As part of a “conversation” about what to do in response to mass shootings, I’ve written on a series of myths about defensive gun uses. I’ve covered The Training Myth, The Myth of the Imperiled Bystander and The Myth of the Confused First Responder. They’re intended to answer objections posed by some of my friends who are, to some degree, anti-gun. We’ll see how that works out. What I find very frustrating about these objections, though, is that they pre-suppose the incompetence of the armed citizen, an point of view not borne out by real-world experience. Millions of law-abiding citizens carry firearms and tens of thousands of defensive gun uses occur every year. And the fact is that accidents are relatively rare, and mishaps during DGUs are statistically insignificant compared to their success in preventing injury or death by an attacker . . .
The source of these objections is a caricature of those of us who are willing to carry a firearm for their own defense or the defense of others and it amounts to a type of “contempt of citizen.” Anti-gunners are contemptuous of those of us who strive to be sturdy and self-reliant. We are painted as paranoid yahoos, called foul names and treated like illiterate trolls. Their kneejerk bigotry relieves them of the need to take our arguments seriously.
And nti-gun “progressives,” in all of their enlightenment, say some truly awful things. A friend who competes with an AR rifle was present when a family member launched into a rant about owners of semi-automatic weapons. Her considered opinion of gun people: we all should be lined up and shot. When I purchased a firearm for a family member, another relative wanted to throw the gun into a ghetto so that it would be used in a crime in hope that the cops would come after me.
What the hell kind of thinking is that? The awfulness of these statements are magnified by their commonality. These are only a representative sample of what so many garden variety leftists are saying. And they’re on the mild end of the spectrum.
Many of my gun-nut friends are colorful and have their quirks, but all are good people. If your car breaks down, they’ll stop to help. Get hurt, and they’ll gladly give first aid. If you are hungry and homeless, one of us belongs to a church and will surely get you sustenance and shelter.
When it comes to firearms and the shooting sports, everyone I know who participate are very sober about gun safety and what it means morally and psychologically to be involved in a defensive gun use. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t echo my prayer that the Lord keep the nightmare of facing an armed criminal far, far away. None of us has earned the kind of contempt being casually heaped upon us by hoplophobes in recent days.
But it’s not as if gun owners are involved in a little policy dispute. We are facing a cadre of inchoate, irrational angry bigots. Worse, their policies they want to enact would exacerbate the very problems they supposedly care about. While we aren’t the problem, we’re being treated as if we are and solutions that would prevent the next mass shooting are being ignored.
Those of us who believe in self-defense need to defend ourselves in the court of public opinion. Rather than collapsing into and confining ourselves to our pro-gun bubble, non-gun people need to see us mount a spirited rhetorical defense and not back down. Right now, the anti-gun rights crowd occupy the battleground almost unchallenged, and that has to change.