Untitled

By Dan Baum

We who frequent this site agree, I’m sure, that an armed citizenry is a good thing. I’ve lived in several countries where the only people with guns are the military and police, and it’s not something we’d want replicated here. Also, a lot of us simply like shooting and owning guns, and we want to hold onto a hobby we enjoy. I certainly want to keep shooting the collection pictured above . . .

There’s a lot of talk on this site about what Farago likes to call our, “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” right to keep and bear arms. With all due respect, though, simply asserting our rights, over and over and over again, is not going to ensure that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy gun ownership and the shooting sports. The hard truth is this: There are no “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights. In a representative democracy like ours, nobody has any rights that the majority doesn’t want him to have. Ask African Americans. Ask homosexuals.

Both groups enjoyed the same “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights as straight white men ever since the Equal Protection clause was written, but that didn’t mean they could exercise them. Blacks and gays didn’t begin enjoying their full civil rights until a majority of Americans became convinced that continuing to deny them was morally wrong and caustic to the well-being of the nation.

It wasn’t the riots that brought about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; it was African Americans demonstrating, under terrible duress, that they were decent, God-fearing, patriotic Americans to whom a great injustice had been done. It wasn’t Act Up that moved the needle on gay marriage; it was gays and lesbians showing the rest of us that their way of loving is as rich and worthy as anybody’s. Blacks and gays began enjoying their “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights, in other words, when they demonstrated to the majority, by moral example, that they deserved them.

How do we gun owners do the same? Electoral and legal battles won’t do it. The Heller and McDonald decisions firmly established the Constitution confers an individual right to own guns, and yet we’re still no closer to being secure in our gun rights because a great number of Americans simply don’t buy it. If we want those people truly to accept our rights to keep and bear arms, how do we replicate what African Americans and gays did, and demonstrate by moral example not only that we deserve our rights, but that everybody will be better off when they’re honored?

Not, I think, by open carrying into Kroger, insulting the “liberals” and the “gun grabbers” — the very people we need to win over — and incessantly beating our spoons on our high chairs about our “rights.” We do so by showing that we accept our responsibility, as the keepers of the national civilian arsenal, for keeping the country as safe as possible from the harm that firearms can do.

That can mean being a well-trained, concealed-carrying sheepdog when out in public. But it also means accepting that it is neither weak, nor freedom-hating, nor “liberal” to be anguished by gun accidents, suicides, and homicides, and that minimizing those incidents is not the job of politicians, but of us. We’re the ones who own the guns. We’re the ones, ultimately, who decide what happens with them.

All guns start as the legal purchases of law-abiding people, who then lose control of them. When a child finds a loaded gun and kills herself or a playmate, it’s because a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. When a teenager gets ahold of a gun and commits suicide or worse, a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. Most guns used in violent crime are stolen, usually from law-abiding people who leave them unsecured. The majority is not wrong for wanting this nonsense to stop.

The truth is that while each of us individually may believe he’s careful, as a community we are fatally sloppy. We have been so focused on bleating about our rights, that we have lifted our eye from our responsibilities. It is only by rediscovering, as a community, our commitment to the awesome responsibility of owning something as lethal as a firearm that we will ultimately secure our rights.

We need to take the lead on reducing firearm accidents, suicides, and homicides away from Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg and the Brady Center — who don’t understand firearms at all — and reclaim that leadership for ourselves, who do. We need to demonstrate to the majority, by our moral example, that our right to keep and bear arms is not a zero-sum game — we win and you lose, or vice versa — but that an armed citizenry is good for everybody, gun owner and non-gun owner alike.

It won’t do to say that winning over the antis is a lost cause. The white south was no less intractable on civil rights, and such conservative states as Arizona, Oklahoma, and the Carolinas have legalized gay marriage. People can move, if properly led.

So this is an invitation to the People of the Gun. How do we do this? What can we do as individuals and as a community to demonstrate to the majority that we are as useful to democracy and to the safety of the nation as we believe ourselves to be? How do we lead by moral example?

Dan Baum is the author of Gun Guys: A Road Trip.

268 Responses to Question of the Day: How Can Gun Owners Lead by Moral Example?

  1. Hell, man. You don’t even know under what form of government you live! And congratulations. You have the knowledge of a 3rd grader when it comes to the Constitution.
    .
    What else is there to say!
    .

      • Representative democracy? Nah, that’s middle school stuff. Either you had a really bad teacher or you skipped class that day. Recite the pledge of allegiance ten times, and pay close attention to the words.

        • Actually, Dan is right. Our government IS a form of representative democracy – specifically a constitutional republic.

          Note the word “representative”? It distinguishes from a true democracy which of course we are not.

          Per Wikipedia:
          “Representative democracjy (also indirect democracy) is a variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. All modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies”

          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy

        • Sorry, but you fail.
          Our constitutional republic is quite similar to a representative democracy, however there are differences. It is not the similarities which matter, but those differences. Key among those differences is the ability of the majority to abolish natural rights, which can happen in a democracy. In our republic, it is individual rights, not the peoples’ rights, that are protected.
          A simple comparison when comparing a democracy and our republic, is to compare a man and a woman. They are nearly identical genetically, but it is the parts that are dissimilar that make all the difference in the world. Our republic has many features in common with a democracy, but it is not one.

          Wikipedia isn’t the best source for such information.

        • Sorry PaulG but in your words “you fail”

          You fail to have read that a constitutional republic is one form of representative democracy. At no point did I (or wikipedia) claim they are the same concept.

          You fail at logic 101. Did you know that a peach is a fruit? So if one were to point to said peach and exclaim “I love that fruit!” They would be correct. It’s a cool concept. Feel free to draw up a venn diagram of it if helps you.

          I couldn’t make sense of your man woman comparisons and how they relate to forms of government – so I don’t know if that’s a fail or that you are just thinking a lot about gender differences today.

        • Mac, please find a reputable teacher, your miseducation is sad. No, the republic is not a type of democracy, it is a completely discrete construct. It has elements in common with democracy, but is not one.
          The founders conspicuously avoided a democracy of any kind. References to democratic principles belie that the republic shares elements with democracy, but it really is academic laziness to refer to them as democratic processes, they are common to both tbe republican and democratic forms of government.
          Thus your peach/ fruit analogy is flawed. A better analogy would be a lemon and a lime as both are citrus fruits, with much in common, but different.

    • “Blacks and gays didn’t begin enjoying their full civil rights until a majority of Americans became convinced that continuing to deny them was morally wrong and caustic to the well-being of the nation.”

      Wrongo. On both blacks (Civil Rights era) and gays, the courts were ahead of the population. Correctly in fact, but first the Court handed down Brown v. Board of Education, and then later the Civils Rights Acts were passed, in essence ratifying those court decisions.

      • Back when open carry was legal in CA, people who practiced it were arrested, hassled, detained, ect. But it was a legal right.

        I believe the main point is that we need to have our rights respected, as we respect the rights of others. We need to win the hearts and minds of the general population, obtain the moral victory.

        If you waved a magical wand over NYC, made all the unconstitutional laws disappear tomorrow, it would not matter much. You would still get full on swat mode terrorist panic brought down on your head if you strapped on your six-shooter and walked down wall street. The general attitude of the people and law enforcement is what needs to change. This can only be achieved after the moral victory IMO.

        If a officer arrests you while you have your side arm on and holstered, say for menacing or some other BS charge, and the DA refuses to press prosecute and tells the arresting officer to stop being a idiot, then your on the winning side. Till then, we are on the losing side, even if we have the legal right. If you have to enforce your rights with a lawyer, its a social problem.

  2. This is a really, really dangerous argument to be making, because it invites the anti-gunner’s argument that laws restricting gun ownership (at least, laws regarding HOW guns may be owned) are a good and positive thing.

    Yours isn’t WRONG, exactly, but you really, really need to draw a clear line there. The big problem is that this exact same argument could be made about cars, but no one makes the same argument when a child is run over, or a teenager dies in an accident (or even suicide) that somehow it is the car owner’s fault.

    Cars are stolen plenty often too. These stolen cars may be used in the commission of crimes, and they may even be used to kill (sometimes accidentally). They aren’t usually stolen from locked garages with steel doors and concrete walls, though; does this mean that anyone who fails to store his vehicle in such a garage is negligent? Is somehow responsible when his car is stolen and used to commit a crime or kill someone? Is the car owner who HAS such a garage responsible when his teenager sneaks in to commit suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning?

    • Not talking about fault. I’m asking how can we get past this endless trench warfare over gun rights that neither side is every going to win, and get back to that pre-1960 place where gun ownership was normal and accepted?

      • Except you describe fault in multiple ways in your essay. It certainly comes across that you are trying to say we are at fault for it.

        It’s one thing to decry the lack of civility in politics, which many do. But we didn’t start this lack of civility. That really needs to be front and center. Most firearms enthusiasts aren’t uncivil, and many who are online are trolls for the other side looking to poison the well.

        You also seem to be grossly misinformed regarding accidents. Less than 1% of all accidents are firearms related, and even fewer fatal accidents are firearms related. Moreover, firearms accidents of all types are on the decline and have been for decades.

        Criminal use of firearms is a slightly different matter, but criminals have many more avenues for acquiring firearms besides outright theft. But even crime, including gun crime, is on a long decline.

        I’m also having a hard time taking your essay seriously after what you wrote in the 2nd paragraph. The Civil Rights Movement succeeded BECAUSE of the 14th and 15th Amendments. We would have had to have had another Civil War for them to succeed otherwise.

        And as for homosexuals, the only way you could claim that _marriage_ of all things was a CONSTITUTIONAL argument would be to use the 10th Amendment. But under the 9th Amendment, marriage is not the responsibility of the federal government (yes, DOMA was unconstitutional. It was wrong for Clinton to sign it, and it was wrong for the Republican legislature to pass it).

      • One take away from this essay which is clearly relevant is that as a pro-gun civil rights movement, we POTG must find a way to proactively wrest ‘the message’ away from the gun prohibitionists and not continually, always be in a defensive posture trying to beat back the antis incremental steps toward confiscation as we are perpetually doing now.

        That is a very difficult proposition to work from when operating in an environment where the national government and nearly all local and national media has unabashedly lined up with the anti-gun industrial complex and is collectively unwilling to give pro-gun folks even the time of day.

      • Hey Dan, I actually really enjoyed your article. I thought it was well thought out and I think I understand where you are coming from. If I can summarize my understanding you ask the questions – 1) How do we address / improve specific societal problems? 2) How do we open dialog and improve understanding of gun issues and the gun community with those who don’t understand. And 3) How do we provide an exemplary image?

        It sounds like everything you mention is done via education, best-practices or “self-regulation” versus more laws or regulation from authorities or mandates. I certainly wouldn’t agree to even more laws, but a continuation of best-practices I can relate to. The NRA has been doing an amazing job on this for decades and some improvements in today’s age couldn’t hurt.

        I think your intent of saying that there are no constitutional or God-given rights was an illustration of practicality. While conceptually and as a legal concept we of course DO have such rights, practically they will disappear like any other if we do not ensure their continuance.

        I will also say that I expected you to get flack for this but oh man! Yeah, you got it LOL. Hope you have some tough skin man. More on this point and “trenches” in a minute.

        1) I think that every gun owner should do the best that they can within their means to secure their firearms from theft and unauthorized use. Yeah, just before the end of the prior sentence some eyes have already hazed over and brains have sent impulses to mouths to spout “I’ll do whatever I want it’s my right!”…yup it is a right….and intelligence is neither a privilege nor a right, it’s a choice. I’d say that an educational campaign via a more trusted source like the NRA is our best bet. “By gunners, for gunners”. If it comes from (hack) government, or store clerks, or some PSA it’ll be met with scorn and ridicule by us all including me.

        2)This is best done on an individual level otherwise you get into pack mentality. I help those outside of the gun culture all the time to better understand our viewpoints and to know how the “statistics” spouted are purposeful misinformation paramount to lies. Don’t expect to ever get with MDA and have them understand…it won’t happen…ever. They’re an army and are not interested in “understanding”, they want what they want and have painted us the enemy.

        3)Yeah…that’s not going to happen. The members of the gun community come in so many shapes, sizes, educational background, decibel factors, etc. You’re not going to stop someone from being obtrusive if that’s their M.O. I do agree though that name calling is not productive.

        Trenches: Did you see the reaction to your article? Most enthusiasts or activists on both sides are entrenched…it’s sorta their definition. I think that many in the gun community legitimately feel burned with damning rhetoric and sneaky false-flag litigation from the gun-grabbers. I know I do. What I wish is that more of my fellow enthusiasts in the gun community would realize is that most of the people we meet (not politicians or news reporters or anti-gun-activists) who feel they are for gun control just don’t understand. They still need the dialogue, they still need the information, many of them will (and have) come around.

        Anyway thanks for the article, discussion, and open mind! Oh yeah, and also for finishing middle-school! 😉

        • I really liked your comments and would agree with a lot of what you have said. I will take some issue with the NRA comments. And yes I am a member of the NRA and believe they have been instrumental in making the difference in a lot of instances, however I think they will also have to take a larger roll in the actual bridge building to the other side as opposed to the trenching themselves in before large progress will ever be made to bridge that gap. And I often wonder if bridging that gap would be a conflict of financial interest to the NRA. Please don’t take this as an anti NRA response, it is not that at all, again I am an NRA member and fully intend at this point to remain an NRA member.

      • Well, in 1960 you had federal receipts and outlays balanced, each at about 17.8% of GDP. Today? Receipts are in the low teens and outlays are in the upper 20s. This doesn’t even count the unfunded liabilities like social security, nor the precarious financial position many states and cities have developed for themselves. Neither does it consider the vast swaths of the economy dedicated to compliance with governmental edicts of one sort or another.

        Between all of the people taking a paycheck or welfare check from the government, or whose livelihoods depend on the propagation and perpetuation of myriad governmental infringements, you have an overwhelming majority of the population geared toward more and more government. That all comes at a price. We pay with taxes and we pay with debt (which is just tomorrow’s taxes), sure.

        Mostly, though, we pay with our freedom and a settling and solidifying resignation that government is the right and proper originator and dispenser of our rights and all that we’re entitled to in this world.

        If you want to ramp up our freedoms, then you need to roll back the menacing spread of big government and the ward-of-the-state entitlement mentality that fuels it. Kinder, gentler words and exchanges of pleasantries aren’t the answer, my friend. A rolling back of big government is not a dinner party.

    • John P,

      Upon additional reflection, I think Mr. Baum’s proposal is even worse. Look at it this way …
      Suppose that ten families (including yours) live on a remote, isolated island. Unfortunately, 6 families have fixated on the females in 4 families and are demanding to have sex with them. Even worse, the 6 families have threatened to use force if the females in those 4 families do not comply.

      Dan Baum’s proposed solution to the above problem is that those 4 families lead by moral example … which means letting the other 6 families rape their females until those 4 families have sufficiently enlightened the other 6 families.

      The real problem here is that everyone grossly understates how truly abhorrent gun control is. Just ask the people who were forcibly disarmed and then died at the hands of an attacker because they could not defend themselves. Oh wait, we can’t because they are dead. Gun control violates our human dignity on multiple levels.

    • The cars vs. guns treatment by the public does a good job of demonstrating the practical validity of the OP’s argument. A right that is not supported by 51% of voters hangs by a tenuous thread; it may survive, but it’s under a serious threat. Cars enjoy no clear-cut Constitutional protection; much less, a natural-right recognition. Yet, its inconceivable that legislators could do much to reduce access to cars or licenses to drive them. Our individual right to private motor vehicles is secure. Not so our right to arms – the means to an effective self-defense.
      There is no point to trying to convert the Antis; we need to bolster our rep with the un-committed (and, for that matter, the Fudds). Seising and holding the moral high-ground is part of reputation building. Another is bringing the un-committed to understanding the role of guns in self-defense, defense of neighbor and neighborhood, and ultimately, the sovereignty of We the People. These are among the arts of politics; and, frankly, we PotG aren’t really good-enough at these arts.
      Bleating about the Constitution (“what party of ‘not be infringed’ don’t you understand”) doesn’t have an impact on a voter population that simply doesn’t much care about the Constitution. Most voters just don’t ‘get it’. What they might get is: self-defense; defense-of-others; Ferguson; Paris; . . . the soft knock of a SWAT team at their door.

      • Actually the automobile analogy isn’t that flawed if it was followed correctly. Legally, only professional drivers are required to be licensed, and the same can be said for commercial versus private vehicles regarding registrations and insurance. This has been buried for decades now, and few are aware of this, with even less actually taking advantage of this information.
        In many ways, the conversion of a right (travel via the conventions of the day in the former case) to an implied privilege is already taking place with firearms, to the glee of gun owners. Concealed carry should be a right, yet it was denied, and then re-allowed under privileged (licensed) status in much of the nation. Yet we celebrate this.

  3. I stopped reading at “there are no ‘natural, civil, constitutionally protected rights'”. Kindly go pound sand, sir.

    • I did the same. The problem that this author has is that he doesn’t believe in right and wrong, apart what a given society happens to believe at any given moment.

      To the author: If you don’t believe in morality, why is your post call upon morality in it’s title?

    • +1 This is complete drivel. And we live in a Constitutional Republic where even a majority that wants to vote out your rights is wrong on it’s face.

      Your lack of understanding is the problem, not gun owners asserting their rights.

    • This one got me bowed up too, however I kept reading.

      He is patently wrong, though. There are “Constitutionally protected rights.” You can read all about them in the Constitution. And for those who understand the concept of God and man’s free will, there are God given, natural rights as well.

      I second the poster who expressed his un-surprise at a liberal not understanding these concepts.

    • You’re right, but you’re also missing the point. Natural rights aren’t given by anyone, but constitutional and civil rights are. And all of them can be taken away if a large enough majority wants to take them. That’s what he’s saying.

      • Constitutionally protected rights are not “given” by anyone. They’re simply natural rights that are enumerated in a Constitution, to provide explicit protection. The United States Constitution does not give rights. It protects them.

        And “a big enough majority” cannot take rights away from anybody unless that somebody LETS them be taken.

        • Amendments can take away any rights. Remember Prohibition?
          I live on Long Island and here in NY and many other states the 2A apparently means nothing.
          It is very easy to limit or restrict gun ownership, just regulate all ammunition. It’s being done here and will soon come to other states.

      • No majority will take my rights. I’d rather die fighting. You can only LET them be taken by doing nothing. That’s what was meant by our the Founding Fathers when they said they “pledged their fortune, lives and sacred honor” to the cause of freedom.

        Live like a just, free man.

    • Another ditto.

      I barely made it past this part:

      “Also, a lot of us simply like shooting and owning guns, and we want to hold onto a hobby we enjoy.”

      Comes across as awfully FUDD-ish…”I like guns; it’s a hobby.”

      To some, it’s not a hobby at all. It’s a way of life, or a profession, or perhaps a moral imperative.

      This “hobby” and it’s all about “liking guns and shooting” viewpoint looks WAY over the real issues. It’s one dimensional and misses a lot of what is at stake in the much, much bigger picture.

  4. No surprise that a liberal completely misunderstands the difference between natural and civil rights constitutionally protected or not.

    • Okay, John Thomas and Mack Bolan. You can fight this battle endlessly if you want. Call people names. Insist on what’s “yours.” Me, I want to be free to enjoy shooting and collecting guns in peace.

      • The only reason you’re able to enjoy shooting and collecting guns is because you have a God given, inalienable, Constitutionally protected right to own and use firearms if you so choose.

        • But we can’t really enjoy that right, can we? Because we are hounded incessantly with the Shannon Watts/Michael Bloombergs of the world who want those rights taken away. The question is: How do we break through? I’m suggesting one way of thinking about it that goes beyond simply asserting our rights, because that isn’t working.

