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rand richards cooper

Why can’t gun control advocates and Second Amendment advocates talk? Why can’t they find common ground? In early April, Rand Richards Cooper published an op-ed piece on this topic in The Hartford Courant. As regular readers know, Connecticut has been a hotbed of gun control legislation in the aftermath of the Newtown school attack, so Cooper’s article and venue are unremarkable, however, he does raise important questions . . .

Cooper began:

Rarely do I feel more estranged from masses of fellow Americans than when confronting the views of passionate gun-rights defenders. I know they feel likewise about my side. Sometimes it feels as if there are two Americas, gun and non-gun.

This was brought home to me last year when I wrote an op-ed describing a scary run-in I had in the parking lot of a department store, where I’d gone to buy a bike for my 7-year-old daughter, with a guy who falsely accused me of scratching his truck, screamed profanities and tried to pick a fight. Amid the post-Sandy Hook conflicts over gun control, I used the incident to question the NRA’s position that arming more people would make daily life safer.

The article loosed a cascade of abuse online. I was “pathetic,” “a clown,” “wuss,” “girlie man,” “loser” and “snob.” One commenter invoked a “hypothetical” scenario in which I was accosted by an armed assailant and, for want of a gun, could only watch, “helpless,” as he murdered my daughter before my eyes, and the police arrived to “draw the outline of her crumpled-up lifeless little body.”

Such startling malice partly reflects the drearily ad hominem tilt of online commentary. But partly it inheres in this particular issue, and reveals the depth of distrust on opposite sides. The argument rages, nation against nation.

Cooper hit on at least some elements of this issue, but misses more. This particularly issue is difficult to discuss because any discussion must take place on multiple levels: philosophy, rhetoric and policy.

The philosophical level represents one’s fundamental beliefs, beliefs usually reflected in one’s politics. Second Amendment (SA) advocates believe that the right to self-defense is a fundamental, unalienable, natural right. Accordingly, all men have this right and the ability of all men to have and to carry the means to preserve their lives and the lives of those they love must not be infringed. They believe–for the writings of the Founders say so–that the Second Amendment was written primarily so that free men might always be free, so that their ownership of arms would deter tyranny, and when deterrence failed, they could overthrow tyrants. But the Second Amendment also recognizes the natural right of self-defense.

Gun control (GC) advocates will sometimes give lip service to a belief in self-defense, but their rhetoric and preferred policies cause the reasonable man or woman to doubt their belief in self-defense. One either believes that self-defense is an unalienable, natural right, with all the implications of that belief, or they do not. There is no real middle ground, yet GC advocates live, at least rhetorically, in that middle ground.

Surely, rational people on both sides of the debate can agree that violent felons and people whose mental illness makes gun ownership dangerous to them and others may be barred the ownership of arms, but beyond that, there is no common ground. SA advocates fight to establish and maintain maximum personal liberty. GC advocates fight to limit that liberty and to give the state even greater power.

Cooper touches on rhetoric which embodies logic, ethics and emotion–as Aristotle urged–in his opening paragraphs. From his encounter with an angry man, he reasons that had the man been armed, he and his daughter could have been killed, therefore to prevent the deaths of innocents, all should be disarmed. From the emotional comments of readers, he takes malice. Cooper is clearly arguing primarily from emotion and a GC ethic that claims moral authority from disarmament.

The writings of SA advocates touched upon by Cooper are arguments from logic, ethics and emotion. Accosted by an angry, armed man, it is best–it is moral–to be armed so that your daughter and you might live if attacked. SA advocates see this as only logical, and nothing more than an inevitable manifestation of the right of self-defense. The commenters to which Cooper referred apparently also believe that men have a duty to protect their children–and presumably their wives–and apparently don’t think highly of men who seem to be unwilling to assume that duty. To such men, it is ethically–morally–wrong not to protect one’s family, which tends also to be an emotional issue, yet Cooper acknowledges the validity of only his emotion.

Cooper notes that engaging one’s opponents helps to perfect one’s arguments, but it also leads nowhere, only to “opponent-bashing” and “preaching to one’s own choir.” Cooper asks:

I’m wondering: Might the two sides engage the gun debate with an eye toward finding some area of agreement — and, in the process, reassure each other about our fundamental intentions and dispel our respective suspicions and fears?

The bottom-line fear on the other side is that that we “gun-grabbers” want to take their guns away. On my side it’s that “gun nuts” are absolutists who will never agree to any limitation or regulation of gun use whatsoever, no matter how reasonable.

Cooper offers what I’m sure he believes to be reassurance:

So let me say without hesitation: I am not interested in grabbing anyone’s gun. Owning firearms is constitutionally protected, it is rooted deeply in this country’s traditions and it is not going to go away. Surveys show this position accepted by the overwhelming majority of so-called “gun grabbers” like me. The dark scenarios of government forces rounding up gun owners and seizing their weapons have no basis in our intentions.

A substantial part of the reason why SA advocates distrust GC advocates is dissonance between the levels. Even if a GC advocate claims to believe in the right to self defense, and even if they claim, as Cooper does, to respect the Second Amendment, and even if they claim they have no intention of taking anyone’s guns, their policy ideas are commonly at odds with the unrestrained exercise of lawful self-defense, and commonly limit the means of defending one’s life, even the mere possession of those means. Dissonance.

GC advocates commonly say, “I believe in the Second Amendment, but no one needs magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. No one needs ‘assault weapons.’ No one needs semiautomatic handguns, etc.” Or perhaps they propose that people that have such guns and magazines now can keep them, but they must be registered, and no one may have them after such and such date.

