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

Letters to the Editor

In the Summer of 2012, Edward Wilks wrote a series of Letters to the Editor addressing the truth and reality of firearms ownership and self protection. Then, when the Aurora shooting occurred, his letters were predictably attacked by ignorant people like Craig Chisesi, Bob Shettel, and Everett Peirce.

Isn't it amazing that people who are anti-gun, have no guns, and do not shoot or hunt... are somehow the leading authorities on guns.

Here are the letters and responses so anyone who cares about rebuking anti-gun rhetoric and directly challenging and responding to such perverted and outrageous claims can do so with history, fact, and logic.

Trust me: You believe in media control

This newspaper published a similarly-named opinion column by Tina Dupuy on May 26 encouraging gun control. Because I own a gun store and teach gun safety classes, many of my customers and students came to me as their advocate in this matter. I read the column and found it seriously deficient in experience, logic and fact.

I believe the best way to illustrate something is through analogous comparison, so let us compare firearms to newspapers. Like money and fire, they are amoral objects. They can be used for good or harm. But if newspapers and reporters were subjected to media control the same as gun control, not only would they be outraged, they would revolt.

OK (says the government), you “may” print newspapers, but they cannot hold more than 10 pages, or use any words that are offensive, or too big, or that can defeat government propaganda. Each reader must complete a six-page background check that will be delayed and/or denied due to anything we consider a criminal or mental concern including: medications, depression, unpaid parking tickets, fines, child support, medical bill judgments, etc.

Readers must pass an exam, but regardless of approval, they must wait 15 days to “cool off” before they can take the newspaper home. The newspaper company must keep customer records for 20 years and be audited constantly so the government can know where each buyer lives and what they read. Even minor violations will result in the revocation of the paper's business license, a $7,500 fine and 10 years in federal prison.

There are many more comparative restrictions, but this letter is (justifiably) “controlled” to 350 words.

Consider this historical fact: Wherever there is more gun control and media control, crime, violence and tyranny achieve their worst levels. But where the rights of citizens are protected to have full liberty in the creation, ownership and possession of firearms and press, cruelty, horror and oppression vanish.

Like firearms, freedom of the press is a constitutionally protected right, and regardless of any misinformation or misuse, I shall always defend it. Will the press equally commit to our cause?

-Edward Wilks

The Tradesmen Gun Store
Advanced Combat Training
Rifle, Colorado

Craig Chisesi attacked me, July 22, 2012 just as I submitted another...

This was my response:

Craig Chisesi mentioned one of my letters where I compared guns to other amoral objects like fire, money, and newspapers... things that can be used for either good or harm. He mocked the comparison then predictably finished by exploiting the recent theater shooting by sarcastically asking me what would have happened if Holmes had entered the theater with “newspapers” instead of guns. Disturbing.

He then expressed disappointment that nobody wrote in with concerns over my comparison-letter. Why didn’t they? Because those who read the letter recognized it for what it was: An illustration that those who call for government control regarding a certain freedom or liberty with which they disagree, are the first to cry foul when the government then exerts the same kind of restriction on the items and issues with which they DO agree. Typical.

So I ask you, Craig... What if, instead of using “newspapers”, you selected the other analogous comparison I mentioned, “fire”? What if Holmes had used fire at that theater instead of guns? Hundreds could have been killed. Do we then inappropriately mock the tragedy and say, “Thank goodness he used guns instead of fire?” No. But, you didn’t mention that, did you? You picked the one thing with which YOU disagree. Predictable.

Let’s see just how “anti-gun” some of you “really” are. Let’s say, Craig, (or anyone) and I attended that movie together and Holmes began shooting and I arose and engaged him to stop his murders... but I died trying. Would you have cowered and let children die? Or, would you have picked up my “evil, despicable handgun” and tried to safe yourself or them? The only difference is “when” we choose to pick up and carry the firearm. Proactive, or, reactive?

However, if you still demand proof that newspapers CAN be used to kill... follow your own advice and “Google” words like, “German newspapers create enough anti-Jew hatred to justify murdering millions”.

-Edward Wilks

The Tradesmen Gun Store
Advanced Combat Training
Rifle, Colorado

On July 22, they published my next letter:

Guns The Best Protection Against Gun-wielding Lunatics

I received many requests from firearms students and gun owners asking that I comment on the shooting in Aurora.

First, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all the victims. We are all deeply saddened for their loss and suffering.

Second, the blame does not rest upon guns, gun owners, or gun organizations; not the Batman movie, or video games; not liberal or Tea Party protesters, or talk radio; not even God for “letting it happen.” Full blame falls upon those who commit these acts. Anyone who inappropriately places blame or politicizes this event is guilty of exploiting tragedy for disgusting motives.

Third, a point of fact: Had this occurred where one of my firearms students were present, they would have stopped that man within three seconds. Anyone familiar with our training knows this is true, by both philosophy and skill. These men and women spend immeasurable amounts of effort, money and time to become totally proficient in defending themselves, their family, and their fellow man, without endangering other citizens.

Yes, someone might have still been killed, but instead of “12 Dead, 50 Injured” the headline might read, “Armed woman stopped madman bent on killing hundreds.” (This actually occurred recently in Colorado where, before he could kill a single person, an armed woman at a church event instantly shot a lunatic armed with a backpack full of ammo who was going to “kill as many Christians as possible.”)

There is only one way to stop murderers like this, and that is by shooting them into incapacitation. Criminals ignore signs prohibiting guns, laws that threaten arrest or prison. Even armed police do not deter them, because many plan to commit “suicide by cop.” So, those at the scene must stop them the very instant they become violent.

Therefore, to ensure this never happens to you, study the history and facts regarding these things. Ask a safe, gun-owning friend or neighbor to teach you about firearms. Rent or purchase a handgun and take a class from a qualified instructor. Get your concealed weapons permit. Take responsibility for your own personal safety.

-Edward Wilks

The Tradesmen Gun Store
Advanced Combat Training
Rifle, Colorado

Bob Shettel attacked me and other gun owners with this:

So I responded with this...

I speak directly “to” Bob Shettel, and “for” gun-owners/carriers everywhere.  Sir, your letter was false and misleading.  You do not know what you are talking about. History, FBI-statistics, documented events, and reality all disagree with you.  

People who carry firearms are not, as you say, “amateur, inexperienced vigilantes”, but mothers and fathers who care about their safety.  If you doubt our abilities, visit our YouTube page and watch even my 9-year-old daughter running backwards, making head-shots, (so much for your body-armor theory) all while in the dark, in smoke, under stress, and simulated attack.  They hit only threat-targets, and NEVER innocent-targets.  This also stands true for Cowboy Action, SASS, IDPA, IPSC, GSSF, and the hundreds of other local Action Pistol competitors you insulted.

You claim that “adding another armed person” needs a “reality check” but you ignore law enforcement statistics and even the factual story I shared where a single armed woman saved hundreds of lives by doing exactly that in an open coliseum that held thousands and the ONLY person she shot was the lunatic she stopped.  You ignore THAT “reality check” because it erodes your argument.

You said that, by personal experience, the ‘whuff’ of a bullet past your ear makes you forget training and think only of cover and escape?  You, sir, do not speak for us.  If that sound makes YOU a brainless coward, then YOUR training and tactics suck.  I have female students who have been raped; male students who have shot armed attackers in front of their own children.  All stayed in the fight and won! Do not superimpose YOUR inadequacies onto others.

When you have been a police officer; taught for 25 years; appeared on everything from CBS to America’s Most Wanted and even testified as a “defensive-shooting expert”; earned $250 an hour as a bodyguard; directly counseled, comforted, and worked with men, women, and children that have actually killed other human beings to save their own lives...  THEN... will we consider your opinion.  Until then, stop pretending to be an authority on a subject you clearly know nothing about.

-Edward Wilks

The Tradesmen Gun Store
Advanced Combat Training
Rifle, Colorado

Everett Peirce attacked gun owner with this...

I responded with this...

I am surprised how many individuals are offering blatantly false and misleading information to the public as if they are the world’s leading experts regarding firearms, concealed carry, personal protection, firearms laws, and gun-related statistics or crime.  

I have been shooting and carrying firearms all my life, teaching them for 25+ years, carrying one on my hip for the last 20, used them as the primary means of my livelihood as a police officer, bodyguard, gun store owner, professional firearms instructor, and competition shooter.  I have been a certified expert for the last 10 years.  I hold advanced instructorships and certificates including Handgun, Shotgun, Rifle, Machine-gun, Tactical Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, FAA Carrying Armed on Commercial Aircraft, Executive Protection, SWAT, and on, and on, and on...

After all that, not even I claim to be the world’s leading expert. However, it is abundantly evident that I am clearly more qualified than Mr. Peirce to speak on this subject with authority.

For 25+ years, I have heard all the anti-gun rhetoric you can imagine.  But history, fact, and logic always show the truth of the matter.  I have known the most liberal, anti-gun fanatics you can imagine.  They all “claim” to be “die-hard liberal, anti-gun, never-to-be-converted” people.  Then, one of them is raped, or attacked, or their home invaded, their children threatened, their loved-ones injured or killed... and then their ethos and belief-system ALWAYS changes.  They come to me and say, “I want a gun, I want to learn how to fight, and I want 4 private lessons for me, my husband, and my children.”  I have personally experienced this as an instructor approximately 30 times.

With that in mind, do you still stand your statements in your letter where you question the effectiveness of an armed victim stopping a violent attacker.  You say it is “beyond belief.” We are all curious, sir.  How do YOU propose a single mother with two little girls stops a violent attacker who has broken into their home after making police-documented treats to her life?

Mr. Peirce shares with us “Wikipedia” statistics, a website, that by its own definition is “the free encyclopedia open to anonymous and collaborative editing.”  What?  That’s okay.  Let’s look at your facts.  You talk about gun-violence in other countries forgetting that the reason we have more “gun-violence” is because we have more guns than Australia, New Zealand, or the UK.  I could not help but notice you left out Mexico, South America, and Africa.  As for those Imperial nations, you did not share with your readers their “overall violence” rates (blades, clubs, and weapons other than firearms) such as London ranking 2nd in the world for violence.  Switzerland has the highest civilian-to-gun ownership rate.  Their government requires and issues a full-auto machine-gun to each adult male with thousands of round of ammunition and yet they have the LOWEST gun-violence rate.  Why did you leave those out?  Because they completely invalidate your argument.

Your nonsense about gun-violence in those countries can be compared to this.
We should have traffic laws like England, for they have fewer pickup-truck accidents than any other country.  However, England actually has the highest number of “vehicle” traffic accidents.  But, since England has fewer pickup trucks than any other country, statistics can be misrepresented to falsely support your position.  (This regarding traffic and trucks is NOT true... just an example.)

“Gun violence” in England is low because they have the lowest number of guns in their country.  However, “overall violence” including blades, clubs, etc is some of the highest in the world.  Why?  Because victims cannot fight back. 

There are more than 350 million guns in America.  That means one gun for every man, woman, child, newborn, elderly, soldier, cop, criminal, etc...  with enough extra guns to provide every illegal immigrant with a gun, also.  We have the most guns... and, per-capita, the lowest amount of crime.  If you removed the crime from rates from Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and other places where handguns are restricted, those numbers would be even better.

Places where guns-rights are denied or restricted have the highest violence rates. 
Places where guns-rights are protected and supported have the lowest violence rates.

You claim that people who carry guns are prone to pulling them out whenever they are upset.  That, sir, is not only insulting, but absurd.  Thousands of Colorado citizens around you ARE carrying guns.  You just don’t see them.

After a tragedy like this, the first thing anti-gun people want to do is take firearms away from the people that didn’t do it.

If guns cause crimes, all mine are defective.  So are all those of my thousands of customers and students.  

Firearms are used approximately 2.6 million times a year... most often, without even firing a shot.

If gun-owners were as violent as liberals made us out to be... there wouldn’t be any liberals left.

Off-duty police officers commit violent crime 4 times more frequently than citizens who have concealed carry permits.

It is historically true and provable that cities like Washington D.C. ban citizens from owning guns, violence sky-rockets.  And, when those bans are eventually found to be “un-Constitutional” and struck down... crime and violence rates in those city plummets.  There are towns in the U.S. that do not have any police department.  They do, however, by law require every citizen to “carry a loaded handgun on or about their person for their immediate self defense.”  Guess what the violent crime rate is there.

You called the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution “an unfortunate clause”. Thank you for showing every reader your true colors. The “citizenry-enforced” portion of our Bill of Rights is not a “clause” but a time-tested protection that has defended against tyranny for
more than two hundred years.  The problem with your desire to “strictly limit” guns is that “reasonable restrictions” always come from “unreasonable people” how fail to comprehend the history, fact, and logic... let alone the sacred wisdom... of our Founding Fathers and their writings.

-Edward Wilks

The Tradesmen Gun Store
Advanced Combat Training
Rifle, Colorado

The Editor asked me to combine all three letters, so submitted this:

I write in response to recent letters from Craig Chisesi, Bob Shettel, Everett Peirce, who questioned an individual’s right or wisdom to carry firearms for self-defense.

What expertise do they have? History, FBI statistics, and reality all disagree with them. Every logical person reading their letters recognized the misrepresented statistics and ridiculous claims.

The letters called those of us who carry firearms “amateur, inexperienced vigilantes” pulling guns out whenever upset. Absurd. Citizens “conceal-carry” in banks, stores and theaters, proving them wrong daily. Watch us (and other men, women, children) on YouTube in the dark, under stress, under attack, hitting six-inch threat-targets, never hitting the innocent-targets. This stands true for Cowboy Action, International Defensive Pistol Association, International Practical Shooting Confederation, and other “action pistol” competitors.

Mr. Shettel claimed we’ll fold under pressure. False. If the sound of gunfire makes someone a scatterbrained coward, then their training and tactics are pathetic. Do not superimpose another’s misbehavior or inadequacies onto all of us.

If guns cause crime, all ours must be defective.

Firearms are used 2.6 million times a year to stop crime.

After shootings, they want to disarm the people who didn’t do it.

Off-duty police officers commit violent crime four times more than concealed-carry permittees.

Every time a liberal who claims they are anti-gun is raped or attacked, their ethos changes and they beg me for handguns and training.

Since 1955, with only one exception, every public shooting in the U.S. when more than three people were killed took place where firearms are prohibited.

If gun-owners were as violent as liberals claim, there wouldn’t be any liberals left.

When they’ve been police officers, taught for 25 years, appeared on everything from CBS to America’s Most Wanted and testified as an expert, earned $250 an hour as a bodyguard, and have directly counseled and comforted men, women, and children who have actually killed other human beings to save their own lives... Then, we might consider their opinion.

I promise, with full authority and expertise, if a person carries a firearm, not only are they safer, but so are all those around them.

-Edward Wilks

The Tradesmen Gun Store
Advanced Combat Training
Rifle, Colorado

A good resource for firearms statistics: