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By Cain Pence

The anti-gun Biden administration and a seemingly never-ending spate of mass shootings have resulted in renewed calls for gun control. Like so many previous failed efforts, attempts to increase restrictions on civilian gun ownership are doomed to failure. One reason for this is that proponents of increased regulations and gun control laws continually fail to understand the geographical, historical and cultural values of America’s gun culture.

One of the fundamental failures of gun control advocates is their lack of understanding of American geography. Forget about legal or political arguments. The three words that defeat so many attempts at gun control have nothing to do with Supreme Court decisions, they have everything to do with an American mindset: the American West.

America was a frontier nation. Three thousand miles of vast, often hostile wilderness created an American character dependent upon firearms. The country could not have been settled without guns that provided food and protection.

When gun control advocates complain that America needs to be more like Australia or England or Japan, they need to consider the geographical reality of America. Huge, wide open spaces, often with no formal protection or law enforcement led Americans to rely upon individual gun ownership throughout our entire history.

Unlike European and Asian countries where gun ownership was exclusively in the hands of wealthy land owners or military personnel, ownership of firearms in America has always been remarkably democratic. Unlike other nations, middle class and poor Americans have always enjoyed the right and the reality of gun ownership. It has never been exclusive to the elite.

Besides the need for food, gun ownership has a special relationship with the American identity. Throughout our history, the gun has been a tool for protection and for providing game, but it has also served as a symbol of cultural identification.

The minuteman, the pioneer and the cowboy are all powerful cultural symbols of American ideals…all of them including guns. There is an emotional and political attachment a man has to his gun that he does not have to his toaster or dishwasher.

The image of a patriot with his musket or a backwoods man with his rifle is ingrained in our collective American mindset. Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens is to many Americans like taking away pickup trucks or Bibles: it’s an attack on one of the core aspects of Americans’ cultural identity. A nation that was founded in rebellion with free armed men actively opposed to the troops of a monarch will never easily part with their weapons.

I live in the heart of Minneapolis only a few minutes from where George Floyd was killed and hundreds of buildings have been burned in the aftermath. The constant protests over the last year (not just in my native Minneapolis but in dozens of cities throughout America) have resulted in increased individual gun ownership among Americans.

As crime rises and police become more reluctant to aggressively enforce laws and pursue criminals, one result has been a sharp increase in Americans’ desire to own firearms to protect themselves and their families. If the police won’t protect people, everyday Americans, as they have throughout their pioneering history, will protect themselves.

Does that mean we are forever trapped in a debate between “gun-grabbers“ on the left and “gun nuts” on the right? I think and hope not. I believe both sides in the stalled debate on the right to keep and bear arms in America can come together on the core issue of mental health awareness and treatment.

President Biden has made it clear that he considers spending on schools and education are essential investments in infrastructure. Republicans, conservatives and gun rights advocates should work with him on insisting that increased education spending includes increasing the number of mental health counselors and resources for struggling students.

Catching and effectively treating mental illness early not only helps our youth and economic future, it will improve our public safety. Almost all mass shooters provide multiple early warning signs of mental illness or extreme anti-social behavior. Funding programs that identify, confront and treat children and teenagers that exhibit violent and dangerous behavior is critical to stemming future violence and prevent mass shootings.

Conservatives and liberals must work together to provide resources and professionals to schools, churches and families that identify troubled youth before these children grow into violent criminals or murderers.

Money and effort spent on mental health awareness and treatment is a far better allocation of funding than attempting to limit law abiding citizens’ ability to purchase or legally carry firearms.

Americans of all persuasions and backgrounds can work together to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed while respecting the rights and values of the millions of good, responsible Americans who consider individual gun ownership an essential component of our national identity and freedom.

 

Cain Pence is a Minneapolis based writer. A graduate of Georgetown University, Mr. Pence has traveled throughout all 50 states and his writing has appeared in numerous publications. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

33 COMMENTS

  1. In Texas, we are in a struggle against the demoncrats and the rino’s including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that are trying to sabotage the Constitutional Cary bill. Need lots of young constitutional fighters in our legislature to replace the socialists of both parties. My state rep. says the bill will make it to the gov. desk for signing.

  2. Fortunately the massive incompetence of BidenHarris has doomed the Democrats to loss of the House and the Senate in 2022 and very likely the White House in ’24. That is if the Swamp part of the Republican party can be held in check till they can be rotated out, Liz Cheney kicked lose from leadership seems like a good start.

  3. This kind of thinking is how we lose. The author fails to comprehend that the reason the anti-gunners want to take our guns is not because they honestly want to reduce crime and are misguided about the solution or they have a lack of understanding about our cultural values. It’s simply because they want a socialist tyranny and know that the only thing that stands in the way of that dream is armed citizens. They don’t want to come together with us, they want to rule us absolutely. The only problem they want to solve is the one where us being armed is preventing them from achieving unfettered power over us. Sorry, but if you don’t understand that, you really don’t have much to say.

    • Yes, exactly, this article is pure RINO GOPe stupid-think.
      The Left just wants to crush us.
      Conventional JFK “liberals” are like the dodo bird and essentially not in the game.
      Let’s just get to CW2 and be done with it.
      The way Biden is torpedoing the country it may get here a lot sooner.
      The wheels are falling off this country.

      • CW2, in America, I dont want that.
        The French helped in the first American revolution and we won. This time the Chinese would help the “Red Coats” and we’d lose.

        • “This time the Chinese would help the “Red Coats” and we’d lose.”

          I hate to admit it, but I fear you’re probably spot-fvcking-on with that prediction…

    • uh…… buddy….. hate to break it to you…. hate to burst your bubble….. your bubble land fantasy….
      but…. the. gov ALREADY owns your az and your pea shooter ain’t stopping them from doing ANYTHING….. They can and DO have “unfettered” control over your dumb az

      • If the government was so full of strength and power why wasn’t Afghanistan pacified? Why didn’t the Vietnamese capitulate?

        They had pea shooters too.

        A Civil War in this Country would cause a worldwide conflict. The Chinese, the Iranians, Russians and other foreign actors would provide support to each side. The Middle East would fall into deeper violence and all-out war against the Israelis would start.

        Not to mention the US Military would be divided, some would follow orders of the puppet government and fire upon fellow citizens. Others would refuse and the military effectiveness would be severely degraded with AWOL personnel and a lot of equipment and munitions going with them.

        There would be a nuclear weapon used, possibly more than one once chaos began. Think of the oil pipeline that was shutdown by cyber warfare, our missiles are a target.

        Nothing will be civil about it. People will die. People will suffer. Everyone you know who survives will be psychologically different than they are now.

        As to the post…. we cannot coexist with these people, they hate us, they hate what we stand for and they want us dead. They are the ones who have a choice to make, do they leave us alone in peace or do they decide to attempt extermination?

        • “A Civil War in this Country would cause a worldwide conflict.”

          “Nothing will be civil about it. People will die. People will suffer. Everyone you know who survives will be psychologically different than they are now.”

          Unfortunately, very true. Any conflict would need to be contained to local levels, and not a nationwide conflagration.

    • They want to rule us because they think they are better than us. And what they want to do to fix “the problems” quickly (think 5 year plans), might be more than most will tolerate without persuasion

      What is the difference between a Capitalist fairy tale and a Communist fairy tale?

      A Capitalist fairy tale starts with “Once upon a time”.

      A Communist fairy tale starts with “One day there will be…”.

      (Did Miner’s head just explode?)

    • The author lost me when suggesting working with biden…no way Jose. To do that gives that election fraud pipeline wrecking turd standing and Jim Crow Gun Control joe ain’t getting the time of day from me.

  4. I would argue the 2A is 99% infringed already. There have been far more massively reaching weapons controls that have essential destroyed freedom in this country. Gun control act, NFA, hughs amendment, brady bill and more. We are really just trying to keep that 1% alive at this point. We need to put things into perspective.

    We can’t even own land in this country. If you are paying property taxes you are renting. It’s renting from your locally, state and federally elected nobility. You can’t do business in this country without interacting with the government. (your fellow Americans largely want this too). If we had even half the country as pro constitution or pro 2a we wouldn’t even be where we are now.

    The idea of freedom is only alive in a minority.

    https://youtu.be/i61mHo7D3JI

  5. Seventy two million

    Those are the three words that will keep them from controlling us. The estimated number of gun owners in the US.

  6. Actually, the primary reason nation-wide gun bans fail is because We, the People in a lot of states and locales don’t allow the ban proposers to fool us into thinking we’ll be more safe without guns than with them. And it certainly doesn’t help much when they’re also screaming that the cops (actually, the government) can’t be trusted… If not the cops, who?

    The 10 or so million new gun owners last year are living proof that most people choose to exercise other options that hoping their government will take care of their lives and property. They’ll gladly accept the Harris/Biden welfare checks but personal security is different. It’d be nice if the bedwetter types would stop running from the nanny states and then try to change their new home state or city into a model of what they just fled…

  7. I know that in every mass shooting I’ve researched there are many signs several months prior to the shooting itself that something is wrong with the shooter or shooters. Signs that often get ignored or when someone actually tries to get help, they fall through the cracks of our mental health system/programs. I have siblings with mental health issues and neither is well enough to have access to a firearm–nor are they legally allowed to. After his death, the majority of my father’s firearms were sold except for a handful that my only nephew inherited–and three my son inherited that his cousin is holding for him. David made it clear that if he can never take possession of them Zac’s newborn son, Carter, gets them. (For the record, David is in an adult foster care home because he is autistic; if he can ever live on his own he can have the guns but no one is sure if he will even want them since he has never had an interest in guns.) My brother turned the four firearms he owned over to his son when he was diagnosed and two of the guns Zac inherited from Dad are technically Jim’s. I told Mom to go ahead and sell the two handguns I would have inherited since she needed the money to pay off funeral debts.

    My point? Mental health care in my area needs resources to work effectively–and patient cooperation to work at all. It has neither most of the time. And EVERYONE needs to get on board if it is going to be fixed. It doesn’t need a Democratic solution or a Republican one because that kind of (perceived) slanted solution will not be allowed to work. It needs an AMERICAN solution.

  8. I was raised on a S.C. farm, hunted & fish
    Went to turkey shoots. Never own a gun in sixty years, but BLM & DNC forced me to get one! Now I own a gun.

  9. It’s firearms, not fiearms. I was going to forward this to my anti-gunner contacts but I hate to when the spelling makes me & other pro-gun folks look bad.

  10. “Money and effort spent on mental health awareness and treatment is a far better allocation of funding than attempting to limit law abiding citizens’ ability to purchase or legally carry firearms.”

    ^^^____ THIS RIGHT HERE ___^^^

    Take a deep dive into the history of mass shootings in this country and you will find a nearly universal truth. A known nut job was not only responsible but there was awareness of the threat ahead of time. That awareness ran into the swamp of lousy laws, inadequate training, lack of funding and other obstacles to preventative action.

    Remember Nancy J. Lanza who died because she tried to get her son mental health care and he killed her for it. After the authorities turned her down repeatedly.

    And you all know who that insane person killed next, right?

    • Adding to your list of the deep dive into the history of mass shootings, we would be remiss if we did not include the aspect that a large, if not vast, majority of them occurred in gun free zones, which I refer to as potential “free fire zones”. Consequently, many of the victims were not armed and had the means to stop, or deter, an attack.

  11. Wow what a nice feel good article about working together. I problem is that DemoRats always lie and can’t be trusted. Crime is not the issue and neither is imprisoning criminals, the tools and the money are there.

    The issue is that “Gun Control” is a LIE, the reality is it is about controlling us, the Left’s political opposition, strip us of our rights, are ability to defend our lives and property and we are nothing more than dependent slaves of government. So pardon us if we have no interest in helping you with “Reasonable Whatever”, as you have shown that laws only apply to honest people and felons, illegal aliens and rioters are your allies. Thank you for finally showing who you really are.

    The answer is there for all to see, Americans are arming themselves, against your lawless mobs and we will not comply. You need to be stripped of all your political power and every time you speak, no matter how sweet and reasonable, it is the voice of tyrants that we hear.

    Take all your controls and deposit them in your Southern Regions.

  12. Gunm control is hitting your target.

    When your a giraffe saying, ” I’ve had it up to here” means something. A worm not so much.

  13. This trash pile of an article is a great example of how “decent” people keep losing to the radical leftists in this country. The old saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” should be addended with “the road to a mass grave is built for your own good.” One of the key weaknesses of good people which is continually exploited by evil actors is their puzzling inability to internalize and apply the fact that wicked persons would do things that they themselves wouldn’t personally do. This is the height of folly; attributing altruistic intentions to the stated agendas of radical Marxist sociopaths has never ended well, and it’s not going to start now. There are undoubtably those democrats (probably the majority) that truly believe in the cause and their hearts bleed for the pain and suffering they see around them, but the true leaders and shot-callers of the party take all of that emotional energy and invariably channel it to evil ends; the ignorant liberal constituency is just too braindead and idiotic to see it. The RINO pipe dream of communists and patriots coming together to sing kumbaya and have solidarity around mental health is ridiculous and shouldn’t be the goal of any rational thinking person, it is nothing but mental masturbation; pathetic and ultimately unfulfilling.
    This logical disconnect is borne of a fundamental ignorance of the nature of evil and the fallen state of man. This is the way, there is no other this side of eternity. Ignore it at your own peril.

