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By Dan Baum

We who frequent this site agree, I’m sure, that an armed citizenry is a good thing. I’ve lived in several countries where the only people with guns are the military and police, and it’s not something we’d want replicated here. Also, a lot of us simply like shooting and owning guns, and we want to hold onto a hobby we enjoy. I certainly want to keep shooting the collection pictured above . . .

There’s a lot of talk on this site about what Farago likes to call our, “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” right to keep and bear arms. With all due respect, though, simply asserting our rights, over and over and over again, is not going to ensure that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy gun ownership and the shooting sports. The hard truth is this: There are no “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights. In a representative democracy like ours, nobody has any rights that the majority doesn’t want him to have. Ask African Americans. Ask homosexuals.

Both groups enjoyed the same “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights as straight white men ever since the Equal Protection clause was written, but that didn’t mean they could exercise them. Blacks and gays didn’t begin enjoying their full civil rights until a majority of Americans became convinced that continuing to deny them was morally wrong and caustic to the well-being of the nation.

It wasn’t the riots that brought about the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; it was African Americans demonstrating, under terrible duress, that they were decent, God-fearing, patriotic Americans to whom a great injustice had been done. It wasn’t Act Up that moved the needle on gay marriage; it was gays and lesbians showing the rest of us that their way of loving is as rich and worthy as anybody’s. Blacks and gays began enjoying their “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights, in other words, when they demonstrated to the majority, by moral example, that they deserved them.

How do we gun owners do the same? Electoral and legal battles won’t do it. The Heller and McDonald decisions firmly established the Constitution confers an individual right to own guns, and yet we’re still no closer to being secure in our gun rights because a great number of Americans simply don’t buy it. If we want those people truly to accept our rights to keep and bear arms, how do we replicate what African Americans and gays did, and demonstrate by moral example not only that we deserve our rights, but that everybody will be better off when they’re honored?

Not, I think, by open carrying into Kroger, insulting the “liberals” and the “gun grabbers” — the very people we need to win over — and incessantly beating our spoons on our high chairs about our “rights.” We do so by showing that we accept our responsibility, as the keepers of the national civilian arsenal, for keeping the country as safe as possible from the harm that firearms can do.

That can mean being a well-trained, concealed-carrying sheepdog when out in public. But it also means accepting that it is neither weak, nor freedom-hating, nor “liberal” to be anguished by gun accidents, suicides, and homicides, and that minimizing those incidents is not the job of politicians, but of us. We’re the ones who own the guns. We’re the ones, ultimately, who decide what happens with them.

All guns start as the legal purchases of law-abiding people, who then lose control of them. When a child finds a loaded gun and kills herself or a playmate, it’s because a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. When a teenager gets ahold of a gun and commits suicide or worse, a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. Most guns used in violent crime are stolen, usually from law-abiding people who leave them unsecured. The majority is not wrong for wanting this nonsense to stop.

The truth is that while each of us individually may believe he’s careful, as a community we are fatally sloppy. We have been so focused on bleating about our rights, that we have lifted our eye from our responsibilities. It is only by rediscovering, as a community, our commitment to the awesome responsibility of owning something as lethal as a firearm that we will ultimately secure our rights.

We need to take the lead on reducing firearm accidents, suicides, and homicides away from Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg and the Brady Center — who don’t understand firearms at all — and reclaim that leadership for ourselves, who do. We need to demonstrate to the majority, by our moral example, that our right to keep and bear arms is not a zero-sum game — we win and you lose, or vice versa — but that an armed citizenry is good for everybody, gun owner and non-gun owner alike.

It won’t do to say that winning over the antis is a lost cause. The white south was no less intractable on civil rights, and such conservative states as Arizona, Oklahoma, and the Carolinas have legalized gay marriage. People can move, if properly led.

So this is an invitation to the People of the Gun. How do we do this? What can we do as individuals and as a community to demonstrate to the majority that we are as useful to democracy and to the safety of the nation as we believe ourselves to be? How do we lead by moral example?

Dan Baum is the author of Gun Guys: A Road Trip.

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269 COMMENTS

  1. Hell, man. You don’t even know under what form of government you live! And congratulations. You have the knowledge of a 3rd grader when it comes to the Constitution.
    .
    What else is there to say!
    .

      • Representative democracy? Nah, that’s middle school stuff. Either you had a really bad teacher or you skipped class that day. Recite the pledge of allegiance ten times, and pay close attention to the words.

