accepted right to self-defense; whether that be with a rock, a stick, a war club, a sword, or a firearm. Ever since the invention of the first man-portable firearms, known as hand cannons, man has chosen the firearm as a primary means of self-defense.  We can trace the common law practice of carrying, or bearing, arms for self-defense all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome.

Let’s start with the common law definition of ‘to bear arms’. During the American Revolution the common law definition would be “light infantry weapons which can be carried and used, together with ammunition, by a single militiaman, functionally equivalent to those commonly used by infantrymen in land warfare” (Shaw). Similar common law definitions stretch all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. Why the common infantryman? Because each and every citizen was expected to answer their nation’s call and take up arms in her defense.

Let’s take a look at ancient Greece. Plato, speaking as “Socrates”, in the Republic, said “…political transformation in the Republic related to the tendencies of the unjust state to win privilege through “armed force” and of the “armed multitude” to abolish the unjust state in question.” If you follow Plato’s logic, the evolution from an oligarchy into a democracy requires that the common people be armed; and to maintain the honesty of that democracy, the common people must remain armed.

Ancient Rome is an excellent example of why the right to keep and bear arms is so important. During the early Roman days, when they were more republican, Roman citizenship included the right to keep and bear arms for personal and collective defense (Halbrook, location 504).  For example, Rome never fielded armies more than fifty thousand men; however, for home defense against the Gauls after the first Punic war, they fielded eighteen hundred thousand citizens. This is an early example of the idea of an armed citizenry, or militia, for defense. It also was a strong reminder that citizenry could band together for defense external and internal alike. In later years, the tyrants that were the empire builders that came to rule the Roman empire, encouraged and supported policies of disarming both their political and military opponents, regardless of citizenship status, which made these territories easier to control. This is a great example of why we need to protect the right to keep and bear arms, protection from our own governments.

Now that we have established that the right to keep and bear arms is one that goes back millennia, lets look a little more closely to our country’s more recent roots, England. Even though early English kings and monarchs required subjects to be armed for mutual defense of whichever fiefdom they belonged to, later kings believed in, and were known for, their absolutism of the crown, which deprived the right of arms to the lower classes, religious groups, certain colonies and pretty much anyone else they wished to dominate, in order to enrich and increase the power and wealth of the already dominate classes. The right to keep and bear arms has always been a dominate issue in the conflicts between the commoner, citizen and the monarch, ruler, or government.  The right to keep and bear arms was so important that it found it’s way into the Magna Carta and the English Declaration of Rights of 1689. “The Common-Law Right to keep, carry, and use arms was attested to by well-established judicial precedent and by the leading commentators both before and after the 1688 Glorious Revolution” (Halbrook. Location 1336).

Since it was established in ancient tradition, English Common-Law, and the English 1689 Bill of Rights as a right of all Englishmen, the right to keep and bear arms was also expected as a basic right of all English colonists in America.  In England, legislation continued to be brought into law through the 18th century that disarmed Irish and Scottish citizens, with a few exceptions to those who supported the English domination of those lands. The English often searched homes and shot offenders on sight. So, when King George III enacted similar policies against English citizens in the American colonies, the colonist who saw themselves as Englishmen and therefore guaranteed Common-Law rights, including the right to petition grievance and the right to bear arms, they decided the only way to keep and preserve those rights was by a violent, armed insurrection aimed at overthrowing the English crown.

English firearms control policies were first enacted to disarm and control the Native Americans and was seen as good policy until they were put into place for the colonists themselves. This resulted in a rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Virginia Governor William Berkeley in 1676. “Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676” was the first large uprising in the colonies by discontented free Englishmen of all classes and races; over a thousand Virginia Englishmen took part. A hundred years later, on the 19th of April 1775, was “the shot heard around the world”. The battles known collectively as the “Battles of Lexington and Concord” were fought in Middlesex County Massachusetts. After the “Boston Tea Party” the colonial assembly declared Massachusetts in a state of open rebellion and sent 700 British Army regulars with secret orders to capture and destroy Colonial military supplies reportedly stored by the militia at Concord. The colonials caught wind of this, armed their militia and moved the rest of their arms and munitions. Although they were prepared, the militia was defeated and the “Red Coats” moved onto Lexington. There were battles fought in Middlesex County in the cities of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy, and Cambridge and by the end of the day the colonial militias had won the day. These battles were considered to be the opening battles of the American Revolution.

Americans of both sides of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists camp strongly believed in the right to bear arms as a “god given right”. It is a given that the Anti-Federalists were adamant supporters of the right to bear arms, but the Federalists were too. In The Federalist, No. 28, Hamilton wrote: “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.…”, in The Federalist, No. 29 he wrote “… This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens.”

In the original bill of rights proposed by James Madison, the amendment was introduced as “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person” (Halbrook. Location 1336). Regardless of the argument over whether or not to even have a Bill of Right in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights was added in 1789 with the second amendment reading “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (US Const. amend. II).

The meaning of those twenty-seven words has been debated for decades. In 1939 in United States v. Miller the Supreme Court had the opinion that “…the Second Amendment protected the right to keep and bear militia-type arms.” and fell back on case law holding that all citizens were members of the militia. In the more recent Supreme Court decision from 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, the majority written by Justice Scalia said that “…the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to possess firearms for self-defense, hunting, and militia service.” And that “… “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” means what it literally says, and that this liberty to have arms for protection is a natural right recognized in the English tradition. It was considered fundamental by our Founders and was consistently regarded as an individual right in the nineteenth century.” (United States v. Miller)

In conclusion, we, as a free people, have a long, ancient, and strong history of the right to keep and bear arms. As Americans, that proud history of fierce independence has always been backed up with firearms and our willingness to use them for self-defense, the defense of our loved ones, the defense of our nation, and most of all, the defense of those values and rights that make it all possible.



District of Columbia v. Heller. Supreme Court of The United States. 28 June, 2008.


Halbrook, Stephen P. That every man be armed the evolution of a constitutional right.      University of New Mexico, 2013.


Plato. Republic. Unknown Publisher, 380 BC


Shaw, Jazz . “Does the Second Amendment cover edged weapons?” Hot Air, 10 June      2017,


The Constitution of the United States. Amendment II.


United States v. Miller. Supreme Court of The United States. 15 May, 1939

Nevada 2016 Ballot Question 1

BigDaddy’s Firearms Training

Raymond Sherwood


Nevada 2016 Ballot Question 1


There is a lot of debate going back and forth about Nevada Ballot Question 1 (Q1), and a lot of people have questions about what it actually is. I will try to answer and clarify these questions.

One question is whether or not Q1 really closes the “gun show loophole”?

To answer this, we need to clarify some facts. Can a felon or another prohibited person buy a gun at a gun show or online? NO.  If you buy a firearm from a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) at a gun show, they are still required to conduct a background check; so, no. Can a felon or other prohibited person buy from a private person at a gun show? NO, it is still illegal for a felon or other prohibited person to buy or possess a firearm AND if you knowingly sell a firearm to a felon or other prohibited person, you are guilty of breaking a federal law. When you buy a firearm online, yes, you can buy it; however, it has to be shipped to an FFL who is required to conduct a background check. So, NO.

No one goes to jail for swapping guns while hunting or at the shooting range, right? Partially true. According to the language of Q1 the few exceptions to the mandatory background check are as follows:


(c) such transfer occurs and the transferee’s possession of the firearms following the transfer is exclusively:

(i)   At an established shooting range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located;

(ii)  At a lawful organized competition involving the use of a firearm;

(iii) While participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group that uses firearms as a part of the public performance;

(iv) While hunting or trapping fi the hunting or trapping is legal in all places where the transferee possesses the firearm and the   transferee holds all licenses or permits required for such hunting or trapping.

So, you and your buddy are hunting and you hand over your rifle to cross an obstacle, fine, as long as you both have licenses and tags. You’re at a “government approved range”, fine. You’re out on BLM managed land shooting (over 90% of target and recreational shooting in Nevada does), ILLEGAL: a category C felony.

Another question is, “I am currently exempt from background checks because I have a current Nevada CCW, would I be exempt from this too?” The short answer is NO. Currently, background checks are done through the Nevada Central Repository, which meets BATFE requirements; the new law would require a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check, which is operated by the FBI.

What if you go on a trip or you’re in the military and go on a deployment, can I still leave my firearms with a friend or neighbor? Short answer is YES; however, a NICS check must be done by an FFL. Here is another problem with Q1; the proposed law leaves no provision for firearms, plural, so a NICS check would technically have to be done for EACH firearm, and the writers left it that way intentionally. How much would that cost you?

How about this one, this was put on the ballot because of a grassroots effort by Nevadans. FALSE. This ballot question was put on the ballot because of an initiative that is being bankrolled by a coalition of billionaires including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, along with billionaires Sean Parker and Elaine Wynn. (Lobbyists registered in Nevada for Everytown linked directly to all three billionaires)

Nevada’s 2016 Ballot Question 1 isn’t going to stop any criminals. A study conducted in 2012 of inmates found that less than 1% of convicted criminals that used firearms, got them from a gun show or any other legal source.


By Raymond Sherwood
BigDaddy’s Firearms Training


I’ve been hearing a lot lately, especially after the Orlando terror attack, that the AR-15 is an assault rifle, a rifle of war, battlefield weapon and that nobody “needs” an AR-15.

