When The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence pronounces “We make it too easy for dangerous people to get guns in this country,” it’s a common sense statement that appeals to all right-minded Americans who abhor violence. BUT it’s a rhetorical trap . . .
First, the use of the collective pronoun “we” places the blame for criminal access to firearms directly on the reader. “We” (i.e. you) didn’t vote for the right politicians, who would have made it harder for dangerous people to get guns. “We” are enablers.
The word triggers guilt. It encourages readers to surrender their discomfort (via cash and political support) to someone sympathetic. Someone willing to share—and thus relieve—our collective responsibility for heinous acts involving firearms. The inherent implication: “we” know best how to sort this gun crime misegos out. Leave it to us.
It’s not the most compelling argument in the history of the world, ever. Most people consider a well-funded police force the best way to fight gun violence. Pay someone else to do the job. Done. The question of whether or not they should support groups that want to tweak gun laws to aid the cop’s mission is simply too small an issue to merit their full attention.
Second, the “we make it too easy” statement is an example of reductio ad absurdum: reducing an argument to the point of absurdity. Pay not attention to the issues behind that curtain. Once the great and powerful Oz tightens gun laws, gun crime will disappear. As it has in Mexico.
Despite the Brady bunch’s single-minded focus, the gun control debate is not solely about criminal access to guns. It’s also about self-defense against criminals. And, lest we forget, hunting. Ignoring the positive benefits of gun ownership—even if gun control orgs consider them perceived rather than actual—is not what I’d call “common sense.”
The plain truth of the matter: the more you attempt to restrict criminal access to firearms, the harder it is for non-dangerous people to get access to firearms to protect themselves against these dangerous people. It’s a balancing act without a perfect solution.
Utopian-minded gun control advocates simply can’t—or won’t—get their heads around this fact. They start with the [flawed] idea that the police are responsible for personal self-defense: an oxymoronic concept that attempts to infantilize the average American. And leave him or her defenseless. From there, gun control advocates would err on the side of restriction, trading one type of collateral damage for another.
The even plainer truth: gun control groups view ALL civilians as dangerous people. The Brady blog, Mikeb302000, VPC and the rest seize on stories of “average” citizens who commit gun violence—rather than everyday tales of gang and drug-related shootings. You don’t have to read between the lines to see that gun control groups would restrict access to firearms to a very small group.
To that end, a wider discussion of the meaning of the Second Amendment or firearms’ practical uses is their enemy. And fear is their friend:
Deficiencies in our gun laws, like the terror gap and gun show loophole, allow suspected terrorists to buy guns legally or avoid background checks by purchasing firearms from unlicensed sellers. That’s why reports like this one from CNN International are so worrisome:
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Dr. August Hanning, a former head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, said intelligence indicated that al Qaeda had already started planning to launch Mumbai-style attacks in the United States.
“We have got information that they have planned or are planning a plot like the Mumbai plot in Europe and the United States,” said Hanning who retired late last year as State Secretary in Germany’s Interior Ministry, one of the country’s most senior counter-terrorism positions.
The revelation is the most concrete indication yet that al Qaeda is planning mass casualty gun attacks on U.S. soil.
What will gun owners think when they read of a possible terrorist attack with firearms? Thank God I have a CCW permit. Or, maybe I should get a carry permit. In fact, we’d probably be safer if ALL Americans carried a gun.
It saddens me that gun control groups constantly harp on about gun violence without providing any context. The strategy obliterates any chance of finding common ground.
Yes, gun rights groups are equally guilty of using fear to “motivate the base.” Here’s an NRA alert re: a move to ban guns from Portland (ME) City Hall (which is not specifically mentioned):
On Monday, November 14, the Portland City Council will hold a public hearing and vote to consider a resolution asking the legislature to prohibit legally-owned firearms in certain public facilities. This resolution would be the first step in an outright attack on your concealed carry rights and the measure also defies Maine’s Constitution which states, “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.”
For the pro-gun guys, everything is a slippery slope. Nothing is negotiable. But at least they respect the average American’s ability to provide for their own self-defense, by trying to make it easier for them to own dangerous weapons.