        • Actually, Dan is right. Our government IS a form of representative democracy – specifically a constitutional republic.

          Note the word “representative”? It distinguishes from a true democracy which of course we are not.

          Per Wikipedia:
          “Representative democracjy (also indirect democracy) is a variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. All modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies”

          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy

        • Sorry, but you fail.
          Our constitutional republic is quite similar to a representative democracy, however there are differences. It is not the similarities which matter, but those differences. Key among those differences is the ability of the majority to abolish natural rights, which can happen in a democracy. In our republic, it is individual rights, not the peoples’ rights, that are protected.
          A simple comparison when comparing a democracy and our republic, is to compare a man and a woman. They are nearly identical genetically, but it is the parts that are dissimilar that make all the difference in the world. Our republic has many features in common with a democracy, but it is not one.

          Wikipedia isn’t the best source for such information.

        • Sorry PaulG but in your words “you fail”

          You fail to have read that a constitutional republic is one form of representative democracy. At no point did I (or wikipedia) claim they are the same concept.

          You fail at logic 101. Did you know that a peach is a fruit? So if one were to point to said peach and exclaim “I love that fruit!” They would be correct. It’s a cool concept. Feel free to draw up a venn diagram of it if helps you.

          I couldn’t make sense of your man woman comparisons and how they relate to forms of government – so I don’t know if that’s a fail or that you are just thinking a lot about gender differences today.

        • Mac, please find a reputable teacher, your miseducation is sad. No, the republic is not a type of democracy, it is a completely discrete construct. It has elements in common with democracy, but is not one.
          The founders conspicuously avoided a democracy of any kind. References to democratic principles belie that the republic shares elements with democracy, but it really is academic laziness to refer to them as democratic processes, they are common to both tbe republican and democratic forms of government.
          Thus your peach/ fruit analogy is flawed. A better analogy would be a lemon and a lime as both are citrus fruits, with much in common, but different.

    • “Blacks and gays didn’t begin enjoying their full civil rights until a majority of Americans became convinced that continuing to deny them was morally wrong and caustic to the well-being of the nation.”

      Wrongo. On both blacks (Civil Rights era) and gays, the courts were ahead of the population. Correctly in fact, but first the Court handed down Brown v. Board of Education, and then later the Civils Rights Acts were passed, in essence ratifying those court decisions.

      • Back when open carry was legal in CA, people who practiced it were arrested, hassled, detained, ect. But it was a legal right.

        I believe the main point is that we need to have our rights respected, as we respect the rights of others. We need to win the hearts and minds of the general population, obtain the moral victory.

        If you waved a magical wand over NYC, made all the unconstitutional laws disappear tomorrow, it would not matter much. You would still get full on swat mode terrorist panic brought down on your head if you strapped on your six-shooter and walked down wall street. The general attitude of the people and law enforcement is what needs to change. This can only be achieved after the moral victory IMO.

        If a officer arrests you while you have your side arm on and holstered, say for menacing or some other BS charge, and the DA refuses to press prosecute and tells the arresting officer to stop being a idiot, then your on the winning side. Till then, we are on the losing side, even if we have the legal right. If you have to enforce your rights with a lawyer, its a social problem.

  2. This is a really, really dangerous argument to be making, because it invites the anti-gunner’s argument that laws restricting gun ownership (at least, laws regarding HOW guns may be owned) are a good and positive thing.

    Yours isn’t WRONG, exactly, but you really, really need to draw a clear line there. The big problem is that this exact same argument could be made about cars, but no one makes the same argument when a child is run over, or a teenager dies in an accident (or even suicide) that somehow it is the car owner’s fault.

    Cars are stolen plenty often too. These stolen cars may be used in the commission of crimes, and they may even be used to kill (sometimes accidentally). They aren’t usually stolen from locked garages with steel doors and concrete walls, though; does this mean that anyone who fails to store his vehicle in such a garage is negligent? Is somehow responsible when his car is stolen and used to commit a crime or kill someone? Is the car owner who HAS such a garage responsible when his teenager sneaks in to commit suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning?

    • Not talking about fault. I’m asking how can we get past this endless trench warfare over gun rights that neither side is every going to win, and get back to that pre-1960 place where gun ownership was normal and accepted?