It is this kind of dissonance between the levels that convinces SA advocates that GC advocates can’t be trusted, that they do not negotiate in good faith. Another facet of rhetoric that works against building trust is that GC advocates insist on framing the language and terms of the debate and demand that SA advocates accept their premises before the first word is spoken:

Can gun-rights defenders offer a reciprocal reassurance about their intentions? Is there a willingness to discuss trying to reduce gun-related injuries and deaths in this country? This question presupposes a prior question: Can we agree that 30,000 annual gun-related deaths (and many more injuries) is undesirable; that it is a problem? If we can agree on that, we can proceed to discuss how one might reduce these numbers without threatening the fundamental right to own a firearm.

Cooper’s questions assume that SA advocates don’t want to reduce “gun-related injuries and deaths,” and that “30,000 annual gun-related deaths (and many more injuries)” are somehow desirable. His premise is that supporters of liberty don’t see such things as a problem. In other words, those that don’t accept his premises–even when they do–are not only illogical, but unethical and devoid of the proper expression of emotion.

Additionally, SA advocates are wary of the rhetoric of GC advocates because they have a long track record of cherry picking or slanting facts and statistics. Despite there being far more firearms in the hands of citizens than at any time in history, accidental shootings are at the lowest level in history, this accomplished by the tireless efforts of the NRA and gun owners. Violence of all kinds has been dramatically declining for decades, this too despite soaring gun ownership rates. GC advocates also tend to blatantly lie, as in the recent claim of 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook, by Everytown For Gun Safety that was quickly and easily exposed as fraudulent.

I assume Cooper is sincere and is actually trying to speak honestly about this issue, but he, like so many others on his side of the divide, apparently believe advocates of liberty to be devoid of empathy for others, or at the very least impaired in such attributes, or so their rhetoric would lead one to believe. There is no group of people more dedicated to gun safety and the prevention of accidents involving guns than gun owners, who consider every injury and death tragic and, for the most part, preventable. But not every death as a result of gunshot is a bad thing for society, and firearms are used far, far more often for good than bad purposes, often saving lives and preventing injuries. GC advocates commonly don’t want to speak about such things, or even hear about them. There is no dissonance between believing in self-defense, advocating for its means, and feeling good about its lawful application.

Here, Cooper again sounds reasonable, but yet again insults those with whom he wants to speak:

By no means am I suggesting that every measure proposed on my side is sensible. Some seem designed more for moral showboating than for practical results. I recognize that this truly is one issue for which the devil is in the details. But we won’t even get to those details if we can’t agree that the subject is worth talking about. Many gun owners view any such conversation as a Trojan horse designed to take their weapons away. Those on my side, meanwhile, view the refusal to enter into any conversation as a sign of rigid absolutism.

It has been my experience that SA advocates are more than willing to engage anyone in conversation about this topic. Sadly, their experiences mirror mine. When I refuse to accept GC premises, when I calmly and respectfully employ logic and fact, information that I can and do back up with unimpeachable sources and genuine science, I am virtually always barraged with accusations of being inhumane, and wanting people–usually children–to die by gunshot. Often the unbridled rage directed at me is surprising, and such “conversations” normally end with the GC advocate storming off, obscenities trailing behind them, while I quietly say, “nice chatting with you.”

The problem is not, for the most part, that SA advocates are unwilling to “enter into any conversation,” or that they are rigidly absolutists, but that GC advocates brook absolutely no opposition to their beliefs, their rhetoric–particularly when it’s fraudulent–or their policy prescriptions.

Cooper closes with several interesting questions:

The gun divide reminds us just how hard it is to comprehend the views and values of one’s opponents, let alone respect them. It is hard even to try. But how else will we ever bridge the impasse? Was it “one nation, divisible” that we grew up pledging our loyalty to?

The problem is not that SA advocates can’t comprehend “the views and values” of GC advocates, but that they comprehend them entirely, well, and find them wanting in terms of philosophy, rhetoric (fact) and policy.

When the topic is the unalienable, natural right to self-defense, what “common ground” may be found? Human beings, by virtue of being born human beings, have such a right or they don’t. Is there any middle ground? GC advocates believe there is, and its policy manifestations may be found in states and cities that don’t have “shall issue” concealed carry. In those places, for decades, some citizens were worthy of self-defense–the wealthy, celebrities and the politically connected–but no one else. Criminals, of course, don’t obey the law and so are always armed if they choose. Some GC advocates actually argue that this state of affairs is proper. On this topic, what compromise is possible?

And on the topic of the Second Amendment, what may advocates of liberty surrender? The deterrence of tyranny by gun ownership? The ability, when necessary, to overthrow tyranny by force of arms? The ability of each person to defend their lives and the lives of those they love with the most common and effective means?

We pledge our loyalty to America, to the Constitution that makes America unique among the nations and in history, and to all men that honor the Constitution. It is this that makes us indivisible, not that we agree on limitations to, on infringements of, the one amendment to the Constitution that preserves and protects the entire document and our freedom.

This is, in fact, an “impasse” that free men and women don’t want to bridge, that they dare not bridge if the Constitution is to remain in effect and if Americans are to remain free. About that, we’ll gladly talk.

Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.

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  1. No, we can’t have a discussion, because the words coming out of their mouths are lies. Every. Damn. Word.

    No matter what they’re talking about, they’re talking about taking away my guns. Not criminal’s guns. Mine. And yours.

