i feel safer in gun free zones
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By Amfivena

I like guns. I’ve always liked guns. I appreciate them for their history, their aesthetics and their engineering. I enjoy shooting guns, smelling the burnt powder, and cleaning them afterwards. I even enjoy just holding and looking at guns.

No doubt most readers share my sentiments. The problem is I grew up in an anti-gun family in an anti-gun state. So, for most of my life this interest in guns was a guilty pleasure. I kept the guns I owned hidden from friends and family, treated like a porn collection under the mattress.

I never really questioned why I felt guilty living in a safe, wealthy suburb and I never saw any practical and positive application for guns. The people around me didn’t hunt and weren’t victims of violent crime. Mainstream media told me guns were bad and the source of all sorts of problems and I believed them. I even wished we could be more like Britain or Australia. Without giving it any thought to the matter, I had accepted the mantra of gun control.

The Virginia Tech massacre was the first time I was forced to critically think about the fact I could be a victim. My time in Blacksburg was spent during the Clinton years. I was long gone by 2007, but the attack was still personal for me. It disturbed me in ways that reports of violence never had before.

Virginia Tech shooting
Injured students are removed from Norris Hall as police continue to hunt for the Virginia Tech gunman. (Alan Kim/The Roanoke Times/AP Photo)

I dated a woman in the dorm where the shooting started and had classes in the building where most of the carnage took place. I distinctly remember feeling uncomfortable with the calls for more gun control laws. At that point, I was still firmly in the ‘guns are bad’ camp, but for the first time, I finally began to think about the issue.

I taught American politics in Canada for a couple years after the VT shooting. When I teach I make a point of helping students form their own opinions about important issues. I do my best not to tell students what to think and my grading rewards forming and supporting strong opinions. I like controversial subjects because they tend to engage students the most.

A three-way discussion including me and two students who were destined for an A grade, while 17 others snooze doesn’t strike me as effective teaching. You need topics like drugs, guns, or sex to get the back row to wake up and participate.

I found most Canadian students viewed the Second Amendment in the same light as fugitive slave laws…outdated and barbaric. The overwhelming view of my students was that the USA is a violent place because of the Second Amendment. At first, I can’t say I completely disagreed.

In every class there were a few Canadians who held a minority view. I generally dismissed them as “gun nuts.” Yes, that was hypocritical given my own personal interests. My self-imposed duty to present both sides of a matter forced me to take them seriously though.

Over a few semesters I dug into the history of the Second Amendment looking for material to present both sides. I soon found myself making a case for the Second Amendment to the class and actually believing the words coming out of my mouth. I also found myself somewhat proud of the views as an American. It’s indicative of the bias prevalent inside the academic bubble that my new-found knowledge still stirred some guilty feelings.

I returned to the US a modest supporter of Second Amendment rights. I was generally in favor of civilian ownership of firearms, but still all too willing to randomly outlaw something in the interest of the greater good. It was an improvement for sure, but I was still more an enemy than a friend of the cause.

I continued to teach and always looked forward to discussing firearms. I developed stronger opinions on the importance of the Second Amendment with each passing semester. Despite this, my views on gun control remained soft. At that point I fully understood the geographic distribution of violence and crime, but I also cared about human life.

The daily body counts in our cities bothered me. I wanted to do something, even if the problem mostly occurred somewhere other than in my northern New England home. I remained willing to sacrifice some of my liberty if it might help others.

It took the Sandy Hook massacre for me to fully reconcile my conflicting views on guns. My daughter was the same age as most of the victims. So, like the Virginia Tech shooting, news of Sandy Hok was profoundly disconcerting despite the fact it had no direct impact on my life.

Adam Lanza's entry point into Sandy Hook Elementary School
Entrance to Sandy Hook Elementary School (courtesy Connecticut State Police)

The inevitable calls for more gun control laws and more gun-free zones suddenly made no sense to me. Mainstream media shouted ‘we’ve got to do something!’ For the first time in my life I asked the question; How will punishing law-abiding Americans make any difference to people willing to kill?

Thankfully, the internet enabled me to see that others were asking the same question.

With each passing year I became more passionate about the futility of gun control laws. The repetitive calls to restrict the rights of the law-abiding became insulting. I own a number of guns. I have never so much as willfully pointed one at another human being, let alone actually shot anyone.

My guns aren’t the problem. The 450 million guns owned by law-abiding Americans aren’t the problem. I care about human life and still want to do something about it. But nothing will change as long as we allow the leaders of American cities to deflect blame. African Americans and the urban poor continue to suffer because it’s considered racist to point out the real problems.