        • You’re correct. Asserting your rights doesn’t work when your position is “There are no ‘natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected’ rights.”

          It’s not possible to be effective in the fight for something you don’t believe in.

      • I didn’t see any name calling, and as for the struggle, this struggle will go on and on until there isn’t anyone to argue about it. Going back to one of your previous responses, when you said you wanted things to go back to the pre-’60s attitude where owning firearms was socially acceptable, even back then, there were people who opposed the 2nd amendment. Even before there was an America, there has been a battle over the right for “commoners” to own weapons. This is not a battle that will ever be “won”.

        • I was going to point this out too. Has this writer never heard of the National Firearms Act of 1934?

        • The Rights of The People MUST be constatntly exercised, guarded, defended, protected, and fought for or THEY WILL BE DENIED by those who would seek to be tyrants.
          .

      • You prove my point. You are unable to separate legal permission, from the right.

        Laws do not grant or deny a natural right
        Laws can grant or strip a civil right.

        See the difference?

        Now apply that logic to your post and you will see why it is being met with some well deserved criticism. Until then, we can’t have a conversation because we aren’t speaking the same language.

        • That’s your problem, Mack. You use “Liber-Logic”.
          .
          Laws cannot grant Natural Rights because Natural Rights exist with or without laws (other than natural laws).
          .
          Laws CAN, however, DENY one the exercise of a Natural Right by imposing penalties on those who chose to exercise those Natural Rights in defiance of the law. Those penalties can be as severe as death as they are in some countries (North Korea, for example).
          .
          The Bill of Rights RECOGNIZES Natural, Unalienable, or God-given Rights if you will. It does not CREATE THOSE RIGHTS, and thus laws passed by Congress or decrees by the President in the form of Executive Orders, cannot remove them. Those actions can only DENY the free exercise of them.
          .
          You Sir, have little knowledge of the Constitution and should consider taking a year or two sabbatical from commenting on it while using that time to inform yourself about it.
          .

          .

        • Before you attack my knowledge of the constitution, you might want to check your own reading comprehension, Dick. We pretty much said exactly the same thing, except mine was actually coherent.

          And no Dick, the law can not DENY the exercise of a right. It can only punish the exercise of a right after the fact. So if you chose to not exercise your right out of fear of punishment, it is you who has surrendered the right, it has not been taken from you.

      • Dan, I didn’t call you any names. “Kindly go pound sand” is simply a tongue in cheek way to say that i disregard your opinion. I thought that was evident. In any case, you make it very evident that you are no lover of liberty, and are content as long as the state “allows” you to play with your fun toys at the range, and MAYBE, if you jump through enough ridiculous hoops, defend your life with them. You embrace what is expedient, and not what is right.

  5. Worked alright for the 1st amendment to suggest the anti’s go pound sand.
    Larry Flynt, Ice-T, 2 Live Crew and all.

  6. I believe your aim is off. The struggle is not trying to win over the other side. Instead, it is about the children. It is about having them grow up exposed to the “proper” influences. Antis seek to limit exposure to fiearms with any positive slant, focus on negatives about firearms, and push it is common sense to get rid of firearms and an interest in them is abnormal or antisocial. Me? I take them shooting and let them safely have fun. It makes the antis’ propaganda easier to identify and resist.

      • Teaching the adults is sometimes necessary as well. We’ve all seen the unending lists of comments and articles on this website loudly screaming what our rights are and what “infringed” means. But it is all too rare to read of someone preaching of the responsibility that comes along with any right.
        Far too often I’ve encountered a customer coming into my shop looing to purchase a cheap handgun “to keep in the car”. Why a cheap one, I ask? “Because it could be stolen” is their reply. At this point I’ll ask this otherwise “law-abiding” citizen looking to exercise their natural right to be armed why they wish to give a gun, even a cheap one, to the next criminal that decides he’d like it more than they did. When I suggest that they should buy a good quality firearm, (because their life may depend on it) and then take steps to keep it secured or on their person at all times (because, duh…) they often look at me incredulously, as if none of this ever occurred to them. The author is right about a goodany things in this article: we need to declare our rights, certainly. But we all need to practice, and encourage, our responsibility.

  7. For starters, no threats of violence or name calling to those who oppose the right to bear arms. I saw a post on Facebook by a woman who opposed the 2nd amendment, but instead of someone giving a calm and rational response, a guy posted “Well, I hope you get raped and see how much you need a gun”. That sh*t ain’t helping the cause, and the antis love to cherry pick stuff like that.

    • The problem Dirk is that you are trying to use rational arguments to influence the behavior of rabid fascists. The Gun Culture in the US is already the most responsible on the planet. (We have fewer accidents per gun or gun owner than any other nation on Earth.) At some point, the only response to harassment and threats of violence is actual violence. Now I’m not saying that they should be seriously injured, but a forceful reminder to keep a civil tongue is sometimes required. I miss the early 1800s. If the likes of Watts was around back then, she would have been challenged to a duel within her first six months of hateful and slanderous tyrades.

      • Spot on. I’m not so much trying to influence anyone, as I am just saying I wish people could be civil. I hold the same amount of disgust (if not more) for someone one the other side that says “I hope all gun owners die of Ebola”.

  8. I take issue with your claim that “if a teenager gets hold of a gun and uses it to commit suicide, a law abiding gun owner let that happen.”

    I am not responsible for the actions of other people. If somebody steals my firearm and uses it in a malicious manner, I am not accountable. Just like the owner of a stolen vehicle isn’t accountable for the property damage caused when that vehicle crashes through a storefront. Just like a store owner wouldn’t be held accountable if his store was broken into and knives were stolen and later used to kill someone.

    I am responsible for making an honest effort to secure my firearms, and educate those for whom I am responsible about their safe and effective use, and nothing else.

    A teenager Hell-bent on killing himself will find a way to do it. I didn’t “let it happen” if he breaks the lock on the liquor cabinet, or the medicine cabinet, or anything else. I didn’t “let it happen.” I made a reasonable effort to secure my belongings that have the potential for misuse, and someone intent on misusing them circumvented my safety protocols.

    The discussion about the toddler finding a firearm laying around and accidentally shooting somebody is a different argument, because as a parent you are 100% responsible for watching out for that toddler 100% of the time, because they are incapable of taking care of themselves. That is a world of difference from a young adult or adult who is in fact capable of handling personal responsibility.

    You simply cannot hold the owner of an object, whether it’s a gun, a knife, an SUV, or a bottle of Jack Daniels, responsible if someone else intentionally misuses those items. That’s not how this country works.

  9. Give them an inch and they take a mile. At the end of the day, we need to draw a line in the sand and make it clear that crossing said line will have drastic and personal repercussions for those that do. I say we bring back tarring and feathering of people who lobby to restrict the rights of others. If the likes of Watts show up on their lawn covered in tar and feathers, perhaps the lesser trolls will get the message that certain arguments simply are not acceptable. Right now we are taking the “moral high ground”… I, however, reserve the right to punch in the face anybody who is a clear and present danger to my freedom. Freedom of speech is not the same thing as freedom from repercussions for said speech.

      • I take this sarcastic response to mean that you DON’T believe in fighting those who represent a threat to our freedoms?

        That’s a shame.

      • No, that should be reserved for actually serious crimes. I prefer physical discomfort and humiliation as an appropriate punishment for stupidity.

        • Public humiliation and embarrassment would likely discourage some the anti-gun copycats.

          But the hardcore antis themselves don’t seem to have any perch on reality when it comes to guns, and their veracity is so thin I seriously doubt they would ever suffer humiliation or embarrassment, just anger.

  10. Ehhh… partial agreement. We can do more to encourage safety and proper safekeeping. We are not however responsible for the actions of others.

    Locking up your guns when not in use is like locking your doors, its common sense, anything you own and wish to continue owning you should take measures to protect. However, that does not transfer the blame when something is stolen to the owner. Taking every measure to prevent becoming the victim (in this case of theft) is wise, but the ultimate responsibility for criminal action falls upon the person who committed the crime. As a liberal, I’m sure you know better than to blame the victim, whether its rape, murder, or theft.

    Also, in the example of the teenager who swipes a gun to kill themselves, the will to commit suicide comes before the action, and is the ultimate cause regardless of the means. Removing firearms from a person who is so desperate to escape themselves and their lives will not prevent them from taking their lives, the will still exists, the motive is there, they will simply seek another means or opportunity, like a car, train, or rope.

  11. Dan,

    Very nice and I totally agree. In particular, “……. by open carrying into Kroger, insulting the “liberals” and the “gun grabbers” — the very people we need to win over — and incessantly beating our spoons on our high chairs about our “rights.” We do so by showing that we accept our responsibility, as the keepers of the national civilian arsenal, for keeping the country as safe as possible from the harm that firearms can do.

    However, you leave open questions that need answers. You state, “So this is an invitation to the People of the Gun. How do we do this? What can we do as individuals and as a community to demonstrate to the majority that we are as useful to democracy and to the safety of the nation as we believe ourselves to be? How do we lead by moral example?”

    I would suggest that training and multiple certifications around training be far more encouraged by the gun industry. Its a win/win. And we communicate that commitment and responsibility at large as a group. Organizations such as the NRA, SAF and the USCCA are moving in this direction but we need to be much more diligent.

    I am preparing an article comparing gun ownership and use to that of owning and flying an airplane. In aviation, safety is much less about greasing landings, smooth take-offs and manuring the airplane and more about risk management and decision making. I hold an FAA Commercial Pilot’s License with Instrument ratings and have owned my own plane. Risk management and critical decision making under stressful situations is the majority of pilot training and certainly key to professional commercial aviation with all the simulation training they do.

    So to answer your question, the gun industry could / should drive continuous training and certification programs and also help make them affordable. Gun manufacturers can help drive this. The NRA, USCCA, SAF and the USPSA can all help drive much more responsible ownership of guns. They can help shape a culture where not training on a continuous basis is viewed negatively amongst the peer group.

    • Well put. I might add this: When a gun store completes a sale, would it be a good idea for the clerk to ask, “Now, how are you planning to store this?” If the buyer says, “I’ve got that covered,” I’d suggest the clerk drop the subject. But it *might* make the gun buyer stop and think. I’m against safe storage laws and any kind of coercion. But I’d like to see gun owners more serious about keeping their firearms secure. Why shouldn’t, “How are you planning to store that?” be the “Would you like fries with that?” of the gun industry?

        • Actually it is, if the gun store sells secure storage it’s a natural chance for an upsell. Storage case, cleaning kit, box of ammo, coupon for the local range….

        • No Don, it’s not the clerks business to know about the storage of weapons he sells.
          .
          But it never hurts to ask if the customer would be interested in a particular storage option (one that he sells, of course).
          .

          .

      • This sounds like an invitation to liability for offering bad advice (or rather, advice that doesn’t work out that one time). And it’s not like people buy safes every time they buy a gun. Or that buying a substantial enough safe to actually mitigate the risk of theft is a decision people can make on a whim. The actually better answer to what a standardish question should be (to people who appear in the dark) is if they’d like to sign up for a training class operated by a separate legal entity.

      • And my response would be “That’s none of your business.” I agree that name calling is an ineffective way of dealing with people who oppose your point of view, however, I take an issue with the attitude that the means and measures I take to secure my firearms are anyone’s business but mine. Personal responsibility > government “enforced” standards. Every. Single. Time.

        • So I take it the proper response to “Would you like fries with that?” is “None of your damn business.” How about if a gun store clerk asks, “Need ammo?” Is the right response, “None of your damn business.” How about hearing protectors? Targets? Why is a gun safe different from any other piece of shooting equipment a gun store clerk might want to sell?

        • its hard to equate buying fries that come with a cheeseburger or ammo that you need to operate a firearm to a gu nsafe. When you buy a car they don’t ask you if you have a garage to store it in. A safe is an investment of hundreds of dollars. Call me paranoid if you wish but I don’t relish the idea of someone knowing where or how my guns are stored, especially if I just gave them a stack of paperwork with my address on it

        • Dan, you need to stop conflating different arguments.

          “How do you intend to store this firearm?” is an inappropriate question.

          “We’re running a promotion, 5% off bedside safes with the purchase of any handgun! You interested?” is an appropriate question, because it’s asked with the intention of making a sale, not inquiring about his home safety.

          “Would you like fries with that?” is asked with the intent of making a sale. That’s not an interrogation to verify that the customer has adequate sides for his meal.

        • Dan,
          Asking if a customer wants fries with their order is different than asking about how one is securing a weapon.

          Please, no more feigned cognitive dissonance. If this isn’t cognitive dissonance, it’s willful ignorance.

  12. Breitbart was right: Control of media is control of culture, and therefore politics.

    Even in the two “examples” brought up by the author this was really the driving force. It was not moral righteousness -in both efforts, there are many, many, many bad actors. But with support of media they can achieve their goals.

    • I think this is one of the biggest hurdles. The media that is still mostly dominate today will rarely, if ever put forth a story that is positive for gun rights and gun owners. They constantly focus on any negative aspect they can, real (murders) or imagined (scary black rifles able to cause more destruction than nuclear bomb). When was the last time any major network or daily newspaper focused on a person that stopped an atrocity from being a much worse event? Fort Hood when Major Hasan struck maybe? There are stories but they are intentionally not told by media sources because it doesn’t fit their world view. As much as we try to lead responsible lives while owning firearms, we get painted with the broadest of brushes by a media both ignorant of and hostile to us.

  13. So it’s our responsibility to prevent people we don’t know from committing suicide?

    Hahahahahahahahah!

    With friends like this, we don’t need enemies.

  14. Sorry, you lost me at “civil rights of blacks and gays.”

    Denying a black man the same freedom as a white (green, blue, insert color here) man is immoral.

    Prohibiting behavior of a “class” of people identified by said behavior is based on morality, AS IS ALL LAW (please don’t bring the false “don’t legislate morality” argument). In truth, a “gay” person enjoys the same rights as a “straight” person. There is no right to marry a person you love. If I love a woman who is already married, then I have no “right” to marry her. What I do have, is the right to marry a woman who is free to marry me, if she so chooses. I do not have the legal right (though that is changing) to marry a man. Whether I want to or not is immaterial. The joke of all of this is, any “gay” people are free to live together, and do what they want to each other. What they truly seek is legitimacy (i.e. calling for acceptance of sin), and government-sanctioned benefits.

    It is a shame and a sham to equate the two.

    Further, we do not have a representative democracy. We are a constitutional republic. Democracy is rule by the majority. We have rights endowed by our Creator, which rights the government is sworn to protect. We do not create a “right” to marry an earthworm, nor would it be constitutional to collect taxes to support the National Endowment for the Arts, simply because a majority of the people might vote for it.

    Our country’s tendency to legislate based on “feelings” and need to call sin a blessing is taking us downhill, and fast.

  15. I guess I’ll be the voice of dissent. I felt that the post is spot on. We talk about rights as a theoretical. The poster points out the reality.

    It would be nice if people would dress up for gun rights demonstrations like they would for a job interview instead of giving the press opportunities to take pictures of people who look like they are members of Hell’s Angels. The fact that Ted Nugent is a prominent face of the gun lobby (Is he still on the NRA board) instead of a man in dress clothes is a problem.

    • We’ve got men in dress clothes–Wayne LaPierre, for example. And others in the 2A community are writing them off as “old fogeys”.

      • I would argue that it is much less about his age(or not at all about it imo), and more specifically about demeanor, the way his particular speeches are of a “fire and brimstone” tone instead of an approachable medium and personally for me, continually blaming video games the exact same way the antis do. Then again I imagine someone could say the same thing about the “from my cold dead hands!” speech but I am a fan of.

    • It would be nice if people would dress up for gun rights demonstrations like they would for a job interview instead of giving the press opportunities to take pictures of people who look like they are members of Hell’s Angels.

      How about we dress up as Patriots? That would make an impression.

  16. OK, philosophically, I disagree. As a practical matter, I see your point. And to the extent that you are essentially saying, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”, I agree. But as a practical matter, we are not going to “win over” the antis. To continue your civil rights analogy, there are still plenty of racists out there. And there are still plenty of people out there who see no reason why the state should legally sanction biologically aberrant (in the strictly Darwinian sense) unions–indeed, that “fight” has still not necessarily been won. And as others have pointed out, you are just playing into the gun-grabbers’ hands when you agree that as an individual gun owner, you are somehow responsible if a gangbanger with a black-market pistol guns down a rival. Leading by example certainly has its place–as do advocacy in the courts and legislatures, and calling out the mistakes and misrepresentations of the opposition. And, as does the recognition that, as a man much wiser than myself noted, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

    • Here’s where we disagree: If a gang-banger guns down someone with *my* pistol, a pistol I did not make a good-faith effort to secure (i.e. by keeping it on my hip or in a safe), then yes, I feel responsible. Not legally responsible. But morally responsible. (I’ve been there. All my guns were stolen from my house in Atlanta in 1986, and I’ve worried about them ever since.) Yes, the thief came in my house, which was against the law. Yes, the killer pulled the trigger. But I’ve always felt queasy that I wasn’t more careful. And I wouldn’t blame the mother of a murder victim who was shot with my gun for thinking me as partly responsible.

      • Well, since not all safes are giant vaults that couldnt be carried by 2 grown men, I will use one of mine as an example. While the safe may be hidden and even bolted to the ground, given enough time it could be compromised. What about the small handgun vaults designed to be stored in strategic locations around the home, those could EASILY be compromised with the proper tools (and you wouldnt necessarily have to do it on site in a home you broke into). The issue I have is that at some point in these scenarios, youre just going to be a whipping boy, used an example to the masses.

        • A $1,000 gun safe can be compromised with a battery powered Sawzall in about one minute.

        • Looks like I missed quite a few responses in replies about no firearm being absolutely secure. I will just add that I have seen combined security in the tens of thousands breached (over $10k on the safe alone) and the firearms stolen. Yes it is great to do what you can but there should be zero expectation that your firearms can’t be stolen and it is absolutely possible and likely to be no fault of the owner for letting something happen.

      • Ahh, there’s the rub.

        You would *feel* responsible.

        And because of that, you think everybody else is responsible in such an event too.

        Wrong.

      • Well, you are right–we disagree about that (among other things). If someone breaks into my car or house or office to take stuff that doesn’t belong to them, they have already taken on any “moral” responsibility for what becomes of that stuff. I might, as a matter of simple emotion, worry about it, but I would not feel any way responsible. And again, I think you are playing into the hands of the hysterical “moms” to propose that I would have any such responsibility, short of acting with overt negligence.

  17. Make no mistake–this piece is about homosexual acceptance while masquerading as a gun article. Carolinas, Arizona, and Oklahoma voters did not change their mind on homosexual marriage; liberal activist judges wrongly enacted sweeping changes against the will of the people. The homosexual lifestyle is not just as rich, and loving as a monogamous heterosexual relationship. By accepting his gun logic (some of which is correct), you are tempted to buy into and accept his other arguments. For example, if I can own 5 guns, why can’t a homosexual have 5 spouses? This isn’t perverted thinking on my part; it’s already being pushed. The dissolution of the family and the erosion and abandonment of Judeo-Christian values (core liberal planks) will ultimately be the reason we will have no gun rights. Show me a liberal or progressive or accepting state or country that does not restrict the natural right to self defense.

    • Agreed.

      Ultimately, the gun rights issue, as well as the “gay marriage” issue, is only an issue because of the flexible morality perpetrated on our country by immoral people.

      There is freedom from slavery to sin, but some love the darkness of sin so much, that they shun the Light of the world sent to rescue them from it.

      • Spot on.

