Edward Wilks - The Tradesmen Gun Store - 128 East 3rd Street Rifle CO 81650 Colorado - Advanced Combat Training

Edward Wilks - The Tradesmen Gun Store - 128 East 3rd Street Rifle CO 81650 Colorado - Advanced Combat Training

Edward in Denmark Newspaper Jyllands-Posten

Jyllands-Posten  "Denmark’s Leading Conservative Newspaper"
Monday, October 22, 2012

Edward, Get Your Gun!
By: Jørgen Ullerup

Edward Wilks - The Tradesmen Gun Store - 128 E 3rd St Rifle, CO - In the newspaper 1

Shells fly when Edward Wilks pulls the trigger on his fully-automatic M4 rifle with a silencer. Photo by Casper Dalhoff

On the back of Edward Wilks’ black Dodge Durango, there is a sticker with the following warning: "DANGER! Stay back 100 meters or you will be shot."  Of course, it is meant as a joke, but it is a good reminder in the United States to not behave badly, because many Americans are well armed.  Edward owns a gun store in Rifle and has a machine gun locked, but ready for use, in his car. At the same time, he also wears a pistol on his belt, and a second compact pistol in his pocket.

Bullets fly... Literally
We drive out to a local ranch to meet with Edward Wilks (a gun store owner and firearms instructor) who holds one-day shooting courses for approximately 500 interested individuals a year and teaches his children to shoot.  Our reception committee consisted of him, and his ten-year-old son, Ethan.  As we pulled into their ranch, they were firing deadly volleys of bullets onto a target 100 yards away with a fully automatic machine-gun until the magazines were emptied.

Armed To the Teeth
Edward takes it all literally.  He even lives in a town called “Rifle.”  He is armed to the teeth and his family is virtually their own militia.  Edward talks with us (while wearing a GEMTECH Silencer Company hat, an RMGO, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Shirt with NAGR, National Association for Gun Rights and American Flag patches) he said “The best way to keep your children safe, is to make them lethal.  We give our children rifles on their third birthday, and at age four, we begin teaching them how to shoot them.” says Edward, father of Miriam 12, Ethan 10, Amelia 5, and Max 2.  The 41-year-old father of four and former police officer now owns The Tradesmen, a local gun store in Rifle.  Edward Wilks was police officer for 10 years, and when the possibility arose to buy The Tradesmen Gun Store, he jumped at the chance.  He says he is much happier because it gives him much more time for family and several hobbies. He plays the piano, even for his church, and as a pilot, he is often seen against the sky in a little vintage airplane.  But firearms are his biggest passion, as they go with him everywhere. 

Ready For Battle
Secured in the center console of his black V8 Dodge Durango SUV (with a special law-enforcement-grade locking gun rack) sits a Class 3 machine gun ready for combat. Next to it, sit three extra magazines loaded with different types of ammunition. Red tip for bad-guys, green for armor piercing, and orange which are incendiary tracers.

Edward Wilks - The Tradesmen Gun Store - 128 E 3rd St Rifle, CO - In the newspaper 2

Edward teaches his son, Ethan, to stand and lean correctly when engaging an opponent. Photo by Casper Dalhoff

At the Range
Edward’s ten-year-old son, Ethan, worked on how to handle hostage situations with "bad guys" made out of steel in the shape of human busts.  Ethan pulled his .22 caliber Walther pistol, with a GEMTECH silencer, aimed and dropped one violent criminal after another. But Edward adds stress to by yelling, "Go! Go! Go!” and “Remember to follow the last bad-guy all the way to the ground and hold the trigger at ready because he might not actually be dead.”
Support for Romney

Presidential Election - 2012
For many reasons, Edward Wilks may be voting for Republican Mitt Romney this November.  One of those reasons is because he fears that President Barack Obama will use a second term to further restrict gun laws.  Firearms have not been a major theme in this election campaign. Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans support a virtually unlimited freedom to buy and possess firearms. Requirements for tighter gun laws often show up in the United States.  But even after a series of massacres, no candidate wants to stand up against America's many armed men.

Some would argue that he should be a big fan of the current President.  When Obama won the election in 2008, Edward reports that he sold more than 800 firearms in just two months.  Customers stood in line because they feared that their new president would ban certain guns.  “But what could we do with all the money we made?  There were no other guns to buy anywhere.  Warehouse shelves were empty, and what was left doubled in price.  Every kind of defensive firearm was gone.” 

Recently, one of America's most powerful interest groups, The National Rifle Association, endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the election campaign. Firearms are not expected to be hot election issues for Obama or Democrats and many elected officials have shown little interest in proposing anything that would tighten existing law.

