By Josh Tine
I don’t have much to add to the gun control debate that hasn’t already been said, or that can’t be backed up with data from current crime and/or concealed carry stats. But I can share my perspective as part of a growing minority within the pro 2A community, a liberal gun owner. I was born in New Jersey, raised in a home like many others in the northeast that had no firearms . . .
My family wasn’t anti-gun, we just didn’t have any growing up. Gun control wasn’t something we talked about, it was never discussed in my home, we didn’t think about it. I don’t remember ever hearing about it or, if it was discussed, paying attention to said discussion.
My point is that until about three years ago, I was one of these people on the fence that we hear about when we talk about drawing others to the cause of the right to keep and bare arms. I can’t say when or why I took an interest in the gun control debate, none of my friends or associates were pushing me one way or the other, but I can tell you exactly why I became a 2A supporter — facts.
I’m tempted to say common sense as well, but that term has become a misnomer as of late, so let’s just say that it was obvious to me that no law, or multiple laws, were going to keep guns away from criminals. I saw gun rights advocates using logic and reason during their discussions and in their articles, they presented facts. Those arguing for more gun control had nothing more than emotional arguments and quite often came across as hypocrites and/or emotionally unbalanced.
The gun control crowd had obviously not seen the things I have, and seemed to be out of touch. I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but I could tell something didn’t add up. Looking into things myself, I found more evidence that the pro 2A community had it right, they made sense.
Living in a few areas that were known for their high crime (three of the cities I lived in were represented in the top 100 cities with highest crime in 2012) I was twice offered a chance to purchase a gun illegally, even though I wasn’t looking. I declined on both occasions, but it forced me to realize that if one were to actively search for an illegal gun, they wouldn’t have to look too hard and certainly not for long.
Yet, I was living in area with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. It was literally easier to get a gun illegally than going through the proper channels. I could plainly see the failure of gun control, and I could hear it almost every night, read about it every morning. How could you think that adding more laws would equate to less crime?
The effect those events had on me wouldn’t become apparent until later in life. I began to think about legally arming myself. Three years ago I decided to apply for my firearms ID card and a pistol permit so that I might purchase a handgun and effectively defend my home if need be. But due to some indiscretions during my youth, not only would I have to jump through more hoops than already necessary to acquire an FOID card, I may not be eligible after all was said and done anyway. The writing was on the wall. I couldn’t effectively defend myself or my home in New Jersey. This also weighed in on my decision to take a job in Texas and move to a gun-friendly state; the money and lower cost of living were just icing on the cake.
After settling in with my new duties and living situation, I decided it was time to purchase a gun. Having some experience (not much) with firearms and doing a little research, I came to the conclusion that a GLOCK 17 would be the perfect fit. As I am not a convicted felon and now a legal resident of Texas, I had no trouble with my background check and walked out of the store with my brand new GLOCK 17.
Not that I needed much convincing, but the first time I took my own gun to the range, it cemented my position as a gun rights advocate. I took every opportunity to educate those friends and acquaintances back in New Jersey about the right to keep and bare arms. When all the gun control bills hit the senate and subsequently failed, my social media news feeds were filled with people that were “shocked and astounded” that the senate didn’t approve what they saw as popular opinion. I conversed with a lot of them, and argued with some, but I can’t help but feel that at least a few of them took a minute and thought about this from outside the perspective of CNN and MSNBC, maybe even thought for themselves.
It’s a pretty strange set of circumstances that as a liberal I have to explain to my liberal friends and family why I don’t believe the BS being shoved down our throats about the evil of guns. Some even came around and got their FOID’s and purchased their first firearms. They frequently call me and ask questions and ask for my opinion on different guns and accessories.
It’s definitely interesting being a gun rights supporter and being liberal. There are more liberals coming into our fold everyday, some are even Democrats. Most of them see the reason the Second Amendment is so important and realize why we all fight to make sure it isn’t legislated out of existence. It’s the people who present the pro 2A arguments calmly and rationally that draw us in from sitting on that fence.
I think it’s so important that when we discuss our right to keep and bear, that we keep that discussion civil, and not fall into the trap of lewd insults and infantile jokes. The anti-gunners are looking to use those missteps as evidence that we are childish, immature or worse, ignorant and violent. Thought-provoking discussion and ideas will draw more people off of the fence than anything else. It is, after all, what got me thinking about guns in the first place. I’m sure that it will do the same for others.