Gun store owner: Freedom is slipping away in the U.S.

Benjamin Pollock, a gun store owner in Lakeland, Florida, worries that the United States is heading toward communism and urges Americans to stand up against what he sees as a “runaway” federal government.

“I see encroachment on the Second Amendment and I see people cowering down,” he said. “They’re talking about hiding their guns. They’re talking about burying their guns. And if it comes to that, you’ve lost. You’ve lost your country and you’re never going to dig those guns up.
“We look at countries around the world that have gone to communism, that have gone to socialism. And every time, the people are silent, the people don’t stand up and they don’t let their voice be heard. And so for right now, I feel like it is so important for people to get out there. And if you have an opportunity to go to a rally to let your voice be heard, now is the time that you need to get off the couch and to go out because our country is being taken away from us. And if we don’t do something about it, it’ll be gone.”

I interviewed Pollock at his gun store, Rapture Guns & Knives, as part of a documentary project I am doing. Below are excerpts of our interview.

I’m the owner of Rapture Guns & Knives. We’ve been working here, I’ve been well, I’ve owned it since, 2012, so eight years ago. And, we went in, a buddy of ours from church, I grew up, I’m a Christian and I’m proud of it, and I run a gun shop. So it’s, some people think, that those two can’t, you know, you can’t do that, but I believe, I believe you can. And, and so, friend of ours from church, he, he had a gun smithing shop and he, he asked me if I wanted to go into the selling side of it and open up a gun store and he would be the gun smith. And I, we had grown up, I had grown up around guns. We had property that we could shoot on.

So we’d grown up shooting and hunting. And, I thought that was the coolest thing, you know, so it wasn’t necessarily a dream of mine to be a gun shop owner, but it was a neat opportunity I thought to get into the gun business. And so we jumped on it and, we opened up the store. We called it Rapture Guns & Knives because we’re serving your gun and knife needs till Jesus comes. So, we, it was, it was a neat, really a neat opportunity and the Lord just blessed us. And, it is what we see here today, but, the Lord has worked in it. He’s, he’s provided for me and my family. I’m, married, happily married now for four years, and, and the Lord has provided for us and poured out his hand a blessing on us. So, yeah, that’s good.

Question: And what has been the, the impact on your family of the federal government’s prosecution of people who went to the Capitol Building on Jan. 6?

Fear, anger, frustration. I didn’t go, I was, I was one of the brothers that I was working, sadly, I didn’t, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to Washington to let my voice be heard. My prayers, my support was with my family as they went up there, but I didn’t get to go, and so, so when the repercussions came, when the FBI broke in, it was my wife. She didn’t know, because of the gun shop, the affiliation, you know, they’re my brother, they’re my family. You know, she didn’t know if there would be repercussions back on us, so she was, she was worried, you know, it was fear. I, my reaction was probably more anger. I was, I was angry, you know, this was unjust, uncalled for, this is a nation of justice, a nation of laws.

And, when you see these laws thwarted and, and just ignored, it, it causes, yeah, it’s frustrating and anger and that’s really what it was. And so, when I heard, heard that they were raiding my mom and dad’s house, I, yeah, to be honest, I was, I was angry. I was, I was frustrated. I was worried at the same time. Because I didn’t know to what extent when my sister called me, she was in tears. She thought everybody was dead. She, because she’d heard the flash bangs going off and she thought they were gunshots. And so I, we were on vacation. I jumped in my truck and head to my mom and dad’s house. We were about three hours away. So I had a long trip that I got to pray. And, just, to, to, yeah, just try and come to terms with what was going on, come to find out, no, that they weren’t dead, but it was, shocking to, to say that the amount of force that they use to arrest my sister. They were there to arrest my sister and the excess of force, it was, it was uncalled for, it was unjust, you know, and it was, you know, it was, I was mind blown by the amount of, you know, it didn’t make any sense.

I didn’t understand it. And so, as, as I got there to the house and got to talk to everybody, it made even less sense, you know, with the amount of force, because I heard talking to my sister over the phone as I’m driving, you’re just trying to, you’re getting little bits and pieces and, and then I get there and it, it, it’s sad to see where the country is at right now. This is something that you would, you would hear in like communist Russia or communist China. This is, this is something that they would have, methods that they would have implemented, political dissenters. They would show up at their house and, you know, they would disappear and thank goodness, that is not what happened with my sister. They did release her, but with some of the political prisoners, that is what happened. They haven’t been able to see their families. They haven’t been heard from, they haven’t even allowed, been allowed to be seen by their families. They’ve been locked in solitary confinement, some of them. And so, it’s, it’s scary and sad at the same time, to see where our country is right now and to see to what lengths they’re willing to go to, just to stomp out the insurrection, as they’re calling it.