    • But you just did. You explained why you don’t trust them with logic, and without threats, name calling, hypothetical or simply falling back on “it’s in the constitution”. It isn’t that hard. I recognize that some subset of the gun control population will never change and aren’t worth addressing, but most would-be advocates will at least take pause when confronted with the stark facts of what gun control actually means.

      • No, BP, I did not. I was addressing my armed brothers and sisters, not the liars who would strip us of our rights.

      • Another part of the problem is they’re not honest (intellectually or otherwise) about their deception. They’ve believe their own greatest lie: the lie they tell themselves and believe. This is how they justify “We’re not coming for your guns” but in action and consequence that is exactly what they’re doing.

    • Ralph’s tone is an example of the problem we face.

      To preserve the Second Amendment, we don’t need to persuade the virulent gun-grabbers. We do, however, need to engage the general public that doesn’t think about guns much one way or the other.

      Education is a key element in winning people over.

      To do that, we need to be reasoned, calm and articulate.

      • So the worst thing we can do is call a spade a spade?

        We’re not politicians. We’re just people who are tired of being made the scapegoat for the policy failures of our governments.

        Frankly, I do not intend to play kissy-face with the wingnuts. I’ll leave that to you.

        • Dude, what will being belligerent actually gain us? Yeah, there’s a lot of people who just can’t be talked to and engaging them can ultimately prove futile. But we keep engaging them because being hostile isn’t going to gain us anything.

          You aren’t going to find an anti-turned-pro gunner who will say, “Man I sure am glad the pro-gun guys called me a limp-wristed libtard asshat every time I posted something anti-gun, it really helped me come around and see the light.”

          The worst case scenario that comes with behaving with civility is that the anti-gun side’s bigotry and irrationality is set on full display. Best case is that someone actually makes the transition.

          The best case scenario that comes with hostility is that you give the anti-gunenrs more ammunition to use against us. Worst case is that you drive away fence-straddlers.

        • Ralph is spot on with concern for the GC Bolsheviks. There is no dialogue to be had and a case in point is the stupid gun control laws debated last summer in the Senate. Harry Reid just slathered all over the laws brought forward, but now since there is pro-gun legislation on the table, Harry will not even bring the proposed laws up for a vote.

        • Frankly, I do not intend to play kissy-face with the wingnuts. I’ll leave that to you.
          Oh, the Fudds and the RINOS most certainly will. Ready and willing to sacrifice their rights and yours so they can board the brightly painted cattle cars at all times.

        • Spot on, Ralph! I don’t negotiate with thieves or even potential thieves over what is mine from the start. Those who advocate gun control are really advocating theft of my natural and protected right. This particular right is critical to all of the freedom that I enjoy and will ever enjoy. I insist on being free therefore I insist on being armed. There really isn’t much, if any, room for negotiation.

        • Yes. When we debate with an ardent gun control supporter, we already know we won’t convince them. The worthwhile goal is to make ours seem the more reasonable position to those who have not yet picked a side to be passionate about.

          Most people don’t lie constantly, so someone who does is not expected by most people. Pathological lying is way outside of people’s experiences, so when they encounter claims odd such they are automatically skeptical.

          Imagine a stranger tells you that his wife constantly lies about the color of their dogs fur. You would likely not believe him at first. With gun control you have already been convinced and seen the evidence.

          Save the claims of constant lying for people who are starting to see gun rights as more reasonable than gun control.

          To catch a fish you drop in a lure to attract them, you don’t start punching the surface of the water.

      • I like Ralph’s tone – he is right on target. You cannot reason with the unreasonable. Those fence sitters who are not psycho wingnut anti inanimate object people I try to talk to, reason with, befriend, and arm. Those bent on annihilation of your rights (and their own) aren’t worth anyone’s time.

        • My problem with Ralph’s tone is that it suggests an oversimplified black-and-white division of people on the topic of guns and defines each group based on the loudest, most uncompromising voices. Yes, there are plenty of GC advocates who fit Ralph’s portrayal of them. However, I disagree that those people represent GC advocates as a whole. The leadership, sure. But my experience is that there are far more people who advocate for GC who are simply ignorant of guns and the laws already on the books. Because of their ignorance they are fundamentally incapable of recognizing the unintended consequences of the GC actions they support. Like supporting background checks because the notion of trying to block dangerous people from acquiring guns sounds good. Heck, I can get behind that notion. I just think the implementation is untenable.

          No disrespect to Ralph for his attitude and tone, however. I don’t know him apart from his presence here, but I expect he’s been around this fight for far too long to care to engage the opposition with reason anymore. I haven’t. I’m still relatively new to this fight and still have the energy to engage anyone who’s willing to listen and open to learning a thing or two about firearms and gun laws. You’re welcome to think me a damn fool for trying. It’s a label I wear with pride in tribute to my stubbornness.

      • Where in the hell did Ralph say he was against engaging the general public, anyway? I don’t see t.

    • Gun control advocates basically have what amounts to an eating disorder. They may not recognize it, but that’s what it is – it comes in the form of an insatiable appetite for rules and regulations.

      Let’s say you laid out a whole 7-course meal, with desert, on a table. That spread represents the fullest extent of gun control, up to full confiscation and repealing of the 2nd amendment. Most gun control advocates would look at the table covered in food, and say openly to others, “I don’t want to eat all of that,” attempting to disguise their true gluttonous desires.