Let me address the first one, that the AR-15 is an “assault rifle”. The legal definition of an assault rifle according to the National Firearms Act of 1934 as amended by Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968 is –“An assault rifle is a select-fire (either fully automatic or burst capable) rifle that uses a cartridge intermediate in power between sub-machine gun and rifle cartridges and has a detachable magazine”. NONE of the firearms used in any of the mass shooting or terror attacks have been “assault rifles”. These have all been semi-automatic modern sporting rifles; assault rifles, especially transferable assault rifles, are heavily regulated, tracked and controlled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) under these laws.

Second, let’s address the “rifles of war” and “battlefield weapons”. Having actually used the M-16A1/M-16A2, the M-4 and AR-15s, let me assure you AR-15s are NOT battlefield weapons of war, they have never been battlefield weapons of war. When Armalite first decided to market these for civilian use they made several major changes.   Civilian AR-15s are simply not military specifications (milspec); first off they are only semi-auto not what you want when in Close Quarters Battle (CQB), or when against subjects wearing body armor; second the M-16 series of rifles are designed with higher chamber pressure tolerances (hence the biggest difference between 5.56mm and .223); the barrels in most cases are heavier barrels designed to last longer and take the punishment of tens of thousands of rounds (you can put a heavy barrel on an AR-15), the buffer in an AR-15 is usually weaker than that of the M-4’s (although you can upgrade this in an AR-15).

Now let’s address the statement “nobody NEEDS an AR-15”. Ohhh where to start? There is the basic argument that the second amendment of our constitution protects the individual’s right to keep and bear arms without infringement. But let’s go a little more practical. The AR-15 is as much, if not more, of an equalizer than even the famous Colt Peacekeeper. The AR-15 is light weight, easy to use, has a light recoil, and for a lot of people, regardless of their size, the best choice for self-defense in the home. The AR-15 is so easy to use that there are documented cases (just google it) of mothers using them to defend their children and homes against multiple criminals twice their size. Then there is the utility of it, because it can be used for target practice, self-defense, shooting varmints, hunting hog, hunting small deer, etc.; and for some, it is also the best choice on a budget – one rifle for multiple uses.

Simply put the politicians, the media and the anti-gun crowd simply are uninformed about the subject they are speaking and writing about.

Just because you’re passionate about your opinion, doesn’t mean that you’re educated about your opinion.

Understanding the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.


Lately, some of the presidential candidates have been making some wildly inaccurate claims about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

First, let’s start with some history. In the 1990’s some anti-gun lobby groups, whose goals weren’t being met legislatively, started encouraging cities, groups, and individuals to sue firearms manufacturers for firearms related deaths. The first big suit was in 1998 when the mayor of Chicago decided to sue several firearms manufacturers, followed by Bridgeport, Connecticut. These civil suits had no basis and were more often than not thrown out of court. However, manufacturers still had to spend money defending themselves against these suits, which was the goal of the anti-gun lobby. There were several small manufacturers forced to go out of business, and most others being “bled dry” because of these frivolous suits. The anti-gun lobby couldn’t get their legislation passed so they resulted in a “death by a thousand cuts” campaign. In order to protect manufacturers from these frivolous suits, in 2005 congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which re-leaved manufacturers from frivolous law suits while still being held liable for faulty products.

Now to answer some questions:

It is a “NRA” and “Gun Lobby law”.

FALSE— It wasn’t just an “NRA law” or a “Gun Lobby law”. We’re told that the law was “…passed after intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association…” “backed by gun manufacturers who wished to avoid being bankrupted by the legal onslaught”. But the successful bill drew on a far broader coalition than that. It included a united business community — the Chamber of commerce, NAM(National Association of Manufacturers), NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors — which saw the gun-suit onslaught as the cutting edge of a movement to bypass the democratic lawmaking process and impose regulation through litigation on other industries. The general outrage in the business community helps explain why the act had 61 Senate co-sponsors, including 12 Democrats and many moderate Republicans; and why it drew 59 Democratic votes in the House, passing by a 2-1 margin .

“It is the only industry that has this protection from liability “
Firearms manufacturers can’t be sued for damage / injury done from faulty products.

FALSE— manufacturers are still liable for defects in their products.

“Manufacturers are flooding areas with firearms to people who shouldn’t have them, knowing that those firearms will be used for crime”.

FALSE— It is still illegal to sell firearms to prohibited persons. The firearms manufactures aren’t some nefarious group of evil doers bent on causing mayhem, they are legitimate businesses doing business in one of the largest areas of commerce in the country.

Manufacturers can’t be sued for people misusing their products.

TRUE— just because someone commits a crime with a firearm doesn’t mean the manufacturer is responsible for that misuse. That would be like suing a car manufacturer because a drunk driver killed someone. A company should not be sued because someone committed an illegal act with a legal product.