Question: What have been some of the misconceptions told about people who, who went up to Washington?

Benjamin Pollock: Wow. That’s, that’s huge. I was talking to my dad the other day about that very thing. You know, the people that they are accusing of being insurrectionist of being traitors, these are the very people that stand up for this country, the military, law enforcement, patriots, I consider my family patriots, they love this country. They want to see this country succeed and to thrive. And those are the very people that are being demonized and called, you know, insurrectionists that they hate this country and to see the exact opposite of what it is, you know, what it is, because these are people that were willing to stand up for this country and to let their voice be heard, they were standing behind their president, you know? And, and it’s, it’s sad to see, you know, you turn on the news media and they’re, they’re called, you know, all these names.

And I know personally, I know at least five of the ones that they’re prosecuting or in the process of prosecuting or in search of, and these people love their country. They, they would, they would do anything for their country and it’s sickening to see them called insurrectionists and told that they hate their country, that they’re domestic terrorists because it couldn’t be further from the truth. They, they want to see this country succeed. They want to see justice. They want to see this country thrive. And, when, when you see, really the reason that everybody went up there, the, the election that was, there was a rally behind our president who had, who had won the election and then had it stolen from him over the course of, a week to two week period where they’re bringing in fraudulent votes. And that, they’re, you know, they, they literally stole the election right out from under him. And, and they were letting their voice be heard in support of their president and then to be attacked like they were, and, and then blamed for an insurrection, that they were domestic terrorist is, is crazy. And, and it’s sad.

Question: How did you get interested in politics?

Benjamin Pollock: Growing up we did some traveling as a family to historical sites and my grandfather and my great uncle, they were all in, both of my great uncles were in the military. And so we grew up in a very patriotic family. As we went to these different historical sites, you learn more and more about your history and about the history of this country and just the way that the Lord has really blessed us with freedoms that most other countries don’t have. And freedoms that so often we take for granted, sadly. And over the years, yes, we had been involved in the Tea Party. We saw that movement rise up, you know, from the ground level. And then it just sort of petered off, you know, they, they, I don’t want to say they lost their way, but they lost their focus along the way.

And so in the last few years we’ve seen a rise in freedom with, with Trump as president. You did see a lot of the, the things that we felt so strongly against, that there was actual hope that we may, we may see some like, abortion, you know, there was hope that we may see something happen about that because we’ve been fighting that for, well, before I was born. My, my father was a huge proponent of, you know, the right to life, you know. A child has, you know, just as much has just as many rights as me and you and, and even more so because they don’t have a voice. And so we, you know, we had hopes that we may see some repeals on some of the attacks on the Second Amendment and some of the attacks on some of our free speech.

And, and so yes, we have, we have been involved in, you know, protests over the years and, and rallies and because our voice, our First Amendment is so important. It is, you know, it is how we protect all of our other Amendments, the First and the Second Amendment go hand in hand together. And without the two you’re you’re, you’re never going to have freedom and you’re never going to be able to maintain freedom, because you have your, we have our freedom of speech, although it has been taken away from us drastically with the censorship. You have these platforms that claim to be platforms of free speech and that they protect free speech and that they want open dialogue, but yet they’ll censor anything from an opposing position, a conservative point of view, they want to ban, or they want to take down the media that may be questionable or may not meet community guidelines.

And so that’s an attack on our freedom of speech because our, our voice is there to help protect all of our other Amendments and to protect our freedom and our way of life. And the Second Amendment is there to defend the First Amendment. If the First Amendment is threatened, we have our Second Amendment to fall back on, but that’s something that we should never, never take lightly. That’s something that you hope to never have to revert back to. You know, you, you look at our founding fathers and that was always a last resort. Even when, even when this country was founded, the second they used the revolution as their absolute last resort, they had petitioned the king for years for their redresses and they were ignored. And so, both, both of those things are very important to us, to me and to my family growing up. And so it was, you know, that’s always been part, a huge part of my life.