      The problem is that, as soon as they start eating one little bite – a new law, regulation, or requirement here of there – they say to themselves, “gee, that tasted really good,” and they have another bite.

      Even as they start to feel worse inside, or doubt the true extent of their hunger – i.e. did any of these new regulations and rules help at all? – they take another bite, and another. They simply can’t help themselves.

      Food is good, so why stop? There’s so much of it here, and it all needs to be eaten! If somebody doesn’t eat it, who else will?

      Left to their own devices, and left unopposed, they would eat that whole table’s worth of food, given enough time to do so.

      Not surprisingly, for many of their political ilk, this behavior also seeps into other causes and beliefs for which they desire further government regulation and involvement: If something they do doesn’t have the desired effect, it must be because you didn’t do enough of it.

    • That is correct. You simply cannot have meaningful negotiations with an opponent who is not negotiating in good faith. The gun-control crowd’s inability to deal with the crazies in their own tent means that we simply cannot trust them. Look at what Bloomberg says about us. If they really wanted some form of reform, then why did they agree to let Dianne Feinstein push for her AWB renewal? If they were serious about compromise, they would have offered national CCW reciprocity. Instead they rebuffed Colburn’s proposal and they tried to make common criminals out of most of us with their Manchin-Toomey bill.

      They didn’t offer us anything because they thought it was their moment to stick it up our asses. They laid all of their cards on the table for all to see. After shafting the country with Obamacare, they thought they could get another one down on us. They thought wrong, and now they’ve showed the youngest generation that they are never to be trusted again. They got away with it in NY, CT, and CO, but they paid dearly in CO for it. They lifted the veil a little too early, and now we know who we are really dealing with.

      • Yes and yes

        For those not paying attention, the months after sandy hook opened a lot of eyes.

        The left made the classic mistake of sticking out their hand farther than they could safely draw it back. And every time bloomberg opens his mouth (have you seen his latest?) he makes sure no one will forget anytime soon.

  2. I don’t know or care what his position on guns is – I’ll assume from the first paragraph that he fits on the ‘anti’ side – he’s still right about the rhetoric and language we see coming from our side. Yes – I know – it comes from his side too, and it’s just as (if not more) ugly than the exchange he quoted. That doesn’t excuse it when it comes from those within our ranks. I’m not going to try and regulate the language of my hysterical opponents, but the people of the gun are better than this.

    • Here we go with again with the “better than this” nonsense. You left out “for the children.”

      Right out of the MDA playbook.

    • Better than *what*, exactly?

      Can you provide examples of the rhetoric (or invective) used by second-amendment advocates with which you disagree?

      • So either you didn’t read my comment or the article that inspired it or you’re simply pretending the content within doesn’t exist. Want examples? Scroll through any comments section on any article about guns, or any other controversial topic for that matter. Violent rhetoric, thinly veiled threats, incomprehensible gibberish from armchair constitutionalists and revolutionary masturbators. Better than *that*.

        • I read both. I’m asking you to cite a specific example – something neither in Mike’s article, nor in your comment. Perhaps you’re referring to this?

          “The article loosed a cascade of abuse online. I was “pathetic,” “a clown,” “wuss,” “girlie man,” “loser” and “snob.” One commenter invoked a “hypothetical” scenario in which I was accosted by an armed assailant and, for want of a gun, could only watch, “helpless,” as he murdered my daughter before my eyes, and the police arrived to “draw the outline of her crumpled-up lifeless little body.””

          The hypothetical scenario was spot-on. “Pathetic” and “clown” are arguably true. That leaves us with “wuss”, “girlie man”, and “loser”.

          Ad hominem? Yes. Wasted opportunity to put forth a much stronger argument? Certainly.

          But worthy of navel-gazing about the rhetoric of our side? Not hardly.

          And given that the rhetoric of the other side includes openly calling and hoping for the death (and raping/maiming/etc.) of us and our family members, “wuss”, “girlie man”, and “loser” aren’t even worth a second thought.

        • Chip, there are plenty upon plenty of cases where gun rights advocates make veiled or direct threats, sometimes at the POTUS. Again, I’m not sure if having me cite a specific example is simply a fool’s errand or if you’re genuinely unaware that they exist, but they do.

          Like I specifically said – I don’t care what the other side says. This is coming from someone who had his child threatened by an anti. I’m not on their side, and the more the represent themselves as the frothy mouthed savages that they are, the better. When someone on our side does it, be it a threat or a juvenile insult we all look bad, particularly because they have the media on their side.

          When Obama, Bloomberg or one of their friends says “Let’s have a conversation…” I know what that means. I can calmly and coherently explain what that means, but it doesn’t mean I’m exempt from every having to defend the second amendment in modern, logical context. Therefore, when someone like Cooper asks the questions he has above I’m more than happy to answer them. I happy to debate him. I’m happy to explain, that yes of course, 30,000 gun deaths are too man (1 is too many), but would he be happy if all those deaths simply happened by different means?

          I’m not abut compromises anymore than anyone else here, particularly when the compromise involves them agreeing to leave us with crumbs of the cake we once had, but I’m not going to adopt Ralph paradigm of “because I’m tired of talking about it” or “because they’re all liars”. The leaders of the gun control movement certainly are, but that doesn’t mean everyone that’s even listened to them is.

          • “Chip, there are plenty upon plenty of cases where gun rights advocates make veiled or direct threats, sometimes at the POTUS. Again, I’m not sure if having me cite a specific example is simply a fool’s errand or if you’re genuinely unaware that they exist, but they do.”

            Begging the question is just as much logical fallacy as ad hominem.

            I believe that you are sincere, which is why I consider what you’re saying to be unnecessary navel-gazing, rather than concern-trolling. Are there those on our side who use unnecessary rhetoric and ad hominem? Yes – just as there are CCW holders who commit crimes with their concealed-carry weapons. But that occurrence is such an outlier that it is essentially the exception that proves the rule.

            Similarly: I have a problem with your underlying assertion that there is any similarity whatsoever between the rhetoric of second-amendment advocates and gun-control advocates. There are orders of magnitude of difference in frequency and magnitude of such rhetoric. And as a general rule, I think our side does a fine job of policing our own.

        • I’m not sure what you meant with the first part – ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Were you talking about what you were asking me or what I was asking you?

          In regards to belligerence on either side, this is the internet. People can say things anonymously that they would never say in person, and it’s really hard to determine what “side” has the more aggressive proponents. I’d tend to agree that,in general, hard line gun control advocates tend to be more repugnant than hard line gun rights advocates, and the fact the latter group is larger and more passionate than the former says volumes about behavior.

          In respect to navel-gazing or concern trolling – it isn’t me you have to worry about. It’s the fact that our behavior will always be scrutinized far more than the opposition. It ain’t fair, but it is what it is. Every time I pick up or even discuss a gun in the presence of anyone who is uninitiated in any way, I consider myself to be an ambassador to gun culture. That’s a better approach than “f*ck you – I’m right”, I think.

          Let me be clearer – I’ll avoid the tropes of internet trolling and use an non-anonymous, real life example: James Yeager posted a video in which he said (I’m paraphrasing here): “If [x] happens, I’m going to start killing people.” This is completely unacceptable. This is violent rhetoric, and yet he didn’t immediately apologize or retract the statement, and when he finally did it was half-hearted and evasively, if not very eloquently, worded. Still, people supported him. I felt this reflected poorly on the gun owning community, and was exactly and example of the concerns outlined by Cooper above.

  3. Best analysis yet that I’ve seen regarding the divide in the “conversation.”


  4. Until the other side can acknowledge an intrinsic human right of self-defense, what really is there to discuss?

    • I heard the following statement from a liberal/progressive today:

      “My rights will always trump your rights.”

      Is a meaningful discussion possible in this situation? (rhetorical question)

      • Do they not even understand the bald hypocrisy of that statement? George Orwell himself mocked it in a bit of political satire 70 years ago.

        “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

      • Nope. You just have to fight them at the ballot box. Meanwhile they try to get the government to use the bullet box you pay for against you.

        Because they hate you and what you stand for. And FYTW.

  5. It’s hard to have a “conversation” with people who resolutely refuse to recognize any position but theirs as valid, who ignore any evidence that casts doubt on their preferred (and often made-up) statistics, and who respond to fact and logic with insults and stereotypes.

  6. People are rude on the internet, that’s a given. Both sides. With that out of the way, I think the major problem is low information voters. Certain scumbag politicians make their living off of these people, intentionally crafting bills with the intention of gaining votes because they promise to ‘fix’ everything.
    From personal experience, many anti gunners simply don’t care enough to learn if their opinions are supported by fact.
    “By no means am I suggesting that every measure proposed on my side is sensible. Some seem designed more for moral showboating than for practical results. I recognize that this truly is one issue for which the devil is in the details. But we won’t even get to those details if we can’t agree that the subject is worth talking about.”
    The subject is only worth talking about when the people proposing the laws ask real gun owners what they consider reasonable. I feel like he is arguing with the wrong side here.

  7. How can you talk to folks who don’t understand the meaning of “Shall not be infringed”

    • if you left that comment on the article, someone would come along and tell you “you don’t understand ‘a well-regulated militia'”, openly and clearly demonstrating that they either lack reading comprehension, or have an open disdain for the actual intent of the amendments in the bill of rights.

      seen it before, and I’ll see it again. it’s ironic that many of these people get in a rage about the Citizens United ruling classifying corporations as “people,” but willfully ignore that the second amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms, regardless of what it says about the necessity of having a militia.

  8. I think the real problem is far easier to understand: the “GC” crowd says over and over “can’t we find a compromise, can’t we agree to some regulation” failing to understand that fire arms and the 2A are already heavily regulated. They cannot see that already the PG citizenry have come 60% of the way over – and are being asked why they wont do a simple 40% more.

    • +1

      A real world analog would be Chamberlin’s appeasement of the Nazi’s in the 1930’s. “C’mon, just a little bit more…just a little bit more…”

    • Bingo. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who doesn’t like guns / favors more gun control who is aware of entrapments in the current laws like creating an AOW by adding a VFG to a pistol. All it takes to open a dialogue are a few examples of arbitrary legal/not legal firearm configurations, pointing out flaws in Manchin-Toomey and the fact that it’s already illegal to sell to prohibited persons, bringing up the lack of enforcement, etc. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who, after that conversation, doesn’t recognize that blindly advocating for more laws and restrictions is a waste of time, and that the dishonesty (and incompetence) of the politicians leading their fight is a much simpler explanation of why universal background checks didn’t happen than the usual “NRA = Mordor” narrative.

  9. I frequently hear talk of “compromise” from the anti-gun side. They are either willfully ignoring or are just plain ignorant of the definition of the word. What do we get in return in these compromises they talk about? They’ll only ban the guns that make them feel icky, but we can still keep buying guns as long as they have wooden furniture, Monte Carlo stocks and only hold an arbitrarily decided number of cartridges? When we see the kind of laws that get passed in the states where they dominate politics, it becomes clear what they mean by compromise.