It’s easier and safer for politicians to blame someone else. That makes me angry. My guns no longer make me feel guilty.

The good news is that I’ve noticed a trend in my classes. This may be difficult to believe, but each semester I find more students arriving with a better understanding of the Second Amendment, why it’s important and a willingness to reject more laws restricting guns. Students who speak up for gun control generally spout the same old talking-points with little conviction and they’re getting counter arguments from some of their peers.

Class discussions usually start with a focus on self-defense and hunting which are certainly important aspects of our right to ‘keep and bear.’ However, I’m pleased by the fact I no longer need to bring up the topic of armed insurrection. A student, usually a veteran, unfailingly performs that task for me. I’m comforted by the fact I know a dozen or so former students (with infantry, Ranger and Marine service) who recognize that civilian arms are the peoples’ fail-safe against out-of-control government. Given the trend in constitutional carry and after the Bruen decision, the future of the Second Amendment looks sound, at least in my little corner of the country.

I can say that my support of the Second Amendment is now entirely free of ‘buts.’ Unfortunately, my views are still largely verboten in academia. I like teaching and want to keep my non-tenured job, so I regrettably have to write this under pseudonym. It seems the fight for our freedoms will never truly be won.


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  1. Censorship and threatening your job for holding opposing views are classic fascist tactics.

    Freedom is much more than owning guns. But they are the cornerstone of liberty. Anybody preaching gun control has an agenda of evil.

    • “Freedom is much more than owning guns.”

      True, but accepting the responsibility of owning them is a damn good start in the right direction…

  2. For some reason, the article reminded me of the recent ruling, by a federal judge in Oregon, that POTG are being presented with a phrase that looks like something this: “…for legal purposes”. That phrase limits the Second Amendment to self-defense, and hunting; ignoring the actual purpose, which, if it comes to it. is an illegal purpose. 18 U.S. Code § 2383 (https://codes.findlaw.com/us/title-18-crimes-and-criminal-procedure/18-usc-sect-2383/)

    2A defenders should refuse to consider a victory anchored on “…for legal purposes” as a victory at all; encouraging the organizations suing against restrictions on the Second Amendment; refusing to use, or accept the constriction of “…for legal purposes”. “…for legal purposes”, does not supersede the Constitution and its amendments.

      • “The American Revolution wasn’t “legal” according to the British.”

        Of course; rebellion is probably “illegal” in every nation.

        The oft quoted, but unreliably ascribed to Benjamin Franklin acknowledged the conundrum when saying, “We must all hang together, for if we don’t, we shall surely hang separately”.

        The irony of the matter is that the Constitution, which is the founding legal document, pointedly makes revolution “legal”; it is federal law that states otherwise. (Cannot find a reference for the original date of 18 U.S. Code § 2385)

        • When federal “law” conflicts with (violates) the Constitution I’m sure you know which is void.

      • From the musical 2776:

        John Dickinson: Mr. Jefferson, are you seriously suggesting that we publish a paper declaring to all the world that an illegal rebellion is, in reality, a legal one?
        Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, Mr. Dickinson, I’m surprised at you. You should know that rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as “our rebellion.” It is only in the third person – “their rebellion” – that it is illegal

  3. live for the day you can actually support the WHOLE bill of rights “out loud” and have no fear of retribution! Thanks.

    • This. The amount of picking-and-choosing Amendments from both sides of the aisle is disgusting.

  4. For what it is worth, I live in Colorado and am 77 years old. I always wear one type of baseball cap (about 20 or so different ones) supporting the police, 2nd Amendment, Veterans, and America. Colorado while a blue state is also a firearm state despite Democrat attempts to make it otherwise. I have never had anything but compliments from people of all ages who like what my caps say on them. I never once had anyone make a derogatory comment to me about the hats I wear. I also have stickers on my car that essentially say the same types of things, again with no negatives. So I think more people who believe as I do should not be afraid to express their feelings and push back on the anti-gun, anti-religious, anti-Americans who are in the vast minority and need to be put in their place. Don’t let them bully you because we are in the majority not them. You just need to stand up and let them know that and that you are going to fight back. This is our Country too not just theirs’s to do what they want with it.

    • dprato,

      Heading to Denver this week to run a 2-day IT strategy workshop for a client. Debating with myself: should I bring a pocket gun or my usual M&P 9c in a Sneaky Pete? Trending toward the G43 in a pocket holster because I will be carrying on the client’s premises. Coming in from PA, so there is reciprocity. Have any experience getting firearms through the Denver TSA folk?

