“Other than self-defense, why do you want to carry a gun?” I was speechless. Other than self-defense? What could be more important than defending my life and the lives of my loved ones? Money. If you’re a RI resident, you’re most likely to receive a concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit if you carry a large amount of cash on your person or work with high value items. Landlords and jewelers are good to stow. Ditto journalists who test and evaluate firearms. But if you want to carry a concealed handgun to protect yourself and/or your loved ones against a random or unforeseen attack, forget it. Application denied—in a “shall issue” state no less. Of course, there is a solution for the sad state of gun rights in RI, MA, NY, NJ, IL and other states that make it difficult for Americans to defend themselves with a firearm . . .

A constitutional amendment. An addition to the United States Constitution that guarantees every American the right to keep and bear arms. Something like the First Amendment; the bit that protects our right to free speech. A piece of federal legislation that prevents local, state of federal government from passing any laws that abridge our fundamental freedom to defend ourselves by force of arms.

Oh wait.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really living in the United States of America. Don’t get me wrong: I lived abroad for nearly twenty years. I traveled the world; including communist, Arab and the so-called third world countries. I understand, firsthand, the meaning of the phrase “American exceptionalism.” To paraphrase Winston Churchill, America is the worst of all possible democracies—except for all the rest.

But the more involved in firearms I’ve become, the more I understand that all our uniquely American freedoms are in constant peril. If we are not allowed to keep and bear arms without government interference, if we are denied the ability protect our lives with the best possible tools in a lawful manner, where will that interference end?

Answer: tyranny.

I used to think that this “slippery slope” argument was nonsense. I couldn’t connect the dots between a CCW proficiency test and falling under the jackboot of unbridled state authority. When writer Dan Baum upbraided me for calling gun control advocates “gun grabbers,” I promised to remove the term from my vocabulary. How could I run a fair and balanced firearms forum whilst calling gun control advocates names?

And so I did. Gun grabbers disappeared from my lexicon. For a while. And then I began to see that I wasn’t wrong. During my daily dissection of arguments for “common sense” gun laws, I gradually accepted what I’d suspected from the start: gun control advocates are gun grabbers in disguise: elitists who clothe their agenda in the mantle of social concern. They want to stop people from carrying guns, on the way to disarming society. For its citizens’ own good.

That would be a HUGE mistake. During my time in the UK, I saw a once-proud nation stumble to its feet under Margaret Thatcher, and then fall to their knees under the yoke of Big Brother socialism. A handgun ban and “tree preservation orders” which encourage neighbors to anonymously “rat out” chainsaw wielders. There is a connection.

The first step to defending and extending our right to keep and bear arms: expose the lies, distortion and and deceit used by its enemies. It’s one of our main missions here at The Truth About Guns. It’s also the point of a new book by Guy Smith: Shooting the Bull.

Smith rips gun control advocates’ assertions to shreds, piece by piece, lie by lie. He exposes the half-truths and outright fibs generated by The Brady Campaign, The Violence Policy Center, pro-gun pols and other gun grabbers. And he does so with messianic zeal, cataloguing the duplicitous assaults on gun rights under lie “types.”

For example, “The Lie of Concern: Demonstrating an insincere state of concern for others in order to achieve tangential objectives” takes apart the Million Mom March and its founder for its emotional and factual hypocrisy and distortion. If you’re looking for case-by-case proof that gun control advocates use underhanded, profoundly deceitful tactics to further a hidden agenda, here it is.

Utterances in unguarded moments are compelling. Bill Clinton once let it slip, “Only the police should have handguns.” A flyer printed by The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (originally called “National Council to Control Handguns”) pronounced “It is our aim to ban the manufacture and sale of handguns to private individuals.” Diane Feinstein opined that “Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe.” Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center announced that . . . “any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns.” Pete Stark – the California Representative to Congress best known for accusing a sitting president of finding amusement in U.S. soldiers’ heads being blown off – mumbled, “If a bill to ban handguns came to the house floor, I would vote for it.” The Violence Police Center said “[We are] . . . seeking a a ban on handgun production.” Senator John Chafee declared, “I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns.”

It’s this kind of “pay attention to the man behind the curtain” understanding that gun owners in general and gun rights advocates in specific need to keep their head in the game. A game that will be played with or without their participation.

In fact, this is precisely the kind of information all Americans need, along with an understanding of why we have the Second Amendment in the first place. A book that tells the truth about gun rights and gun control should be required reading in grade school—if I believed in forcing teachers to teach according to a rigid reading plan.