        “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

  18. Thought provoking, to be sure.
    When carrying, I am one of the most polite people you will meet.
    If I get to be part of a discussion on guns, rights or hunting. I try to be equally as polite while staying factual.
    As we have seen in post after post on MDA or everytown… It’s not what is said or done, it’s how we made them feel.

  19. In a representative democracy like ours, nobody has any rights that the majority doesn’t want him to have.

    We don’t live in a representative democracy; our form of government is constitutional republic, which is intentionally and explicitly designed to avoid the mob-rule of democracy – the very mob rule at the heart of your argument here.

    When a child finds a loaded gun and kills herself or a playmate, it’s because a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. When a teenager gets ahold of a gun and commits suicide or worse, a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. Most guns used in violent crime are stolen, usually from law-abiding people who leave them unsecured. The majority is not wrong for wanting this nonsense to stop.

    Accidental firearm deaths account for a minuscule fraction of child mortality. A teenager (or anyone else) who wants to commit suicide will use any means available to do so (and the deal with the problem, address the causes of so many people seeking suicide, rather than attempting to regulate the chosen tools of implementation).

    Where is the citation that most stolen firearms were stolen because they were left unsecured? And where is the context between, say, the number/rate of accidental firearm deaths and murders (and other crimes) committed with stolen guns? To present the two as you have here is to create a false equivalence.

    The truth is that while each of us individually may believe he’s careful, as a community we are fatally sloppy.

    A complete load of bollocks. Firearm ownership is at record highs, and accidental firearm injury/death are at historic lows.

    2/3 of firearm-related deaths are suicide. Of the remainder, about 2/3 are gang/drug-related. Neither has anything to do with “sloppiness” of the firearms community.

    It is only by rediscovering, as a community, our commitment to the awesome responsibility of owning something as lethal as a firearm that we will ultimately secure our rights.

    Where is the evidence that we, as a community, have lost that commitment?

    We need to take the lead on reducing firearm accidents, suicides, and homicides away from Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg and the Brady Center…

    They don’t have the lead on those issues. They only have the lead on the issue of civilian disarmament disguised as “common-sense gun control”. They don’t do anything to preach firearms safety or to promote the efforts of the firearms community (Four Cardinal Rules, Eddie Eagle, other NRA efforts, etc.). They don’t do anything to deal with the causes of suicide. They don’t do anything to address homicides.

    …who don’t understand firearms at all — and reclaim that leadership for ourselves, who do…

    I don’t think we have to take the lead on most of those issues, at all – other than firearms safety, at which we as a community are so successful that accidental firearms deaths are a blip on the mortality radar. We have no direct connect to suicides or the mostly gang-related homicides.

    We need to demonstrate to the majority, by our moral example, that our right to keep and bear arms is not a zero-sum game — we win and you lose, or vice versa…

    Or vice versa? Such a view is dangerously naive. The other side doesn’t want to reduce accidental gun deaths, suicides, and homicides; they want to disarm the civilian populace, completely. If they win: we lose.

    …It won’t do to say that winning over the antis is a lost cause…

    Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg, and their ilk are a lost cause. Their goals are the polar opposite of ours, and their convictions as deeply held.

    So this is an invitation to the People of the Gun. How do we do this? What can we do as individuals and as a community to demonstrate to the majority that we are as useful to democracy and to the safety of the nation as we believe ourselves to be? How do we lead by moral example?

    That is something that we, as a community, prove every single day – all 100,000,000 of us who own guns, and all 11-12 million of us who carry daily. We prove it by being demonstrably more law-abiding than even law enforcement officers. We prove it by murder and violent crime rates that plummet in areas where everyday carry is more common.

    • Thank you for taking the time to disassemble and refute this article point by point. You’re much more patient than I am.

      • Agreed! Chip said all that needed to answer Dan’s missive. Dan, your liberal leanings are blinding you to the Liberty that our Constitutionally protected NATURAL RIGHTS describe. Come into the light, brother.

    • Well done, Chip. You’ve taken a page from the Bruce Krafft book of deconstruction. And that is a high compliment indeed.

    • Thanks Chip! Well done. This article has ticked me off.

      How do we lead by moral example?

      Like nearly every decent American, I get up, go to work, pay my taxes, look after my family and don’t murder anyone. Every day.

      You know what is NOT a moral example of living? Asking me to give away my natural, civil and constitutionally protected rights–rights that are protected from government infringement as outlined in the Bill of Rights–just to appease some pearl-clutching hoplophobes. I will not do it. I have an obligation to my God who gave me those rights, my family and myself to protect them against all comers. If that’s too strident for Dan Baum, when then all I’ve got to say is toughen up, Buttercup.

      P.S. To say for one second that a person who has guns stolen from them is morally or otherwise responsible for acts committed by the thieves afterwards is lunacy. In fact, it’s insulting, blame-the-victim crap. I’m now totally disinclined to read anything Dan Baum has to say on any subject because of his naive opinions on this matter. Not to mention which, he wrote this same piece for Al Jazeera. Really? We’re done here. In the words of Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • “We don’t live in a representative democracy; our form of government is constitutional republic, which is intentionally and explicitly designed to avoid the mob-rule of democracy – the very mob rule at the heart of your argument here.”

      Call it what you like, but we have mob rule here all the time. Ask any African American who lived under Jim Crow. Ask a gay Texan who wants to marry. Ask a Massachusetts firearms enthusiast who wants to buy an AR-15. I’m asking how we achieve the promise of the constitution.

      “Accidental firearm deaths account for a minuscule fraction of child mortality.”

      And it makes the news every time, feeding the antis’ passion for more stupid laws. We can stop this.

      ” A teenager (or anyone else) who wants to commit suicide will use any means available to do so (and the deal with the problem, address the causes of so many people seeking suicide, rather than attempting to regulate the chosen tools of implementation).”

      People who attempt suicide with a gun succeed at a much higher rate than people who choose other means. And again, when a gun is used, it’s bad for all of us. Why would we not want to do everything we can to put more distance between the suicidal thoughts and the gun? Why is that something you oppose?

      Where is the citation that most stolen firearms were stolen because they were left unsecured? And where is the context between, say, the number/rate of accidental firearm deaths and murders (and other crimes) committed with stolen guns? To present the two as you have here is to create a false equivalence.

      James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi discovered, when researching Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, that only 16 percent of the felons they surveyed said they got their guns from gun stores, in all likelihood because their criminal records make them “prohibited persons.” And Wright and Rossi conducted their survey in 1986, eight years before the Brady Act would mandate computerized background checks.

      ” Firearm ownership is at record highs, and accidental firearm injury/death are at historic lows.”

      So what? The antis correctly point out that deaths caused by guns are much higher in the US than elsewhere and they’re freaked out about it. And when they’re freaked out, they come after our guns. Would you rather be right, or would you rather hold onto your guns?

      “2/3 of firearm-related deaths are suicide. Of the remainder, about 2/3 are gang/drug-related. Neither has anything to do with “sloppiness” of the firearms community.”

      Wrong. Any kid who kills himself with a gun got the gun from an adult; kids can’t buy guns. Most gang members and drug dealers have records and can’t buy guns legally. So they get them from law-abiding people willing to make straw purchases, or they buy guns stolen from law-abiding people who left them unsecured.

      “Where is the evidence that we, as a community, have lost that commitment?”

      The relatively high number of child accidents, teen suicides, and crimes committed with stolen guns.

      “(Watts and Bloomberg)don’t have the lead on those issues.”

      Wake up and smell the napalm. They’re the ones dictating terms, not us.

      ” They only have the lead on the issue of civilian disarmament disguised as “common-sense gun control”.”

      Call it what you like. The media give them center stage. And Wayne LaPierre isn’t going to take that away from them. Not in this media environement.

      ” They don’t do anything to preach firearms safety or to promote the efforts of the firearms community (Four Cardinal Rules, Eddie Eagle, other NRA efforts, etc.).”

      The NRA can’t get this done because it has chosen to be a political entity instead of a leader on gun safety. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Schools aren’t going to take a program written by the NRA. We can argue about whether that’s right or wrong, but that’s how it is. We need to do this a different way.

      “They don’t do anything to deal with the causes of suicide. They don’t do anything to address homicides.”

      And neither do we, except carry guns into Starbucks and offer to arm teachers. The rest of the public isn’t having that. So what else you got?

      “I don’t think we have to take the lead on most of those issues, at all – other than firearms safety, at which we as a community are so successful that accidental firearms deaths are a blip on the mortality radar. We have no direct connect to suicides or the mostly gang-related homicides.”

      See above. You’re wrong, and the non-gun owning public knows you’re wrong.

      “The other side doesn’t want to reduce accidental gun deaths, suicides, and homicides; they want to disarm the civilian populace, completely. If they win: we lose.”

      You go play your zero-sum game and call names. Others of us have serious work to do.

      “Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg, and their ilk are a lost cause. Their goals are the polar opposite of ours, and their convictions as deeply held.”

      George Wallace was a pretty tough segregationist, I think we’d all agree. And he ended his life repudiating all of it. Don’t tell me about lost causes.

      “That is something that we, as a community, prove every single day – all 100,000,000 of us who own guns, and all 11-12 million of us who carry daily. We prove it by being demonstrably more law-abiding than even law enforcement officers. We prove it by murder and violent crime rates that plummet in areas where everyday carry is more common.”

      I agree; concealed carry seems to reduce crime. But we can do more. And we have to do more, because this endless trench warfare is exhausting and counterproductive.

      • There is absolutely no way that you can attain the “dream” of the Constitution by not knowing what it says. Ignorance of our type of government is symptomatic of the problem, not the solution.

      • Call it what you like, but we have mob rule here all the time. Ask any African American who lived under Jim Crow. Ask a gay Texan who wants to marry. Ask a Massachusetts firearms enthusiast who wants to buy an AR-15. I’m asking how we achieve the promise of the constitution.

        I think it is rather imperative – don’t you? – that we understand our system of government, if we are to have any hope of implementing change for the better.

        “Accidental firearm deaths account for a minuscule fraction of child mortality.”

        And it makes the news every time, feeding the antis’ passion for more stupid laws. We can stop this.

        No, actually, we can’t. You can’t fix stupid, and in a free society, there will always be stupid. We can minimize it, but we cannot eliminate it, so long as every person has free will.

        I would argue that we have minimized accidental firearm deaths about as much as we feasibly can – not that we should curtail our education efforts; only that there isn’t much more room for return on additional investment.

        (As an aside and out of curiosity: how many children killed by accidental firearm discharge died at the hands of a legally possessed firearm?)

        ” A teenager (or anyone else) who wants to commit suicide will use any means available to do so (and the deal with the problem, address the causes of so many people seeking suicide, rather than attempting to regulate the chosen tools of implementation).”

        People who attempt suicide with a gun succeed at a much higher rate than people who choose other means. And again, when a gun is used, it’s bad for all of us. Why would we not want to do everything we can to put more distance between the suicidal thoughts and the gun? Why is that something you oppose?

        Because it is impossible to separate the suicidal thoughts from any means of implementation of those thoughts. Because we would be far better-served to do everything we can to put more distance between the suicidal thoughts and the suicidal person.

        Where is the citation that most stolen firearms were stolen because they were left unsecured? And where is the context between, say, the number/rate of accidental firearm deaths and murders (and other crimes) committed with stolen guns? To present the two as you have here is to create a false equivalence.

        James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi discovered, when researching Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, that only 16 percent of the felons they surveyed said they got their guns from gun stores, in all likelihood because their criminal records make them “prohibited persons.” And Wright and Rossi conducted their survey in 1986, eight years before the Brady Act would mandate computerized background checks.

        A 30-year-old study is the best you have? And you accuse me of not being serious?

        ” Firearm ownership is at record highs, and accidental firearm injury/death are at historic lows.”

        So what? The antis correctly point out that deaths caused by guns are much higher in the US than elsewhere and they’re freaked out about it. And when they’re freaked out, they come after our guns. Would you rather be right, or would you rather hold onto your guns?

        Then why are you here, lecturing the safe and responsible firearms owners, instead of out there, correcting the misinformation and propagnda being put out by the antis? It takes all of about 30 seconds to deconstruct that canard. Where does the US rank in terms of per-capita firearms ownership? Where does it rank in terms of firearms mortality rate?

        Why are you so afraid of such canards?

        “2/3 of firearm-related deaths are suicide. Of the remainder, about 2/3 are gang/drug-related. Neither has anything to do with “sloppiness” of the firearms community.”

        Wrong. Any kid who kills himself with a gun got the gun from an adult; kids can’t buy guns. Most gang members and drug dealers have records and can’t buy guns legally. So they get them from law-abiding people willing to make straw purchases, or they buy guns stolen from law-abiding people who left them unsecured.

        Statistics, please. Was the gun lawfully possessed in the first place? Did the kid who committed suicide steal it? Where are criminally prohibited persons getting their firearms?

        What is a “law-abiding person willing to make straw purchases”? By definition, someone willing to make a straw purchase is not “law-abiding”.

        You seem to be asserting/implying that sloppy gun-storage practices by the firearms community at large is the primary driver for getting guns into the hands of prohibited persons. Citation, please.

        “Where is the evidence that we, as a community, have lost that commitment?”

        The relatively high number of child accidents, teen suicides, and crimes committed with stolen guns.

        You lose all crediibility when you keep insisting on ficticious things such as “relatively high number of child accidents”.

        “(Watts and Bloomberg)don’t have the lead on those issues.”

        Wake up and smell the napalm. They’re the ones dictating terms, not us.

        What terms are they dictating, and to what ends?

        Again: why are you not out there, actively challening the terms they are attempting to dictate? What will navel-gazing by the firearms community do to counter the false narratives of Bloomberg et al?

        ” They only have the lead on the issue of civilian disarmament disguised as “common-sense gun control”.”

        Call it what you like. The media give them center stage. And Wayne LaPierre isn’t going to take that away from them. Not in this media environement.

        Unless I’ve missed something, the firearms community has no control over the media. Nothing we can do will change that.

        ” They don’t do anything to preach firearms safety or to promote the efforts of the firearms community (Four Cardinal Rules, Eddie Eagle, other NRA efforts, etc.).”

        The NRA can’t get this done because it has chosen to be a political entity instead of a leader on gun safety. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Schools aren’t going to take a program written by the NRA. We can argue about whether that’s right or wrong, but that’s how it is. We need to do this a different way.

        The NRA is the leader in firearms safety. Go ahead: name another organization or entity who leads in the arean of firearms safety. I’ll wait.

        “They don’t do anything to deal with the causes of suicide. They don’t do anything to address homicides.”

        And neither do we, except carry guns into Starbucks and offer to arm teachers. The rest of the public isn’t having that. So what else you got?

        What do you expect the firearms community to do to deal with the mental health issues facing our country – the issues leading to so many suicides? Why is it our responsibility as a firearms community?

        I would assert that me carrying into Starbucks (which I do, every time I go) does a small part to deal with homicide. The more widespread everyday carry is, the less violent crime there is.

        And why are you so opposed to arming teachers? It is the one, single thing that will put an end to completely overblown risk of school spree shootings. (That, and campus carry.)

        “I don’t think we have to take the lead on most of those issues, at all – other than firearms safety, at which we as a community are so successful that accidental firearms deaths are a blip on the mortality radar. We have no direct connect to suicides or the mostly gang-related homicides.”

        See above. You’re wrong, and the non-gun owning public knows you’re wrong.

        In what way am I wrong? How is the firearms community responsible for the prevalence of suicidal people? How is the firearms community responsible for homicides committed by violent felons? If the non-gun-owning public blames us, then they blame us falsely.

        As for accidental gun deaths: the numbers speak for themselves, no matter how much you wish to ignore them.

        “The other side doesn’t want to reduce accidental gun deaths, suicides, and homicides; they want to disarm the civilian populace, completely. If they win: we lose.”

        You go play your zero-sum game and call names. Others of us have serious work to do.

        First of all, you can save your condescenscion for someone it will work on. Second, I have called no one any names, and you really should stop going to the well so often on that little bit of ad hominem; it gets boring in its repetitiveness. Third, how do you deny that it is, in fact, a zero-sum game when our ideological opponents want nothing less than complete civilian disarmament? If they win, we lose.

        As for your little quip about having “serious work” to do: based on your comments here, you sound more like a Concern Troll than someone engaging in serious, good-faith dialogue.

        “Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg, and their ilk are a lost cause. Their goals are the polar opposite of ours, and their convictions as deeply held.”

        George Wallace was a pretty tough segregationist, I think we’d all agree. And he ended his life repudiating all of it. Don’t tell me about lost causes.

        If Shannon Watts some day manages to come to her senses, good for her. I won’t waste time tilting at that windmill. But again: if you think she can be turned, why are you here, admonishing us, instead of out there, trying to convince her of the error of her ways?

        “That is something that we, as a community, prove every single day – all 100,000,000 of us who own guns, and all 11-12 million of us who carry daily. We prove it by being demonstrably more law-abiding than even law enforcement officers. We prove it by murder and violent crime rates that plummet in areas where everyday carry is more common.”

        I agree; concealed carry seems to reduce crime. But we can do more. And we have to do more, because this endless trench warfare is exhausting and counterproductive.

        All carry reduces crime – not just concealed carry. All carry serves to re-normalize the free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms.

        There are 100 million of us. I would posit that we “do more” simply by living our lives, every day, lawfully going about our business, and being left alone by the government and the gun-control bullies.

        What do YOU propose that we “do” more of?

        • Well done, again, Chip.

          Of course Dan does not understand your arguments … by his own words, gun ownership and shooting are mere hobbies to him. He wants to keep his guns to keep a paste time, an aristocratic luxury.

    • Excellent response. I would like to add, gun owners already lead by moral example. We follow the legalities of laws that are logically indefensible, some of which were passed to discriminate against minorities and protect corrupt politicians. We obey the law more than the people who are responsible for enforcing it. We protect strangers that we have no legal responsibility to do so. We give to charities. We don’t use our guns to shoot at those who oppose us (unlike liberal Democrats, who have overwhelmingly committed mass murders and political assassinations in this country in the past 60 years).

  20. Education is the answer. Calm, relational, factual education.

    That said, I wouldn’t turn down the idea of government subsidies for gunsafes.

    • I would be more inclined for a lower rate, overall flat tax so I can afford to buy a gun safe if I so choose, instead of another crumb thrown to the masses from the powers at be.

  21. You’re very delusional, dan. We police our own and prevent all the misuse and guess what? Bloomberg and the rest are still going to be after our guns. Period.

    The only compromise we can reach with them is if we do away with all civilian gun ownership. Ain’t gonna happen.

    And majority rules is a non starter in a country that recognises the rights of the individual over the crowd. If majority ruled 51% of the voting population could remove gay rights and re-install jim crow and it would, under your reasoning, be legal.

    • It might be “legal” but it wouldn’t be Constitutional. But that’s how things were for most of our country’s history, and that’s how it is for us when gun laws are passed that infringe our rights. My question to you is, how do we achieve the same victories that African Americans and gays have achieved? Because what we’re doing now isn’t sustainable. Precisely because of the Bloombergs and Soroses of the world.

      • Dan, we are winning. Are you old enough to remember when the 68 gca was passed? We had a country where gun ownership actually was dieing out because of urban sprawl and a percieved non need of guns. Shall issue was practically non existent nationwide and the supremes had never ruled that 2a was an individual right.

        Now let me ask you a question. Are those guns actually yours in the photo? Do you actually shoot or are they just for photo ops to prove you’re one of us.

        Or are you just waiting for the right moment to do a sean penn and claim a come to jesus moment and melt them into a manhole cover?