      • Checked luggage, tell them you have a firearm to check in.

        Check your air carrier, they should have instructions. Your luggage must be lockable.

        There may be other requirements. Schedule yourself extra time at check-in…

        • “Your luggage must be lockable.”

          Take two extra locks; one spare for your home port, one spare for Denver.

          Or, maybe ship your firearm ahead, and collect it there.

      • DIA won’t bother you inbound. Just pick up your stuff like normal.

        If you bring a rifle case it may show up on the ski-rack area though (it’s along the back wall in luggage claim, a series of U shaped plastic bits that move like a regular belt and hold skis, rifle cases or snowboard bags upright.

        Outbound you declare it like normal and expect that they’re going to “examine” the baggage. Sometimes they X-ray the thing first, sometimes not.

        The airline will take your other checked bag(s) that don’t include the gun as normal and then pass of the gun container(s) to TSA to examine the gun case(s) by opening it, verifying it’s unloaded etc. They often take interest in removing the foam, or at least feeling around it, to check for explosives too because even though they swab it they know that’s fucking pointless on a gun case.

        This will happen after you check in and declare at the counter, they’ll take you to a room that’s in a hallway between the check-in area and security area’s upper floor and do it there (it’s not at all out of your way).

        You give the TSA guy/gal your case key/combination and watch, usually from outside the room, standing just back from the doorway. Takes a minute or two and then they relock your case and close your luggage if it’s a pistol case in a larger suitcase. At that point you’re free to go. Your bag will arrive as per standard at your destination. While I shouldn’t make an absolute declaration here, I can’t see them stealing or cutting off your locks.

        But they will raise a ruckus with you if the locks are not TSA approved locks (which, yeah makes no sense since you’re literally right there telling them how to open it but, hey, .gov regs are .gov regs).

        Nothing to worry about, really. Last time I went with a grip of guns the TSA guys X-rayed the case before they moved it to the exam room. They fought with each other over who got to open it because the three guys working that gig were gun nuts who wanted to see what was in the cases.

        The people checking you in for the airline and the TSA folks are surprisingly professional as they deal with this A LOT. If you get the wrong person the worst that will happen is that they nerd out about your gun(s).


        Now, if you’re actually going to be in Denver (the airport isn’t in Denver) that’s where you can hit problems via rules that differ from the state. Yeah, your CCW permit is valid but Denver is not like the rest of Colorado in this regard because it has Home Rule via the Colorado Constitution and can do things other places can’t, even if they have Home Rule.

        Mostly what you care about:

        You can’t OC in Denver. They WILL enforce that. But…

        A Sneaky Pete is basically foolproof for your purposes. You cannot carry a gun, however, onto or into real-property owned or leased by the City of Denver. Your CCW permit isn’t valid in those locations as of 2023. This includes public parks. First offense is a $50 fine and the penalties go up for repeat offenses.

        I will note that that DPD’s professionalism may (OK, it WILL) vary a lot from officer to officer. Not dealing with them is the way to go but generally I wouldn’t be concerned about it given your choice of carry method described here. I generally rock a shoulder holster in Denver, G19 on one side, two spare mags on the other but I’ve also carried a full size USP45 in an IWB holster or a G19 in an AIWB without problems. City slickers just don’t pay that much attention. As long as you’re not going to like Elitch Gardens (a water park), I can’t see it mattering much.

        If that’s all your bringing, a pistol, no worries. Depending on the Sneaky Pete in question you may not even stand out like… at all. Denver’s tech nerd sector is large.

        If you bring a long gun too, note that it’s illegal in Colorado to have it in a car with one in the pipe. The law specifically bans a long gun in a car with a loaded chamber. This doesn’t apply to pistols or revolvers. Also, in this regard, Denver does have an AWB that you probably don’t care about. It only really matters if you have a semi-auto centerfire rifle AND stuff a 15+ round mag in it. If the mag isn’t in the gun, it’s not covered by the AWB even if it’s “high capacity”.

    • Why I’m planning on hanging out in your burrow.

      Beer or the hard stuff? Does the Possum woman have an un-married sister? 🙂

  5. For out Anti-Gun Radicals out there there are a couple of books they should read if they truly want to be educated.
    Good Gun, Bad Guy 1, 2 and 3 by Daniel Wos
    A Few Common Sense Gun Laws by Christopher “Kip” Crofts

  6. Unlike the author, I grew up in a part of the country where firearms were just tools to be used for defined purposes. Hunting, varmint control, defense, and just fun recreational shooting. Seldom was it brought up about the primary need for firearms in civilian hands. As the last ditch defense against a tyrannical, over bearing government.
    The end goal of the disarmament industry is nothing less than a single party dictatorship with a handful of ruling elites giving orders “For Your Own Good” of course. Which usually means for their enrichment and power. Sadly, too many people have fallen for the garbage being spewed by the leftists about equity etc.