      • Except you describe fault in multiple ways in your essay. It certainly comes across that you are trying to say we are at fault for it.

        It’s one thing to decry the lack of civility in politics, which many do. But we didn’t start this lack of civility. That really needs to be front and center. Most firearms enthusiasts aren’t uncivil, and many who are online are trolls for the other side looking to poison the well.

        You also seem to be grossly misinformed regarding accidents. Less than 1% of all accidents are firearms related, and even fewer fatal accidents are firearms related. Moreover, firearms accidents of all types are on the decline and have been for decades.

        Criminal use of firearms is a slightly different matter, but criminals have many more avenues for acquiring firearms besides outright theft. But even crime, including gun crime, is on a long decline.

        I’m also having a hard time taking your essay seriously after what you wrote in the 2nd paragraph. The Civil Rights Movement succeeded BECAUSE of the 14th and 15th Amendments. We would have had to have had another Civil War for them to succeed otherwise.

        And as for homosexuals, the only way you could claim that _marriage_ of all things was a CONSTITUTIONAL argument would be to use the 10th Amendment. But under the 9th Amendment, marriage is not the responsibility of the federal government (yes, DOMA was unconstitutional. It was wrong for Clinton to sign it, and it was wrong for the Republican legislature to pass it).

      • One take away from this essay which is clearly relevant is that as a pro-gun civil rights movement, we POTG must find a way to proactively wrest ‘the message’ away from the gun prohibitionists and not continually, always be in a defensive posture trying to beat back the antis incremental steps toward confiscation as we are perpetually doing now.

        That is a very difficult proposition to work from when operating in an environment where the national government and nearly all local and national media has unabashedly lined up with the anti-gun industrial complex and is collectively unwilling to give pro-gun folks even the time of day.

      • Hey Dan, I actually really enjoyed your article. I thought it was well thought out and I think I understand where you are coming from. If I can summarize my understanding you ask the questions – 1) How do we address / improve specific societal problems? 2) How do we open dialog and improve understanding of gun issues and the gun community with those who don’t understand. And 3) How do we provide an exemplary image?

        It sounds like everything you mention is done via education, best-practices or “self-regulation” versus more laws or regulation from authorities or mandates. I certainly wouldn’t agree to even more laws, but a continuation of best-practices I can relate to. The NRA has been doing an amazing job on this for decades and some improvements in today’s age couldn’t hurt.

        I think your intent of saying that there are no constitutional or God-given rights was an illustration of practicality. While conceptually and as a legal concept we of course DO have such rights, practically they will disappear like any other if we do not ensure their continuance.

        I will also say that I expected you to get flack for this but oh man! Yeah, you got it LOL. Hope you have some tough skin man. More on this point and “trenches” in a minute.

        1) I think that every gun owner should do the best that they can within their means to secure their firearms from theft and unauthorized use. Yeah, just before the end of the prior sentence some eyes have already hazed over and brains have sent impulses to mouths to spout “I’ll do whatever I want it’s my right!”…yup it is a right….and intelligence is neither a privilege nor a right, it’s a choice. I’d say that an educational campaign via a more trusted source like the NRA is our best bet. “By gunners, for gunners”. If it comes from (hack) government, or store clerks, or some PSA it’ll be met with scorn and ridicule by us all including me.

        2)This is best done on an individual level otherwise you get into pack mentality. I help those outside of the gun culture all the time to better understand our viewpoints and to know how the “statistics” spouted are purposeful misinformation paramount to lies. Don’t expect to ever get with MDA and have them understand…it won’t happen…ever. They’re an army and are not interested in “understanding”, they want what they want and have painted us the enemy.

        3)Yeah…that’s not going to happen. The members of the gun community come in so many shapes, sizes, educational background, decibel factors, etc. You’re not going to stop someone from being obtrusive if that’s their M.O. I do agree though that name calling is not productive.

        Trenches: Did you see the reaction to your article? Most enthusiasts or activists on both sides are entrenched…it’s sorta their definition. I think that many in the gun community legitimately feel burned with damning rhetoric and sneaky false-flag litigation from the gun-grabbers. I know I do. What I wish is that more of my fellow enthusiasts in the gun community would realize is that most of the people we meet (not politicians or news reporters or anti-gun-activists) who feel they are for gun control just don’t understand. They still need the dialogue, they still need the information, many of them will (and have) come around.

