Circular Firing Squad; the Gun Culture’s Curious Campaign of Irony, Hypocrisy, Contradiction and Self-Abasement

Let’s be clear: most gun owners are (to the best of my knowledge) rather sane and reasonable individuals. But the public forum has never been dominated by sanity or reason. Instead, it’s dominated by those who are the loudest and most obnoxious; thus, gun issues are perennially represented by what we call the gun culture —  meaning those to whom guns are not only important, but are a way of life. It’s a relatively small cult, but its members are mad as hell about… well, something. Always. They’re loud, they’re obnoxious, they’re confrontational, and — quite often — they’re self-sabotaging and downright cannibalistic.

I probably don’t have to tell you how they reacted when the President of the United States uttered the following:

“While we recognize that assault-weapon legislation will not stop all assault-weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals.And “Certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited.”

And you surely can guess how they screeched when the head of the nation’s foremost gun control organization declared this:

“I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons… I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.”

“Nazi”? “Communist”? “Terrorist”? “Frenchman”? Actually, it might surprise you to learn that they said none of these things. I tricked you. The president quoted above wasn’t Barack H. Obama, but Ronald W. Reagan.  That’s right: The Gipper was an outspoken, if not entirely consistent, advocate of “gun control”, even before he had a personal stake in it.  (And incidentally, in the photo above, taken just before he was shot, he’s surrounded by armed and highly trained gunmen whose sole responsibility is his safety. Which casts a very long shadow of doubt on the gunsters’ prime tenet that surrounding yourself with fire power necessarily makes you safer.)

This is a cause of considerable cognitive dissonance among gunsters, many of whom desperately want to paint the debate over guns as a “liberal” vs. “conservative” conflict, and to peg  “gun control” as being a matter of “them librulz want to take away our guns, but I’m gonna fight off a whole army of them.” But in fact many “liberals” (specifically, about 25 percent of Democrats) own guns and many “conservatives” support “gun control” — even those measures pushed by President Obama, whom they’ve been conditioned to oppose at every turn. This despite the fact that some polls frame the issue as  “gun control” versus “the right to own guns”, which is a bullshit stacked-deck question — the two are by no means mutually exclusive.

Michael Moore is a lifetime member of the NRA. James Brady, lest we forget, was a (Republican) member of Reagan’s staff before he became an activist after the reality of gun violence struck too close to home.  In other words, “gun control” is not the most suitable of lenses for those wishing to view the world in black and white, and it appears the gun culture is intentionally alienating people whom they could very much use as allies. The evidence suggests that for the past three decades, the NRA’s primary focus has been promoting reactionary politics rather than promoting responsible gun ownership.

Not only most gun owners, but most members of the NRA support one or more gun control measures. The NRA leadership, however, routinely battles any and every measure to regulate firearms in any fashion. In so doing, they are countering the wishes of most of their followers. Yet their followers continue to be loyal; if that isn’t characteristic of a cult, what is?

It was not always thus. Remember that quote above from the leader of the most prominent “gun control” organization? We don’t mean James Brady. Those words were spoken by Karl Frederick, an Olympic shooter who at the time he made this statement was president of the NRA. Yes, that NRA.  For the first century of its existence, the NRA was the foremost advocacy group for “gun control” in the nation. But that was before it discovered that there are much heftier profits to be made by vilifying “gun control”  and its proponents, and whipping up hysteria among impressionable tin hat right-wingers. But by ferociously battling “gun control”, LaPierre and company are not only spitting in the faces of their constituents, but spitting upon their organization’s own heritage.

When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, and the NRA was still in its “gun control” phase, “conservative” politicians were very much in favor of placing heavy restrictions on firearms. One reason was that, in California at least, they were facing what they perceived as a threat to public safety posed by, um, certain armed citizens:

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This even led to the passage of a law in the state, the Mulford Act, which was signed into effect by Gov. Reagan, who commented that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”  And the NRA, by the way, helped fashion similar legislation in other states. Its own actions weren’t necessarily motivated by racial concerns; remember, it had been a champion of firearm regulation all along. For Reagan and other right-wing politicians, however, it’s hard not to conclude that they were dirtying their drawers not just because of armed citizens, but armed citizens of a particular ethnic flavor.