  10. Its pretty hard to have conversations with people who call for your arrest, death or in the case of one gundense supporter on Twitter imposing heavy fines to the point that your children go hungry and taking their homes away.

  11. I find it interesting that Dodge just came out with a new 707 HP challenger. A slap in the face to 70 MPH speed limits everywhere, yet nobody in the drunk driving camps, or State police are calling foul, … Where is the outrage?…

    • See what they say when you slap a collapsible stock, a plastic pistol grip and numerous flashlights and lasers on a couple of picatinny rails on the roof! And don’t forget the extra capacity mags hanging all over the car.
      Wearing a black turban or hood will probably help your image a bit also.

  12. I’m with Ralph. Bottom line – Because we cannot trust them. They LIE, openly distort, and propagandize like Joseph Friggin Goebels. They had their chance to have a ‘discussion’ and we saw what they did. These people can’t even talk to us because they have no idea what they’re talking about, yet they want to be the ones to tell us what the laws should be on something they have no clue about?? (think: things that go up, disposable ‘clips’ and all that crap). They are LIARS. They are wacko zealots. And their end goal is to get rid of ALL guns because they hate guns and they scare them. I don’t trust them and they don’t speak my language, so fvck em. They made it this way, not us. They did. They could have actually listened to what we had to say after Newtown, not laughed off the NRA, and we could have had a ‘conversation’. But they fvcked that up, just like they fvck everything else up. So I say Fvck em. I can find no middle ground with snobby retards that want to act like they are right about everything even though they have no idea what they are talking about.

  13. Trojan horses from the 2A deniers are real and not something gun owners are (rightfully) ever going to accept. Rigid absolutism about constitutional law is also real, the difference is gun owners will readily admit it because it is nothing to be ashamed of. These are not supposed to be flexible laws that are easy to change on a whim. The fact that he thinks it is a negative term and as offensive as his side trying to pass deceptive legislation is just amazing.

  14. +1 Ralph…nothing to talk about. Rarely to ” guys? ” like this get it. And he had a “road to Damascus” monent…

  15. Why can’t gun control advocates and Second Amendment advocates talk? Why can’t they find common ground?

    Because there is no common ground. Antis hate guns and 2A people would like to own them and be left alone. The only common ground is the location where the two clash.

  16. There’s too many extremists on both sides of the “conversation” to ever make it work. That, and their idea of “compromise” is do what we want for nothing in return.

    You want this? Fine, give us suppressors back unregulated? You want that? Fine…no more tax stamps for SBR’s. Compromise by definition is both sides giving something to reach an agreement.

      • THEY started this war (after Newtown). Not us. They thought they had carte blanch and decided to go full scorched earth on all law abiding firearm owners, and they lost. Now they want to come back and ask ‘why can’t we talk’?

        They scorched the earth. I say let ’em eat ash.

    • By GC logic, they’re compromising by not confiscating all the guns right now.

      It’s natural give and take. We give them anything and they’ll take everything.

      • There would be a whole lot more ‘scorched earth’ if they decided to go that route. They might be able to try that in nanny nanny land NY, but try that shit here or a little further south, and it would get real ugly real quick. These people are dangerously naive if they think otherwise.

    • I’ve probably said this a dozen times on here, but here goes again. This is the compromise I am willing to make.

      All firearms purchases are BG checked, private or new, at an FFL. The GC side seems to think this is the end all of gun violence (without actually taking every firearm away from people).

      In return:

      No more weapon bans.
      No more magazine capacity bans.
      Suppressors, SBR, SBS, and AOW are taken off NFA (I am willing to allow suppressors to be bought under the same restrictions as a firearm, but ideally they should just be a chunk of metal)
      Concealed Carry without restrictions, unless the location is secured at all entrances with guards and metal detectors (so most courthouses.)
      Full-Auto registration needs to re-open.
      All of these must be preemptive against State meddling.

      Increase the severity of any firearm felonies penalties.
      Nominate an AG that will throw as many felons as far under the bus as possible.

      If they did this, I’m sure we would see crime in general fall like a rock.

    • Their idea of “compromise” is do what we want for nothing in return. Say you may slowly be catching on to what the sensible and reasonable GC dialogue entails.

  17. On balance, the civilian disarmament complex got smashed, post Sandy Hook. A handful of states increased restrictions on gun rights, dozens of states decreased restrictions on gun rights and federal anti gun legislation was defeated. The bad guys lost and now they want to have a two way conversation, now they want to be reasonable. They will take anything they are offered. They will treasure any victory (or defeat they can spin), no matter how small and they will never stop. They have been at this for decades. I am old enough to remember how high they were riding after the Clinton gun ban was signed into law. And then the 94′ midterm elections burst their bubble. They are going to relearn that lesson this November and they know it.

    Any restriction on gun rights is a restriction they can build on in the future, they are incrementalists. Their dishonesty is ingrained and is reflected in their language. They do not call for a two way dialogue to address the issue of violence. No, gun-violence is the way they want to frame the debate while they conflate lawful self-defense, suicide, accidents/negligence and the criminal misuse of firearms.

    When they stop making things up, distorting facts and proposing pointless restrictions on our rights, we will know they are finally serious about joining with us to find workable solutions.

  18. “Non Gun America” Otherwise known as, “The America in which only the criminals and the government have the guns.