  22. There’s a lot of baby going out with the bathwater in the comments here. If we lose the popular battle for hearts and minds over guns, it is easy to believe laws will continue to be passed in this country limiting our ability to legally partake of our natural rights. We can get all excited over whether they are natural or not and whether this is a Constitutional Republic (it certainly doesn’t seem to function as one these days), but Dan’s question is still very valid: is there an approach gun owners can take to win that battle for hearts and minds so the legal access to our natural rights won’t be threatened here?

    A few posts back, we see a Democratic lawmaker in New York trying to ban children from gun shows. That is what Dan is getting at! Gun grabbers play a brilliant long game, infiltrating education, entertainment and news, effectively controlling the messaging fence-sitters hear and see about guns. I’d love to see gun owners coordinate our efforts to present those fence-sitters with an influential, effective, positive message that simply overpowered the negative propaganda from the other side.

    Any ideas on that other than “take a newbie shooting”, which is absolutely great, but already well known?

    • …is there an approach gun owners can take to win that battle for hearts and minds so the legal access to our natural rights won’t be threatened here?

      Yes: utterly and completely defeat the efforts of Watts, Bloomberg, and their ilk.

      It is not lack of moral character or action of the firearms community that is the problem; rather, it is the rhetoric, propaganda, misinformation, and subterfuge of the Civilian Disarmament Industry that is the problem.

      To win, we must defeat them.

      • To win, we must outspend them.

        And with two of the world’s richest men (Bloomberg and Soros) funding the wingnuts, that’s not going to be easy.

        • To win we must crush our enemies, see them driven before us, and hear the lamentations of their Bloomberg!

  23. “There are no “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights”
    You can indeed go pound sand, sir. What you are suggesting is the height of moral relativity – anything goes as long as the majority goes along with it.

    BULL.

  24. Dan, I agree with you completely. Hang in there it’s tough being the voice of reason and common sense.
    No disrespect to the dissenters, but the “My way or the highway” mentality most often just leads to more polarization. Yes, we have to fight, yes we can’t compromise our rights, but let’s be the best citizens we can be and educate politely in the hope of recruiting some of those who aren’t yet “Bloomed” or gain some converts that may be able to see the light.

    • “but let’s be the best citizens we can be and educate politely in the hope of recruiting some of those who aren’t yet “Bloomed” or gain some converts that may be able to see the light.”

      I get the sense that IS what a lot of people are saying in the comments, maybe not in those exact words, but in the acknowledgement that you CANNOT.EVER. win over a true believer, they would probably explode from cognitive dissonance or simply write you off while plugging their ears. The only hope we have of even swaying a portion of the majority who is not a dyed in the wool, down home proggie is by doing just what you suggest, and refusing to compromise to those who will never stop taking.

      • Brother, look at the distance the south — and for that matter — the rest of country has come since the 1960s vis a vis blacks. Is it perfect? No. Does racism still exist? Of course. But not in the law. And to a much lesser degree elsewhere. If we can get that done, we can get this done.

        • Minor point regarding, “Does racism still exist? Of course. But not in the law. And to a much lesser degree elsewhere.” We have passed laws that institutionalize racism through affirmative action – reverse discrimination.

    • let’s be the best citizens we can be

      I think we already are. You believe otherwise. And that’s the basis of our irreconcilable disagreement.

      • Really? We are as absolutely perfect as we can be? Like the gun owner who just left a gun where his five year old daughter could get it and shoot her little brother? Like the woman who let her two year old grab her gun in Walmart? You serious? I agree that gun violence and accidents are down and that that is a good thing, a major public policy that that is too seldom recognized. But clearly we can do more. And by “we” I mean we, the people who own the guns. We’re the ones who decide what happens with firearms in this country.

        • If perfection across the whole of the community is the standard, then no one would have any rights.

          Are there reprehensible white people? Blacks? Jews? Gays? Of course there are. However, white, black, Jewish, or gay people don’t have to police themselves and prove their dealing with their bad apples in order to justify keeping their rights.

        • “And by “we” I mean we, the people who own the guns. We’re the ones who decide what happens with firearms in this country.” -The only thing you said that even comes remotely close to being something that a Free American Citizen, and not like an anti-American statist coward. Coward isn’t calling you a name it is just an honest observation of your lack of character and intestinal fortitude when it comes to standing up for your rights that can only be given away and not taken. Compromise and justifying infringement is all your article is about, and you sound as though England would be more to your delicate needs. If a person kills themselves with a gun it is not my responsibility or concern that a weak minded person disrespected the gift of life and got one thing right. Gangbangers killing each other is what is called an inner city tax break.

          You are from the Molon Labia crowd of living on your knees and being a loyal subject, which is not an American value. Most people on this forum are Americans who are from the Molon Labe crowd and the Second Amendment is exactly what we will use to stop a tyrannical lapdog from trying to take our rights, which are not granted by man.

          Wow-Dan you are very misinformed and you sound as though you work for Demanding Moms, and are trying to bridge the gap between rabid statists and freemen by saying we are not de facto baby killers just de jure as you say we are responsible for every act of evil or negligence with a gun simply by owning a gun. Your sheep mentality is on full display and as a Shepherd of men I would gladly allow you to wander at your own peril as you seem comfortable compromising my defensive options by regulating my God given ability to defend what is mine, life and property. You seem to believe that freemen only have rights as long as they don’t question the people trying to take them away and shouldn’t fight tyrannical laws with force if that is the only moral option, which the Second Amendment was exactly recognized for.
          Constitutional Republic means We American citizens, not subjects like yourself and we are guided by a set of laws that have been codified in a Constitution, written under God, and ensured by the Second Amendment that We a are not ruled by the emotion of government subjects, as is the current situation, and just waiting for the moral high ground for defense. The second amendment was recognized as the best way for men to stay citizens of a free country since the use of protected tools for defense is what freed them from tyrannical chains as subjects of a King.

  25. As soon as I started reading this I knew OP was gonna get panned like a dog. Defending homosexual equal rights on these boards? Preposterous!

    What OP is talking about is the difference between de jure rights and de facto rights. What he’s saying is that if I’m king, and I give every subject a piece of paper that says they have the right to call me an a hole, and then I have every single one of them who calls me an a hole shot, those subjects have a de jure right to call me an a hole, but not a de facto one.

    Kindly chill out, please. The author is stating what is *absolutely* true: if you think you have an infinite right to keep and bear arms, you’re delusional. They founding fathers and state governments wrote what they wrote, and that’s all great. But that piece of paper means jack crap the second you jerry rig a sear on a new lower to make an AR15 full auto. That piece of paper means jack crap the second you carry somewhere you aren’t legally allowed to. We, gun owners, most of us, keyboard warrior our way around talking about our rights, and then we take our concealed carry permits, follow the rules our masters have set up for us, and toe the line.

    What it seems to me the author is saying, is that if we were all a little bit less “COME AND TAKE THEM”, and normalized gun ownership, that line might start (continue) to move in the right direction.

    • “The author is stating what is *absolutely* true: if you think you have an infinite right to keep and bear arms, you’re delusional.”- Tread lightly If you think you can strip me(American citizens) of my rights or keep infringing upon them with the goal of taking them, which is the reason for no compromising with unAmerican serfs. Understand this simple fact that some Americans believe that our guns must be taken from our cold dead hands, and at the time of our death our guns will be hot and empty.
      The Second Amendment, when there was a Constitutional Republic of the United States is as absolute law as there is in a nation of laws based on a Constitutional Rule. The Second Amendment is also what is used to protect all other amendments, and was enshrined as the best means to abolish a government and its supporters when they have become servants of tyranny, instead of Sons of Liberty.

      My Christian belief in God leads me to not be deaf and dumb being led to my slaughter, which is why I carry a gun to protect his precious gift of life that I possess. Freewill is what allows me to think rationally about what exactly I will and will not tolerate from any man, under any guise of authority, by drawing a line in the sand. This is not an imaginary political line but a line that has been established with great thought upon just how far a man is willing to sacrifice his personal liberties to a non-benevolent authority. A moral line is established by having a moral code and then having the honor and intestinal fortitude to follow that code even when distinct consequences for crossing the line need to be swiftly administered at great possible risk, but it is worth having death before dishonor as this is my one and only chance on this earth. My status as an American Citizen gives me the right to Life,Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and my skill with firearms give me a be better than average chance of living and dying a free red-blooded American.

  26. Your entire argument, as others have already clearly pointed out, is based on the complete and totally false ASSumption that the people fighting against our right actually care about the children, or the “victims” of gun crime. For them it is a zero sum game and no matter how nice we are to them or how pretty we brand ourselves they wont be happy until it is literally impossible for a law abiding person to buy or own guns.

    Disarmament is the game and compromise is just a small step toward their end goal.

  27. The gun culture has already changed with respect to storing firearms. Growing up, my grandfather left his shotgun in the corner next to the back door. Now, most gun owners that I know lock-up their firearms or, in the least, use a padlock or trigger lock to keep them safe from children. Would it be ideal for every gun owner to store their firearms in a heavy and expensive safe bolted to the floor and for all “nightstand” guns to be in a smaller safe with a security cable? Sure … to a point. But we’re already moving in the direction of safer storage and have been for some time. So what more do you want? Would you like for all gun owners to simultaneously post pictures of their safes and trigger locks on Facebook to prove to the gun control crowd that we’re responsible? I don’t think they would care one bit.

    • Upon further reflection, might I suggest that you edit the article that you published in Al Jazeera and propose to gun control advocates that they back a bill that would make the purchase of a firearms safe a tax deductible expense? I would very much like to see the comments to that article.

        • As a fiscal conservative: no.

          I would prefer the federal government stop taking my money to redistribute to others – which also means I don’t want the government redistributing others’ money to me in the form of such tax breaks.

          Further, I am opposed on principle to the federal government using income taxes as a social engineering tool.

          That personal responsibility thing? Yeah, I earn my own money, and the more of my own money I can keep, the better I will be able to afford to buy my own safe, or whatever else I choose.

        • Chip, I don’t suspect that those favoring gun control are going to oppose this on fiscal grounds. I want to hear what their opposition to the proposal would be since most Democrats have no issue with using taxes to discourage or encourage certain behaviors. I suspect, “Yuck, no. Because guns.”

  28. Thanks for your contribution, Dan. If I may, I’d first like to address the idea of rights and why you’re getting some pushback before exploring some moral example possibilities and why it’s an uphill battle.

    Based upon your post, I don’t think that you’re quite understanding Robert’s statement on rights. He calls the right to keep and bare arms
    – natural, i.e., inhering in the nature of being an adult human;
    – civil, i.e., part of being a person who interacts with others and his neighbors; and
    – Constitutionally protected, i.e., protected from governmental interference by the main constituting document of the U.S. republic.

    This does not say that the *exercise* of these rights (like any others) can not be physically (i.e., by the use or threat of force) or legally (i.e., by government fiat) halted or reduced, but that such restrictions are a violation of natural rights, civil rights, and the rights the Constitution is to protect. In analogy with your comment re black civil rights, the exercise of the right was once denied individuals based upon their race, but they still had the *moral* right to be members of society. It’s kind of like the difference between a person who “is” free (to do something) and who “ought to be” free (to do something).

    Now, as to moral example: I think that that already is almost universally the case. Very few of those on this list believe it OK for a small child to play with a firearm unsupervised, or that a teenager should commit suicide, or that firearms be stolen. Far from it!

    Consider, for example, the theft of firearms. In only rare cases are they stolen from an unsecured location. Usually there is some form of breaking into a secure place (e.g., a house or car) that occurs. Many gun owners also provide additional security — safes and locking devices — to reduce the likelihood of theft of guns not staged for or in use. Not only that, gun owners tend to *strongly* denounce the thief, and even want the thief punished! Yet, until there are no longer any thieves, some guns will be stolen at times.

    So, in the example of firearms theft, I believe that most gun owners in general already have the moral high ground and are leading by example. The moral low ground lies with those who would punish the innocent and the victims (gun owners) — often even on the presumption of a crime. This is akin to moral low ground that argues a teenage girl should be banned from wearing a miniskirt because it might allow someone to rape her.

    The problem, as I see it, is mainly that the anti-gun people appeal to emotions in order to pretend to have the moral high ground, rather than allow a thoughtful, reflective, and logical discussion to occur.

    Anyway, thanks again for the post.

    • We’re not holding the moral high ground if our five year olds are finding our guns and shooting our three year olds. We’re not holding the moral high ground if our teenagers are finding our guns and shooting themselves or their schoolmates with them.
      We’re not holding the moral high ground if our guns are taken from our nightstands and glove compartments and end up pointed at convenience store clerks.
      And we not holding the moral high ground is we, the owners of the nation’s firearms, have nothing to suggest to a nation distraught by violence committed with guns.

      • We’re not holding the moral high ground if…

        Wait: so we are morally responsible for the crimes of others? How does that work?

        Sorry, I refuse to accept that premise. And other than due diligence, what do you suggest for law-abiding gun owners to do?

        Related question: do you have any statistics regarding theft of lawfully owned firearms? How often they are being stolen? How often they are then used in crimes? What is the scope/context of this concern of yours?

        • Basically, Dan wants the firearms community to be the first group of perfect people in history. Nothing less will do.

  29. Well it seems freewill is very subjective to some of the commenters. Telling some one what firearms they can own and how those firearms must be carried is a violation of the Second Amendment. Telling some who they can marry based on your religious beliefs, and definition of sin, is a violation of the First Amendment. Abortion is legal so suck it up buttercup. Don’t get pissed about someone interfering with your decisions when you are interfering in someone else’s decisions.

    The Constitution is the rule of law. There is a process to make changes if so desired. If we do not draw a line in the sand we will lose those rights little by little. Part of respecting those rights and demanding the gov’t respect them is supporting the rights of others we may disagree with. All or nothing folks. No picking and choosing.

    I alone am responsible for the decisions I make. No one else. I am not responsible for the decisions anyone else makes. You live YOUR life and I will live MY life.

    • Yeah, well, when your gun gets stolen, or carried to school by your teenager, it becomes my problem. Now, you may have your act totally together — guns secured, kids trained. But not all of us do, that’s for sure. And it seems wack to me that we, who own the guns and understand them, have nothing to offer a country distraught about school shootings and other violence accept open carry, arming teachers, and a lot of angry name calling. Is that really the best we can do? If so, prepare to be fighting this useless battle forever.

      • This “useless battle” will be fought right up until this Great Democratic Experiment collapses. Don’t delude yourself. It is inevitable all empires fall. There is no winning in the political arena, where money rules. Guns don’t seem to matter to a lot of the population. They just don’t see the 2A as equal among the others in the Bill of Rights. Attack voting, speech, religion or monitoring communications and people will yell loundly. Guns don’t elicit the same response among non gun owners.

  30. Most of the flaws in this thinking have been pointed out but I want to point out another. I guarantee that if you own firearms, even ones you can’t get to quickly enough to be useful, they are not absolutely secure no matter how much you pretend otherwise. I have seen guns secured in ways that would amaze most people that were still stolen and in a short amount of time. These guns were then sold to other criminals but I am to believe the original owner of these guns is to be blamed for letting something happen? No.

    • Of course, nothing is “absolutely” secure. But there’s a big difference between a loaded gun in a nightstand and a loaded gun in a quick-open safe. And if your security situation warrants it, keep the gun on your hip until you go to bed. A determined burglar with plenty of time and tools will get anything. A child, or a smash-and-grab thief will be foiled by a safe, even a cheap one. Something is better than nothing.

  31. It’s true that accidental gun deaths are a very low percentage of all fatal accidents, and it’s true that pro-gun groups teach about gun safety and, on sites like this for example, gun owners who behave recklessly are called out. I can quibble with a lot of the “trees” in Dan’s argument, but I still think the “forest” – the larger point – is important.

    I think it’s a mistake and hurts “our” side – that is, gun-rights – by constantly slamming people who disagree with us as “liberals”. There are a lot of people who consider themselves liberals, some are already pro-gun, many aren’t but could be won over. Slamming them for their differing beliefs on subjects outside gun-rights isn’t going to do it, no matter how good our arguments are.

    Accidental shootings are a problem, because if “educated” and otherwise responsible gun owners (think, the Idaho mom shot by her child in Walmart — she had a degree in Chemical engineering) can be dangerous in public with their guns, then anyone can. People may be smart, but every single human being is also occasionally foolish or forgetful. It’s human nature.

    Dismissing gun accidents by statistics isn’t going to win over anyone who isn’t already on our side. Pointing out the correctable mistakes those people made and publicly pushing for wider education on safe gun handling can.

    I don’t agree with everything Dan said here, but I think there’s an important point. In reality the 2nd Amendment only protects our gun-rights as far as police, politicians and judges feel it should. A slight change in the Supreme Court membership and the Heller decision could easily be reversed.

  32. Dan, I read your book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Also, commenters, get a grip. Strangely the mere suggestion of “personal responsibility” in an op-ed can get your knickers in a twist.

    • Strangely the mere suggestion of “personal responsibility” in an op-ed can get your knickers in a twist.

      Nice straw man you’ve got there. Would be a shame if something happened to it…

    • I can’t tell how many times I’ve dealt with anti’s trying to use claims about supporting ‘personal responsibility’ to justify their restrictions.

      It’s just the same old turds in a shiny box.

      • So you’re suggesting that there is nothing that we, who own the privately circulating guns in the United States, can do to make the country safer from accidents, suicides, and crime committed with guns? Nothing at all? You’re happy to let Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg make all the suggestions?

        • Geez, will you get over yourself and this ridiculous notion that a law abiding gun owner is somehow responsible for what someone else does with a firearm?

          Just because you keep repeating this belief does not make it a truth.

          If someone stole my car tonight, even if I left the keys in and the doors unlocked, I am not responsible for them hitting someone with it or driving drunk.

          Your moral outrage is misplaced. Blame for a crime with a gun should be placed on the criminal, just like one would presumably place the blame on the criminal for a crime committed without a gun.

          Blame for a suicide is rightfully placed on the person that committed it, no matter the tool used to get there.

          Where you might almost have a point is with accidents, but look…you have two examples that you keep bringing up like this is some kind of epidemic. Those were tragic and perhaps blame lies with those particular gun owners.

          But get a grip. With a hundred million gun owners in the country and you keep harping on a cherry picked minuscule fraction-of-a-percent data set to condemn the entire superset of gun owners destroys your “right” to be taken seriously.

          The constant in your stream of bile (the article and the comments you’ve made) is consistent displacement of responsibility from those individuals (criminals, suicides, those that are negligent) onto the entire group of “gun owners.”

        • We are already doing more than enough to ‘make guns safer’. Accidents are statistical so few in this nation that they’re not even worth mentioned. And trying to say you’re going to prevent suicides by baring people from guns is a laughable piece of fiction that only a leftist could believe. The rest are murders, often involving gang on gang violence. What piece of ‘common sense’ legislation is going to fix that? Or more to the point how are you going to make legislation that’s going to do that while respecting the RIGHTS of people? Oh wait, you don’t seen to care about rights.

          I URGE the management of this site to toss this idiot out on his EAR. He is no friend to gun rights or the liberties that this site is all about.

      • Please keep assuming.

        I’m a gun owner, in fact I own quite a few guns, including an AR that I assembled myself. I’m also a liberal that stands for 2A, but one thing I don’t stand for are assinine assumptions.

        Who said anything about restrictions? Neither I nor did Dan.

        Did you guys even read his op ed? He said we need to take a moral charge to change the perception of how gun guys are perceived. Which means being responsible.

        The gun community does itself a great disservice when it parades around OC’ing like there’s no tomorrow. Non-gun folks are not going to go “wow look at those guys standing up for freedom!” They’re going to think “wow, look at those nuts and ammosexuals!” There are rights, but there’s also PR.

        It also does itself a great disservice when yahoos don’t lock up their guns and you have stories that come out weekly about 2 year olds finding Daddy’s gun and accidentally shooting themselves. Non-gun folks are going to look at that story and come off thinking 1) This is a tragedy, and 2) look at all those dumb-a$$ gun owners.

        Is the media biased for focusing like a microscope on these accidents? Yes indeed it is biased. But life isn’t fair. You must deal with the media that you have, so get used to them blowing things out of proportion. One of those ways to prevent the media for exploiting tragedies like the above mentioned is perhaps by LOCKING UP YOUR GUNS IN A SAFE.

        So please, be a responsible gun owner — lock up your guns, be a moral representative of the gun community — and perhaps take it as good advice when someone suggests that. It’s good tactics.

        • Hey, I may be an ammosexual but stop commenting about my nuts. And stop staring at them, my eyes are up here!

        • The gun community does itself a great disservice when it parades around OC’ing like there’s no tomorrow.

          The entire, 100-million-strong gun community is doing this? And even if it were: so what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with open carry, and fear of an openly carried firearm is utterly irrational.

          Non-gun folks are not going to go “wow look at those guys standing up for freedom!” They’re going to think “wow, look at those nuts and ammosexuals!”

          So, who are the real problem here: the law-abiding people conducting their personal business lawfully, or the people who denigrate them using Alinsky tactics such as calling them ammosexuals?

          It also does itself a great disservice when yahoos don’t lock up their guns and you have stories that come out weekly about 2 year olds finding Daddy’s gun and accidentally shooting themselves.

          Once a week? That would be 50 a year – out of 100,000,000 gun owners. You can’t fix stupid, and in a free society, you have to accept that people can and will be stupid. You deal with them when they do so, to the detriment of others. And in case you haven’t noticed: the gun community is quite vocal about such incidents when they happen.

          So please, be a responsible gun owner — lock up your guns, be a moral representative of the gun community — and perhaps take it as good advice when someone suggests that. It’s good tactics.

          100 million of us already do all those things. Now what, boss?

  33. First and foremost, I commend you Dan Baum for asking this question!

    Now for a statement from your article …
    “The Heller and McDonald decisions firmly established the Constitution confers an individual right to own guns, and yet we’re still no closer to being secure in our gun rights because a great number of Americans simply don’t buy it.”

    I agree completely that all branches of government have failed us and are likely to continue to fail us.

    I do not agree that our rights are in jeopardy because a great number of Americans are not on board. I believe that a great number of Americans are on board.

    The problem is simple:
    (1) The ruling class wants us disarmed.
    (2) Enforcers are loyal to money rather than the U.S Constitution.
    (3) Enforcers virtually never suffer any consequences for disarming us.
    (4) The ruling class NEVER suffers any consequences for disarming us.

    Nothing will ever change (1) or (2) above. Our Founders knew this. And they knew that our nation would devolve to the place that it is now unless We the People could use force of arms to secure our rights. That is why they wrote the Second Amendment.

    Unarmed people can only ask timidly for their rights. Armed people can demand their rights. But the ruling class cannot exploit people who stand up for their rights. That is why the ruling class will always want us disarmed and never relent.

    I am deeply saddened to say that, until the enforcers and ruling class suffer serious consequences for attacking our humanity, nothing will change.

  34. Great article and I love the analogies that have been drawn. One of the very few authors to step out from behind the shield of our “constitutional rights” and look at what needs to be done to change the attitude towards gun ownership in the US.

    In response to the question, how do can gun owners lead by moral example, I think we as gun owners can also stop depending on the 2nd amendment-not that I believe it should ever be taken away. Stop being the man/woman who revels when they see the anti-gunner snear at your firearm, and buy him a drink. Be the model leader in your community and just let the firearm be a small part of who people see, not the leading aspect of your personality.

  35. To RF and DanBaum:

    Please continue periodically posting things like this. I don’t agree with many of Dan’s points, but there are others I do agree with. Ultimately, I think he came to a partially correct conclusion for the some of the wrong reasons. I do however like to read opposing views, or similar views from a different angle. For the open minded, debate is a good thing, it’s like working back a math problem to make sure you got the right answer.

    Thank you for writing the article and posting it. Don’t get discouraged by the people who can’t disagree without getting upset at other’s views.

  36. Thank you Mr. Baum. It’s unfortunate that most of the readers on this site will disagree with you because this is exactly the discussion we should be having.

  37. Let’s look at this article.

    First we lack rights, explicit rights, only through exercise will we maintain our rights. Legal means will not protect these rights in the long term. The majority (true democracy) will rule, the current system (a constitutional republic) will not protect minorities. That the judicial system is an ineffective tool to gain a foothold in traditionally anti-gun areas. Haven’t the two minority groups that he specifically mentioned made effective use of the judicial system when the majority was against them?

    From what I can see, Mr. Baum, argues that all firearms related deaths can be directly linked to the owner/purchaser of a firearm failing in their duty. He never spells out what the failure is or what duty we have, only that it is our fault when anyone is killed in an incident involving a firearm. What is our duty? Why is every death totally the fault of the gun owning community at large? Next he appeals to us to not decry our opposition but to police ourselves. I have found the community of armed citizens to be very harsh to downright vicious to those who make mistakes and have poor judgement within the community. Finally he returns to his opening points about exercising our rights and how the majority will rule.

    How can we lead by Moral Example?
    Simply put, by doing what we have been doing all along. Educating, advocating, and dispelling hoplophobia where we can. We have no sacred “duty”, only run of the mill responsibility. We are not a small, homogeneous minority. We are a large, diverse majority. We are more critical of members of our community that make mistakes than we are of those who wish to take our rights. We are not above or below everyone else, we are normal people, who believe in a right to self defense.

  38. People role their eyes at someone who says “I’m a liberal who likes guns” not because it’s impossible to be a liberal that likes guns, but because a liberal will more than likely support those who oppose the second amendment, saying “Well, maybe just one more restriction wouldn’t hurt anyone”.

    • I started writing something sarcastic, but this is too important to dismiss. The idea that “it’s impossible to be a liberal that likes guns” is not only patently false, but it’s really dangerous to the gun-rights cause. I know a lot of people like me, who support abortion rights, strong unions, tough environmental and financial-industry regulations, international treaties over unilateral military action, inclusive immigration, single-payer health care — liberals, for want of a better word — and who also believe strongly in the value of an armed citizenry. It isn’t contradictory at all, as we see it. If you disparage such people — if you deny they exist — you drive away a lot of potential allies.

      • Dan Baum says:
        January 28, 2015 at 13:38
        “I started writing something sarcastic, but this is too important to dismiss. The idea that “it’s impossible to be a liberal that likes guns” is not only patently false, but it’s really dangerous to the gun-rights cause. I know a lot of people like me, who support abortion rights, strong unions, tough environmental and financial-industry regulations, international treaties over unilateral military action, inclusive immigration, single-payer health care — liberals, for want of a better word — and who also believe strongly in the value of an armed citizenry. It isn’t contradictory at all, as we see it. If you disparage such people — if you deny they exist — you drive away a lot of potential allies.”

        Hey Dan…It’s not impossible to be a liberal who “likes guns”… It’s just highly unlikely.

        Liberal Democrats come down 14% to 81% in favor of gun control over the right to own guns.
        Here it is right from their own, very progressive, Pew Research Center:
        http://www.people-press.org/2014/12/10/growing-public-support-for-gun-rights/12-10-2014-2-24-00-pm/
        The fact that you know a few in that tiny 14% minority leaves me unimpressed.

        The 2nd Amendment isn’t about ‘liking guns’.
        It’s about the ability to resist to state tyranny.
        Liberals like state tyranny as long as it’s in a cause they support….A “good” cause
        Gun ‘hobbyists’ are at best, accidental allies for their own convenience, not for belief in any principle.

        BTW Dan, I live in a very liberal New England small town and I know lots of liberals & progressives.
        I’ve never heard one speak in favor of the 2nd Amendment – Ever!
        However, I have seen many have their hair catch fire when they spoke about the NRA, or Wayne LaPierre.

        The idea the you know many gun lovin’ liberals sounds like utter rhetorical nonsense to me.
        Must be a totally different kind of liberal than we grow up here.
        Though strangely, the liberals I know would tick off all the other boxes for the same issues that you mention in your post.

        You’re living in the land of unicorns and rainbows if you believe there are some special words or actions
        that gun owners can say or do that will ever persuade Bloomberg, Gates’ and their progressive rump swabs & fellow travelers from their anti-gun crusade.

        The ruling class and the 1% prefer that the peasants be limited to dull scythes and perhaps a pointy stick
        I can understand that .
        Why is this so hard for you to grasp?

        • Here it is right from their own, very progressive, Pew Research Center:

          We need to start a Pew Pew Pew Research Center.

      • “I know a lot of people like me, who support abortion rights, strong unions, tough environmental and financial-industry regulations, international treaties over unilateral military action, inclusive immigration, single-payer health care — liberals, for want of a better word — and who also believe strongly in the value of an armed citizenry. It isn’t contradictory at all, as we see it. If you disparage such people — if you deny they exist — you drive away a lot of potential allies.”

        The problem is, support for every single one of the issues you support violates individuals’ constitutional rights, the same individuals’ rights government is sworn to protect.

        What is “inclusive immigration,” anyway? Do you realize how hard it is in Mexico to get a job as a foreigner? Do you have any idea how much resentment there is to “gringos” that have jobs in Mexico? Do you know how fast illegal immigrants are deported in Mexico? If we allow anybody into the country, yet provide your precious “free” health care, how long do you think the country will last, with even a semblance of the greatness it once had? Are you not aware how many doctors are retiring early, because of the headaches and reduced income associated with the “Affordable” Care Act? What’s the solution to that one, force more people to become doctors? No, you’ll probably offer “free” medical school to anybody who wants in, in exchange for two years of clinical residency in poor areas, as they do in Mexico. You know, Mexico, the place known for its outstanding health care.

        How do you come up with your policy positions? Enact whatever law makes you feel good? Have you even thought through your positions? Providing for some by coercing everybody is NOT MORAL, yet you “feel” it’s the right thing to do. How very special for you.

        I think, in the end, it takes a special kind of self-loathing to support abortion, gay marriage, unionized labor force, highly-regulated industry, etc., as it only leads to suffering, death, and destruction.

        God is patient, but our collective/national apostasy will not be without consequence. It just seems that some want to speed it along.

  39. While I knew reading this that you would get lambasted on some points, at least the article served as a thought provoking catalyst to further this discussion. As said above and mentioned by others previously a plethora of times, we can only hope to win over those who are still on the fence about the 2A, the diehards are just that, committed to the cause forever more.

    As far as the comparison to homosexuals, I have no religious beliefs to interfere with on this issue, if youre a moral,decent and contributing member of our society, thats good enough for me. Believe whatever you want to believe, if its Judeo-Christian beliefs, good for you, but accept that others do not believe those same things and dont have the same reservations. Remember: its freedom for all or freedom for none.

    While I am of the Constitutional Republic (law of the land) mindset as well, it sure seems that thinking is/has become the exception instead of the rule.

    “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” – Oscar Wilde

  40. Big +1 Chip. May I add my beautiful black wife (and her white husband ) are mighty offended with the continued comparison of black civil rights and voluntary homosexual behavior. As far as I know she can’t change her color but happy folk can refrain from having sex with other happy folk. I personally don’t care what they do and understand the gay agenda’s civil rights thing. And this post reminds me of the Dick Metcalf bruhaha. Let’s NOT talk limits…

    • Very good point and when I read Dan’s article, I thought the same thing. I don’t think he meant it as it sounded. If we put the moralistic and specific example issue aside (sorry Dan, you made a bad choice of words in a couple of places here), his point remains a good one on what we as gun owners need to do in changing how the culture views us.

      I just completed a course in Christian apologetics. There are huge lessons that course that can be applied on how we should go about defending gun ownership in circles that misunderstands and is dead set against it. Their key point is understanding the questioner (audience) and the question before answering the question.

      I also suggest that to answer Baum’s questions at the end, we look at the aviation industry. People can relate to that and there are many lessons we can learn about how to make gun ownership safer and help the population at large, view gun ownership and carry more favorably.

      • I believe he meant exactly as I wrote Jim Rice. I also believe the vast majority of Christian apologetics are worthless. The world is going to hell, Jesus is at the door and my country is about to collapse. Do our Muslim buddies apologize or defend their beliefs to ANYONE? We need to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and be responsible gun owners. the vast majority of legal gun owners(especially CC folks ) are doing the right thing. No need for a lecture…

  41. Hello Mr. Baum, I liked your book and I respect your viewpoint.

    I’ve tried leading by morale example. It may have helped, sort of, but it is hard to quantify how much it helps, and my intuition is that it probably doesn’t help a lot.

    I’m out of the closet with my family, friends, and at work. I don’t do or say anything irresponsible. I write letters to the editor and I go to pro-gun rallies and marches. If I knew anyone who was committing actual gun crimes I would turn him in, but the issue has never come up and I think it must be very rare for a middle class professional person.

    I never open-carry, because I think it turns off more fence-sitters than it turns on.

    I taught NRA courses for 10 years (ending 10 years ago). I taught at least one weekend a month, often more, and put more time and some of my own money into promoting the courses. I finally quit when I got tired of too many instructors chasing not enough students – I decided to let the new instructors have their turn. It was very frustrating to go to all the effort to put on a course and have no students show up.

    I take newbies to the range, even a journalist on one occasion. That seems to be helpful but it happens seldom. Most people I know either have guns already or aren’t interested.

    I don’t know what else to do. I was hoping you would propose concrete ideas instead of soliciting them.

    • Concrete proposals would be good, but clarifying the problems and correcting misinformation about them is important too. Not repeating such information is an even better first step. To that end:

      “When a child finds a loaded gun and kills herself or a playmate, it’s because a law-abiding gun owner let it happen.”

      Please provide your source for this. My experience, from reading such stories, is that very often (not always, but often) the owner was not ‘law-abiding” at all but in fact a criminal (gang member and/or drug dealer). Just yesterday in the town next to mine, a gun and drugs were recovered hidden in a child’s crib.

      “Most guns used in violent crime are stolen, usually from law-abiding people who leave them unsecured.”

      Please provide your source for this. According to the ATF’s own firearms trafficking investigations only 3.9% of trafficked firearms were stolen from residences.

      Based on that, “safe storage” laws criminalizing owners who fail to keep firearms locked up could have only a very minimal effect on guns in the hands of criminals. Dan’s statement suggests such a law could potentially remove a substantial portion of guns from getting into the hands of criminals.

      • I’m suggesting no such law. I oppose safe storage laws. Read this: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/1/dear-gun-control-advocates-gun-owners-are-your-allies.html
        Every gun that leaves the factory gets to the public through the legal purchase by a person who passes a background check. And then that law-abiding person loses control of the gun. Children and teenagers under 18 can’t buy guns, and nobody under 21 can legally buy a handgun. So even those “black market” guns started as firearms owned by law-abiding adults. And then what?
        Are you really suggesting there is nothing at all we, as keepers of the national civilian arsenal, can do to make America safer from guns? I don’t buy it. We own the guns! We decide!

        • “Every gun that leaves the factory gets to the public through the legal purchase by a person who passes a background check. And then that law-abiding person loses control of the gun. ”

          Again, please back up your assertion. According to that same ATF report:

          30.6% of trafficked guns came from straw purchasers. Not “law-abiding” persons. Also, 9.5% were stolen from FFLs or in transit to an FFL. So that’s over 40% of trafficked guns never went into the hands of a law-abiding purchaser.

          You want support from gun owners? Step 1: Stop blaming law-abiding gun owners for problems that aren’t our fault. You, like many people, have a set of assumptions about where guns used in crimes come from. I say back up your assertions with facts or have the intellectual openness to acknowledge your mistake.

          You’ve got some good ideas here but your post was peppered with a lot of misinformation. I suggest you’ll get better reception if you’re willing to look critically at your own ideas and clean up the parts that aren’t supported by facts.

        • “You want support from gun owners? Step 1: Stop blaming law-abiding gun owners for problems that aren’t our fault. You, like many people, have a set of assumptions about where guns used in crimes come from. I say back up your assertions with facts or have the intellectual openness to acknowledge your mistake. “

          +10,000. Well said.

      • I also have a big whomping gun safe, bolted to the floor, and hidden in a closet where most visitors never notice it.Plus a push-button lock-box for the two handguns that I keep loaded and ready to use. Whenever a gun is not within my arms’ reach it is in the safe or the lock-box, no exceptions. And I do advocate all of these things to the other gun owners that I know. I should have mentioned that all before. My point is that I’m already doing everything I’ve ever seen suggested that responsible gun owners should do. Maybe I should just do more of it. Or maybe I should write my own book 🙂

  42. Conduct yourself in a manner you would like to see in others. That means be courteous. Be kind. Respect the rights and opinions of others, even if they disagree. ESPECIALLY if they disagree. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

    • +1. We all get a bit carried away here, and its easy enough to take offense when someone writes something in a sarcastic fashion, or resorts to straw man arguments- maybe even unconsciously.

      So, resolve to maintain our cool- and apply civil debate, on the facts, in a dignified, but passionate manner based on a moral imperative. See Ben Shapiro at Truth Revolt. It works.

      2. We have to listen, really listen, to the other side. That doesnt mean agree, or compromise, or buy into any of the ideas they might propose….but to REALLY try to understand where they are coming from, put aside assumptions, and just listen, and take it away and think on it-

      to re-evaluate what and how WE say things. I think we 2A rights believers have done a good job, and the low hanging fruit has been harvested. Now, if we want to persuade more people in the middle, we are going to have to dig deeper, get smarter, talk smarter, work harder at it- and that starts with listening.

      We are already winning the rhetorical battle- great points, Chip, and others – to engage to make those points, you have to draw people in, and that happens by listening…

      BTW- Dan, welcome back, loved the book, and appreciate your courage in re-engaging here. Now, may I recommend you BE THE ROLE MODEL, and really listen. I hope you are paying attention to what some people are trying to tell you, because just like you seem to be in disbelief that some cant understand where you are coming from, many here are in disbelief that you cannot understand their truth, and facts. There is a gap there in the middle, and some of it is yours, brother. Just sayin’

      To my fellow TTAGers- new and old, I see Dan as an invaluable friend, as a guide to how some of the folks in the middle, who are not POTG and never will be, feel, and I mean emotional feelings on a visceral level about guns, that is not based on facts. He is definitely in touch with how Liberals feel.

      And its true- there are some of those folks we may never reach. There are some who are deliberately misleading on the facts and stoking those fears in a very deliberate way- propaganda, really, that borders on criminality when the force and funds of the US taxpayer are used to promote those lies, or abuse the tax subsidy of a non-profit organization, to get around having to pay taxes, and get credibility from that status. We know who they are, as we know the Journalistas, and some of the media organizations deliberately set up to mischaracterize the facts, and controversialize anyone who disagrees. But thats a side show, and nothing new in human history of politics and communications.

      So, we do have to reach everyone- just the open minded, starting to think about it people in the middle,
      and thats where we keep up the good fight, both pushing back against the agitprop, the liars, the two faced politicians and community organizers, the blood dancers who claim its for the children,to call their lies for what they are, and responding with facts, stats, etc- and sharing some of the credit with other gunsites- there are several that are doing a great job tallying up DGUs, and analyzing stats, or speaking to state local issues- lets give them a hand, share the wealth and eyeballs. (HINT***)

      But we also have to keep doing the real work, better, based on whats working, and whats not.
      Whats been working is what the NRA did before- promoting safety, responsible gun ownership. Whats not is that its stale, not social media cool and fun, accessible.