  14. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil in the world is for honest men to stand by and do nothing.”

    Some of the most honest individuals I have ever met are not the now ‘traditional’ Democrats and Republicans. They are not the professional politicians trying to run the show in every local, county, state and federal government body. They are the marginalized, the unwanted, the ‘hated for whatever reason.’

    They are the veterans and others who need mental health services but are denied them because they cannot afford them and a pervasive attitude of ‘you should be over this’.

    They are the domestic abuse survivors who cannot get protection because they are male or gay or both or are trying to get away from someone prominent in the community and/or that person’s child.

    They are the lesbians who learned to use a gun because they were raped to ‘cure’ them and the police refused to help.

    They are the men and women denied justice because they are seen as gay.

    They are men and women in the Leather and BDSM who cannot go to the police after they are attacked without losing their freedom, their dignity, their privacy, and their families.

    They are the women seen as ‘wrong’ because they are ‘too strong’ to be feminine. Or straight.

    They are the survivors of things too horrifying for most people to contemplate.

    They are those who can’t afford to have illusions about what the world is like.

    And I am one of them.

    • Tammy you are a distraction. Nothing historically has prevented a white homosexual from walking into a gun store. And buying whatever firearm they wish. Unless they believe that Firearms ownership is a heterosexual act.

      That idea being promoted by socialist progressive gay people.

      • Not my point. The so called ‘mainstream’ has the idea that being ‘other’ either makes you weak or makes you aggressively violent. And that being ‘other’ means you hate guns. I trust the fringe groups more than I trust the mainstream because they have proven to me that they are trustworthy. Most of the mainstream hasn’t.

        Can we agree to disagree on this?

  15. And not one word from Cain Pence about putting 2A education and rifle teams back into the curriculum of every school in the United States???

    So firearms can be demystified when it comes to children . Learn discipline. Learn about their firearms Heritage as an American citizen.

    It’s all just another “I Surrender strategy” from the gun community.

  16. When you consider that most Americans couldn’t point to Texas, Florida or Alabama on a map, urban lefties having no idea of the cultural differences between them and us is not surprising.

    “When quizzed on the location of 7 states, the survey respondents could only correctly identify an average of 3.4. The good news is that 94% do know where the United States itself is – the bad news is that 3 out of 10 thought the U.S. population was between 1 to 2 billion.”

    National Geographic’s 2006 Geographic Literacy Survey

  17. “…insisting that increased education spending includes increasing the number of mental health counselors and resources for struggling students.”

    Oof. I teach these students you speak of (at the college undergad level), and I see the kinds of “mental health” problems they have. For 90% of them, it amounts to having a sad, being kind of lazy, not understanding personal responsibility, and knowing that it’s easier for faculty to just give them a pass. I can’t tell you how many kids come to me about midway into the semester to inform me – not ask, not apologize – that they won’t be turning any more work but still expect to be able to finish on time and with an A.

    On the other hand, something like 10% have actual, serious problems in their lives, are working legitimately hard in the face of real difficulty, and deserve my empathy and assistance. I just grit my teeth and treat everyone as if they fall into this 10%, even though I’m certain most need a kick in the pants more than a helping hand. After all, it’s not my business to know the intimate details of every students personal problems. I have to believe them, even when I don’t.

    The number of kids I’ve encountered who had the kind of mental health issues that could result in a mass shooting is zero as far as I know. Throwing money at student mental health isn’t a solution to violence in schools, in my opinion. More likely, it will just be one more incentive for angsty teens to make excuses and avoid doing real work.

  18. Sorry, this doesn’t really cut it. The Second Amendment is not about hunting or putting food on the table or even the Wild West, as it didn’t really exist at the writing of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was clearly put in place because the British Government tried to disarm the colonists immediately before the American Revolution and they didn’t want an American government to get the same idea. Yet, here we are.

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