        Anyway thanks for the article, discussion, and open mind! Oh yeah, and also for finishing middle-school! 😉

        • I really liked your comments and would agree with a lot of what you have said. I will take some issue with the NRA comments. And yes I am a member of the NRA and believe they have been instrumental in making the difference in a lot of instances, however I think they will also have to take a larger roll in the actual bridge building to the other side as opposed to the trenching themselves in before large progress will ever be made to bridge that gap. And I often wonder if bridging that gap would be a conflict of financial interest to the NRA. Please don’t take this as an anti NRA response, it is not that at all, again I am an NRA member and fully intend at this point to remain an NRA member.

      • Well, in 1960 you had federal receipts and outlays balanced, each at about 17.8% of GDP. Today? Receipts are in the low teens and outlays are in the upper 20s. This doesn’t even count the unfunded liabilities like social security, nor the precarious financial position many states and cities have developed for themselves. Neither does it consider the vast swaths of the economy dedicated to compliance with governmental edicts of one sort or another.

        Between all of the people taking a paycheck or welfare check from the government, or whose livelihoods depend on the propagation and perpetuation of myriad governmental infringements, you have an overwhelming majority of the population geared toward more and more government. That all comes at a price. We pay with taxes and we pay with debt (which is just tomorrow’s taxes), sure.

        Mostly, though, we pay with our freedom and a settling and solidifying resignation that government is the right and proper originator and dispenser of our rights and all that we’re entitled to in this world.

        If you want to ramp up our freedoms, then you need to roll back the menacing spread of big government and the ward-of-the-state entitlement mentality that fuels it. Kinder, gentler words and exchanges of pleasantries aren’t the answer, my friend. A rolling back of big government is not a dinner party.

    • John P,

      Upon additional reflection, I think Mr. Baum’s proposal is even worse. Look at it this way …
      Suppose that ten families (including yours) live on a remote, isolated island. Unfortunately, 6 families have fixated on the females in 4 families and are demanding to have sex with them. Even worse, the 6 families have threatened to use force if the females in those 4 families do not comply.

      Dan Baum’s proposed solution to the above problem is that those 4 families lead by moral example … which means letting the other 6 families rape their females until those 4 families have sufficiently enlightened the other 6 families.

      The real problem here is that everyone grossly understates how truly abhorrent gun control is. Just ask the people who were forcibly disarmed and then died at the hands of an attacker because they could not defend themselves. Oh wait, we can’t because they are dead. Gun control violates our human dignity on multiple levels.

    • The cars vs. guns treatment by the public does a good job of demonstrating the practical validity of the OP’s argument. A right that is not supported by 51% of voters hangs by a tenuous thread; it may survive, but it’s under a serious threat. Cars enjoy no clear-cut Constitutional protection; much less, a natural-right recognition. Yet, its inconceivable that legislators could do much to reduce access to cars or licenses to drive them. Our individual right to private motor vehicles is secure. Not so our right to arms – the means to an effective self-defense.
      There is no point to trying to convert the Antis; we need to bolster our rep with the un-committed (and, for that matter, the Fudds). Seising and holding the moral high-ground is part of reputation building. Another is bringing the un-committed to understanding the role of guns in self-defense, defense of neighbor and neighborhood, and ultimately, the sovereignty of We the People. These are among the arts of politics; and, frankly, we PotG aren’t really good-enough at these arts.
      Bleating about the Constitution (“what party of ‘not be infringed’ don’t you understand”) doesn’t have an impact on a voter population that simply doesn’t much care about the Constitution. Most voters just don’t ‘get it’. What they might get is: self-defense; defense-of-others; Ferguson; Paris; . . . the soft knock of a SWAT team at their door.

      • Actually the automobile analogy isn’t that flawed if it was followed correctly. Legally, only professional drivers are required to be licensed, and the same can be said for commercial versus private vehicles regarding registrations and insurance. This has been buried for decades now, and few are aware of this, with even less actually taking advantage of this information.
        In many ways, the conversion of a right (travel via the conventions of the day in the former case) to an implied privilege is already taking place with firearms, to the glee of gun owners. Concealed carry should be a right, yet it was denied, and then re-allowed under privileged (licensed) status in much of the nation. Yet we celebrate this.

  3. I stopped reading at “there are no ‘natural, civil, constitutionally protected rights'”. Kindly go pound sand, sir.

    • I did the same. The problem that this author has is that he doesn’t believe in right and wrong, apart what a given society happens to believe at any given moment.