      So, that can be done better, marketed better, as many of the older NRA instructors here know. NRA has made some changes reaching out to a more diverse group, and whether thats entirely to their credit, or partly due to the higher attention given to crimes lately, thanks to the debate, we know that gun sales are up, especially for women. SAF is getting into the game- great. TTAG is pointing out some of the good defensive classes and concepts, to go beyond- even better, and look how much media and discussion came from the Charlie Hebdo sim… WIN! just to get people talking is a WIN!!! So stop nitpicking, and look for the positive- more, better, faster, please.

      Like …Some schools are actually quietly incorporating the suggestions of the NRA for school safety.
      Does anyone know the commission that looked into that and issued a report? Crickets….

      I didn’t think so- nothing in the StateRunMedia, then either, but its still highly useful, and we POTG could be bringing that up, and pointing out what DOES work, and has in school shootings where a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun, and patiently reporting on successes, now, and reminding of the historical examples- those are FACTS to help address the fear, when someone is ready to listen….

      as RF has done from time to time reminding what happens to an unarmed population, and as increasing numbers of Moms, bloggers and individuals are admitting they are doing- lets give them a hand, and spread the word— MDA with a couple dozen fake volunteers nationwide- thats all Bloomberg can muster?

      We can and have been beating them with facts- so lets do more.

      Who? How? (HINT***) Any one read Army of Davids, by Glenn Reynolds? Thats working…

      Can we get more members of the POTG to help spread that good word, the facts? Yes, I think so, but we are going to have to work at it, in a strategic manner, patiently, one-by-one converted to understanding. And that means doing things differently less arguing amongst ourselves, to promote what works, rather than hanging back saying …that will never work.

      Dan is a member of the POTG, remember? His book was written to explain to his Liberal Friends, why he wasnt a gun nut, personally just because he has an interest in collecting old guns and going plinking. He is trying to tell us how the other side FEELS, and some of his stubborn-ness in not understanding “our” side is feigned, as he knows we mean well, and will keep trying if we believe its worth it.

      What to do- its many things. You have to use all the tools in the tool box, and well. Litigation IS working, when its strategic, wisely set up, well funded and built brick by brick. Keep contributing to SAF and NRA, even while you are chastising Gottlieb for his fashion faux pas, and horrible boo-boo on Manchin Toomey, and La Pierre for his bombast- they are educateable, and I would point out they listened.

      Education is a key- why do you suppose you have progtards trying to legislate that kids cant go to gun-ranges, or principals should kick kids out for doodling a gun in their text book margin, or shaping a cookie that way? They know full well, how hearts and minds are won, and they know that shooting guns is a lot of fun, for everyone, if you get them to the range or some other way- paintball, lazertag, video games are entry level.

      A little more focus on what we all share, and agree upon, rather than nitpick on what we disagree upon. Wash rinse and repeat enough times and its the progtards and journolistas that look more and more disreputable, mean, and dishonest, by comparison.

      All of this is already working, if you look at the ratings on what the public wants- less gun rights restrictions, and loss of trust in politicians, and the media… Why do you suppose they are getting so hysterical, and doubling down on the bitter naming and shaming, and invoking desperate executive action, and hidden media campaigns coordinated across the nation, with big money to slide under the radar on dishonest “citizen groups buying petitions for propositions on the ballot (I594)”.

      Its because they know they are losing! Yes, we will never convince the idealogues and charlatans on the far left- but we dont have to- so dont fall into the trap of responding to the strawman arguments, false choices, and moral equivalence fallacies that are so common that its become their form of reasonable common sense.
      Even Dan is subject to it- you live in that world long enough, and you believe some of the things that have come out of post-modernism, and Progressivism v2.0. “Ends justifies the means”, “Freeze, Polarize, Demonize”, and that the Elite is morally obliged to rule over the little people.

      Dan, with your constant evocation of Civil Rights, how can you forget Margaret Sanger, the idol of Planned Parenthood, and her racial eugenics past? How can you cite MLK without recognizing that gun rights are a civil right, and just as all men are created equal in the eyes of g-d, so are they naturally given the right to defend themselves. Read your history, Dan. Very few of the Jews in pre WW2 Europe could believe that their neighbors would not back them- they were all very civilized. If you cant understand the emotion behind that, then visit the Holocaust museum in DC. “Never Again” is not just a slogan for some folks.

      So, what to do- I like that book- the first step- “Seek First to Understand” by listening.
      I’m listening to Dan. I think he is wrong on a lot of things, but he is an indispensable guide to how many Liberals think-

      3. Keep working step by step on winning our rights- its taken 30 years to get to what, 40+ states with CCW- who would have thought it back then. If you haven’t read “The Rise of the Antimedia” the history of that state by state campaign, by guys like Dean Weingarten, and many more- *** hint*** you need to – and its also got a very handy of the history of the NRA- a lot I promise you wont know or believe, based on what you read about the NRA in the StateRunMedia.

      3. Be the example- I dont want anyone telling me what safe to buy, what number of bullets, or what kind of stock I can use- thats just stupid- but we can simply dodge that, and keep doing what works, and talk more about it- gun safety rules, being a good role model, helping new gun owners learn what works- in a positive way, not as push back to someones stupid snarky article in Raw Story…
      but in the quiet way, like the former NRA instructor said- its not perfect but it works, one convert at a time…
      How hard would it be to put together a simple media kit, a tool box like what other community organizers hand out, to local chapters? Look what Pink Pistols is doing. Heck, copy MDA- and dont forget- who is paying Journolistas to come to seminars and be comped to learn how to preach anti-gun propaganda?

      The time has never been more ripe. Because right now, the anti’s are actually doing part of our work for us- raising the alarm, and we POTG arent the only ones who disbelieve whats coming out of their mouth, and looking for information on the other way… more people than ever are buying their first gun, and going thru the learning curve we all do, realizing its much more than what gun, what caliber (which I will point out a short cut- G23, 40S&W, the debate is over).

      We have much better things to do, finding new ways to reach them, and help them tell their stories of success, than get in nit-noid OCD circular firing squads amongst ourselves, when its a target rich environment out there, in moderate citizen land,

      not just the ones who have started to look into self-defense, but their neighbors, the PTA mommies, the Chamber of Commerce volunteers, the Rotary, any group who wants to do good deeds, who are looking for some advice, and willing to spread theTruth About Guns.

      Leverage. Spread the word. Learn to Engage in debate, even the craziest ones.
      Listen, seek first to understand.

      Be open minded. Try to understand how they feel, before you beat them over the head with facts. Any guys married here? You know the guy thing- when your wife wants to talk about a problem…you charge up the man thing and start organizing a solution? When she really just wanted someone to kvetch to, and listen…?

      Have you ever dealt with someone who was really unhappy, a pi$$ed off customer, a stranger on the bus?
      What happens when you just listen, dont argue…just listen, yeah, uh huh, man that sucks, then what happened, man I know how you feel, etc etc etc….what happens? About 90% of the energy goes out because they just needed someone to listen. Because Anger comes from Fear. Just listen…then, when they turn to you and say, what do you think I should do…is when you can start, at the beginning, and give them some facts, and an easy way to start to learn more…

      Maybe tell the to get Dans Book, on kindle- one liberal to another? Its actually kind of humorous.
      Hey, you are gonna owe me marketing fees on that one, Dan.

      Ok, rant off. G’nite.

  43. How can gun owners hold the Moral high ground?
    Simply put, keep doing what we are doing. Educate, advocate, deregulate, and dispel hoplophobia where we can. Remember that we don’t have a sacred “duty” but run of the mill responsibility. Remember that we are not a homogeneous, minority but a diverse, majority. Gun owners are not above or below anyone else, and I have never seen them act that way. We are just everyday people, who believe in and support the human right of self defense.

  44. millions of us gun owners take and care for “responsibility” every day, every hour, all our adult lives. Only a microscopic percentage fails in that duty.

    But even our allies write long articles where they believe we are somehow “turning a blind eye” to responsibility and behavior, when the solid truth is, only a microscopic minority are failing in this duty.

    NO civil rights issue has demanded such absolute perfection of behavior among all it’s members in all of American history. Humanity has NEVER had a cause with nothing but universal virtuous membership.

    But articles like this, seem to believe that those tiny few failures are the whole color of the cloth-I expect that from our opponents who latch onto any excuse to advance an agenda.

    If our own advocates fail to see the truth, then it shows we’re either choosing the wrong advocates, or no amount of responsibility will be “enough” and we shall fail in our goal, silent and well-behaved to the end.

  45. I agree that “tyranny of the majority” can happen (like, say, that ballot initiative in WA).

    I think the problem is we are so focused on playing defense against the extreme anti-gun people whose objective is to ban guns (any safety talk is a means to that end). This defensive posture is necessary given they are relentless.

    Can we afford to reallocate more resources promoting the positives of gun ownership (safety, fun, patriotism, self-defense…) that would appeal to the middle majority? The more ground we win back, the more I think we can.

  46. Hey Dan, I think you should be lecturing the gang-bangers. That’s where most of the antis’ statistics emanate from.

    • No, not our fault. Our opportunity. The country is understandably distraught when someone does something hideous with a gun. We, who own guns and understand them, have so far offered nothing — no suggestions for keeping the country safer from violence committed with guns. Is arming teachers really all we have? Do we really have to let Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg come up with all the suggestions? There’s really nothing that we, who own the guns, can do to see to they don’t get into the wrong hands?
      People, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, the problem with “gun control” is that it only tinkers with what happens in gun stores in the future. It does nothing about the 300 million guns (estimated) already in circulation. We own those guns. And we have no suggestions at all for how to keep those guns from being used in accidents, suicides, and crime? We have nothing? Really?

      • We, who own guns and understand them, have so far offered nothing — no suggestions for keeping the country safer from violence committed with guns. Is arming teachers really all we have?

        Why does there need to be more, in response to (the insanely overblown risk of) school spree shootings? Eliminating Gun Free Zones, and allowing teachers to arm themselves, would all but completely eliminate school spree shootings. Eliminating Gun Free Zones would all but eliminate spree shootings, period – especially in areas where everyday carry is normal and widespread.

        Do we really have to let Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg come up with all the suggestions? There’s really nothing that we, who own the guns, can do to see to they don’t get into the wrong hands?

        First, Watts and Bloomberg haven’t come up with any ideas to solve anything – other than what they consider to be the “problem” of civilian armament.

        Second: no, there’s nothing we can do effectively to keep guns out of the wrong hands. The solution must come from the state: lock up violent criminals, and keep them locked up. You can’t keep potential weapons away from them; all you can do is keep them away from potential weapons (and victims).

        Otherwise: the price of liberty is that life is full of danger. The state can take away liberty, but it cannot ensure freedom from the inherent dangers of life.

        We own those guns. And we have no suggestions at all for how to keep those guns from being used in accidents, suicides, and crime? We have nothing? Really?

        Accidents are simply not a problem. You’d be better off spending your time and effort on making swimming pools and household chemicals safer for children.

        To reduce the number of guns used in suicides, reduce the number of suicidal people. Identify them. Get them the help they need. Guns are simply a tool.

        To reduce the number of guns used in crime, reduce the number of criminals. Convict them, and keep them behind bars. Stop letting them out to repeat their crimes ad nauseum.

        We don’t have a gun problem; we have criminal and mental health issues. Nothing you do regarding guns will do anything to solve either of those problems.

  47. Please tell me what enumerated rights gay people were denied under law. Please don’t cite marriage as an example. There categories of straight people who are denied that right as well. What gay people were denied was equal social status in fundamentally different way than black people were. Let’s go through the Bill of Rights. Were there laws against gays speaking freeling or publishing? Were they denied the right to practice or not practice a religion? How about freedom of assembly? Were they prohibted from owning guns. Could you quarter troops in their homes. No warrant needed? Denied jury trials? How about being to forced to incriminate themselves?

  48. First of all, we are a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy.

    Secondly, the so-called “majority” cannot under any circumstance take any rights from any so-called “minority” without due process of law, and that exclusively means having already committed and been convicted of a crime worthy of prison time. Our Constitution was written specifically to prevent 50+1 mob rule. Just because discrimination was was “legal” for so long doesn’t necessarily make it legal or right, either, and it certainly wasn’t socially acceptable to most even then.

    The white south had to be beaten into submission to end the barbaric practice of chattel slavery, and it took nothing less than force of arms to protect blacks and what little they had left after the Reconstruction government abandoned them. Even the civil rights movement was chock full of people with guns — mostly WW2 and Korean War veterans no less — who provided vital physical protection to the key figures and organizations that made the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the 1960s even possible in the first place. So, that is about the poorest example so you could have possibly used. Both being and demonstrating that we are good people is simply not enough. It never was and it never will be. White folks and minorities had to band together and literally fight for equal rights for all men (and women!). We need to be able to show that we are still, more than 50 years later, more than ready to do the same. Hence the open-carry demonstrations attended nationwide by citizens of all creeds and colors (but mostly white folks ’cause demographics).

    This Nonviolent Stuff Will Get You Killed: How Guns Made The Civil Rights Movement Possible. Charles E. Cobb, Jr.; Basic Books 2013. ISBN: 978-0465033102

    We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. Akinyele Omowale Umoja; NYU Press 2014. ISBN: 978-1479886036

    Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms. Nicholas Johnson; Prometheus Books 2014. ISBN: 978-1616148393

    We have been demonstrating that we are good and decent and moral people for the last two centuries and some change. It’s the more hard-core gun-grabbers, most of whom do happen to be neo-liberals thank-you-very-much, who either staunchly refuse to see it or lie to everyone else and say that we aren’t. Those are the people who cannot and will not be won over, so they actually need to be maligned and ostracized as opposition to civil rights. That’s exactly what they are anyhow. We need to strip off the thin veneer of false “concern” and “reasonableness” so everyone can see their true colors.

    If the gun-grabbers win, we lose our rights. To frame it as anything else other than a “we win, you lose” scenario is socially and politically suicidal as well as fatally naive. While we are indeed truly anguished over every shooting, accident, and murder, gun-grabbers use the corpses produced as a result as a soap box to preach about their patronizing, condescending, classist, sexist, and racist agenda. They even have the audacity to have the victims of their anti-gun policies as well as race-hustling minstrels flanking them on both sides while they sign away our rights on national television.

    It is despicable behavior. They do it because quite frankly they are just despicable people.

    How do we do this, you ask? Calm, rational, and factual education. So long as we keep our cool, goad the gun-grabbers into a tizzy (which isn’t terribly hard), and not allow them to frame the argument in their terms, we will eventually sway enough of the fence-sitters (who are the real prize here) that it won’t matter what they say, think, or do. That is something that we are already quite good at, getting even better at all the time, and best of all it’s slowly working.

    • You write: “Secondly, the so-called “majority” cannot under any circumstance take any rights from any so-called “minority” without due process of law, and that exclusively means having already committed and been convicted of a crime worthy of prison time.”
      This was done routinely to black people for a century. And I believe that many on this site would argue that it’s being done to us, now. The majority is taking away our rights in violation of the Constitution. So my question is, what do we do about it? You say the strategy of name calling and piecemeal political fights and expensive court cases is working. I don’t think so. I think we are sentencing our grandchildren to fighting this fight, with none of us ever particularly secure in our right to keep and bear arms. I’m suggesting there’s a better way, and am eager to hear from gun owners what that better way might be.

      • You write: “Secondly, the so-called “majority” cannot under any circumstance take any rights from any so-called “minority” without due process of law, and that exclusively means having already committed and been convicted of a crime worthy of prison time.

        This was done routinely to black people for a century. And I believe that many on this site would argue that it’s being done to us, now. The majority is taking away our rights in violation of the Constitution.”

        And as I said before, we fought a long and very bloody war to liberate those people from their chains. Decades upon decades of marching later, some of those marches turning violent, we continue to force the so-called “majority” (which was actually always a minority — just like gun control advocates are) to recognize that the Bill of Rights applies to everyone. If you want to see the real source of the continuing dysfunction of minorities in this country, I seriously suggest you read this.

        The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Michelle Alexander; The New Press, 2012. ISBN: 978-1595586438

        Educate thyself. Knowledge is power, and it is first and foremost your best weapon against ignorance.

        “You say the strategy of name calling and piecemeal political fights and expensive court cases is working. I don’t think so. I think we are sentencing our grandchildren to fighting this fight, with none of us ever particularly secure in our right to keep and bear arms. I’m suggesting there’s a better way, and am eager to hear from gun owners what that better way might be.”

        Who said anything about name-calling except for you? Who here even called anyone any names but you? And if you’re going to reference my “despicable people” comment, don’t bother. I am simply pointing out the facts: those that aim to unjustly take away the rights of others are despicable people, no matter how “well-intentioned” or misguided they may be.

        With support for gun control falling, particularly among demographics that before had always “majorily” supported it to boot, our collectively suggested tactic of calm and factual education — alongside our “piecemeal” political and legal victories — seems to be working just fine. After all, it was exactly those tactics that eventually destroyed Jim Crow, albeit with the help of armed citizens doing everything they could to protect key Civil Rights Movement groups and figures.

        Oh, and stop blaming us for shit that we’re not in any way responsible for and have absolutely no hand in whatsoever. Don’t even bother arguing that point with me, either, because you, me and the fence post all know you’ve already lost there. That is what you are doing.

        It’s not our fault that guns get stolen.
        That’s the criminal’s fault.

        It’s our fault that those stolen guns are then used in crimes.
        That’s the criminal’s fault.

        It’s not our fault that a suicidal teen dies by their own hand.
        Focus instead on coaching the people around them to spot the warning signs, and separate the suicidal thoughts from the suicidal person instead.

        It’s not our fault that someone else’s kid shoots their playmate.
        Nothing justifies curtailing the rights of the whole people because of the rank stupidity of a few. If you see it that way, you are not any better than any gun-grabber because you think exactly like them and are therefore wrong by default.

        You’re purposefully blaming the wrong goddamn people. Period. There’s not even any debating that whatsoever. That’s what gun-grabbers always consistently do. Are you seriously suggesting that they’re right? I hope not, because if that’s the case you’ve just entered a whole new category of wrong.

      • P.S.: “I think we are sentencing our grandchildren to fighting this fight, with none of us ever particularly secure in our right to keep and bear arms.”

        “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” — John Philpot Curran.

        Now, let that sink for a moment. That basically means that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, a quote and variations thereof that are often erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson. Our rights are, and have always been, under direct and constant attack by those that think they know better than we do. By blaming us you are playing straight into their hands.

        Stop it.

  49. Yes, there are Constitutionally protected rights. Is this an attempt to provoke comments?

    We have a Constitutional Republic, which is supposed to defend against the tyranny of majority. That’s why we have Constitutionally protected individual rights. The Constitution limits government, not citizens. This must be realized by those that don’t get this. The government is trying to take something away from you because it thinks it knows best. Keep driving that point home.

    Blacks and gays had to demonstrate to the majority they were moral to be deserving of rights? I think it had to do more with the members of these groups were/are American citizens that have protected rights.

    As a country there are 100+ million firearms owners and 300+ million firearms, we are not “fatally sloppy”. 30,000 deaths involving firearms of which 10,000 are murders. 40,000 to 2.5 million instances where firearms helped to prevent or divert crime. That’s still 100+ million firearm owners with 300+ million firearms that harmed no one yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    The fact there are this many firearms in that many private hands illustrates American’s aversion to harm others. Your “morals” discussion is moot.

    Let’s not forget since 1993 to present, all crime in the US has dropped by 40% or more. This is despite the sunset of the so called assault weapons ban, 60 million in US population growth, concealed carry in all 50 states, the increased number of firearms and firearms owners, etc. If anything, these factors should have increased all crimes and not just those involving firearms. And yet, that is not the case.

    What more do you want done to reduce deaths involving firearms? What law or public awareness do you want to implement? This is sounding exactly like “I support the 2nd Amendment, but…” Every death is tragic. How far are you willing to go to reduce these deaths to zero?

