Emily Gets Her Gun

MILLER: Paul Ryan's guns

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Paul Ryan has become the most high-profile gun owner in the nation this year. The Republican vice presidential candidate is known as an avid hunter, but what’s less known is that he exercises his right to own a handgun for self protection. 

This is a new feature exploring the firearms owned by high-profile individuals. The series will be a fun way for gun owners to learn about the specific makes and models and their intended use. 

Hopefully, these stories will dispel the myth perpetuated by gun grabbers that owning more than one gun is a sign a person is a danger to society. On the contrary, gun owners are thousands of times more likely to use their weapon to prevent a crime than to commit one. 

Mark Olcott is Paul Ryan’s brother-in-law, good friend and frequent hunting buddy. Mr. Olcott is married to the former Molly Little, who is Janna Little Ryan’s younger sister.  “Paul would agree with me. We both married up,” Mr. Olcott said in an interview Friday before he went bowhunting for deer near his home in Frederick, Md. “Our wives are just incredible people. We’re lucky men.”

Mr. Olcott said the Wisconsin congressman got him interested in hunting.  “When we met nine years ago, one of Paul’s first questions to me was whether I had a problem with him hunting, since I’m a veterinarian,” he explained  “I said, ‘No, I’d be interested to learn more about it.’ And I’ve been hooked every since.”

The two hunt mostly in Wisconsin and at their wives’ family ranch in Oklahoma. I asked Mr. Wolcott what guns Mr. Ryan owns. He said the Wisconsin Republican usually hunts deer using his Remington Model 700 rifle which is chambered in .30-06. For duck and turkey hunting, Mr. Ryan uses his a 12 gauge shotgun. He owns the Super Black Eagle model made by Benelli, a company owned by Beretta. 

Mr. Ryan also likes to challenge himself by shooting with his revolver. “He likes hunting with a handgun,” Mr. Olcott said of his brother-in-law.  “He’ll carry his .357 in the stand — in a holster — and wait for a deer comes in range for a handgun, which is more like bow range, 30 yards or closer,” said Mr. Olcott. “He’s shot a lot of deer with his handgun. He really likes that.” 

Mr. Ryan also owns a 9mm Glock for home self defense. He sometimes brings the pistol from Wisconsin to the Oklahoma to do target shooting at the ranch’s 100-yard outdoor range. 

Mr. Olcott said the congressman occasionally goes target shooting when he’s back in Washington for work. He shoots with the Capitol Hill Police at their range. A spokesman for the department did not respond to my questions for information on the location of the range or if other members of Congress use it. 

The Ryan-Olcott families see hunting as a family activity. Mr. Olcott bought his son, Aidan, a  Remington 700 .243 youth rifle with a scope. Mr Ryan brought the same gun for 10-year old daughter Liza last year for Christmas.

Mitt Romney’s running mate also stopped at Bass Pro Outdoor World in Ohio on the campaign trail in September to buy camouflage clothing for his daughter since this is the first year she can hunt herself. The families are going to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. They typically go back between Christmas and New Year for more “family hunting.”

“When we’re in Oklahoma, Paul will take one of the kids — Liza, Sam, Charlie — in the stand each day. Then he starts all over again. Hunting is very much part of the family. That’s the way he grew up. That’s important to him to take time with kids to teach them about hunting.” 

Hunters say you really get to know another person spending that much time closely together in the woods.  “He’s just a good, honest guy,” Mr. Olcott said of Mr. Ryan, who is his son’s godfather. “Honestly, as people get to know him, what you see is what you get. He’s a genuinely nice guy. I’m fortunate to have him as a friend.”

If the Romney-Ryan ticket wins the election next week, gun owners will have an ally in the White House. 

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About the Author
Emily Miller

Emily Miller

Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.

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