I don’t mean to suggest that race plays a significant role in right-wing “gun control” politics or anything. I’m sure that if a bunch of armed white guys showed up at a public gathering, the NRA and The Tea Party would be just as concerned and outraged. Wouldn’t they?

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Well, they have yet to demonstrate it. And they have yet to demonstrate that they’re as concerned about deranged mass murderers with guns as they are about African-American activists with guns.  Yet today’s NRA diehards, while denying any racist bent to their own motivations, often declare that racism has always been a prime motive for “liberal”- inspired “gun control” — in large part because over 150 years ago, unarmed slaves had a hard time fighting for their freedom. Yes, seriously.

Despite its ill-informed elevation of Ronald Reagan to figurehead status, one could make a case that the gun culture really didn’t have a warm and cuddly bedmate in the White House until Bush. The younger Bush. His father, though he had the backing of the NRA during his initial run for president in 1988, pissed them off so much during his term that they opposed him during his second run. Three years later he renounced his lifetime membership in the cult when Wayne LaPierre (who at that time was its executive vice president) called ATF agents “jack-booted thugs” who were “scarier than the Nazis”. The NRA is a group that likes to portray itself as super-patriotic, doncha know.

Bush had been personally acquainted with several agents, including one who died in the Oklahoma City blast, which was fueled by NRA-flavored contempt for “the government”. And while I don’t know how many federal agents had been NRA boosters before McVeigh and LaPierre detonated their respective bombs, I’m willing to bet that there were considerably fewer subsequently. Way to rally those troops, Wayne.

Then along came Bush the Younger, and the gun lobby was in hog heaven. Oh, he didn’t do quite as much ass-kissing as they would have liked, and on occasion he even paid lip service to stricter gun laws. But on the other hand he appointed two Supreme Court justices who were willing to essentially rewrite the Second Amendment to the gun lobby’s liking. You can’t hope for much more than that.

And Dick Cheney, who was vice president (at least according to the Supreme Court) openly indulged in passionate lovemaking with the NRA, even speaking at its convention. And here’s where something really interesting happened. While addressing an assemblage of a cult that had become devoted to the maxim that any kind of restraint against firearms was pure evil (no word on whether he consulted his hunting partners on that), Mr. Cheney exercised the most extreme form of “gun control” of all: attendees had to check their hardware at the door.

I know, I know: it was really the Secret Service who insisted on this, and not the Mr. Cheney-who-never-thinks-about-his-flaws himself. But c’mon: he was the second most powerful human on the planet (many would say, with good reason, that he was actually the first). You mean to say that he couldn’t have overridden their orders if he hadn’t considered his own safety more important than that of the average citizen affected by the presence of guns? He and the NRA had a golden opportunity to practice what they preached, and send a message to the nation about just how sincere they were in standing against “gun control”. But they blew it big time.

Am I suggesting that the prohibition against the audience being armed at an appearance by the putative vice president is the same as the type of “gun control” that is applied to society at large? Not at all.  Society at large is made up of all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. The annual gun cult gathering is a highly controlled environment, and for Cheney’s appearance, it was patrolled by a top-notch security force. It was attended by people who are allegedly responsible, law-abiding gun owners — most of whom believe that an armed society is a polite society and guns make you safer and guns don’t kill, people do. But when confronted with the chance to put their barrels where their mouths are, Cheney and his NRA accomplices essentially told the faithful to go Cheney themselves, and did exactly what so many of them falsely accuse Barack Obama (and Adolf Hitler) of doing: they took away everyone’s guns.

And that brings us to the present, and to the chief executive who, for some reason or other, is even more of a godsend for the gunsters — not because he gives them everything they want, but because they can get away with pretending that he’s trying to take away everything they have. In the real world, Obama is no more restrictive on guns than was Reagan; and for that matter, he’s only slightly more “liberal”. Yet the gun culture deifies one and demonizes the other. Which leads one to suspect rather strongly that his complexion might be a factor — particularly when one considers that the gunsters are even far more hostile toward Obama than they were toward Clinton, even though the latter was at least as gung ho about “gun control”, at least as “liberal”, and was a Democrat to boot.

We’ve already given far, far FAR more attention to the Obama-Hitler meme (here, and here and here) than it ever deserved. Unfortunately, it’s still bringing in the lion’s share of page views and comments on this site. No wonder; it’s a trope so misguided, so hateful, so deranged, so monumentally idiotic that it was bound to become a solid fixture in the gunster gospel. The “thinking” goes like this: because Obama is trying to outlaw guns (which he isn’t) that makes him just like Hitler (who also didn’t), whose nonexistent gun ban made the Holocaust possible.

These are the same folks who love to proclaim that “gun control doesn’t work”, yet they also declare that “gun control” was nonetheless responsible for the quintessential tyranny and genocide in world history. When I point out this contradiction to them, the response I tend to get is “You fucking moron! This is different!” Oh. Now I’m really confused. Is Obama a Hitler clone or isn’t he? Does “gun control” work or doesn’t it? What’s that you say? Ah. “Gun control” doesn’t work to reduce crime, but it does work to enable a dictator to control the populace. So it always works to try to eliminate all guns, but it never works to try to eliminate just a few of them. Got it.

It has become an automatic response from gunsters to “defend” guns and all the harm they do by claiming that more people are killed by knives and/or blunt instruments. Both of which are irrelevant. Not to mention not even close to being true.  And of course, they absolutely must point out that more people are killed by automobiles. Which actually is true, but probably not for long. True or not, it’s a breathtakingly inept attempt at defense. Automobiles are designed for a constructive purpose rather than for killing, and are in use constantly, everywhere. Furthermore, their use is rather strictly regulated. Gunsters are being sarcastic when they suggest that those deadly cars should be regulated like guns; but I doubt if any advocates for gun regulation would have any problem with taking that quite literally.

The Second Amendment crowd particularly has its thong in a bunch over the president’s drawing a bead on assault weapons. It isn’t just that they don’t think assault weapons should be restricted; they don’t think there’s any such thing as an assault weapon. It is, they assert, just a fuzzy term made up by the media and other assorted libruls as an excuse to deprive them of their liberty.

Really? Looks like somebody forgot to pass that memo along to the Merchants of Death themselves:

 

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What’s that? “There’s a difference between assault rifle and assault weapon, you fucking commie Nazi gun-grabbing librul moron”? Oh. Sorry.
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Okay, let’s see if we can sort it all out. It’s forbidden for those outside the cult to use the A-word, even though those inside do. It’s mandatory to point out that automobiles kill more people than guns, but taboo to suggest that maybe guns should be regulated at least a fraction as much as automobiles. “Gun control” always fails, except for when it always succeeds. Obama is just like Hitler, except for when he’s totally different.  Obama is an enemy of the Second Amendment for wanting to ban assault weapons, but Reagan was a champion of the Second Amendment for wanting to ban assault weapons, certain types of ammunition, and armed civilians in the streets. Guns make you safer in the streets, but they can’t be permitted in a controlled environment — at least not if a right-wing VIP is making a speech. “Gun control” is racist when proposed by “liberals” because slaves were prohibited from owning guns (along with many, many other things) more than 150 years ago; but just ignore those instances of genuinely racist gun regulation 40 years ago, because they were crafted by the NRA and right-wing politicians, who are never guilty of such things. Everybody up to speed now?
But there’s even more to the tale. In a snit over new proposed gun laws, some American firearms companies, like spoiled schoolyard brats who take their bats and go home if everyone doesn’t play by their rules, have started refusing to sell their products to law enforcement agencies that support the restrictions; and members of the gun culture consider this very cute and clever.  What they may not realize is that many law enforcement agencies already had been planning to boycott firearms manufacturers that didn’t clean up their act. In any case it’s an excellent illustration of just how warped the gun culture mentality is when gun companies think they can teach police departments a lesson by cutting off  40 percent of their own revenues. There are plenty of foreign gun companies that are quite willing to do business with American law enforcement agencies. And if it becomes necessary for a substantially larger number of them to do so, it probably will result in greater expense to those agencies, which eventually will be passed on to citizens in the form of higher taxes and fees. And chances are the gun culture, being composed largely of rabid anti-government types, will not consider that very cute and clever.
But seeing long-term consequences is not exactly their strong suit. So for the time being, giddy from inhaling Second Amendment helium, they’re hellbent for leather on shooting themselves in both feet. And sticking both feet in their mouths.
(NOTE: As you’ve probably noticed, “gun control” is, like “liberal” and “conservative”, one of those terms I invariably enclose in quotation marks. There are mainly two reasons for this: (1) the expression has been co-opted by the gun culture as a term of derision; (2) it was never very accurate in the first place. Guns in the U.S. are WAY beyond “control”, but at least they can be regulated to some extent.
Incidentally, some gunsters object on similar grounds to the term “gun culture”, which is actually rather precise and appropriate. In any case, I’ve never known any of them to provide an alternative — much less a satisfactory one. I’m open to suggestions.)
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21 thoughts on “Circular Firing Squad; the Gun Culture’s Curious Campaign of Irony, Hypocrisy, Contradiction and Self-Abasement

  1. This latest of the POPs examination of the contradictions displayed by the gun culture is one that I plan to quote from in letters to local newspapers and in letters to friends.

    The photos of magazine covers like Guns and Ammo and the ad for “Assault Weapons of Ohio,” are physical evidence of one of the most bizarre contradictions of all.

    Most gun advocates, blame journalist Josh Sugarmann, for originally using the misnomer “assault weapons,” in an attempt to discredit the gun industry–making their products seem far more nasty and dangerous than they actually are, but the photos clearly show that the gun industry itself used the term many years ago. Not only that, some photos I have seen clearly show the dates of those particular issues and reveal that they were circulated during the early 1980s and that several were printed at least four years before Josh Sugarmann’s famous 1988 quote which is:

    “The weapons menacing looks, coupled by the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic weapons–anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun–can only increase the chances for public support for restrictions on these weapons.”

    Although the gun fanatics in the NRA continue to claim this statement reveals direct proof that Sugarmann wanted to confuse the public about the differences between fully automatic weapons like machine guns, and semi-automatic weapons like the AR15, What I see, is Mr Sugarmann openly observing that the looks of the gun industries products will leave an impression on the public–possibly motivating them to seek regulation for these new weapons. If Sugarmann’s intent was to create such subterfuge to confusion by taking note of these differences, why then would he have openly said so, and in print! in his 1988 report called, “Assault Weapons and Accessories in America?”

    I also see no attempt by sugarman to confuse the public about the difference between fully automatic machine guns and semi-automatic weapons because he all but publicly spells out the difference between them! In his famous statement. All Mr. Sugarmann is guilty of is openly noting that the similar appearance of new “assault weapons” and fully automatic weapons used by the military (like machine guns) will probably create a negative image of them in the publics mind. And is this not clearly stated in his remarks, as much as it is also clearly true in fact?

    If one googles the name Josh Sugarmann, one will see Wikipedia making mention of the fact that the gun industry advertised their weapons as ASSAULT WEAPONS, ASSAULT PISTOLS, AND/OR ASSAULT RIFLES, many more years before Sugarmann did, and openly on the covers of many of its printed periodicals. So, even if someone uncovers a mention of the same erroneous term made by the press in say 1978 or 79 which used the word before the gun industry, it still doesn’t leave the gun industry and press free and clear of any culpability for using this false terminology. They clearly used the term “ASSAULT” to describe their products many years ago–despite claims to the contrary.

    Clearly, by concealing this hypocrisy, the NRA and the gun industry are hoping to kill two birds with one stone—discrediting the press, by blaming “libruls” (as the POP is fond of saying) and simultaneously making their products more popular by designing them to look mean and nasty like fully automatic military weapons.

    It’s true that, although the weapons at the center of this controversy may probably have been used in assaults, they are being falsely referred to as “assault weapons”–the types used in military operations. But how hypocritical is it of the NRA and the gun industry to accuse liberal press representatives like Sugarmann for spreading a misnomer that they themselves, used many years ago? On top of that lie, why do gun manufacturers continue to manufacture their semi-automatic to look very, VERY similar, to their more dangerous fully automatic counter-parts. Design features that make such weapons light weight etc. are no excuse, since light weight components could be easily manufactured to look very different–yet gun manufacturers produce weapons with design and cosmetic futures nearly identical to those of many military fully automatic weapons!
    Journalists certainly have absolutely no control over semi-automatic’s design features or their cosmetic appearances!

    Wouldn’t one think that an industry which accuses the press and politicians of deliberately blurring the distinction between semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons would long ago, have begun creating weapons with distinctly different physical appearances in order to keep from confusing the public in the most obvious way–by ending the practice of making nearly cookie cutter version of real assault weapon to increase the “bad boy” saleability of their products?

    So, POP your new installment examining the gun debate is appropriately titled since hypocrisy and self-contradictions are rife in the talking points of the NRA and in the gun industry.

    I have no idea what specific talking points will be used to try and shame people like me, for pointing out that the gun industries claims don’t compute. However, I am sure that being the ever creative propaganda masters that they are, they will soon think of something–if they haven’t already. But, I am also pretty sure that if the tell-tale issues of Guns and Ammo which implicate their culpability as deceivers, were searched for in their archives, they will either not be present, or will have had their content altered. It is just Par for the course!

  2. After making references to various types of “assault weapons,” in bold print and stating that Wikipedia mentions that these terms have also been used before Sugarmann as faulty references to semi-automatics, I thought I had better paste the actual statement made by Wikipedia, which is:

    ” Some[who?] credit Sugarmann for coining the term “assault weapon”, which is derived from the designation Sturmgewehr 44 (literally meaning “storm rifle” but most often translated as “assault rifle”), a style of rifle conceptualized in Nazi Germany during World War II. Sugarmann uses the term because he argues that a semi-automatic rifle is capable of rapid fire that makes it almost as lethal as a fully automatic firearm such as assault rifles. The impression that Sugarmann originated the term may stem from a 1988 study he authored, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, which was the first study to look at semiautomatic weapons the VPC deemed “assault weapons”. However, variations on the term were in use in the gun press before Sugarmann’s 1988 study.[citation needed]
    [edit]”

    So let me note that Wikipedia actually reports “variations on the term” were in use in the gun press before Sugarmann’s.” The variations which I listed in upper-case letters, were not specifically mentioned in the article, although it did allude to the fact that, variations on the term “assault weapons” had been used by the gun press before Sugarmann’s.

    I have also got to say, that the quote of Sugarman’s concerning the public confusion between semi-automatic weapons and truly Fully automatic weapons like machine guns, doe’s not in my view, deliberately imply or state that semi-automatic weapons are “almost as dangerous as fully automatic assault weapons.” I have not read the full report of his titled, “Assault weapons and Accessories in America.” So perhaps such direct implications were made by Sugarmann in that study, but again, I don’t see any such evidence in his famous quote as used by the gun industry as evidence to portray him as the original user of the term.

    In the name of accuracy I have also got to point out that Wikipedia makes the note of (citation needed) after their statement, however they must have felt fairly confident of the truth behind their statement to even include it in their article. There are also quite a few photos displayed on various websites that show Guns and Ammo, as well as other written periodicals, advertising while using variations on this term. Several of them clearly show readable dates of issues that were out well before Sugarmann’s quote from 1988.

    Just thought I should be completely accurate and truthful!

      • Thanks, I thought it would interest you.

        As I have examined articles on the web concerning who created the term ‘ASSAULT WEAPONS, ” or “ASSAULT RIFLES” etc. I have come across many claims from gun enthusiasts and the NRA , pointing blame for the term on politicians and the press. However, the gun industry admits little concerning the fact that periodicals like GUNS AND AMMO have also obviously used the term in the early 1980s.

        At the very least, even if the press has also used the term, the fact that the gun industry has also referred to its products as “assault rifles, weapons, pistols” etc. indicates that, they played and still play, an important role in spreading its use–despite how they self-righteously attempt to pin it entirely on members of the press and/or politicians.

        Amazingly little attention has been devoted to question why the gun industry has deliberately produced semi-automatic weapons which closely resemble fully automatic weapons. But, the theory that they deliberately did this, in order to make their products more appealing to customers, makes a great deal of sense. And, amazingly, they still have shown little interests in making their weapons less menacing in appearance, rather than mimicking the infamous “assault”weapons, that they so vehemently deny is done as part of a lucrative marketing strategy.

        For an organization which regularly complains about Josh Sugarmann’s culpability towards creating confusion between semi-automatic weapons currently being sold, and fully automatics like machine guns, the fact that the NRA and the gun industries, still show little interest in altering their weapon’s appearances in order to clear up this confusion, is very suspicious, and certainly supports the theory that they first used the term, “assault weapons” in order to bolster sales.

  3. People here may get sick of me posting these, but the latest issue of the Libertarian Enterprise is filled to bursting with pro-gun articles this week.

    The first four do not deal with guns (though they do describe other forms of anarchist flights of fancy, such as the dream to one day move en masse to the asteroid belt where they can finally be free), but the rest, which make up the bulk of articles, do, and include the usual anarchist rhetoric, such as hatred of politicians, paranoia of the government, and the article of faith that more guns means less crime. Of particular interest is L. Neil Smith’s solution to the school gun massacre problem:

    train and arm children.

    I kid you not. Enjoy.

    http://www.ncc-1776.org/

      • What I find interesting is how more “reasonable” pro-gun advocates ignore these people, even if they also fear the possibility of the government turning tyrannical, as if doing so allows them to deny they even exist.

        Despite his adherence to the “zero aggression principle” (ZAP), Smith comes very, very close to advocating armed revolt. Though he would deny it if pressed, he has never said that no one should ever take up arms against the government. Indeed, ZAP allows one to “defend” himself against coercion and aggression, and by Smith’s definition, the government is an evil, thuggish coercive force. To him, taxation and law enforcement are examples of government coercion, so I fully expect that some day, when his frustration that no one has taken him seriously about rising up and abolishing the government grows intolerable, he will claim that since the government has violated ZAP, anarchist should and must engage in armed revolt. For now, he waits and prays for the day when when Obama declares martial law and sends in his “brownshirts” and UN troops to confiscate guns in a general ban. He believes it is inevitable, just like he believes the UN intends to wipe out 90% of the world’s population and force us all to live in overcrowded arcologies while they feed us stew made from human remains. He just also believes that when it happens, the sheeple will finally wake up and resist, at which point the evil cowardly collective New World Order will “crumple like tinfoil”, and the world will finally be free.

        The cute thing is, he claims that the government “disappears” people. If that were true, he would be a prime target; in fact, he should have been kidnapped, tortured, and killed long ago. The fact that it hasn’t happen, despite his virulent anti-government rhetoric, should be the first clue that his perverted worldview is wrong. Either he’s too delusional to recognize it, or he cynically knows it’s true and lies through his teeth for his own agenda.

      • Biochemborg,

        Its truly amazing how many gun fanatics are motivated by some strange desire to stand down the government while asserting the freedom to own any kind of gun they want.

        I’ve tried to get some of these survivalist type of gun owners on other websites, to describe exactly who will accomplish this take over, how it will be done, and why–so far I haven’t gotten any responses.

        I think when one considers all that such a takeover would entail, and how our government works, expecting it to take all of our guns from us is quite a silly fantasy to entertain.

        Where in the world did this government plot get its start, and why are so many willing to swallow it Hook line and sinker?

  4. I usually agree with columnists Patrick J. Buchanan and Presidential candidate Richard J. Santorum. But I do believe that people who own guns must go through same regulations as buying a car. They must require licensing, insurance and of course background checks (which they already do including waiting periods) before some1 can own a gun. I never have owned a gun and never will.

    Would also require marksmanship for hunters. While I’m a vegetarian, I support hunting animals such as deer, quail and ducks for food and support hunting pythons & monitor lizards in the Everglades to protect endangered species as long as the hunted animal is swiftly killed. Would rather see a hunter swiftly kill a rabbit with a high powered rifle than how it happens in nature such as when a python kills a rabbit-nature can be cruel. Those are my thoughts-require gun owners to go through same process as car owners and marksmanship for hunters so that hunting animals is swift and humane kill with a bullet through the heart.

  5. A Bhattacharya,

    Absolutely! Any object that can possibly threaten the safety of the public, like a gun or a three thousand pound automobile barreling down a highway at 60+ mph, represents a freedom which, necessarily comes with many responsibilities.

    I have owned automobiles all of my life, and must first obtain a license to drive them (and also be tested about the rules for driving them properly every few years). I also must obtain a registration for my vehicle and, periodically, pay to have my license plate renewed each year. And then, there is the fact that the drivers’ test examines ones depth perception, peripheral vision and vision assessment in general—determining whether one is near sighted or far sighted. I am also expected to understand the various road signs and highway symbols, as well as being familiar with road markings that serve to instruct and warn drivers. Top that off with the requirement to obtain liability insurance to cover damages done to another driver after a collision, and throw in the requirement to surrender my drivers license to an officer whenever requested, and then add expectations for you willingly take roadside sobriety tests (although these are not always mandatory) as well as losing driving privileges if guilty of too many infractions, and you have the right to own and drive whatever car you want and/or can afford. But all of these years i have never been ordered to do anything requiring giving up my license for arbitrary reasons , nor have I ever feared that the government will confiscate my car for any unjust reason it might want.

    As the POP said, guns were invented mainly for killing or incapacitating an enemy, while the automobile has been invented to enhance the quality of our lives, by increasing our personal mobility.
    and freedoms to see other cities and areas of the world. Both can be used for hobbies, but a car has never represented any normal, or officially designated weapon.

    Until we begin to see a plague of deliberate attempts to drive into, or attack others with the use of our personal vehicles, automobiles do not, and will not, represent the same level of threat and/or violence as ballistic weapons do. Using this thinly veiled but faulty analogy as a reason to reject or minimize (even basic) negative qualities and statistical findings regarding gun crimes, I can only assume that until no person is plagued by things like a massive and vicious rash of car attacks on humans, We should focus on what really causes gun attacks and gun murders—hateful and vicious prejudice as well as, personal physical or mental resentments. Perhaps then we will see that guns don’t kill people, but people do—especially when a gun is handy!

      • Abner,

        Yes, the gun firing while a pregnant woman was admiring another’s gun collection was truly sad, and if truly an accident it would appear that no criminal charges are necessary, However, that’s the big question—did the gun fire accidentally? So, I think thorough investigations by the law are also entirely appropriate.

        Very recently a woman was shot on the front porch of a man with a shotgun who assumed she was an intruder, even though the evidence revealed nothing about any attempts from her to forcefully enter. This case is one reason I mentioned that without some regulation, a Girl Scout could be killed when knocking on someones door, who assumed she was a threat.

        Other than that, yes—if anything is guaranteed by the Constitution, that doesn’t imply that it should be used beyond prudent measures to protect citizens that might otherwise be killed or injured by that thing. Just like all the regulations concerning Automobiles, including the requirements for registration and frequent testing, should also apply to firearms. I just cannot regard anyone as credible when advocating that any type of weapon and large capacity Magazine should be freely used without proper regulations and not subjected to close supervision. Those who openly carry weapons should particularly be required to meet regulations and proper use–not any Tom, Dick, and Harry who wants to carry a gun inside of say, the local tavern. gun advocates will claim that many kinds of requirements are already in place, but these can be easily overcome by ignoring rules such as those governing online sales.

        The laws are currently difficult to enforce because they differ from State to State, and the NRA has repeatedly thwarted a national registry from happening. But as the laws now exist they exist mainly in word only, and are continually violated by personal sales on the internet, in which the seller waives his judgment about a purchaser easily, and without consequences!

    • Oxycontin,

      Somehow your complete post did not appear in this comment area, but I did receive it through my email. I just want to agree with you that by and large most gun owners are sane and capable of reason–many of them are hunters, and have been trained on how to use a weapon. However, if you recognize the irrationality displayed by numerous gun fanatics, then, why don’t you, (as some comenters have mentioned ), focus your efforts on discrediting them, and promoting your own sane and rational approach instead. Many pro-gun commentators seem only interested in scolding others for their characterizations of other gun owners as being fanatics, rather than admitting to their irrationality—as you do.

      I understand that the approximately 4 million members of the NRA represent a very small portion of total gun owners—who actually number more than 80,000,000. So, we need more gun advocates to dispute the arguments of the small but vocal minority. Best wishes!

      • POP,

        As you can see, I was trying to respond to Oxycontin’s post directly in my following post above. I also did receive a bit more of it in my email notification.

        But as far as many of the recent comments I have been notified, I cannot make heads nor tails of very many of them. Someone is also fond of using words that are not in my dictionary, or else is making them up as they go along. Not many of them seem like any intelligible comments about your post.

        Sincerely, Peter W. Johnson

  6. Reagan never got shot. Words have meaning. Pick yours better.

    And I wonder if some of you people have ever bought a car. You don’t need a driver’s license to buy a car. You don’t need insurance either. And you sure as hell don’t need a background check, hell, people convicted of DUI’s can still buy cars.

    300,000,000 firearms in private hands. 100,000 injuries annually resulting in 30,000 deaths, 60% of those suicides. Call me when this is a real problem.

    • Reagan never got shot? What history book have you been reading — one approved by the state of Texas?
      The bogus argument comparing guns to cars has been addressed thoroughly in these pages already, though it really doesn’t deserve to be.
      You don’t think 100,00 injuries or 30,000 deaths — suicide or otherwise — is a problem? Not to mention 400,000 crimes committed with a gun each year? Call me when you can recognize a problem when you see it..

      • Dusquene,

        On the planet I come from you need a Driver’s license to operate a car, you need to register it with the DMV, and you need to renew the license plates each year. In another quaint area of my planet you are required to at least carry liability Insurance before you can legally operate a motor vehicle. I suppose if I wanted to operate a John Deere tractor, I wouldn’t have to procure all of these things in advance, or perhaps I could buy a semi-automatic rifle without needing a license to do so, but I would have to officially pass a background check and comply with those same specific rules concerning it’s use, that are required in that same quaint corner of the world that I live in.

        When there is a mass problem concerning people using cars to commit murder, or deliberately running others off the road, as well as no laws against irresponsible drunk driving and using a car as a weapon, I’ll listen, until then I doubt the two examples really represent the same kinds of problems.

    • Dusquene,

      Not only was Reagan injured in an assassination attempt carried out by a mentally ill person, his Press Secretary (Jim Brady) suffered massive injuries to his spinal cord and spent the rest of his life being severely impaired and incapacitated. Even so, he and his wife worked tirelessly to promote common sense gun control measures. Doesn’t it always seem that those people and their families which are the direct victims of gun violence seem to enthusiastically promote gun regulations?–no matter what their political persuasions—I wonder why?

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