“We’ve lost gun control in this country” writes Cameron Smith – a columnist for the Alabama-focused al.com. But this is no typical screed about civilian disarmament funded by the likes of plutocrat Mike Bloomberg. No, Mr. Smith has an idea that might just promote the sort of gun control that we ought to have . . .

Increasingly our world is filled with people willing to commit horrible acts of violence against others…. We sometimes blame it on the consequence-free world of video games and movies where violence is glorified. Maybe it’s the extreme isolation of a modern world where we’re all connected but never really get to know each other. It could be hate, rage, or even hopelessness.

Regardless, we’ve lost gun control as a society. We’ve allowed the most significant influence shaping our perception and treatment of firearms to be a culture of violence. We need to take control of guns again and not let our fear drive our policies….

Here’s a novel idea. Instead of letting Grand Theft Auto shape the next generation’s attitude toward firearms, why not offer a thorough safety and training class as an elective for seniors in high school?

Evil men and women will figure out firearms on their own, without the benefit of wise counsel and instruction. We might want to make sure that we extend a superior opportunity to law-abiding citizens interested in self-defense and being able to engage firearms without being a danger to others.

Doing so would prevent immeasurable accidental gun deaths and foster a respect for firearms rather than fear….

It’s past time to take back control of our guns by focusing on training, knowledge, and engagement rather than relegating firearms to a place of fear used solely by the worst among us.

The political forces that would destroy the protections of one of the basic civil rights of all Americans know that they are simply not winning at the ballot box. For all the rhetoric from them and their fellow-travellers in the traditional media, their victories have been minor and locally-focused, and their lobbyists have the smell of bitter-enders about them. Their only hope for victory is to play the long game, to try to convince future generations that sacrificing a little essential liberty is necessary for safety.

As much as I despise big government and teachers unions, and as much as I found my own public school experience to be rather lacking (I was an autodidact), most children go to traditional public schools. The curricula imposed there can have a long-term impact on parts of society.

We’re a nation of over three hundred million people, and about as many firearms. Both of those numbers are going to go up as time goes on. If we take our civil rights seriously, we need to make sure that the citizenry knows how to handle a gun. Sure, a certain class of people would go absolutely out of their minds at the idea of firearm training in every school, as people who’ve tried to talk about Darwin in a biology class, read Huckleberry Finn in an English class, or talk about the causes of the Civil War in a history class know all too well. We should expose our children to as many ideas and experiences as possible, and firearms education is just a natural extension of that.

Hunting and the military used to be the entrepôts into the firearms world, where people got their first experiences and learned the basics of firearms handling. That is no longer the case. Hunting is generally on the decline as we become a more urbanized society, and the military is a career path that only a certain few choose and are accepted into. Video games are a new way for people to become interested in shooting sports, but the people coming in this way don’t have any real knowledge to build on. We need to make sure that the people who have an interest can get the training they need, and the people who would be interested in shooting sports if they ever had a chance to give it a try have those opportunities.

As I’ve said before — firearms training may be, in the long-run, important enough to our civil rights that raising taxes to cover the cost of it is an investment worth doing. Am I wrong?

 

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.

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61 Responses to Cameron Smith Proposes Common Sense Gun Control

  1. Not wrong on the face of it. If the classes taught that gun ownership was as much a right as voting along with our other rights I would be for them. Such classes would need much oversight to keep antis from trying to corrupt them.

    • “Not wrong on the face of it” then you throw in the phrase “gun control” and it suddenly has more faces than 12-sided dice.

      Training, familiarization – good
      in late grade school / beginning to end High School – ok to good
      playing cutesy with the language like we’re giving gun grabbers a little of what they are after too = B A D D U M B C R A P

    • Government entered into the business of regulating marriage over a century ago (and not for good reasons). Now look what they’ve done to it. Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.

  2. I agree with the idea of firearms training but I think waiting until Senior year of high school is too late. I believe we should train the very young on firearms safety, Eddie Eagle comes to mind, and then on firearms handling and safety around Freshman year of high school or last year of middle school where that’s the system. This should be mandatory, not just an elective.

    • Absolutely. Eddie Eagle for Kindergarten and repeated in elementary school. The 4 rules in Jr. High; and marksmanship in High School. Indeed, Congress could mandate such a program of instruction via it’s constitutional power to prescribe the discipline for the militia and the implied duty of the States to train according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.

      We have 40 Right-to-Carry States; don’t we already have the Congressional votes to begin a serious discussion of such a program? There is NO Constitutional impediment; it’s purely a public policy question. Assuming money were not at issue, is gun safety a public policy good or evil? Assuming Congress found it to be a good, then how important a policy issue is it to spend money on?

      Perhaps gun safety (accidents) and the moral imperative to use arms for socially positive purposes are not important enough. Accidents are few; crazies shooting at random victims in public places are rare; most victims of gun homicides are themselves criminals. A strong empirical argument could be articulated that Federal and State tax dollars could be spent more wisely. I eagerly await the Progressive argument to this effect.

      Conversely, if gun safety and gun morals are important enough goals to justify spending some money, then by all means let’s have a pilot program. Especially in the inner city we might find that the prospect of reaching the age of 21 alive and with a clean criminal record would be found to be attractive. Thereupon, a young inner-city youth could acquire, keep and carry a gun legally in defense of himself and his family.

      We probably won’t get a bill enacted into law for many years. Our more realistic goal might be to kick-off a national discussion that would bring the Antis in on the side of ignorance and not spending money on education and we PotG on the side of education and spending a modest amount of money on a Congressional “prescription” for the discipline of the militia. A few States might pick-up the mandate and undertake training.

  3. I think it’s a great idea but no liberals/antigunners will get behind it, no matter its utility, because it doesn’t get rid of the guns. If anything such an approach would create more long term gun owners. We just can’t have that. If it doesn’t infringe, they’re just not into it.

    • And – should you prove correct – that should become evident in a debate. That – by itself – is so worth-while a goal that we ought to push for such a discussion.

    • This would prevent deaths. This is not the goal of gun control. It’s hard to push for more useless laws when you don’t have bloody shirts to wear.

  4. Such training would not prevent “immeasurable” accidental gun deaths, because accidental gun deaths are both measurable, and insignificant as a cause of mortality.

    For my kids, such training in school would be redundant (because it’s something they learned years earlier), and a waste of time that should be spent on meaningful school subjects.

    That said: at least the proposal looks at real problems, instead of blaming an inanimate object, or pretending that hindering the access of law-abiding citizens to that inanimate object would lead to any positive end.

    • Chip – You are the “rara avis” in parenting. My wife has been in the education field since 1978, and has lamented the lack of parental involvement. This would be a perfect alternative to gym class, for several weeks during the Winter months.

    • I knew how to read upon entering school. Does that mean teaching reading in schools was a waste of time?
      Just because you’ve taken responsibility and taught your children these things at home does not mean that they are not “meaningful” subjects for others’ children.

  5. It shouldn’t be an elective. When I went to high school (So Cal) I was required to take drivers ed. A 21st century American should be able to handle a gun safely, period.

    • Here in MI, driver’s ed was a zero credit elective 30 years ago.
      Now that it’s mandatory to pass the class in order to get a license before you’re 18, it’s something the schools offer for a fee.

  6. I too would say not wrong, but likely impossible to achieve. Asside form the question of liability, the venue is rife with anti-gun, big government fools. Now as some sort of after school functon that only NRA Certified instructors could run. If equipped with air guns and perhaps a few .22 rifles and maybe a Brown Bess for historical context, and done as an extension of American History (done like the Apple Seeds are done), then it might well succeed. The more I think about them more I think it could work!

  7. I can hear the liberals now: “You can’t force my baby to learn how to kill people!”
    But mam, it’s an elective course.
    Liberal helicopter mom: “But they’re training other students so THEY can kill my baby”!!!!!
    Guns, Eeeeek!

  8. Why not ask law enforcement to teach that class?

    Not only NO but HELL NO. I kept my kids out of the meaningless BS DARE indoctrination. Kids, perhaps, met the local Popo down at the cop shop so a brief scared straight session. But it is 2015 the Policeman is not your buddy. They willfully abandoned that concept years ago. NO interaction with the local cops is a better avenue for success.

    Training in school? Extra/outside of school. Organized and conducted by volunteers. Or require 1yr of Jr ROTC with rifleman team. There is so much non education BS in the gov’t schools now that they hardly have time to give a Senior a 6th grade education. Obviously most is libtard crap – gay indoctrination, condoms on bananas, antibully sensitivity, Michelle Obumer food info. etc etc etc.

  9. Yes. But why wait until senior year. I was on the rifle team as a freshmen (they were pellet guns, but still).

    Make it an elective so you can appease the anti-gunners and make it available starting Freshman year.

    • Had my first .22 in the 5th grade. Taught my first girlfriend how to shoot down at the old iron bridge on our road…yeah. Learned a lot down at that bridge with her.

  10. Here’s the money shot from Smith’s article:

    “Why not ask law enforcement to teach that class?”

    What? Smith, you dumbass, google “Lee Paige” and you’ll have the answer to your stupid question.

  11. This idea should be loudly promoted if only to expose the anti gun crowd as opposed to even the most minor course of action to reduce “gun violence” …and through their most prized institution…Education!

  12. What ever happened to rifle club? Let’s bring it back and expand it with more emphasis on safety training. The curriculum from NRA Basic Rifle and Basic Pistol would be good.

  13. Join the Cub Scouts (1st through 5th grades). Yes, FIRST GRADERS will – if they go to even a modicum of the available activities, be taught the basics of the shooting sports (both riflemanship through BB guns, and archery). The 4 rules, actual live firing, some history. Then once they get to 6th grade (there’s even an option to join in 5th grade if they meet certain requirements), they can join Boy Scouts and are able to start shooting rifles (.22’s) and shotguns (20 gauge in my neck of the woods). And once they are 14, they have the option to join “Venture Scouts” where they can move into pistols as well.

    The education is OUT THERE FOR THE TAKING in even the most urban environments.

  14. Sex-ed is, “Just say no.”
    Drugs, “Just say no.”

    Why do I expect Gun-ed would be, “Just say no?”

    • While both of those should be “just say no” and drug education is (for the most part), sex ed has morphed into a how-to class for things that you might not think are possible. It’s no longer “just say no”, now it’s “here’s how you do it and where to get the toys to do it with”.

  15. My kid’s HS has skeet and archery teams. Very well done programs. Educational, fun, useful skill.

    No good facility hand for a rifle/pistol range.

  16. “Increasingly our world is filled with people willing to commit horrible acts of violence against others…. ”

    That is the first line of thinking anti-gunners use, and a false one. We, as a society, are growing increasingly safer. Crime is on a downward trend. It only seems like a more dangerous place because media outlets focus on every act of violence that happens.

  17. I like it!
    Play the long game, start with seniors, then in a few years open it up to all high school grades.

    Then wait, then the top Jr. High grade. Then all of Jr. High…

    …then the top grade of elementary..

  18. Great idea! They have done it for years in Alaska. OMG! OMG! 6th graders are taught to shoot .22 rifles. I have taught archery to grade school age students for several years. Ya, those sharp pointy things that kill deer. When I was a kid, (ya I know, things were different, it was the 60’s) we went school every Wednesday night for NRA BB gun training; 45 minutes o the range, 45 minutes hunter education.

  19. This was the original mission of the NRA. To train the civilian population in firearms primarily through shooting competitions. I’m not sure I want leftist school teachers being in charge of weapons training, safety and firearms history.

  20. Used to be “Take your boy hunting instead of hunting your boy”. Sadly, I think those days are pretty much gone for a lot of kids growing up, but it is the way I grew up. Happiness was an 8 year old boy with his father in the rabbit fields with a pocket full of 20 gauge shells.

    Forward several decades and I find myself discussing with my gf’s 20+ year old son who would stay home forever if he could so he could play video games. The young man likes to talk about firearms, but every discussion began with “Well, on Call of Duty………….” That crap stopped immediately-the next morning I took him out with my 12 gauge pump and the real lessons began.

  21. I like the idea but trusting the public school to do anything right is a stretch. Home school if you can folks…

    • Of course we should be home-schooling; working with organizations such as the Boy Scouts and so forth.

      We are inclined to think: ‘Government and public schools will never agree to do this; so, it’s a waste of time’. In this particular case, I think that they will never agree but it’s still worth-while doing.

      Let’s assume we will fail; however, let’s assume that we can get a bill introduced and a debate going in Congress and in some State legislatures. (We ought to have enough clout to get that far). Now, the MSM will cover the debate because the Antis will be there opposing the bill. The public will see the spectacle and the rhetoric will contribute to their understanding of the issues on each side.