      To the author: If you don’t believe in morality, why is your post call upon morality in it’s title?

    • +1 This is complete drivel. And we live in a Constitutional Republic where even a majority that wants to vote out your rights is wrong on it’s face.

      Your lack of understanding is the problem, not gun owners asserting their rights.

    • This one got me bowed up too, however I kept reading.

      He is patently wrong, though. There are “Constitutionally protected rights.” You can read all about them in the Constitution. And for those who understand the concept of God and man’s free will, there are God given, natural rights as well.

      I second the poster who expressed his un-surprise at a liberal not understanding these concepts.

    • You’re right, but you’re also missing the point. Natural rights aren’t given by anyone, but constitutional and civil rights are. And all of them can be taken away if a large enough majority wants to take them. That’s what he’s saying.

      • Constitutionally protected rights are not “given” by anyone. They’re simply natural rights that are enumerated in a Constitution, to provide explicit protection. The United States Constitution does not give rights. It protects them.

        And “a big enough majority” cannot take rights away from anybody unless that somebody LETS them be taken.

        • Amendments can take away any rights. Remember Prohibition?
          I live on Long Island and here in NY and many other states the 2A apparently means nothing.
          It is very easy to limit or restrict gun ownership, just regulate all ammunition. It’s being done here and will soon come to other states.

      • No majority will take my rights. I’d rather die fighting. You can only LET them be taken by doing nothing. That’s what was meant by our the Founding Fathers when they said they “pledged their fortune, lives and sacred honor” to the cause of freedom.

        Live like a just, free man.

    • Another ditto.

      I barely made it past this part:

      “Also, a lot of us simply like shooting and owning guns, and we want to hold onto a hobby we enjoy.”

      Comes across as awfully FUDD-ish…”I like guns; it’s a hobby.”

      To some, it’s not a hobby at all. It’s a way of life, or a profession, or perhaps a moral imperative.

      This “hobby” and it’s all about “liking guns and shooting” viewpoint looks WAY over the real issues. It’s one dimensional and misses a lot of what is at stake in the much, much bigger picture.

  4. No surprise that a liberal completely misunderstands the difference between natural and civil rights constitutionally protected or not.

    • Okay, John Thomas and Mack Bolan. You can fight this battle endlessly if you want. Call people names. Insist on what’s “yours.” Me, I want to be free to enjoy shooting and collecting guns in peace.

      • The only reason you’re able to enjoy shooting and collecting guns is because you have a God given, inalienable, Constitutionally protected right to own and use firearms if you so choose.

        • But we can’t really enjoy that right, can we? Because we are hounded incessantly with the Shannon Watts/Michael Bloombergs of the world who want those rights taken away. The question is: How do we break through? I’m suggesting one way of thinking about it that goes beyond simply asserting our rights, because that isn’t working.

        • You’re correct. Asserting your rights doesn’t work when your position is “There are no ‘natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected’ rights.”

          It’s not possible to be effective in the fight for something you don’t believe in.

      • I didn’t see any name calling, and as for the struggle, this struggle will go on and on until there isn’t anyone to argue about it. Going back to one of your previous responses, when you said you wanted things to go back to the pre-’60s attitude where owning firearms was socially acceptable, even back then, there were people who opposed the 2nd amendment. Even before there was an America, there has been a battle over the right for “commoners” to own weapons. This is not a battle that will ever be “won”.

        • I was going to point this out too. Has this writer never heard of the National Firearms Act of 1934?

        • The Rights of The People MUST be constatntly exercised, guarded, defended, protected, and fought for or THEY WILL BE DENIED by those who would seek to be tyrants.
          .

      • You prove my point. You are unable to separate legal permission, from the right.

        Laws do not grant or deny a natural right
        Laws can grant or strip a civil right.

        See the difference?

        Now apply that logic to your post and you will see why it is being met with some well deserved criticism. Until then, we can’t have a conversation because we aren’t speaking the same language.