    You want to demonstrate what? How are you converting the fence sitters and those not firmly entrenched? What national campaign and events are you going to create and support to normalize and remove the stigma of firearms? What is the NRA and the other gun rights organizations doing other than advertisements in gun magazines and commercials in right leaning media? Not much outreach or spanning going on there. There is effort but its focus is narrow and is only preaching to the converted. This needs more reach outside of the customary channels. What specifically do you suggest?

    • I want no public laws. None. I want gun owners to behave in a way that is worthy of them. Stop leaving guns unsecured. Stop calling names. Stop parading guns into places where they’re unwanted. Stop being confrontational. Let’s us behave impeccably, and if they other side doesn’t, that will be their problem. This useless anger and name calling is getting us nowhere.
      The non-gun public is freaked out about school shootings and other violence committed with firearms. What do we, who own the guns and understand how they’re used, have to offer? Right now, very little. I’m arguing that we need to demonstrate that we are the solution, not the problem.
      We can’t control the antis’ behavior. We can only control our own.

      • I want no public laws. None.

        Good start. I’m with you there.

        I want gun owners to behave in a way that is worthy of them.

        We do – for all intents and purposes, all 100 million of us.

        Stop leaving guns unsecured.

        As the statistics that you seem to want to reject out-of-hand demonstrate: this is a non-issue.

        Stop calling names.

        I’m all for not lowering ourselves to the rhetoric and ad hominem of our ideological opponents; but that said: have you seen the rhetoric and ad hominem of our ideological opponents? The average gun grabber makes the worst of the firearms community sound like Shirley Temple.

        Stop parading guns into places where they’re unwanted.

        Here’s where the principle of freedom to exercise a natural right takes precedence over the “wants” of others. If I agreed to stop “parading” guns wherever Shannon Watts deems them “unwanted”, then I would not be able to leave my house at all.

        Stop being confrontational.

        Again: while true in principle, the other side is far, far more confrontational. If that message needs to be preached, it is to the bullies of MDA and others of their ilk.

        (You know the one? Headed by Shannon Watts, who recently tweeted in support of a law-abiding concealed carrier being assaulted by a nutcase, merely because he had a gun? As far as “confrontational” goes, I’m really not sure we can top that.)

        Let’s us behave impeccably, and if they other side doesn’t, that will be their problem. This useless anger and name calling is getting us nowhere.

        The firearms community, far and away, is the best-behaved, most law-abiding, friendly, peaceful demographic in the entire country. How much more impeccably must we behave?

        • Keep toddlers from finding guns and killing themselves or others; that would be a start. It happens about 40 times a year — about every other week — and it makes the papers every time.

        • As tragic as those occasions are, they are not even a blip compared to the number of households with firearms in them. Thank you so much for worrying about that .001 percent or less, at the cost of everyone. (sarc) Now if you could just convince, drivers, parents, etc….to be as diligent, the whole world could be happy, joyous, and free!

        • 40 times a year, out of 100,000,000 firearms owners. Where does that rank, in the list of child mortality?

          Why is every child who drowns in a swimming pool or bathtub not trumpeted in the media? We both know why: because one death serves an agenda, and the other doesn’t.

          What do you propose that we do about a media that we can’t control? What, short of completely eliminating all of those 40 deaths per year, can we possibly do to keep those with an agenda from politicizing such accidents? And what do you propose we do to effectively eliminate those 40 deaths?

          It is not the “sloppiness” of the firearms community that needs to be addressed when dealing with something that occurs 40 times a year out of 100,000,000. That is as close as you can feasibly get to zero. *We* can’t do anything to reduce that number meaningfully – unless we endorse a loss of freedom.

  50. This guy is a moron. Please stop publishing the works of morons.

    The ‘Carolinas’ haven’t legalized same-sex marriage, federal courts have forced them to. And my right to keep and bear arms is natural; if you don’t believe me, just ask the guy that comes to take them.

    • As pointed out in the original article, you’re going to get nowhere calling people names. You want to make progress or do you want to barricade yourself inside your own righteousness?

  51. Dan –

    Here’s how we make an actual difference on the issue of children finding guns:

    1) Mandatory elementary school instruction 2X a year on what to do if a child comes across an unsupervised gun. (Taught by local Law Enforcement or Military certified firearm instructors)

    Just this: (1) – STOP!

    (2) – DON’T TOUCH IT!

    (3) – LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY!

    (4) – TELL A RESPONSIBLE ADULT!

    Middle and High school:

    Safe firearm handling, also taught by local Law Enforcement or Military certified firearm instructors.

    That is real, constructive child gun safety.

    That will NEVER happen, as the Progressive’s end goal is the eventual complete disarmament of citizens.

    So, how about it?

    It would PROVE the Progressives are LYING about being for gun safety.

    • Well, before we tar the “progressives” with rejecting the idea, how about we write a curriculum that doesn’t come from the NRA (because that would be too political), and present it to school boards with our voices lowered, in the interest of keeping children as safe as possible. We could offer to provide instructors. Then, we keep track of which school boards reject the offer, and repeat as often as necessary. It all depends on what we want. Do we want children properly taught what to do if/when they encounter a firearm? Or do we want to make political points about “the progressives.” I’m all for the first, but not for the latter. I’m tired of all that. Let’s us behave impeccably, and if the other side doesn’t, we’ll hold the high ground.

      • …how about we write a curriculum that doesn’t come from the NRA (because that would be too political)…

        What on earth is “too political” about Eddie Eagle?

        Again, you assume a position that it is the firearms community that must self-censor so as not to offend the delicate political sensibilities of those who wish to disarm us. I refuse to play that game.

        • Me, I like Eddie Eagle. I think it’s clear, simple, and age appropriate for little kids. But let’s face it: Most school boards won’t touch it because it comes from the NRA. We can wish that wasn’t true, but it is.

        • Most school boards are overwhelmingly populated by Democrats. Maybe we should just ban them instead. Then we’d be free to teach Eddie Eagle and gun safety classes in school again.

          We can wish that the problem isn’t actually progressive Democrats in general, but it is. They let criminals–including illegal alien felons–out of jail. Worse, look at how they fawn over Mumia Abu Jamal, Tookey Williams and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is accomplished WAY better when the criminals are actually behind bars.

          Right now Eddie Eagle is the best gun safety program going for kids. Anyone who would poo-poo it because it was invented by the NRA is obviously disingenuous when they say they are for kids’ safety. Clearly, an agenda is more important to them than saving lives. This should be shouted from the rooftops.

          Dan, after hearing how you’re all in favor of using the power of the government to enslave some to the benefit of others (single payer healthcare, unions, environmental regulations), the message I’m getting from you is this: I’m a big statist, I think guns are neato, and NRA is bad because they are big meanies to my beloved Democrat party.

        • ” Anyone who would poo-poo it because it was invented by the NRA is obviously disingenuous when they say they are for kids’ safety. Clearly, an agenda is more important to them than saving lives. “

          Yep. Propaganda always shows its true colors. People just have to have the courage to admit they see it.

          There is nothing in the “gun control movement” that is about reducing crime or saving lives or improving safety for children. Those are just emotional hooks they use to manipulate.

          “the message I’m getting from you is this: I’m a big statist, I think guns are neato, and NRA is bad because they are big meanies to my beloved Democrat party.”

          Agreed.

          Dan’s statement that he likes guns and shooting as a hobby says a lot.

          A lot of us here are ‘single issue’ voters. We see fundamental importance in the Second Amendment..importance that transcends us as individuals.

          I gathered from Dan’s article that he is not in that group. Guns, it would seem, are just fun toys that we “like” to keep.

      • “It all depends on what we want. Do we want children properly taught what to do if/when they encounter a firearm? Or do we want to make political points about “the progressives.””

        We want children properly taught what to do if/when they encounter a firearm.

        We will get NOWHERE with this addressing local school boards.

        That is why we MUST drop a bill on Obama’s desk that is short, sweet, and to the point.

        Repackage the basic Eddie Eagle message any way you want. Let’s invite the Dems to assist in drafting it. No political agenda. Guns ARE out there, kids WILL find them. We have the House and Senate.

        I want to hear the excuse the President will make as to why he won’t enact into law REAL gun safety.

        To use some folk’s favorite lament – “If it would save just one life!”

  52. Just a minor nit, I agree we can improve on safety and such but please dont type that that’s a high ground we should take from Watts Bloomberg et all. They don’t have that high ground, we do. We just do a HORRIBLE job of communicating that to non RKBA people. -Boyd Kneeland WAC VP and education cmte (and NRA Training counselor)

  53. Thanks for the article Mr. Baum. I really enjoyed your book -even if I didn’t agree with everything you wrote. While I disagree with a few of your points in the article I do believe that being a safe and conscientious gun owner has no downside and can only help our cause.

  54. You know, the hard part about reading the article was knowing you mean well. Somehow.

    Your insinuation that the gun owning community needs to take responsibility and lead by example is complete and utter hogwash. I cannot even reasonably pretend that a percentage you cannot round up to a full tenth of a percent is even a policeable portion of people! There is not a notable portion of people who are as irresponsible as you insinuate so how can we police people so rare that I personally have yet to meet one?

    Those irresponsible with firearms account for such a small demographic of death that it defies logic that the entire country is outraged that 1/3 of its resident dare own firearms responsibly. Your premise is like blaming every car owner for drunk drivers then justifying the knee jerk reaction to ban cars.

    Those irresponsible with firearms are typically prosecuted, jailed or badly hurt or dead. They do not skate on consequences as a rule. There is no rash of Dudley Do-Wrongs making this country unsafe day in and day out. One accident with a gun generally turns the offender around if he’s not dead or imprisoned but I know people who have been in multiple car accidents and still have learned nothing and spent no time in prison.

    You use the argument of Revolve. You sound like a false flag. Yet I like to believe you mean well. Perhaps I’m wrong. But, the responses on this thread hold far more water than me silently upholding some invisible gun owners code and people somehow giving a damn.

    Because I do. Already. Without your far belated behest. I uphold a code of conduct so rigorous that it protects those around me. If I did not, I would be newsworthy and foolish.

    Your cry for us to silently rally and lead by example denotes a fast fall into obscurity as they will fear us as gun owners no less if we are silent. They will relent no less in their campaign to remove private ownership of arms. No more good will come of pretending a status quo safe for our rights already exists needing no attention.

    That’s what you advocate. And after they disarm all of us, your curios will be next. There is no benign middle ground. There is no equal representation in the media. If we don’t create attention on us they will merely shade us more like bad guys uncontested.

    Gun control did not come about because guns are rampant and killing everyone. It came about because control cannot be exercised while private gun ownership exists. Read the numbers on death. The CDC has them. It trends downward at no correlation to the shrill squeals of the control crowd. But they scream louder by the day.

    You decide why. Because it isn’t me and my associates causing a row worth national attention. And if saving lives is the prime directive…we still have ready access to pools and doctors that cause hundreds of times the amounts of accidental deaths of all ages in a year. But you don’t see the Control Crew bleating about that, do you?

    If you’re sharp, you can connect the dots.

  55. Hey Dan,

    I know you take a lot of crap on this site and I respect that you are trying to communicate with a group that doesn’t welcome you with open arms. I really do. I disagree with you on many things but I appreciate that you are trying.

    I think part of the issue is that those who are “liberal” (ie believe in making government a force for good in the world) will seize on any attempt by the Gun Guys to address issues in their ranks. If we start saying we need to be more careful in peer to peer transfers or with locking up our firearms, the other side will seize on that and say “See! Even they agree with this, now let’s pass a law”. Which is not what we are saying- but will be how it will be taken. And the other option: let’s actually punish people who break federal law (gun running, illegal SB shotguns, prohibited possessors) hit a double whammy. In general antigunners don’t want to imprison more people so it doesn’t appeal to them, and in general pro gunners have grown distrustful of the ATF because of their issues in the past. So that is a no go as well.

    Honestly I think people like you are the best bet we have. Not in trying to get gun guys to change, but in showing the liberals who are antigun by heritage (or instinct) that they don’t have to be. That their politics doesn’t necessarily require anti gun legislation and goals. You can’t reach all the way to gun culture. I can’t reach liberal culture. You and I can barely communicate. I think you will have better luck discussing guns with liberals than trying to change gun culture. And vice versa.

  56. I enjoyed the essay/article Dan. Unfortunately many people don’t seem to feel the same way and don’t seem to be able to stomach ideas they don’t agree with. For a group (gun owners) that largely like to be seen as independent of action and though, many seem too infirm of intellect to sustain a challenge to their ideas and come out the stronger for it.

    Should my interpretation of your words be correct, many fail to understand that you are talking about taking things out of the realm of ideals and putting them into the realm of action in the physical space. Ideals are well and dandy but they don’t always reflect the current reality. Shall not be infringed comes to mind as a perfect example, yet just repeating it will do nothing to prove that to be true.

    I think our biggest issue is to stop the in fighting. The comments demonstrate nicely why this is needed; I’m not saying Dan is right but, how can we expect to be successful if we aren’t even united? If we let simple bickering or preferences in various minutiae divide us how can we be successful?

    We also need to be more inclusive and that is done by spreading the culture. I think this is a real boots on the ground thing and no national organization will ever be as successful at this as the individual. It is for the same reason that we are skeptical of the government or corporations or groups; we do not always believe they have our best interests in mind when advocating something. The individual will be successful because they can be known and because they are not a faceless group giving orders or ‘suggestions’ from on high.

  57. Dan;
    Nice article, even if I don’t agree with all of the semantics. Along with early education from an untainted source, I think a lot of the way to the middle is personal engagement. Not hiding, being good ambassadors, and making them see you as a person is a start. When kids come to play at the house for the first time, we warn parents that there are guns in the house, but that they are secured and unloaded unless in the physical custody of one of the adults. If they engage further, I simply describe why I own them (personal discipline/empowerment, sport, self defense in that order) and invite them and their kids to the range, ammunition gratis. My favorite rationales are ‘Forbidden fruit is the most tempting; many kids go once and never ask again once the mystique is gone’; ‘Actually shooting gives kids a first-hand appreciation of why you never point one of these things at anyone else’; or ‘I don’t expect my kid to be on a sinking ship, but I still taught him to swim.’ If they discuss risk, I acknowledge the risk exists, but reinforce that risk can be managed through good training, good habits and consistent practice. I tell them about how it is one of the few activities kids and adults can together for their entire lifetimes, and how I brought me and my son closer. I never apologize for who I am and what I do, but I do not engage in ad hominem attacks, quote statistics back at them, or hold forth on a lecture about my natural rights. In short, when they try to make me an archetype, I make myself a person.

  58. Dan

    Thanks for the article and the courage to present it to a “tough room.” Here is a thought I’ve had for a while about moral leadership and just good public relations regarding gun ownership. First, let me say that I don’t think there is any convincing the antis, but that’s not the point. The point is keeping the antis, who are a minority, from convincing the majority in the middle.

    I remember decades ago when the most hated class of gun owners in the country were hunters. People were all up in arms about people killing Bambi. I clearly recall a TV news segment that showed hippies attacking armed hunters, throwing rocks, etc. I remember one hippie on cross country skis coming right up behind a guy with a loaded rifle and jabbing him in the back with a ski pole. I was always amazed that the hunter didn’t shoot him. It was ugly.

    The interesting thing was no one back then seemed up in arms about defensive firearms. CCW permits were not widespread then, but it was assumed that everyone had the right to keep a gun in their home for protection. When my Dad was involved in a union dispute, the chief of police told him confidentially to start carrying a gun. The chief said, if you get caught in another jurisdiction with it, just have their chief call me. I don’t think there would have been any public outcry about that.

    Back to the hated group, the hunters. They did something smart that we now take for granted. They got out front of the Bambi thing and became champions for conservation. It took a while, but the general public got won over. The environmental groups (the former hippies) even seem to be at least divided on hunters. Now most politicians talk about hunters like they are the “good gun owners.” What a change!

    I think the defensive firearms crowd needs to provide moral leadership on an issue that does not involve gun control, but does promote public confidence. I think crime control is the issue. We are not responsible for crime, but we can be champions for reducing it. It would not be a slam dunk and it would take a while, just like the conservation thing did. Here is just one idea, of dozens we could brainstorm: I would volunteer to be an armed resource volunteer in a school one day a week. I would volunteer to teach about active shooter tactics and help run drills. I’ll bet there are a lot of other good ideas out there that don’t involve any kind of rights infringement.

    • I really liked your post JohnF, great point about the hunting community becoming a champion of conservation. I think that if the gun community through our channels and our own, possibly new, organizations were to become champions through education of securing firearms, securing dwellings, and (a tougher subject I think) crime reduction – we’d start to own the topic instead of just being the subject matter. And of course we’d be doing a community service while taking the reins.

  59. “Guns in America,” as we all know, is a topic where the entire conversation is dominated by the loudest and most extreme voices on either side of a cultural and ideological divide. I applaud our friend Dan here for trying to speak to the middle… if it exists. I’m sure it’s his dear hope that maybe some part of the shouting match might just de-escalate into an actual conversation. Good luck finding it, man. Let’s hope that conversation isn’t over before it starts. Let’s hope we come out on top of it morally, logically, rhetorically, and spiritually. Let’s hope that we win more adherents than we lose.
    I can tell you two places where that illusive middle ground won’t be found: (1) Here, where he’s speaking directly to those who proudly declare that gun rights are absolute and any kind of rule is heresy/injustice/anathema to the holy cause, and (2) At the place where he’s speaking directly to the antis (for whom the opposite of all that is their holy cause) with this companion article: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/1/dear-gun-control-advocates-gun-owners-are-your-allies.html I think it says a lot that Dan knew he could not have written just one article, saying the same thing, where it would have reliably reached both intended audiences.
    That said, we all really ought to commit to addressing the root causes of violent behavior, unmask legislative efforts as ill-advised and unconstitutional prior restraint against rights, and promote a culture of responsibility and safety around firearms. The POTG ought to do this, and dammit, so should the antis.
    At the same time, we ought to avoid acting confrontational and obtuse, spooking the Muggles with public asshattery, and directly or indirectly threatening or intimidating the opposition, giving fuel to the fires of indignation. They do that to us, and we do that to them, and it just sucks either way. You just shouldn’t compete over public policy the way you root for your football team.
    And finally, whatever our ideologically pure positions are, we ought to look at legislative and social efforts through the lens of realpolitik: What will pass? What will stand? What will fall? Culture wins the day here, rather than argument. Tribalism- on the part of either side of the conflict- does not help one bit. We need ambassadors with calm, pleasant, friendly, acceptable faces. We need to welcome the compromises that constitute progress, without forgetting our ultimate goals. National CCW reciprocity would be a great thing, even though we may want 50-state Constitutional Carry, because that’s just not going to happen this year.
    As far as all that goes, Dan, I’m sorry to say that you and I have a lot of hearts and minds to win over.

  60. If the 2A was abolished tomorrow millions of firearms would still exist. Some hidden by lawful people and others in the same criminal hands as always. The underground would become the norm. Much like alcohol prohibition, the outcome would be similar if not identical.
    The anti-constitution groups will always be around as they believe by controlling the lawful citizens it equates, somehow, to a lessening of the criminal element. I do not believe the motivation is all about firearms, it is about power and control, an arrogance. Firearms are an easy target, simple to exploit. Recall the women against alcohol and the crazy things which were said.
    We are stuck at the personal level and can only show greater efforts to be responsible. In this if a court case would come the evidence against would be negligible. It’s at the Federal level where the rubber meets the road. SAF, NRA, GOA, and sites as this one must play a part to reestablish the strength of the Bill of Rights.
    A national advertising campaign needs to be established for firearms, akin to Smokey the Bear. Media and image is key and will matter. It would be helpful for someone somewhere with a few bucks to build a national pro-firearm advertizing program. Warm and fuzzy, the good of the firearm, the protected mother and child. Using the same anti-gun advertising tactics, except in reverse. In the hands of wise artistic persons the 2A could become a very popular and supported Right. Only you can prevent crime? Food for thought.