  19. The divide, it seems to me, derives from the GC side’s absolute conviction that fewer guns will mean fewer gun deaths; that the solution to “gun violence” is limitations on the availability and capacity of firearms. “It’s common sense,” proclaimed Alan Dershowitz, responding to John Lott’s compelling and statistically supported position that it just ain’t so. In fact, Alan called John a charlatan and a fraud to his face and that (despite his lengthy credentials) John was no expert on statistics. Building on their premise that more guns=more gun violence, GCs claim the moral high ground on the basis that their efforts will “save lives” while the position of SAs will result in the continued slaughter of “innocents.” (I use quote marks as it would appear that the majority of “gun violence” victims are hardly innocent, but instead gangsters and their associates killing each other.) The fact is that their premise is nothing but a “common sense” conclusion that has no evidentiary support, without which they are unmanned (as Shakespeare would say it).

  20. Thank you Mr. McDaniel. I don’t have the ability to state the case nearly as well as you and the written word is now king. In a written or verbal discussion it is quite likely a skilled anti couild tie me in knot. I have to break things down to a pretty basic level and I have learned to do this. When I hear discussions about reasonable restrictions like background checks, magazine capacity, waiting periods, banning assault weapons I immeditely know there are no right answers to these subjects. With no right answers I understand that the root issue is lurking somewhere nearby and I better shut up and find it before it finds me. With anti’s they apply misdirection by giving away their real goal. Inevitably they will say that they know guns are legal and nobody wants to take your guns. As you said, that is what they want because that is the one thing that will end the debate. I have tried to come up with compromises because I have family and friends who consider me a gun nut but every time I try I realize I am an absolutist. I consider taxes on firearms an infringement. I now talk baseball with friends and family so I am classified as boring but not crazy.

  21. The GC “debate” goes, ” you have a cake, common sense is for you to give up half the cake. Then everything will be fine.”

    Should you ask “What will you give in return?” The GC responds with “It’s for the children…”

    • GC: “We’re letting you keep some cake!”
      SA: “That’s not giving us anything, we used to have a whole cake…”
      GC: “Is that half a cake? Looks like too much to me. You wouldn’t possibly need more than an eighth of that.”
      SA: “FFS STAHP”

  22. I don’t think that the talking points or what and how we state our position one way or the other is the issue, . Unless we are ready to destroy the opposing argument flat out and in the media why waste the energy. People’s values can run to the extreme as we have seen. Why talk to or about folks that rant that they are willing to ‘kill’ the NRA, and us so they can stop gun related killings? We shouldn’t. Let them stew in their own boiling mania.

    Along with this extreme, others have reached a personal limit with their acceptance of this society’s violence and where guns are used. They deep down know that the violence is a societal problem but they have devised a solution that to them is the cure all so why shouldn’t others jump on their bandwagon. Whether to remove all guns, or have guns outfitted some sort of new safety device, etc, etc. Whatever. To them they have the answer to save innocent American lives and to tell them differently is to shake their foundation. Any counter to their solution and the defense mechanisms come flying out. Also with these folks why waste the time? We literally are giving them forum to vent and further validate their position in their own mind.

    Unfortunately it seems apparent that the strongest voices against have other motives and we are then forced into reacting to the results of their actions to try to reverse or stop pending legislation. Folks speaking about gun violence and disarmament or regulation when surrounded by security forces are not convincing me that they truly believe they will change anything. Perhaps with all the gun issues no one is harping as much on income inequality and the rich are happy to sit back and watch their pile increase. Perhaps there is a scenario on the horizon (regardless of its probability) where government would want more control over folks unable to stand up for their rights and such an action is already precedented with folks losing personal rights and freedoms and loosing property as well. We may never know the real stories.

  23. The reality is, any change would have to come from within the gun community now.

    They poisoned the well with their extremism and complete ignorance after Newtown.

    Want to march me in like a common criminal to be mug-shotted, and taxed, and forced to frankenstein my assets just to make you ‘feel’ a little safer, and never be able to pass them on to my children – even though your own committee says it will not do anything to prevent another spree killing – but only so you can say ‘you did something’?

    EFF U.

  24. “From his encounter with an angry man, he reasons that had the man been armed, he and his daughter could have been killed, therefore to prevent the deaths of innocents, all should be disarmed.”

    The opposing argument from second-amendment advocates certainly wins on logic; however, we have the benefit of having more than mere logic and rhetoric on which to base the soundness of the two arguments. We also have statistical data that prove, unambiguously, that the theoretical, emotional rhetoric bears no semblance to reality. According to a recent report from Lott (“More Guns, Less Crime”), we now have, at a minimum, over 11 million adults who concealed carry in the US. If the risk of the raging redneck shooting someone over parking lot door dings were real, it would bear out in crime reports. Instead, those crime reports prove that fear to be nothing more than a gun-grabber Bogeyman.

    “The dark scenarios of government forces rounding up gun owners and seizing their weapons have no basis in our intentions.”

    Either gun-control advocates are naive about the inevitable – if unintended – consequences of their policy positions, or else they are intentionally misleading. I suspect that the latter largely consists those in position to make policy decisions (see also: Diane “if I would have had enough votes: Mr. and Mrs. American, turn them all in” Fenstein), and the former consists of the rank-and-file, ostensibly well-intentioned progressives either unable or unwilling to think through the implications of those policies to their inevitable conclusions.

