I’m a gun guy. I grew up around them. I spent almost thirteen years in the United States Army being trained and training other soldiers in their use. I shot on the pistol team when I was in the National Guard. And I still shoot recreationally. So, any report about the 2nd Amendment and guns will usually get my attention.
Recently, I came across an article from The Federalist by Meredith Drake O’Connor entitled, “6 Reasons Your Right-Wing Friend Isn’t Coming To Your Side On Gun Control.” It’s a great article, and you can read it here, but as I was reading through it, I found myself mentally adding some things or even rewriting entire points to hit just a little harder. Below is my version of the reasons us dang old conservatives won’t budge one inch when we’re arguing gun control.
Reason 1: We Rarely (read: almost never) Get to Come to the Conversation in Good Faith
It would not be a stretch to say that there is a great deal of anti-gun bias in society and the media. Part anti-gun zealotry and part outright ignorance of firearms combine to cast gun owners in a negative light and that’s me being polite about it. When I tell certain people I am a gun owner and a CCW permit holder, I get what I call, “The look.” The look consists of a mixture of fear, disdain, and sneering derision. I must be a militia member, a zealot, or a howling psycho. The prejudice on their side, reinforced by sloppy reporting in the media (more on them in a moment) and sloppy thinking in our society. It exists. Still, I feel it is my duty, and the duty of every legal gun owner, to do everything they can to overcome that prejudice. The 2nd Amendment is every citizen’s birthright and their heritage and I am her messenger: The responsible gun owner.
Responsible gun owners or not on a fair footing, we come into every conversation on the 2nd Amendment at a deficit. We must overcome years of what consists of gaslit brainwashing by a media populated with university drones who themselves have been fed the Howard Zinn view of the United States and the Constitution. Every discussion with an anti-gunner starts from a black hole of years of depthless ignorance from which it is nearly impossible to dig out. The argument just to get to a level playing field is hard enough, let alone proceeding from there. In a lot of cases, it’s impossible. So a great many pro 2nd Amendment people simply don’t try. We stand where we are, grounded in reason and fact, and simply suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous ignorance.
So no, it’s not a kneejerk response when we say that the Left’s ultimate goal is gun confiscation and the abolishment of the 2nd Amendment. It’s recognizing that the other side does not come to the table to discuss a God-given Constitutional right from a position of actual knowledge and in good faith. If you’re not going to go to the trouble to inform yourself and understand the subject at hand when our rights are at stake, then don’t expect me to entertain your point of view.
Reason 2: The “Blood on Their Hands” Attacks Are Offensive
Another byproduct of years of misinformation and the emotive, mediocre thinking that stems from a university education, social media, and the thirty-second sound bite. This is one more way to shortcircuit critical thinking.
The cognitive dissonance on this reason is staggering. The very same people who admonish the rest of constantly about not judging an entire group by the actions of a few are the first to jump on the emotional bandwagon. Any mass shooting, or any gun incident at all, and every gun-owning, freedom-loving advocate of our 2nd Amendment is painted as a psychopathic killer. Perhaps this was nowhere more evident than after the wholesale slaughter of children at a mass shooting in Florida when the National Rifle Association (and by proxy, gun owners) was accused of having the blood of those dead kids on their hands. While this tugs at the heartstrings, a modicum of rational thought, not to mention the Left’s own constant admonishment about stereotyping, should put it into a well-deserved retirement. But that is not the case because it’s trotted out like a high scoring cribbage hand every time there is an incident involving a firearm.
Reason 3: The Loudest Voices Are Often the Most Ignorant
The so-called mainstream media, late-night talk show hosts, celebrities with large Twitter and Facebook followings are the main culprits here. Often the first to trot out the “blood on their hands” narrative mention previously to hordes and herds of eager NPCs hanging on their every word. The irony being they know next to nothing about guns or the 2nd Amendment outside of what they’ve been told to believe.
Consider the picture below, from the Chicago Tribune in 2013. Here we have a large circulation newspaper in one of America’s largest cities, doing what is supposed to be an objective piece. A five minute trip to a local gun store (if they still exist) would have revealed to the author of the column that this is a sling swivel for mounting a sling to carry the rifle. It mounts neither a bayonet nor a grenade launcher. Yet the pampered denizens of suburbia, who have in all likelihood never fired a gun or used one to fetch their dinner, are being fed these kinds of “facts” from what is supposed to be a trusted media source.
Consider also the Left’s constant use of the misnomer, “assault rifle.” Any serious discussion of guns and gun control will inevitably come to “assault rifles.” And yet in every case when I’ve asked someone to define what an “assault rifle” is, they either cannot do so or they will name cosmetic characteristics (a pistol grip, a 30 round magazine) that don’t differentiate an “assault rifle” from any other readily available hunting rifle.
Now let’s look at a more recent example on a local level, this in Texas no less! ABC13 reported originally that a bazooka was among the weapons found in a raid. Even a rudimentary bit of research on the part of the station would have told the reporter who Tweeted this bit of insanity that the officer was not holding a bazooka. The story was later corrected. But the initial impression, splashed with sensationalistic zeal, will be what stays with most of the gun ignorant public.
The story has been updated. Kind of buried the error. “authorities initially reported a bazooka was among the stash. They later said it was not.” You would think the picture would be of the bazooka anyway…https://t.co/xEM8yKY0Eg
Of course the original tweet is gone.
— Yellowbeard (@wezar) May 2, 2020
The anti-gun crowd seems to think that we pro-gunners get too fixated on details like clip vs. magazine or what exactly constitutes an “assault rifle.” Well yes, we do because they (the Left) then want to base public policy on something that they obviously don’t’ fully understand. As a free American citizen, I cannot accept a public policy that is not clear and specific and based on a real, critical understanding of the issue. It’s hard to take gun legislation in good faith when so many of the advocates of what is being legislated get the most basic details wrong.
Reason 4: The Most Prominent Policy Ideas Have Nothing to Do With the Tragedy
John R. Lott’s work on guns and crime has to be some of the most seminal works on the subject to be found anywhere. So much so that the Left has launched a smear campaign to “debunk” his research. If you’d not read his book, “More Guns, Less Crime” I’d highly recommend it. Most gun control policies and laws don’t work to stop gun crime.
Whenever I am arguing guns with an anti-gunner, I make them all the same offer: I will take every gun I own and turn it into my local police department tomorrow morning if you can explain how a criminal, who by their very nature does not obey the law, will be dissuaded from committing a gun crime by still another law. I generally get sputtering outrage, accused of not wanting to “do something” or the cardinal sin of the Left, “not caring.”
There are literally reams of data on the failure of various gun laws. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre, were breaking something on the order of 200 gun laws when they slaughtered their innocent classmates. With every tragedy, there is a cry to pass another law and then there is another tragedy. Why? Because one cannot legislate the state of the human heart.
Reason 5: We Seriously Don’t Care About Gun Laws in Other Countries
Another favorite of the “data-driven decisions, follow the science” crowd. Why just look at all those civilized European countries where gun ownership is not permitted. They are virtual peaceable kingdoms that flow with milk and honey. To which a pro-gunner might reply, “Why just look at Israel, where gun ownership is nearly compulsory. The bad guys don’t want to mess with Israelis because they know they’re likely to get popped.” Myth: countries with strict gun laws have less crime, read here.
But here’s the bottom line. Our Founders, fresh from winning their freedom through forces of arms, codified the right for citizens to do so again in our foundational documents. Period. Full stop. The right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms is fundamental to the Republic. So whatever gun laws or gun confiscations are happening or have happened elsewhere has no bearing on public policy in the United States.
Reason 6: We Really Do Consider Owning Firearms a Right
The 2nd Amendment does not exist so that we can hunt deer. The 2nd Amendment does not exist so that we can protect our homes and our lives from criminal invasion. Those are handy little by-products of the right to keep and bear arms. The 2nd Amendment was put into the Constitution so that a free people, with rights granted them by Almighty God, could change a tyrannical government by force of arms on the battlefield.
We who are the Founders legacy consider our individual right to own guns intrinsic to the Founders’ desire for us to be captains of our own destiny. To preserve and protect not just our homes and families but the very liberty secured by the Founders and paid for in blood in wars and battles without number.
It’s hard to engage in an honest philosophical discussion about a fundamental right with people who are coming from a deficit of wholesale ignorance and who insist on questioning our psychological state and our motives. If you want to engage an advocate of the 2nd Amendment, try reading up on firearms. Get the whole picture and show us that you are serious and thoughtful instead of reactionary and ignorant.