The politicians that are spouting these falsehoods are banking on the general public not being informed and not putting forth the effort to get informed.

However you feel on the issue, please do your own homework; don’t rely on sound bites and political ads or the news networks (usually biased one way or the other), educate yourself on the issues.

BigDaddy’s Firearms Training Logo


My Logo

So I’ve been asked what my logo represents or means to me, so I’ll try to explain it to you all.

First is the coiled rattle snake ready to strike in the background.
The first Marines enlisted in the city of Philadelphia; they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.” This is the first recorded mention of the future Gadsden flag’s symbolism.
At the first Continental Congress, Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden represented his home state of South Carolina. He was one of seven members of the Marine Committee who were outfitting the first naval mission. Before the departure of that first mission in December 1775, the newly appointed commander-in-chief of the Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins, received the yellow rattlesnake flag from Gadsden to serve as the distinctive personal standard of his flagship. It was displayed at the mainmast. The rattlesnake symbol was first officially adopted by the Continental Congress in 1778 when it approved the design for the official Seal of the War Office.
So, chose the Yellow Coiled Rattlesnake and borrowed the symbolism directly from the Gadsden flag to represent liberty and freedom.

Second is the twin 1911’s.
I hold the belief that, with the exception of the 10th amendment, which is a state right, the rest of the bill of rights are individual rights protected by, not granted by, the US Constitution. That being said, I strongly believe that without the 2nd Amendment there is no protection for the rest of the rights we as American citizens enjoy. I also believe that self-protection is not only a right, but also an individual responsibility, and that if you are willing to take that responsibility, I will help facilitate it.
So, I chose the twin 1911’s to represent my dedication to our rights, to include the 2nd amendment, and honor the history of service protecting those rights that the 1911 embodies.

Third is the “Deaths Head” pirate flag.
Yes, yes, I know pirates were criminals; however, if you disregard all that thievery, murder, mayhem, and so on; they had a good system. Let me explain. The pirate system was actually one of the first true democracies, that wasn’t a representative democracy; every person had a vote and every person got a share of the “booty”. All leadership positions and positions of importance were voted upon by the crew and the ONLY times the captain had absolute authority was while perusing a target and during combat.
So, I chose the “Deaths Head” pirate flag as a representation of democracy.(And I wanted my own cool pirate flag)

That is how I came up with my own “pirate flag” logo and the symbolism behind it.

Raymond Sherwood- An Introduction

SSGT Raymond Sherwood, Ret.

SSGT Raymond Sherwood, (USAF Ret).

Early Life

I grew up on a small livestock farm north of Reno, Nevada where he raised goats, sheep, potbelly pigs, turkeys, ducks, chicken and rabbits. I attended Sparks High School and graduated from Washoe High School in 1996. After graduating, I worked security jobs at Internet Auto, Burns Security, Desert Security, Meadowood Mall, and Wackenhut Security. Ray met his wife, Tracy, while working at Meadowood Mall and got married in the spring of 2000. Ray and Tracy had their son, Ryan, in November of 2000 when he was born eight weeks early. During this time, Ray enlisted in the Nevada Air National Guard as Security Police in 1998 and was a traditional member until February of 2001, when he became a full-time member as an Active Guard Reserve (AGR).

I joined the Nevada Air National Guard in February 1998 as a traditional guardsman as Security Police. In February 2001 Ray became a full-time active duty member of the National Guard. During Ray’s career he rose through the ranks until he reached NCO as a Staff Sergeant in June 2004. Ray has deployed once for Operation Noble Eagle, twice for Operation Enduring Freedom, twice for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and once domestically for Hurricane Katrina. Ray medically retired on 28October2015.

Skills, Duties, Positions held
While working in civilian security positions, I acquired skills relating to loss prevention, customer service, CCTV monitoring and use, and corporate protection. I have held many positions and acquired many skills as Air Force Law Enforcement. I have held many positions including but not limited to: Sentry, Internal and External Security Response teams, Law Enforcement Patrolman, Dispatcher, Alarm monitor, Alarm Administrator, e911 operator, Armorer, Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) of ATV training and maintenance, Unit Training Manager, Firearms Instructor, Range Safety Officer (RSO), Close Quarters Battle Instructor, Use of Force Instructor, Desert Survival instructor, HMMWV Instructor, Bus Instructor, Forklift instructor, Installation Physical Security Manager (Asset Protection & Risk / Vulnerability assessment), Criminal Investigator, Flight Chief, Personal Protection Team / Personal Security Detachment.

I have done volunteering at my son’s elementary school, Hunter Lake Elementary. As my son moved up in grades I went on to volunteer on a district level, first with the Department of Family School Partnerships and then with Volunteer Services.