    “Is there a willingness to discuss trying to reduce gun-related injuries and deaths in this country? This question presupposes a prior question: Can we agree that 30,000 annual gun-related deaths (and many more injuries) is undesirable; that it is a problem?”

    This is a subtle and well-played straw man. The key is calling it out: what does “sensible gun control” have anything to do with reducing gun-related deaths or injury? Where is the evidence that “sensible gun control” leads to that end? Gun control – ostensibly “sensible” or otherwise – only serves to restrict the freedom of sane, responsible, law-abiding citizens. On the other hand, given the percentage of those 30,000 annual gun-related deaths that result from suicide (50%) and gun- and gang-related activities (the majority of the remainder), perhaps our “conversation” should focus on reducing suicide, and dealing with gang activity and the violent behavior of felons such as drug dealers.

    But for those gun-control advocates in position to determine policy, gun control is an end far more important than dealing with legitimate social issues such as mental health and gang violence; and for the average-citizen gun-control advocate, “sensible gun control” is far easier to implement than the hard work required to deal with legitimate social issues such as mental health and gang violence.

    So, why is there an impasse? Because our ultimate objectives are mutually exclusive, and because of the cognitive dissonance between theory and reality with respect to progressive gun-control policy.

  25. I see gun control like the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Neither side believes the other should exist. When there is a death, both sides send bombs to each others side causing more conflict.

    Just like in the middle-east, the gun control conflict has no end.

  26. See the thing is… My mule doesn’t get it. He thought the anti’s were serious when they fired those shots at his feet.

    Now, if they apologize to my mule…

  27. Well written. I offer only this in addition: What if Cooper’s “angry man” had been carrying a gun that day, AND instead of being an angry man, that day was more calm in his demeanor, because he recognized that being angry could escalate the situation to a level which could lead to violence. Further, the “angry man” recognized that if he were the instigator in a situation that erupted into gun violence all of his freedom, and worldly possessions could be lost. Having reasoned, thus, the “angry man” was not angry. If that were the situation, the gun would have been unseen, but still changed the situation for the better.

  28. Let me get this straight….

    A gun rights proponent posits a “hypothetical scenario” wherein your child is murdered before you, and he calls it “startling malice”. But, when gun control proponents publicly state they wish the children of gun rights proponents get killed in front of their parents, that’s supposed to be a reasoned debate about gun sense?

    …and he wonders why the two sides can’t talk. That seems pretty obvious.

  29. So the aggressive man at the store didn’t even escalate to a fist fight but if he had a gun he would have used it? Do the GC advocates think us so stupid that they can’t see that their stories are BS and actually prove that reasonable people, no matter how much hot air gets blown, are not willing to resort to murder to resolve a conflict? It’s been said over and over, if gun owners were anywhere near as violent as painted by GC advocates, there wouldn’t be any GC advocates left.

  30. He hits on two very important points that others have highlighted: rhetoric, and that illusive “middle ground”. Others have also commented on the rampant stupidity that ebbs and flows from both sides of this issue, we should all be working to police our own.

    Sadly, from what I’ve personally seen at least (so take this as ye will), is that the other side will not even exercise due diligence in reinforcing at least some standard of civil discourse amongst their choirs. This makes them appear only discourteous, hysterical, and blood-thirsty. Take, for example, the bile spewed on left-leaning legacy “news” channels. Almost nothing but page after page of calls for bodily harm and death to whatever Boogeyman they have in their collective sights that week, which is usually the NRA, and even going so far as to call for the wholesale slaughter of innocent women and children.

    It is no wonder to me, then, that the vast majority of spree killers also wear leftist political stripes, as such were the cases of James Eagan Holmes (registered Democrat and Obama campaign worker), Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (products of union Democrats and Clinton supporters), Karl Peirson (vehement socialist and gun control advocate), Elliot Roger (the product of Democrats and Obama supporters), and on and on the list goes. By no means does the left have a monopoly on madness, however, but odds are the next spree killer will be cut from that cloth.

    Simply, the other side relies completely on cognitive dissonance after shouting down their opposition with a hurricane of churlish ad-hominem attacks, racial epithets, misogyny and misandry, and wishes of doom on you and yours. They cannot be trusted with public discourse. They cannot even be trusted with weapons of any kind. Why should we trust them with anything?

  31. Pro and anti second amendment advocates can’t get along for the same reason Israel can’t get along with Hamas. Ones side wants to live peaceably with their neighbors and the other side doesn’t recognize the other’s right to continue breathing. You can’t reason with people who are not only wrong, but think you are evil.

    • I think we can reason with them by exploring the one piece of common ground we all hold.

      We don’t want to kill them and they don’t want to be dead.

      If we combine that common goal with the fact that we’re armed and they aren’t, maybe it would be in everybody’s interest if they quit provoking us?

  32. My biggest problem with anti-gun people is their adamant and unshakable opinions about guns that are formed out of absolute ignorance. They have no real world knowledge of what a gun actually is, what it can and can’t do. They get all their “information” about firearms from movies, television and video games. The audacity of these people to tell me what constitutes “common sense” when they don’t even know the first thing about firearms is astounding. I don’t know about anyone else here but I tend to kept my mouth shut if I don’t know anything about a subject and I especially don’t try to change the way someone does something if i have no understanding of it.

  33. If 30,000 dead are the inevitable cost of freedom, then 30,000 dead are desirable.

    Of course, they are not. That number could reduced in a number of ways that do not infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. They represent a failure of government, not a failure to keep me from having a gun.

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