Before we a-dress the issue of guns and clothes, a lawyer’s primer. If you don’t have the law, argue the facts; if you don’t have the facts, argue the law; if you have neither the facts nor the law, then call your opponent names. That’s not just for lawyers . . .

Immediately after news of the Loughner spree-killing hit the net, gun control advocates were euphoric (in a caring concerned and outraged kinda way). Loughner was a right-wing gun nut wielding an assault rifle who shot a Democratic Congresswoman. It soon emerged that the killer was an apolitical nut with an “ordinary” handgun. To paraphrase the Talking Heads, facts didn’t do what gun control advocates want them to do.

Then the Arizona police and the FBI revealed that Jared Lee Loughner had fitted his legally purchased weapon with an Arizona-legal extended magazine. So gun control advocates took to arguing the law; as in “there ought to be a law.” Or, there is a law in New York that should be a law everywhere. Well, that’s what Alexandra Le Tellier at opinion.latimes.com argued, quoting NPR’s “Fresh Air” . . .

Now, if Loughner lived in New York, there’s a very good chance he wouldn’t have been able buy a gun, legally at least. [Robert] Spitzer continued [on NPR]:

“I would also make the comparison between a state like Arizona and a state like New York state. In New York state, when citizens apply for a pistol permit in order to then purchase a handgun legally, the state of New York asks for quite a bit more information. They ask for four character references, and the permit applicant needs to go before a local judge and say, ‘This is why I would like to have a handgun,’ before they can get the OK to do it. And in that more lengthy and detailed process, including the process of interviewing and consulting with character references; had Mr. Loughner lived in New York state, it’s abundantly clear he would not have been able to get a permit.”

Not so abundantly, Mr. Bond. Even Le Tellier isn’t buying that one.

That certainly seems like a more responsible approach. One flaw, however, is that if you make it too hard for people to get a gun, they may just take their exasperated selves to the black market, where it’s not only easy to buy a weapon, but it’s possible to have the barrel of the gun cut up (like one might take a razor blade to their fingertips) so that the weapon and the bullets become untraceable. Or they could just buy a used gun at a gun show.

Point of information: criminals and psychopaths don’t generally source weapons from gun shows; the ballistic get-togethers account for less than two percent of guns used in a violent crimes and Loughner bought his gat from a gun store.

Anyway, with the State of the Union Address, President Obama proved gun-shy on gun control in general, and high-capacity magazines in specific. Without the President’s immediate, unqualified and outraged support, the legislative push for new gun control laws lost traction.

Gun control advocates are now at Stage Three: name calling. And who should lead the sarcasm assault but the Gray Lady: The New York Times. No Permit? No Touching the Pistols is an excellent example of character assassination journalism. The piece clearly and, it must be said, masterfully associates New York City gun dealers with porn/sex shops.

In the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx, Olinville Arms also caters largely to law enforcement, a clientele that, from the looks of the store, does not place a high value on décor. Big piles of gun-related paraphernalia sit next to a few hundred leather belts, running up to size 58; pink girly-girl tank tops with police logos hang above school crossing-guard patches.

The actual guns, save for a few shotguns positioned below two dusty deer heads, are kept out of sight. But not out of earshot: the store has a shooting range, separated from the shop only by the thinnest of barriers, and each discharge rings out at a disconcerting volume . . .

I found it hard to imagine buying a gun based on looks, but the sales counter was lined with an advertisement for a hot pink rubber sheath for dressing up a hunting rifle, an accessory that appeals, the salesman said, to “a certain kind of person.” Then a few more powerful shots thundered out. You get used to it, he said with a shrug.

The anonymous City Critic’s bias is reprehensible—and he’s welcome to write for TTAG anytime. IThis guy can write. Will somebody please hook him up with a legal handgun? Meanwhile, he (or she) almost finds ballistic salvation at Jimmy Choos. I mean, Beretta.

Holding a top-of-the-line gun is supposed to make a person feel powerful, confident, in control. Instead, I felt ridiculous. My stance was all wrong, and in any case I would never pull the trigger — not to kill an intruder, not to kill a bird. That moment of truth reaffirmed what was already beyond doubt: I am a pacifist, or a coward, depending on your perspective. But just as important, I am a New Yorker. In a city where we all live right on top of one another, playing with guns feels as out of place as wearing prairie dresses and engaging in plural marriage.

Playing with guns should always feel out-of-place. Using one to protect your life and the life of your loved ones should not. As millions of Americans will attest–regardless of ridicule from the people who’ve already lost the debate.

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22 Responses to “In a city where we all live right on top of one another, playing with guns feels as out of place as wearing prairie dresses and engaging in plural marriage”

  1. Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other.

    Substitute “Fascist” for the more generic “bad-guy” and Orwell said it best.

  2. “wearing prairie dresses and engaging in plural marriage”

    This is how the average New Yorker (New York City area – not necessarily New York State) sees folks from the rest of the country. I have a friend who came to visit me in southern Ohio and I took him to the range to shoot handguns. I don’t know what shocked him more – that I was wearing a handgun on my hip, that we bought ammunition “openly” at Wal-Mart, or that Wal-Mart was not the evil place vilified by Manhattanites! By the way, he had fun shooting the IDPA scenarios I set up.

  3. Alexandra LeTellier is a young cutie who is now the Editor of Brand X at the LATimes. She was schooled in New York and Boston. Ariel Kaminer is likewise a she but not quite as young and not quite as cute. Whatever bias in present is likely to reflect (i) their “big city society girls” pov, (ii) what their respective newspapers want them to write, or (iii) pure ignorance. Lastly, I’ll wager that New York’s Kaminer thinks LA is a cowtown, too. I mean, anything west of the East River is a cultural wasteland, right?

  4. Sure. Surrounding the actual policy issues of gun control, we have two different cultures constantly butting heads: the gun culture and the anti-gun culture. These two cultures don’t like each other, don’t understand each other, and consistently misrepresent the views of each other. Hence all the silly and extreme rhetoric — on both sides, don’t kid yourself.

    As the anti-gun culture sees it, the gun culture fetishizes firearms, trivializes violence, and has an unhealthy and disturbing obsession with both. Now where would the anti-gun culture ever get such a twisted conception of gun owners?

    As Exhibit A, I give you the photo that leads this story.

    It’s an odd thing. From a public relations perspective, the gun culture seems to spend half its time antagonizing the anti-gun culture, and the other half wondering why they are antagonized. Doesn’t seem like the most productive approach.

  5. Very nice. Dusty deer head. Belts up to 58 inches. The thinnnest of barriers between the range and retail area. Could this be any more thinly veiled?

    Gun owners are fat, murderous hicks for whom safety is secondary to exercising their antiquated second amendment rights.

    And if (God forbid) the author finds himself between an intruder with a gun and his family, that high brow, urbane disdain for guns will, I’m quite confident, give way to reget at not having one at hand.

  6. I don’t believe there’s an “anti-gun culture.” I think there’s a control culture in which some people have a deep need to force their beliefs on others and dictate the others’ behavior. The fact that I own firearms should be of no concern to anyone but me. The fact that it drives the so-called “antis” to distraction tells me all I need to know about them.

    • It’s their society, too. And if you are walking around in their society with a highly lethal weapon, and you go out of your way to lend a cowboy, screwball, or vigilante flavor to your proceedings, they’re not going to like it. And they will do what they can to stop you,

      I’ll tell you straight. I’ve been around firearms all my life, and some of the gun nuts around here and elsewhere scare me to death. Whether they own or carry guns is not my call, but I hope they keep them away from me and mine. The Second Amendment gave them the right to keep and bear arms, but it didn’t give them the qualifications or the temperament.

  7. Reminds me of the “hunting is barbaric and mean to animals and no one should do it” crowd. …who it seems are generally from big cities and wouldn’t step foot in an area without sidewalks. My state has given out Free deer tags at times to get people to hunt more because the deer population was too big and would cause all sorts of problems if allowed to get bigger. But all the ignorant people do is say you’re mean for shooting Bambi.

    I’m not a big Palin fan, but on her TV show she hunted a caribou, and I hunted down the show after hearing how she only did it to kill something, left the meat there, etc. So I watched the show — and they show her and her family bringing home the meat and then packaging it and putting it in the freezer! I am constantly amazed at how often anti-2nd-Amendment people will not just avoid factual data but flat-out LIE.

    So NY requires four character references to get a permit? What if I don’t have four character references? What if I have no family for support so I live in a bad neighborhood, and I don’t talk to my neighbors because I live in a bad neighborhood, but I need a gun because I live in a bad neighborhood, etc? My rights are fewer than everyone else’s because I don’t talk to my gang-banger neighbors?

    • I saw that clip, but I also saw someone else working the bolt-action for her as she took her shots. I don’t understand how she couldn’t be trained to operate a bolt.

  8. Proud resident of “flyover country” here.

    Whereas those sophisticated urbanites tut-tut and shake their heads at us knuckle-dragging rubes, we typically don’t think about them much at all.

    In fact, the only time I ever really even consider them that much is whenever another gun control vote comes up.

    And my thinking of them typically takes the form of hoping that Free America has enough votes to stop the reps and senate critters of the sophisticated urbanites dead in their proverbial tracks.

    Oh my, did I just use violent rhetoric? “dead in their tracks?”

    Excuse me. I’ve got to go blast some small furry woodland creatures into pate with an automatic grenade-launching machine-pistol.

    • I am opposed to your creating paté out of poor inoffensive woodland critters! You are an evil man who is trying to kill our children with paté!

  9. Not just pate.

    Pate (can’t find the little accent mark thingy) that might have traces of lead in it!!!!!

    Pate that was killed with ammunition purchased at that evil corporate entity known as Wal-Mart!

    You know, started in Arkansas, which is a notorious knuckle-dragging Red State, even though it produced the oh-so-groovy Bill Clinton.

  10. The big black gun looks like two guns? What is it and how can I get one if it’s real?( and the girl’s hot, I actually noticed her before the gun lol)

  11. I generally don’t are what NY does. My only reason for really hating NY is that it’s impossible to leave New England without driving through NY. Kinda odd that I can drive out of my NH, where I can carry legally (open or concealed, with my permit garnered via 3 references), to Vermont, where no permit is required–and then I’d be some sort of felon most likely if any gun I had wasn’t locked up, unloaded and in the trunk, if I were to step foot into NY. Amazing how few miles it is, and how much I apparently change as a result.

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