      Would that hurt the campaign for Gun-Rights? Or, help the campaign? If we have any arguments in favor then it should help to win some converts. If the Anti’s sound shrill and impractical, that will tip some people away from support for the gun-control agenda.

      The big issue will – I think – be cost; and, the greatest part of cost will be range time. Outdoor ranges will be far from school; read, impractical. Indoor ranges will be extraordinarily expensive; read, we have better things to spend education money on.

      The solution to these problems will be Air-soft or BB guns. They are cheap and require no special arrangements for ranges. Most of what the kids need to learn they can learn without firearms. The kids will see that the Air-soft or BB gun training is one short step from the real-thing with .22 rifles; and, they can seek-out these opportunities outside of school during the summer vacation months.

      Also, bear in mind that Seniors are driving and are – or will soon be – 18 years old and can buy their own .22 long-guns. Equally obvious, those who are still 17 can drive to a range and meet-up with an older schoolmate who is 18 and has bought his own .22.

      The 16 year-olds are just a year away from getting their driver’s licenses at 17 and going along with their older school-mates. Close enough to take an interest in the Air-soft/BB-gun based program.

      • “[L]et’s assume that we can get a bill introduced and a debate going in Congress and in some State legislatures.”

        I’m with you when it comes to the states, but let’s keep the rats nest known as the Congress out of the process. Whatever Washington touches, it corrupts.

        • I hear you. However, I’m NOT expecting to get a bill enacted into law and a program started. Might happen; but I think the odds are against it.

          What I AM expecting is a spectacle of a debate with the Antis taking an Anti-gun-sense-education stance and the PotG taking a pro-gun-safety-education stance. The more protracted the debate the better off we will be. Having the debate FAIL would be a victory in-and-of-itself.

          We can have this spectacle play-out in Washington DC; not in Olympia, Washington. No one outside of Washington State cares what happens in Olympia; with the possible exception of Oregon.

          When the States go to implement whatever “discipline prescribed by Congress” they will have an opportunity to complete and correct Congress’s failures.

          I’m not too worried about any such program getting corrupted by Progressive faculty. Imagine a course on violent video games for teenagers. No matter what the teachers said or did they would be unable to overcome the intrinsic intrigue of the substance of the subject matter itself. The kids would realize that they are being told a load of BS and would carry-on with trying to improve their groups.

      • My only problem is that I don’t think a large portion of our population is capable of distinguishing between “well reasoned” and “shrill and impractical.”

        • So, I’ll concede your point from the outset. The majority is unable to make any distinction.

          Would such a debate have a tendency to shift a few percent of the population from neutral to “maybe this gun education thing is not such a bad idea”? Just a few percent; that’s all. Not a full-throated defense of the 2A; just an opening to the possibility that it may on-balance be a good thing.

          What’s the offsetting side? Would a larger percentage of heretofore uncommitted people become suddenly outraged at the idea that their public schools would be teaching gun safety with Air-soft or BB guns? If that’s what we think then we have to re-think our whole strategy about how to deal with the uncommitted voters.

          Perhaps we are in the unenviable position of the UK gun-owners (extensively discussed in another thread.) We PotG constitute a minuscule percentage of the population while the overwhelming majority are dead-set against guns in the hands of commoners. We depend entirely on the grace of our Members of Parliament to protect what little is left of our privilege to pursue our hobby quietly out-of-sight and out-of-mind.

          I see no evidence that our situation is so dire. We seem to have a simple majority of the voters standing behind us if only tentatively so. A discussion of gun-safety in the schools ought to be well-received. It ought to attract more support than it coalesces the resolve of the gun-control sympathizers.

  22. It won’t work. It really is common sense and really would work, so they will never do it because it’s a good idea.

  23. [Begin PSA For The Children]
    Agree with the concept and raise it to “let’s teach skills to kids that they need in real life”. Math, Science, History, and English are important subjects, but so are Firearms Safety, Home Finances, Oral Argumentation, Mowing the Lawn, How to Deal with Neighbors, and Driving a Little Less Douche (TM).

    Teach kids real individual skills to help all of society. It’s for the children (TM) (but it’s really for the adults…shhhh.).

    [End PSA For The Children]
    PS: How many of you had an initial cognitive link of PSA as in Palmetto State Armory?! 🙂

    • Let’s go for as much of Lazarus Long’s list as we can get:

      “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

      • I have to say, that’s one of my favorite quotes and one that I’m badly attempting to apply to my own life.

    • When I actually went to class (2002-2006) I took a math class that was nothing but how to balance finances and live in the real world. Some of that still exists, but they’re few and far. The teacher of that class was a smart guy. “What’s the best car?” One day he asked, and to a bunch of teens it was the typical: “Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc…” His response was, “paid for”.

    • I had Rifle Club in HS. There used to be a Rifle Team, but the rifle range in the basement of the school was sacrificed to expand the pool. The Club shot offsite. We paid for our ammo through Club dues.

      Surprise — this was in a public school in The Bronx. Imagine trying to do something like that now.

      • My high-school in MI used to have a Rifle Club (along with JROTC), and both utilized the .22-only range out past the football stadium. Not long after I graduated, both programs were axed and replaced with a pottery class & kiln. The range was fenced-off, and later a greenhouse was built on the site.
        The same thing happened with Home Economics , which was replaced with a daycare for students with kids.

        Absolutely disgusting…..

  24. Is there enough to basic gun safety that it would take an hour a day, every day for a year? Remember the suggestion was to teach gun safety, not train them to shoot well. The first will show antis’ hypocrisy on the issue when they turn down a safety course, but the second will open us up to accusations of using the schools to proselytize (yeah, even though they do it all the time).

    I’d envision it is a “unit” in some larger course.

  25. Too bad there isn’t some national organization with firearms safety programs already developed for both kids and mature kids through adults. You know, an organization that has been providing firearms education for over 100 years. With experience training new shooters through law enforcement.

    George
    NRA Instructor

  26. “Increasingly our world is filled with people willing to commit horrible acts of violence against others”

    Stopped reading right there. Anyone that opens with a well known lie, that doubles as a scare tactic for the uninformed, has completely discredited themselves and deserves no further scrutiny.


  27. Video games are a new way for people to become interested in shooting sports, but the people coming in this way don’t have any real knowledge to build on.

    You won’t learn how to use guns safely or effectively playing Grand Theft Auto any more than you can learn to play outside linebacker by playing Madden NFL.

  28. With the leftist teachers unions, this will get railroaded into a progressive indoctrination course.

    • Certainly, they will try; however, there is not much they can do to overcome the substance of the lessons. They will be obliged to each the 4 rules; obliged to teach sight alignment; teach scoring targets and so forth.

      What can they do with this? ‘Now kids; imagine you are shooting evil conservatives. Imagine you are the Police, the Agents of the State smashing down doors, shooting dogs and confiscating guns.’

      The kids will see through this and realize that the gun safety and marksmanship lessons are empowering them regardless of the political spin that they accept or reject.

  29. He’s attempting the soft approach, the PC approach, and doing so is a colossal waste of time. How about a through understanding of the Constitution, what it means, affects us, and how to uphold it. I was never taught in any depth.

    The NRA for years has supported widespread firearm education but the progressives choose to thwart common sense firearm safety rather choosing no education as being the better plan and their version of common sense.

  30. Junior Olympian and state high school rifle champion here (among other accolades).

    I’m on board with this.

  31. My mother sent to high school in upstate New York in the 1950’s. There were firearms safety classes, marksmanship classes and an indoor rifle range for the students and the school rifle team to practice on. Kids brought their own rifles (unloaded) to school, either on the bus or slung over their shoulder while they walked or biked to school.

    There was a concerted, and largely successful, effort to expunge firearms training from the public schools starting in the 1970’s. Leftist antigunners are well entrenched at all levels of academia now, and it will probably take a generation or two for them to cycle out of the system.

  32. Moms Demand Action is best known for its social media campaigns to pressure businesses like Chipotle and Target to ban the open carry of firearms in stores, while Everytown has focused on lobbying for gun control measures at the state level and publishing reports on what is implied as the impact of lax gun laws including school shootings and violence against women. The 10-question survey asks if candidates support or oppose legislation on issues like background checks, banning of gun ownership by convicted stalkers or domestic abusers, and safe storage to prevent access to children.

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