Question: I don’t have any other questions. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Benjamin Pollock: I, I do feel like people need to need to understand, our history. They need to understand where this nation came from, that the Lord had a huge part in founding this country because I feel like personally, as I I’m work, I’ve worked in the public and I talked to different people, we’re frustrated about, you know, the way that the country is going politically and the way that, you know, our rights are being taken away from us. Our rights come from the Lord. The Lord is the author of freedom. He, he is ultimate freedom. And, and so he’s given us these rights and it is our responsibility as citizens, Ben Franklins, you know, said, we’ve given you a, we’ve given you a freedom, if you can, if you can keep it, you know, I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember the exact quote.

But that’s, it’s our responsibility to, to represent this country and as Christians, so often we want to take a back seat and we want little, other people, step up and take the responsibility. Well, you know, we’re, we’re gonna, we’re going to take a back seat on this because it’s political. We have, you know, they’ve, they’ve spread the lie that there’s a separation between church and state, that, that never existed. You know, the founding fathers wanted the church to be an active part in political movements because they didn’t want the state to have a part in the church, but they definitely wanted the church to have a part in the state. If you look at the composition of the founding fathers, there were a huge number that were pastors that were preachers were theologians, and I think that’s neat.

And I think that needs to be shared more, because, there is a silent majority of people in this country that are just keeping their mouth shut, that aren’t standing up. And that aren’t saying that have a problem with the way the country’s going, that have a problem with where we’re at as a nation, but they’re not opening their voice because they’re scared that there may be retaliation. There may be consequences. And, I think that’s part of, you know, I had somebody asked me the other day. I bet you’re, you know, I bet you’re glad that you didn’t go up there on January 6th. And I honestly said, no, I, I really wish I hadn’t been there because the ones that went there and that stood up and took a stand, depending on who wins, there’ll be, there’ll be either known as heroes or there’ll be known as villains.

Because I compared it to the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against England and their taxation without, you know, without representation. And, and this was, it originally started out as a peaceful protest against their voices not being heard in America. Our last line of defense has our vote. That’s our, that’s our freedom that we have to prove true to cast our opinion, to say that we think the country needs to go in this direction. And when they’re taking that vote away from you, they’re taking your voice away. Your voice is no longer important to, to them, and you have no voice at that point. And so then you’re just given leaders. And, and so for Americans, this is a time to stand up. This is a time to let your voice be heard.

You have to quit worrying about the consequences, and we have to take a stand because if we don’t, we’re going to see, this country is not going to exist. The way that we see it today, this country is not going to exist as a country of freedom. We’re going to be a communist country because if you’re, if your ballot, you say, well, we’re going to, we’re going to change. And in 2020 or 2022 or 2024, if voice isn’t heard, if your ballot is not cast, when you, when you go and vote and they don’t count your vote, you’re not going to solve anything because they’re just going to select your political leaders. And they’re going to select the way this country’s going. And so you need to stand up and take a stand right now, because if you don’t, the country is going to be, you know, it’s to be gone, and we’re not going to have the country that we used to have.

We look around the world today and you see, you see people being hauled off. I was, I was watching videos even this morning of people being arrested, for, and they, you know, for, is COVID related, incidents and, and, things related to that, but they don’t have a way to defend yourself. They, they, they’re not, they don’t live in a country of freedom. They don’t live in a country that, that has a Second Amendment that has, an ability to have a populace that is armed and that can stand up, not that I’m a proponent, because I do feel like, the founding fathers gave us our First Amendment to let our voice be heard, but they also gave us a Second Amendment if our voices not heard. And if our voices ignored that we can stand up and that we can, we can use it as a last resort.

And to see these people in these other countries, they have protests, but they have no, no means to enforce, you know, you know, the will of the people, on a runaway government. And, and that’s, that’s scary because I see encroachment on the Second Amendment and I see people cowering down, they’re talking about hiding their guns. They’re talking about burying their guns. And, if it comes to that, you’ve lost, you’ve lost your country and you’re never going to dig those guns up. We look at countries around the world that have gone to communism that have gone to socialism. And, and every time that people are silent, that people don’t stand up and they don’t let their voice be heard. And so for right now, I feel like it is so important for people to get out there. And if you have an opportunity to go to a rally, to, to, to, to let your voice be heard now is the time now is the time that, that you need to get off, off the couch and to go out. And, because our country has being taken away from us. And if we don’t do something about it, it’ll be gone.

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