Any argument that more firearms in the United States leads to more violence and more tragedies is quickly challenged by Edward. Colorado has had its share of massacres.  In April 1999, 12 students and a teacher were killed when two students committed a massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, and in July this year, 12 people were killed and 58 wounded when James Eagan Holmes sneaked into a cinema in the Denver suburb of Aurora and began shooting wildly at the premiere of the new Batman movie. "The killer in Aurora was a disgusting individual.” said Wilks. “Signs saying ‘No Guns Allowed’ never stop criminals, but if I or my son Ethan had been in the theater that night, we could quickly stopped that violent man instantly."

"In Colorado, you still have the liberty and freedom to go to a store and buy a handgun which you can then carry in what is called ‘open carry’ even into the grocery store of bank, if you want.  There are some restriction such as federal buildings and schools.”

Edward believes Mitt Romney is a better choice for a new president.  Not just because Edward is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon, like Romney, but because the Republican Candidate stands for the same conservative and Christian values as himself.  "If American families would be more honorable, respectful and patriotic, we would not find ourselves in this current dilemma."  However, he does have one concern regarding Romney.  The Republican candidate has, in the past, suggested banning certain military assault rifles for civilians. But Obama is worse. Even if he hasn’t acted against weapons as of right now, he very well might in his second and final presidential term and try to restrict or ban certain ammunition or to ban certain weapons.

The Right To Keep and Bear Arms
Because of the right to bear arms, Edward favors removing certain restrictions regarding accessing and buying certain firearms in the U.S..  Americans should have lawful access to the same class of firearms that a government might use against its own population. "The constitutional right to bear arms applies not only to defend yourself against burglars, but also against a tyrannical government," He says and continues: "Imagine if Obama one day tried to be inserted into his fourth term, even though he only has the opportunity for two, at attacked the American people.  We should have access to comparable weapons to keep an illegal or violent government in check.  Every society that has disarmed its population, any time in history, has paid a high price in terms of mass murder."

He also believes that the background checks, as many criticized for being too casual, are an infringement, and therefore, unconstitutional.  "If you have unpaid speeding tickets, or unpaid fines, or various levels of misconduct on your police record, you will be denied a firearm, even if you badly need it.  There have been examples of women who were killed by their violent ex, because they needed a gun, but were delayed or denied because of the background check.  They didn’t get the gun, and they ended up being killed.”

Pushing the Right Button
Edward is armed with statistics in favor of free trade in firearms.  There are 350 million firearms in the United States.  There are 313 million inhabitants. That is enough to arm every man, woman, child, newborn, police officer, criminal, solider, and illegal alien in the United States. It has made society more politely, because people do not know who is armed, and who isn’t.  Therefore, where citizens are allowed to own and carry guns, crime drops dramatically.  Firearms are used 2.6 million times each year to stop crime.  Most often, the gun is never even fired.  Off-duty police officers commit violent crime four times more often than citizens with concealed handgun permits. 

Edward is not a member of any self-defense militias which have spread all over the U.S. under Obama.  But, he is a member of Oath Keepers, and, on Facebook, he and a group of his customers and students create a group of 40 or more in the area that promises to assist each other in an emergency.

Edward Wilks - The Tradesmen Gun Store - 128 E 3rd St Rifle, CO - In the newspaper 3

All the "bad guys" at Edward’s shooting range are painted white to avoid any accusation of racist motives. Photo by Casper Dalhoff

10 Bullets in the Same Hole
At the range, he let us shoot the fully-automatic M4 machine-gun. The projectiles have a speed of 1,000 m/sec. (3000 fps) and woe to the already perforated metal felon that Edward placed between a rock and a bush high up (and 100 meters away) on the hillside. Edward Wilks is incredible in his accuracy as he showed us with his pistol by hitting a target (21 feet away) wherein 10 bullets left a single, solitary hole. On the back of his car, a sticker says: "DANGER! Stay back 100 meters or you will be shot." Good advice. Take it seriously. For, although Edward Wilks is a really nice fellow, he is armed to the teeth, so it would be wise to be good around him.

 * The previous text is a rough translation (including various clarifications) of a story that ran in Denmark’s newspaper, Jyllands-Posten on Monday, October 22, 2012.  Story by Jørgen Ullerup, photos by Casper Dalhoff.  I did my best on the translation, but, as the correspondent, Jørgen Ullerup, warned, it may be difficult because, said he, “Danish isn’t so much a language, as it is a throat disease!”  I corrected things like “Ford Durango” (actually made by Dodge) and “5000” to “500.”  Even with small corrections like that, I think it captures the reporter’s message.  Translation by Google Translate, fine-tuned by Edward Wilks, as I was there.

Original Story in Danish: