Dispatches from gun country: A legacy of freedom, craftsmanship

Justin Harvel, president of Black Rain Ordnance, photographed at the Black Rain Ordnance factory in Neosho, Missouri. He sports a Black Rain Fallout-15 Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) in the Norguard Finish with a Black Rain Aris .223/5.56 Suppressor and an X-Products 50 Round Drum Magazine. (Photo: Ben Philippi)

Gun dealing goes back two generations in the Harvel family. Justin Harvel, president of Black Rain Ordnance, now manufactures them, and his twin boys might continue the legacy.

My grandfather has been a gun dealer all of my life, and even way before. He’s ninety-five now, and although he rarely ‘deals’, he still loves his guns.

He lived back in the days when marksmanship was still taught in school. He promoted and hosted the first gun show in our town of Neosho, Missouri. It was in the late 50’s, and believe it or not, it was held in the gymnasium of the high school! He always carried a sidearm and I remember that old Smith & Wesson .38 and the smell of the leather holster.

Both of my two uncles and my father also carried on that tradition of proudly loving and dealing in guns. Again, they lived in an age when guns were still viewed as the heritage of a free society. They would take me shooting and hunting all the time, and I remember the first time I shot a gun and the honor and respect I had for it. It was a right of passage, a  part of growing up and of learning a new responsibility.

We’re entering a new age and despite opposition to firearms, I am personally very excited. I see great things for the future of shooting sports and the industry. I’m very proud to be part of it.  We as a society need to focus on our youth to carry on the torch of freedom! It is our responsibility as parents and adults to teach our children good Christian values.

We at Black Rain Ordnance hand-make precision rifles. It runs in our blood. I hark back to my father and grandfather and know they are proud. I’m happy to carry on this legacy of freedom. I am also proud to pass along to my twin boys, Colton and Gage, a pro-gun attitude so that they too will some day pass it along to their children.

This great country was built on the principles of freedom and great craftsmanship. I know these principles will shine through, and America will continue to be at the forefront of greatness.

Read more perspectives on America’s gun culture in Ben Philippi’s book “We The People.”