Dan Baum, author of Gun Guys: A Road Trip and an occasional TTAG contributor, has had a change of heart re: mandatory gun storage laws, like the one currently in place in Massachusetts. Dan writes:
Von Clausewitz was wrong. War isn’t politics by other means. The purpose of war is to destroy your opponent. The purpose of politics — in a democracy, anyway — is to win over your opponent. In the context of gun politics, we who enjoy owning and using firearms should concentrate less on whining about our opponents and calling them names, and more on convincing them that widespread ownership of firearms is a good thing. And when people move the right way on this issue, we should welcome them into the fold instead of viewing them forever with mistrust . . .
I am one such person. As I write in my book Gun Guys: A Road Trip, I used to go along with my fellow liberal Democrats in calling for more restrictive gun laws, even though I’ve been a gun guy since I was five years old and own a passel of really great pre-1930 guns. Simply put, I saw the light. If I thought any of the usual “gun control” measures would make us safer, I might still support them. But there’s no evidence that they do, and I’m suspicious of the antis’ real motives. So I’ve swung over on the gun issue — which makes me singularly unwelcome among my peers. But so be it.
Even since Gun Guys was published in 2013, my gun politics have shifted. At the end of the book, I suggested a few measures that I believed at the time would make us all safer, but since then I’ve realized that at least one of them likely does the opposite: safe-storage laws. I’m a big believer that an armed citizen’s gun should be either on his hip or in his safe.
But making it mandatory is, I now understand, a really bad idea. In this political environment, ordering gun owners to lock up their guns — even though doing so is in their own interest — merely turns up the temperature on an issue that is already irrationally hot.
I still hope to convince gun owners to secure their guns in a way that makes sense for them — in a safe, in a quick-open pistol box, or, as Farago argues, by keeping it on the hip even at home. Much of the bad stuff that happens with guns would go away if we gun owners were more careful about maintaining control of our firearms, and when bad stuff drops out of the news, the public’s appetite for gun control diminishes.
So safe storage is a good idea for everybody. Safe-storage laws, though likely produce the opposite effect of the one we want, so I’ve turned 180 degrees on the issue. (I’m hoping to get this change into future editions of the book.)
I became convinced of my error by listening to people explain, in rational tones, why I was misguided. If an Obamatron libtard like me can hear logic, so can others. Know someone who’s anti-gun? Talk to him with respect about why his views make us neither safer nor more free. You might be surprised at the response. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt.