AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

I’m a peacetime veteran. While there were a few scrapes taking place during my time in uniform, I wasn’t anywhere near them. I was willing, but they were brief, and the Navy wasn’t interested in my willingness to be at any given place anyway.

As such, I always feel a little odd using my “veteran” status, like it’s something I only barely deserve at best.

But it does piss me off when other veterans, particularly generals, throw their weight behind gun control measures. It tells me they forgot the oath they swore upon putting on that uniform for the first time when they vowed to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

I know I’m not the only veteran who gets pissed off at that, either — especially when its generals and other top-level officials who decide to side with the anti-gunners.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Mark Oliva spent 25 years in the Marines, and he’s not happy either.

When general and admirals speak, veterans like me tend to listen. That’s why I perked up at a recent letter signed by 13 retired officers for the political gun-control group Giffords Veterans Coalition. That letter advised Congress that passing background checks that ban private gun sales is a moral imperative. They contend this infringement on Constitutional rights is necessary to protect American safety.

Let’s give a little context. There are a few things the military just won’t tolerate. Lack of discipline. Disrespect. Getting out of step. I should know. I spent 25 years instilling those values into my Marines. On this, though, I can’t salute.

These military officers claim the moral high ground in the gun debate. Their service is admirable, but they hardly speak for all of us. I’ve been to war and I won’t forget those who prey on disarmed societies.

I saw first-hand the aftermath of Haitian coup leader Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, who was responsible for murdering over 3,000 people following his overthrow of a democratically elected president. I vividly remember a Shia elder in southern Iraq telling me about Saddam Hussein’s brutality. The dictator’s thugs dragged this man’s three sons in front of him and executed them, just to keep them under his thumb. I’ve seen Afghan villagers living in fear of Al Qaida and so much more.

Law-abiding Americans must be skeptical when we’re told to abandon our rights. We wouldn’t tolerate military dictations on how to practice our religion. Historically the American public has gotten outraged after the government used war as an excuse to censor the media. We should all remember that our government once used the military to force Japanese-Americans to go into internment camps and that our Supreme Court said that was okay. This should also be true of the uniquely American right to keep and bear arms.

I advise you to go and read the whole thing. Oliva hits the nail on the head beautifully. He and I are of one mind on this, despite me having never talked to the man.

The truth is, these generals should know better. They should know and understand one thing above all others. Tyranny can’t flourish in a nation where the populace is armed, particularly with weapons that may be effective against a military.

Further, there’s the apocryphal comment attributed to Japanese Admiral Yamamoto. Reportedly when asked about invading American, Yamamoto is said to have warned that the problem with that was that there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass. While there’s a great deal of doubt as to whether Yamamoto said that, the sentiment is fairly accurate.

That means our Second Amendment, and the preservation of it, is key to our national security.

Right now, there’s no one on this planet who is a real threat to us. I’ll grant that. But I’ve lived in a world where that wasn’t true. I expect to see something like that happen again within my lifetime.

There’s a reason I won’t give up my guns like a meek little sheep.

Red Dawn wasn’t just a movie to me. It was a warning.

One would think that former generals would understand that.