  61. So we shouldn’t be confrontational, right? Like the African Americans weren’t confrontational during the 1960 Civll Rights marches, right? Or the LGBT community wasn’t confrontational suing governments and private individuals for not providing business services to them? Until people see that the good guys in their neighborhood are responsible gun owners, we will be the equivalent of “house negroes” or “in the closet”. We should openly carry everywhere it is legal, until people are numb to seeing someone openly carrying.

    Once you take out the suicides (suicide rate is not related to guns, it is related to the society you live in, and your mental stability), and the teenage deaths that are really gangbangers shooting each other over drug deals gone bad or turf wars, the accidental gun deaths drop below getting struck by lightning.

  62. I just do not/cannot accept that the people seeking to disarm us and/or strictly control our ownership and lawful, peaceful, sporting use of firearms have any interest at all in having a rational conversation about firearms ownership and the exercise of our right to keep an bear Arms, as protected by the Constitution. I believe the “gun grabbers” agenda has no interest in compromise, understanding or tolerance. Catch phrases like “reasonable restrictions”, “common sense gun control laws”, “if it saves one Life”, “for the sake of the children” and so forth are merely facades of rhetoric used to try to get concessions from us gun owners and drive a wedge between everyone’s RKBA and the exercise of the right. You know how a wedge works, do you not? First it makes a small split then widens it out until separation is achieved.

    While your question is a valid one, you are posing it to people who care and aiming its results at people who have no interest whatsoever in listening and a very vested interest in ignoring/rejecting anything positive the People of the Gun do. You may succeed in winning over a small percentage of the “uncommitted”, but you will never silence the hard-core anti-gun ideologues. They will merely laugh scornfully and agree it is, indeed, “all gun owners’ fault”.

    I admire your spirited, patient and very lucid defense of your writing, and would read your book(s), but thus far I remain unconvinced of your proposition.

    • Somehow, I got essentially the same comment posted twice because I thought this one just “disappeared”, the other is farther below, Sorry about that!

  63. I think a lot of people are missing the real point of Dan’s statement of “There are no natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected rights.”

    The point isn’t to take the statement at face value and read it as his saying that he’s right and that we’re wrong. The point is it’s a clue to how the *other* tribe views it. We’re going to need to engage their thinking and defeat it with their own reasoning. That’s what Dan’s post was about: changing the paradigm and beating them. Those of us who stopped reading missed a chance at understanding the enemy for what he is.

    There’s essentially a Red Tribe, and a Blue Tribe. Most people here are Red Tribals. Dan isn’t one of us; he’s from the Blue Tribe. These tribes have a gap that is growing ever wider. We think differently, we talk differently, and we live differently. We sure as hell don’t understand each other except through a tiny, tiny lens of caricatures derived from the media. The folks who dismissed Dan out of hand

    We keep thinking that the Blue Tribe thinks like us. We spout the “Second Amendment” like it means anything to the Blues, but it doesn’t. We cry “Constitution!” like it is an ironclad legal document with a defined meaning while the Blue Tribe treats it like the Pirates Code from Pirates of the Caribbean.

    The Blue Tribe isn’t going away. Their type of thinking sure as hell isn’t. We can continue as we have and hunker down into a siege mentality like we’ve done from the beginning. All we’ll end up doing is give them time to find an electoral strategy to break the Second Amendment once and for all like they keep trying to do.

    Or we can go on the offensive and beat them on their own mental battlefield. All I can say is, you don’t win wars with a defensive mindset.

    Per Sun Tzu: “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

  64. Dan Baum wrote the book “Gun Guys: A Road Trip” which I thoroughly enjoyed for its humor and insight. He admits to being a “gun fanatic and a Jewish Democrat”, and I agree with much of what he has written above. In my opinion, in-your-face 2nd Amendment supporters do more harm than good. We need to be responsible and knowledgeable gun owners in every way. That includes correcting the anti-gunners on their statistics, writing letters to the editors of anti-gun newspapers, magazines and TV shows when their slant on events is skewed.

  65. OK, I slogged my way through this from one end to the other. Baum is writing agitation propaganda. This is just another “I’m all for guns and the 2nd amendment, but . . .” example of gun controller twaddle.

    Dan, despite your claims, you can’t be in favor of “tough environmental and financial industry regulations, international treaties over unilateral military action, inclusive immigration, single payer health care, etc., etc.” and still believe in the kind of armed citizenry originally envisioned by the revolutionaries who fought for and founded our country. I’m pretty sure you disapproved of the stand at Bundy Ranch and, likewise, I’m also pretty sure you would have disapproved of the similar stand at Concord Bridge. You can’t be in intellectual or ideological agreement with that kind of armed citizenry—the armed citizenry codified in our 2nd amendment—if you believe in the things you mention. If you believe in those things, you also have to believe in one way or another in the domination of the individual by the state. That’s statism. And it’s the one thing that our revolutionary founders were most against. It’s also the lynch-pin value that separates gun-control accommodationists from the People Of The Gun. It’s really no more complex than that, Dan. If this were 1776, you’d be a Tory. The lines are drawn and, like Dick Metcalf, you are on the other side.

  66. I find it really frustrating to watch half the commenters on here confirming every negative stereotype of the “gun nut” crowd. The fact that you were so quick to dismiss Dan Baum, a guy who is, perhaps, our greatest ally on the left, is ridiculous. This guy is literally making a career out of try to burnish our reputation in the face of relentless attacks from the left, and all you guys can come up with insults and dismissive hubris!

    He is TOTALLY right in that this is a war of hearts and minds. The Constitution, for all its genius, is just a scrap of paper. Everything every dictator has ever done has been “legal.” Look at the fall of the Roman Republic. Everything Caesar did was intentionally crafted to appear beholden to the Roman Constitution even as he trampled all over it. Almost every president for the last 100 years has treated the Constitution as an annoying speed bump. Our Fourth Amendment is in FAR worse shape than our Second, and no body seems to give a flying flip! Our rights are only as absolute as we allow them to be. There is no magical Constitution Ref that comes out smacks anybody that violates the Bill of Rights… that is supposed to be us. We are currently winning the war of public opinion, but all the ignorance on here is truly shameful. This is not a culture war, this a culture assimilation.

    • It disturbs me that so many of the comments above stated that they stopped reading when… Did you really understand the context of the statement you had an issue with? Or was your mind so closed to a moderately different view of your own that you shut off any further consideration of what was being said? Or of reading any further?

      You share the same mind set as the anti-gunners, in my opinion.

  67. Dear Dan,
    I lost the will to finish reading all the comments after about 15 minutes.

    I will say this however. (In case no one else touched on it.)

    African American’s did not achieve civil rights solely by marching peaceably. Full scale race riots and the growth of the Black Panther party increased tensions to a point where the Government was forced to act.

    Gays/Lesbians have achieved “equality” through consistent glamorization and normalization of their lifestyle by the media, schools, and politicians, and by shoving their lifestyle and choices in our face on a regular basis with the help of the ACLU.

    So if the media has not, and will never be on our side, the education establishment is firmly opposed to guns, and politicians of all stripes can be trusted no farther than they can be thrown and god knows the ACLU is nowhere to be found when it comes to constitutional rights they don’t like..

    Then what you are really advocating is that we discard our only remaining tool – the same tool used by the Gay/Lesbian movement.

    A poor idea. So, repeat after me.

    ‘I’M A GUN OWNER. IT’S MY RIGHT, HOW DARE YOU TRY TO OPPRESS ME AND MY INDIVIDUALITY. YOU ARE GOING ACCEPT ME AND YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT.’

    Trying to be “nice” about the second amendment is to be a pacifist in the face of imminent invasion. Misguided and naive at best, treacherous at worst.

    If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my trench.

    Molon Labe.

  68. “The hard truth is this: There are no “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights.”

    See that? That’s where you lost me. That line, right there.

    Is TTAG allowing itself to go down the same path as Smith and Wesson, or Recoil Magazine?

  69. It looks like no one here is really interested in persuading the anti-gunners (or even the squishy ‘rights’ people who think background checks are really OK). It is reported that former Supreme Court Justice O.W.Holmes (a civil war veteran) addressed the legal issues surrounding states rights (after the war), he noted, “When the public is divided into two distinct groups whose ideas of how the union should operate are unalterably opposed, I see no solution other than armed conflict.” It appears this group of blog followers are decided that persuasion is futile, hopeless and a waste of time. We say, “it’s our right and we can do what we want because it is a right.” They say your rights are limited when they inflict damage on people who disagree….and your position is so dangerous we must (confiscate)use every means available to make you act responsibly (take your guns away).”

    Indeed, for the last several months I have read refutations of every gun-grabbing argument put forward, but nothing on how to take the message away from the grabbers. But why should it be important to win the persuasion/arguement? Who cares what the grabber dummies think/say? Please allow me to excerpt something I sent to RF earlier today:

    – “It seems critical the armed intelligentsia find a powerful and effective message beyond, “…from my cold, dead hand!” Why? Take a look at the anti-gun people featured in TTAG postings. THESE ARE THE “REASONABLE MAN”, the people who apply their reason to our use of guns…….and will be the jury of our peers in court, applying ‘reasonableness’ to our defensive use of a gun.”

    And we have nothing in the way of an influential, fact-based, emotional message with which to counter these “reasonable people”.

    • There are some thoughtful comments here from the “armed intelligentsia” but many exhibit a close mindedness to what so called reasonable people think and feel. The “reasonable” people are the ones we need to bring over to thinking more like we do. Barry Goldwater said “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” But extremism in the art of persuasion is counterproductive.

    • And we have nothing in the way of an influential, fact-based, emotional message with which to counter these “reasonable people”.

      Yes, we do. It’s called the 2nd Amendment and it’s the most fact-based, emotional message a free people can possibly make. It’s so powerful a message, that it defines us as a nation. But, the problem you discuss stems from the intentional ignorance of this that gun-controllers maintain as a way of avoiding dealing with the hard truth of the 2nd Amendment.

      But, I’m curious about something, so let’s step aside from this part of the conversation for a moment.. It’s clear that the “reasonable” people you refer to, are seldom interested in changing their viewpoints. Instead, they’re much happier trying to get us to change ours. With that in mind, maybe you can suggest the accommodations People Of The Gun should make with the gun-controllers in the hope they maybe they’ll think a little better of us and be a little less harsh in their demands? Just wonderin’.

    • “…And we have nothing in the way of an influential, fact-based, emotional message with which to counter these “reasonable people”.”

      No. We can remind those ‘reasonable people’ that there *is* a middle ground to the conversation. And that asking the other side to come to you is not, actually, the ‘middle ground.’

      We as the PotG are in fact standing in the middle waiting for the anti’s to come join the conversation.

  70. I reject the notion of a collective responsibility for the misdeeds of others.

    And, I submit that “we” HAVE taken the lead in the reduction of firearms-related accidents and murders. Both are down DRAMATICALLY over the past few decades… all the while with increasing gun ownership. The NRA has led the way when it comes to firearms safety and education.

    So, please dispense with the recommendations of self-flagellation. We should be proud gun owners. The vast majority of us are law-abiding and responsible. There are abusers of all things potentially-dangerous, including cars, alcohol, and matches.

    I will agree that certain “activists” do not help our “cause. Accordingly, I will offer only this advice: “Don’t be a dick.”

    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

  71. Your proposition is intended to get a positive response and action from people who care about the issue of the right to keep and bear Arms and aimed to influence people who care nothing whatsoever about the issue, and, in fact, have a vested interest in ignoring/rejecting anything positive that Gun Owners may offer. You might succeed in persuading a small percentage of the “uncommitted”, but you will never influence the hard-core anti-gun ideologues. They will merely laugh scornfully and nod in agreement that everything unfortunate that results from guns in the hand of ordinary Citizens is “all the gun owners fault”.

    The “gun grabbers’ have no interest in having any reasonable “conversation” about the issue because their agenda is Civilian disarmament and nothing less. They use catch phrases such as “reasonable gun control”, “common sense gun laws”, “if it saves one Life”, “for the sake of the children” and so forth as mere facades of rhetoric to drive a wedge between the right to keep and bear Arms and the exercise of the right. You know how a wedge works, do you not? It creates a small split, then widens it, as driven home, until complete separation is achieved.

    I agree with your suggestions about Firearms Safety and Storage and trying to minimize needless gun-involved deaths. Everyone would benefit from those goals. I also agree none of those things will ever be 100% effective, but any improvement would be worth the effort required.

    I admire your spirited, patient and lucid defense of your proposal, but it simply will not produce the results you envision because it is aimed at people who have no intention of listening or being receptive to its message. So, for now I remain unconvinced.

  72. I didn’t read the comments. The amount of fail in this article was enormous. This was clearly written by a serious anti. Lots of incorrect assertions and straight-out lies from the anti-gunner handbook. The lies are what wear me out the most. The paragraph that starts: “It wasn’t the riots that brought about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts” is full of so much misinformation or possibly just plain ignorance that I’m a bit floored. Maybe Robert wanted to see how we would react. I thought about going through and refuting all the incorrect sentences but it just became too long so I gave up on that idea. Sorry.

  73. “…How do we lead by moral example?”

    We start by taking control of the conversation again.

    The words they try to use as pejoratives we take back. When we start, for example, calling each other Ammosexuals then they can’t use that word anymore because they would be thought one of us.

    The incidents they hold up as examples of how ‘bad’ we are as a group, we as a group point out as loudly as we can that the example held up is the smallest percentage of the smallest percent. Over 100 million gun owners didn’t shoot anyone yesterday and none of them have any plans to shoot anyone today and even fewer still have any plans on shooting anyone tomorrow.

    And most importantly we keep on keeping on. If you as an individual be yourself then those around you will see that you, as a gun owner, are ‘normal’ which takes a lot of the fight out of those around you when it comes to saying ‘guns-r-bad-mmmkay.’

    • Ammosexual? Hmm, the wife and I both enjoy turning “loaded” ammo into “spent” casings. Does that mean our ammo should be “bi”-metal jacketed? Is it kinky to enjoy doing this outdoors at a public facility? We have been known to swap or share with others for mutual enjoyment. I feel so dirty telling you this.

  74. While y’all bitch @ each other, I’ll quietly, resolutily,steadfastly carry concealed. And treat others as I would like to be treated……..

  75. I think a lot of the disagreement we’re seeing here comes from a misunderstanding of what Mr. Baum meant when he said that “There are no ‘natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected’ rights.” The way I interpreted his meaning is this: yes, there /are/ “‘natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected’ rights”–but whether we are able to EXERCISE those rights is something that, whether we like it or not, can be restricted if enough people are behind it. It’s wrong, yes, but things that are wrong aren’t things that are impossible. Example: yes, the Constitution guarantees us a right to own and bear arms. But just try bringing up that argument when you get arrested for carrying a firearm in any number of large US cities, or near a school, or inside a government building.

    So, I don’t think Mr. Baum was making an argument that our rights do not exist–only that, while they DO exist, our ability to exercise them is something we shouldn’t take for granted, because complacency can lead to a loss of rights. The Constitution has been amended several times. We would be foolish to let it be amended in a way that eliminates our right to keep and bear arms because we didn’t do what we could–INCLUDING being good, upstanding examples of gun owners, not name-calling people who refuse to even listen to the other side’s arguments, however wrong they may be–to keep that from happening.

    Still, that’s just how I read it. I’m sure Mr. Baum will correct me if I misinterpreted what he meant. And let it be said that while I do agree with aspects of this article, I don’t agree with all of it. I think collective responsibility for the misdeeds of irresponsible gun owners is a problematic idea, particularly with respect to suicides committed with firearms. There are a lot of ways to commit suicide, and while obviously it’s tragic no matter how it happens, I don’t think firearm-related suicides are inherently a “gun-control” problem. But that’s another conversation for another day.

    • That is how I interpreted the article. Living in NY I totally understand how easy it is to ignore the 2A.
      There is no carry here of any kind unless you can prove that your life is in danger. I have a sportsman permit issued (after many months) by the Police Commissioner, an appointed office. This permit allows me to carry concealed to and from a range or while hunting with a hunting license . This permit also lists the firearms that are associated with that permit. My wife also has a permit but can’t legally posses any of those firearms and she can’t list them on her permit.In other words we can’t share ownership.Ridiculous but ……. .
      We also have the SAFE act which was rammed thru the Legislature by the governor, which makes buying ammo virtually the same as buying a firearm. People who live in states that allow carry, open or concealed, don’t seem to understand how easy it is for states to pass laws that make the 2A ineffective. As I stated in an earlier response it’s easy to control gun ownership, just regulate the ammo it’s being done here.

  76. I have not read all of the comments. So I hope this is repeating anyone’s prior comment.

    Bottom Line: I do not want criminals, the mentally insane, challenged or unstable, or anti-government terrorists in our country to have guns. I do not care if it is their God Given Constitutional right to bear arms through the 2nd Amendment. I do not want them to have guns… any kinds of guns. We have laws to try to prevent that. These laws do not always, or even usually, work.

    As I have said earlier in this dialog, I have a lot of respect for Dan Baum’s position on these issues. I am a socially liberal, fiscally conservative, gun lover and I find the several bigoted, racist, socially ignorant and frankly mean comments above to be harmful to the cause of educating the majority of people in this country who are ambivalent about firearms, but who are not the close-minded gun grabbers.

    • You sound a little unstable, mentally speaking. In keeping with your own ideals, drop off all you firearms at the local police station. They will destroy them for you.

      • Paul G. Golly, your intellect surely must surpass mine to comment on my post, but did you understand anything I said?. And what does anything I said imply I should surrender my guns? Have you contributed anything of use to this debate? Or are you just a troll?

        • From the tenor of your response, my worries about your mental health are reinforced. Please, go turn in your guns now, for your children’s sake.

    • I do not care if it is their God Given Constitutional right to bear arms through the 2nd Amendment. I do not want them to have guns… any kinds of guns.

      Even accepting your premise, how do you propose to keep them from possessing guns? Laws clearly won’t accomplish that end. And even if it did, we would then need to look at automobile control, knife control, baseball bat control, fertilizer control, pressure cooker control, etc.

      Perhaps the solution isn’t government control of things?

      We have laws to try to prevent that. These laws do not always, or even usually, work.

      So, if such laws actively harm the law-abiding and infringe upon the exercise of a right that is constitutionally protected against infringement, while at the same time routinely fail to accomplish their intended public good, should such laws remain?

      …I find the several bigoted, racist, socially ignorant and frankly mean comments above…

      If there are racist and other bigoted comments above, then call them out. I doubt most here tolerate bigotry any more than you do.

      As for “mean” comments: adult society needs collectively to grow a thicker skin. Too many people are perpetually aggrieved and too easily offended. If a comment is “mean”, who cares? Just refute it on the merits of the argument.

      …to be harmful to the cause of educating the majority of people in this country who are ambivalent about firearms, but who are not the close-minded gun grabbers.

      Such people are not the audience of the comments to this blog post. We are talking to one another within the firearms community. And if they are so easily turned off by the tenor and rhetoric of comments in this blog posts, what must they think of the tenor and rhetoric of the typical comments to an MDA or CSGV blog post?

      • Chip Bennett. I do not have answers to the questions you pose. Wish I did. I do appreciate your intelligent, concise and impassioned analysis of the issues throughout this thread. I agree with many, not all, of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *