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A rebel guard stands beside the desk of former dictator Fulgencio Batista inside the Presidential Palace in Havana, Jan. 4, 1959 after Revolutionary forces took over the building. (AP Photo)

Reader Leo R. writes . . .

While I was born in the United States, my father was a political refugee from Cuba. He told me a story about my grandfather and his guns that will stay with me forever.

He said to me . . .

Son, I see things are playing out here in America just as they did back in Cuba when I was a child. Did you know your grandfather had a .44 magnum revolver? Your grandfather had lots of firearms including a western-style lever action rifle, a .38 revolver and a few shotguns.

One time, he sat me down and said, “Hijo, you know all the guns that I have…the ones that I promised would be yours some day? I’m going to have to give them up. I can’t keep that promise to you, I’m sorry.”

My father, who was eight years old at the time, replied, “But you promised. Why would you do that?”

My grandfather said, “Hijo, please understand that it’s no longer safe for me to keep them. If I don’t give them up, they will come for them. Then they will arrest me and you will lose your father and the guns.

“If I surrender them now, we can plan to leave for America. My guns are useless. They have banned all the ammunition. I don’t even have bullets for most of these guns.

“Listen to me. We can start all over in America.”

I didn’t question him. I was sad and upset, but I understood.

My grandfather did as he said. He surrendered all of his firearms to the communist police. Shortly thereafter, the family fled Cuba for America.

My father told me he sees the same thing that happened to him as a child in Cuba happening here now. He sees ammunition gone from store shelves. Then, he says, after they get us to register our guns, they will force us to turn them in. And when they do that, this country will fall to socialism.

Raul Castro, left, younger brother to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, has his arm around second-in-command, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Argentine national, in their Sierra de Cristal mountain stronghold south of Havana, Cuba, during the Cuban revolution in June 26, 1958. (AP Photo/Andrew St. George)

He told me it breaks his heart to see this nation, the last bastion of freedom, the lighthouse of liberty to the world, slipping toward socialism. As he told me the story about my grandfather, I hung on each of my father’s words as if I was eight years old, rather than just a few days shy of my 49th birthday. And i realized that he is right.

We must never register our firearms. We must never surrender our guns. Americans must rise up and protect our Constitution, protect our liberty and our freedoms for the generations to come.

I took an oath in the US Navy Reserve to protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. That oath did not come with an expiration date.

God bless the United States of America, the Constitution and the President. Thank you George Washington, James Madison and all the proud men and women who have sacrificed everything to give us our freedom and independence.

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