  7. Am I mistaken, or was both Debbie’s comment and my reply erased? if so, it looks like TTAG is picking and choosing which amendment they support. Remember, the Founding Fathers made the First Amendment first for a reason. The Second Amendment is second. Equal, but second. There is a reason for that.

  8. @neiowa
    “When federal “law” conflicts with (violates) the Constitution I’m sure you know which is void.”

    Seems it depends on one’s politics.

  9. “This may be difficult to believe, but each semester I find more students arriving with a better understanding of the Second Amendment, why it’s important and a willingness to reject more laws restricting guns.”

    I’ve also noticed this and kept track of it. It’s not something the media will talk about in public because it doesn’t further their agenda of gun control, generational warfare or both.

    There’s also a massive increase in what you might call “apocalypse” vehicles in the 18-25 crowd and they’re NOT interested in just buying stuff and having a shop put it together for them. They want to learn the vehicle tip to tail. I get questions about this kind of thing when people see my Jeep all the time, and more than half come from females.

    Once it became obvious that a lot of the “woke” shit was the establishment position, as you’d expect if you pay any attention, the youth started to reject it. <25 is now your cohort most vehemently against "cancel culture".

    Now, if we could just get the public face of the Right to move past the generational warfare bullshit they've been swallowing hook, line and sinker for 20 years we could make some real progress at burying the statists alive.

      • If you’d told me five years ago that a 1997 Cherokee that looks like it was modified immediately after rolling off the line, like, yesterday would be a chick magnet for girls ~15 years younger than me I’d have told you that you were a fucking nutjob.

        If you’d further told me they would want to know what tools to buy to work on it themselves and got extra moist after learning that I’m the one who rebuilt the entire vehicle (except paint) and that they have endless questions about this I’d probably have called the cops about the homeless mental case that was bothering me.

        And if you’d told me this would happen in the place that it mostly does, Boulder, I might have shot you due to fearing for my safety. It doesn’t really shock me where I live but there it’s exactly what you’d think wouldn’t happen.

        There’s something extremely odd about very fit, early 20-something, girls who are very likely not old enough to drink yet asking you about what socket sets you recommend “Because, you know, everything these days is made in China”.

        And the guys are not much different in regards to how they see the world overall. In 2019 the popular cars were high end sedans. Tesla, Audi, Benz, BMW etc. Now, it’s modified SUVs and trucks (and a few vans) tricked out for overlanding/sustainment. These kids nerd out about tread patterns and water consumption, power systems, snatch blocks, winches and spare fuel. They talk about how older is better because older vehicles are easier to work on and don’t have as many electronic components. These are, far and away the most common vehicles for them now with the exception of Chinese exchange students who still prefer the high end sedans or BMW SUVs.

        EV? Lol, get fucked.

        It’s like the 18-22 year old folks are suddenly balls deep in certain aspects of prepping. And the truth is, they are to some degree. Pantries are now “cool” because you might need them. Guns are an option they talk about openly enough to scare many faculty and some of the other hyper liberal students. Vehicles should be useful in extreme situations. You could argue that’s because Colorado but that doesn’t explain the sudden shift from 2019 to now.

        The first time I heard outdoor cookware, yes fucking cookware, described as having “drip” I about had a stroke. First from shock and then from laughing.

        I don’t think they fully understand it in the way people 30+ would discuss it but the kids have a significant sense that something is wrong, very wrong and that this is now an anti-establishment thing that they can do which is a form of rebellion and probably useful going forward. That overarching sense of foreboding is 100% wearing off on them, especially the ones from California who will tell you that they’ll never go back even to visit now that they’ve “escaped”.

        I also find it interesting how I see nearly zero fat Zoomers out of thousands and thousands and that most of the ones I’ve personally interacted with (several hundred) don’t tend to drink. Those that do tend to drink in moderation. The bars hate it.

        They smoke/vape and some of them microdose and go for a hike or something. They’re… shockingly normal. They’re also hard working, data driven, anti “woke” and extremely competitive in a capitalistic sense. They can’t fully articulate the reasons but they hate the Fed.

        Watching them mob TPUSA’s table while the Socialist table got two people, both of whom made fun of the people running that table, was hilarious.