Shooting the Bull is so not that book. Aside from the occasional foray into plain Jane factuality (as above), the text is laced with vitriol and invective. Remember Don Rickles? Like that. Both barrels. Right from the git-go.

While preaching the demerits of so-called “assault weapons,” Diane Feinstein (known to friends and family as Di Fi and political enemies as Die Finally) hoisted an AK-47 rifle to her hip, and with her finger on the trigger, swept its muzzle across the crowded room like a storm trooper clearing a Berlin ghetto. Audible gasps escaped from even battle-hardened yet suddenly sober reporters who, despite their chronic ignorance concerning firearms,understood two things with perfect clarity: first, it’s never a good idea to be at the exit end of a rifle’s barrel; second, Senator Feinstein was a lunatic with a gun.

Smith’s anger issues are Shooting the Bull‘s greatest weakness. He makes his dissection intensely personal and, well, nasty. Most of the slams are properly political. But you’re never more than a paragraph or two away from a cutting ad hominen attack. Filmaker Michael Moore is constantly dissed for his weight. Bill Clinton for his philandering. Janet Reno . . . “Seriously, have you ever looked at her eyes? There are too many residents in that apartment.”

Regular readers of this site will know I appreciate the power of an arched eyebrow. But I find Smith’s predilection for insults, as clever as they are, profoundly disappointing. The man knows his onions. But Smith’s determination to make people cry (or laugh) with his razor-sharp wit condemns Shooting the Bull to a niche market of similarly bitter/cynical gun control advocates.

America’s gun rights belong to all Americans. The battle to protect those rights is the battle to win to the hearts and minds of people who either don’t care about firearms and/or don’t see efforts to control them as a serious threat to their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. To win this war, to keep what is rightfully ours, we can’t do one without the other.

“Other than self-defense,” carrying a weapon is a statement that you know what it is to be an American. To have rights and responsibilities. Reflecting our country’s warm heart and proud spirit, there’s no need to get nasty about it. The best way to defend our gun rights is to exercise them. And explain to those who don’t why we do. In the nicest possible way.

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11 Responses to Book Review: Shooting The Bull

  1. My second reason to carry would be that I love guns, and just having it with me all the time would be fun.

    • Yes, we need to be alert but this bill isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have 60 votes for cloture or a majority in the House. It is a political stunt designed to make us take our eye off the ball and suck up resources and energy for future fights. Let’s focus on the 2012 elections and greet the Boxer bill with the scorn it deserves.

  2. One book that does delve into why we have the Second Amendment is “The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms” by Stephen Holbrook, here on Amazon.

  3. Personal protection should be the number 1 infallible reason for “shall issuing” a permit.

    Side note:
    I believe the right to bear arms should be (re-)extended to include weapons other than just guns. I believe this to be the original intent, yet so many places have laws against knives and blackjacks and billy clubs, and knuckle dusters, dirks or daggers, etc. I have heard it argued that this was done to make it easier to trump up charges on poorer and/or less influential elements of society who culturally or economically preferred other varieties of arms.

  4. “[Smith] makes his dissection intensely personal and, well, nasty. ”

    Cool. I’m glad Smith isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. I think it’s fair, just and equitable to be nasty to people who are trying to screw you. I don’t think that the Founding Fathers said anything nice about King George. POTUS never said, “y’know, that Osama guy would be okay of he just stopped stealing our airplanes. And what’s up with that beard?” And if I ever write a book about Hitler, you can bet it won’t start out with “Adolph had the soul of an artist and really loved dogs.” Nuh-uh. I’m going to write that the guy was a scumbag. And so is Di Fi. As is Barbara the Mutt. Et cetera.

  5. Why are “anti-gun” people so afraid of the gun ( as opposed to the person behind the gun). I’ll bet one could be finished just as quickly with the major tool of our “national pass-time”,,,that would be THE BAT,,yet there are no bans,,permits to carry, proficiency tests, etc,, how odd. People just don’t seem to understand that the gun is simply a TOOL to be used in the performance of ones’ job (law enforcement), or ones’ hobby or sport (hunting–skeet/trap shooting), or , in the case of the criminal, to take away your money/dignity/ pursuit of happiness/and ,yes, possibly even your life. Let us blame THE GUN for this lack of moral jugdement ( as opposed to the PERSON behind the gun.) The folks that are “against guns” would be better served,,and possibly,, more believed, by the rest of the population, if they were as zealous about putting the “bad guys” behind bars, (doing away with “plea” bargaining and similiar non-sense) or possibly even more effectively, eliminating them altogether. This is just my humble opinion—think about it.

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