        They’re obviously not perfect and they lack experience to be sure but the only proclivity they have that I find to be a significant negative is that they hate Boomers. HATE them with the burning passion of 10,000 suns. Yet, they can’t really explain why in any great detail, with explanations usually coming back to “they’re greedy and can’t stop talking shit”. It’s a zeitgeist for their generation, I suspect it’s 99% internet driven.

        • Boomers can relate to happier times…something they didn’t get to experience….perhaps they’re secretly envious?

        • They’re not envious. Their feelings border on disgust, which is extremely dangerous because hate fades, disgust doesn’t. We rage against what we hate, things that disgust us, we burn. Playing with this particular emotional reaction, which is tied to our innate fear of disease, is insanely dangerous. It’s how you get killing fields and death camps. The people playing with this know this and they want it.

          Now, that feeling, in this instance, is 100% not organic. It was implanted into them from the outside. School and media at first and then social reinforcements that run in the background once such a thing is injected. This means that since the whole thing is not organic, it can be reversed via what you might call “reconciliation”, which is really pretty easy actually.

          But along the current path this will continue on the same trajectory it has been on for years.

          The truth is that if you’re paying attention it’s damned obvious that the population has been gaslit against itself by “identity politics” of which generational warfare is a subset. This was done, and put on steroids post-Occupy as part of a divide and conquer strategy that, quite frankly, most people fell for.

          TV promotes one end of it to old people and the internet algorithms promote it to the the other end to young people. The statistical lack of crossover in media consumption aids in this. The fact that you use the internet doesn’t mean you see it. You have to use the right websites and apps to tap into what younger people are saying amongst themselves.

          The goal is obvious and has been for 15 years. It is, in a nutshell, the elimination of the Boomers and the taking of their assets that matter. This moves forward at an accelerating pace and, mostly, Boomers are mostly oblivious to it. Partly because it’s so audacious that most wouldn’t believe it and partly because Boomers are the first participation trophy generation, as shown by testing scores in the 1960’s. They were just more subtle about it back then, giving Boomers a high school diploma that’s realistically half what people got in the 1950’s. You can see the cutoff in 1964/65.

          Really, this is hardly surprising, really, since Boomers been lied to about money, currency and investment for their entire lives in a way that results in most of them conflating asset classes to the point that they have zero clue what’s going on. This means it’s nearly impossible for most of them to see the game because they don’t know what assets matter and therefore what the targets would be.

          They think they’ve been making money, but there is no money and they haven’t had a real raise since 1972.

          I don’t say this because I like it, I’ve argued against this for 15 years and people here on TTAG have seen me do it for year after year: If things continue apace Boomers will be fed feet first into a woodchipper and they will deny it right up until their toes touch the grinder. Hell, they’ll even attack the people like me trying to save them, they do it frequently. It’s the prison in their head that they think is a castle, I talk about that all the time. This is part of why.

          Regardless, this will happen and everyone else will be either ambivalent or cheering it on. Even Xers are now being drawn into the fight and they are, as expected, being lined up against the Boomers. This means that with a quickness you will have five generations containing adults and four of them will generally cheer on the elimination of the Boomers.

          I covered parts of that in my section on statistics for propagandists.

          Rule 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

          Rule 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

          Boomers are frozen, personalized and polarized and if there’s one thing authoritarians LOVE, it’s toying with and then eliminating “useless eaters” most ruthlessly.

    • “get the public face of the Right to move past the generational warfare bullshit“

      But that is the Dynamo that drives their fundraising efforts, they can’t just abandon the ‘fear and loathing of young people’ campaign.

      • COOL STORY, BRO!!!!

        Now do how Dimocrat/fascists are uniformly anti-Semitic, racist, and do it OPENLY (c.f., Pramiya Jayapal, Ilhan Omar, and Senile Joe).

        You REMAIN too stupid to insult.

        • He also conveniently ignores the fact that the statists and Lefties are the ones who created generational warfare and ramped it way, way, way up around the time of Occupy Wall Street.

  10. What I learned about gunms. The more people want them the higher priced they get. There’s a reason for the short barrel push, you can get 2 barrels out of one 24 inch blanc and a 24 inch barrel was standard, then 22 the 20(about right with the right powder an contour barrel) now its ten and 14and peach it all you want but a 62gr 5.56 out of a 14 inch barrel and the 55gr out of a 20inch barrel. Yeah you can lob a 62gr at low velocity but you’ve gotta shoot expert to get close.
    SBR’s are about saving money. Materials and production. I want to see that savings on the counter. A Marln 336 cost more to build then any AR.

  11. Unintended Consequences by John Ross might be a useful text for teaching…

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