        • That’s your problem, Mack. You use “Liber-Logic”.
          .
          Laws cannot grant Natural Rights because Natural Rights exist with or without laws (other than natural laws).
          .
          Laws CAN, however, DENY one the exercise of a Natural Right by imposing penalties on those who chose to exercise those Natural Rights in defiance of the law. Those penalties can be as severe as death as they are in some countries (North Korea, for example).
          .
          The Bill of Rights RECOGNIZES Natural, Unalienable, or God-given Rights if you will. It does not CREATE THOSE RIGHTS, and thus laws passed by Congress or decrees by the President in the form of Executive Orders, cannot remove them. Those actions can only DENY the free exercise of them.
          .
          You Sir, have little knowledge of the Constitution and should consider taking a year or two sabbatical from commenting on it while using that time to inform yourself about it.
          .

          .

        • Before you attack my knowledge of the constitution, you might want to check your own reading comprehension, Dick. We pretty much said exactly the same thing, except mine was actually coherent.

          And no Dick, the law can not DENY the exercise of a right. It can only punish the exercise of a right after the fact. So if you chose to not exercise your right out of fear of punishment, it is you who has surrendered the right, it has not been taken from you.

      • Dan, I didn’t call you any names. “Kindly go pound sand” is simply a tongue in cheek way to say that i disregard your opinion. I thought that was evident. In any case, you make it very evident that you are no lover of liberty, and are content as long as the state “allows” you to play with your fun toys at the range, and MAYBE, if you jump through enough ridiculous hoops, defend your life with them. You embrace what is expedient, and not what is right.

  5. Worked alright for the 1st amendment to suggest the anti’s go pound sand.
    Larry Flynt, Ice-T, 2 Live Crew and all.

  6. I believe your aim is off. The struggle is not trying to win over the other side. Instead, it is about the children. It is about having them grow up exposed to the “proper” influences. Antis seek to limit exposure to fiearms with any positive slant, focus on negatives about firearms, and push it is common sense to get rid of firearms and an interest in them is abnormal or antisocial. Me? I take them shooting and let them safely have fun. It makes the antis’ propaganda easier to identify and resist.

      • Teaching the adults is sometimes necessary as well. We’ve all seen the unending lists of comments and articles on this website loudly screaming what our rights are and what “infringed” means. But it is all too rare to read of someone preaching of the responsibility that comes along with any right.
        Far too often I’ve encountered a customer coming into my shop looing to purchase a cheap handgun “to keep in the car”. Why a cheap one, I ask? “Because it could be stolen” is their reply. At this point I’ll ask this otherwise “law-abiding” citizen looking to exercise their natural right to be armed why they wish to give a gun, even a cheap one, to the next criminal that decides he’d like it more than they did. When I suggest that they should buy a good quality firearm, (because their life may depend on it) and then take steps to keep it secured or on their person at all times (because, duh…) they often look at me incredulously, as if none of this ever occurred to them. The author is right about a goodany things in this article: we need to declare our rights, certainly. But we all need to practice, and encourage, our responsibility.

  7. For starters, no threats of violence or name calling to those who oppose the right to bear arms. I saw a post on Facebook by a woman who opposed the 2nd amendment, but instead of someone giving a calm and rational response, a guy posted “Well, I hope you get raped and see how much you need a gun”. That sh*t ain’t helping the cause, and the antis love to cherry pick stuff like that.

    • The problem Dirk is that you are trying to use rational arguments to influence the behavior of rabid fascists. The Gun Culture in the US is already the most responsible on the planet. (We have fewer accidents per gun or gun owner than any other nation on Earth.) At some point, the only response to harassment and threats of violence is actual violence. Now I’m not saying that they should be seriously injured, but a forceful reminder to keep a civil tongue is sometimes required. I miss the early 1800s. If the likes of Watts was around back then, she would have been challenged to a duel within her first six months of hateful and slanderous tyrades.

      • Spot on. I’m not so much trying to influence anyone, as I am just saying I wish people could be civil. I hold the same amount of disgust (if not more) for someone one the other side that says “I hope all gun owners die of Ebola”.

  8. I take issue with your claim that “if a teenager gets hold of a gun and uses it to commit suicide, a law abiding gun owner let that happen.”

    I am not responsible for the actions of other people. If somebody steals my firearm and uses it in a malicious manner, I am not accountable. Just like the owner of a stolen vehicle isn’t accountable for the property damage caused when that vehicle crashes through a storefront. Just like a store owner wouldn’t be held accountable if his store was broken into and knives were stolen and later used to kill someone.

    I am responsible for making an honest effort to secure my firearms, and educate those for whom I am responsible about their safe and effective use, and nothing else.

    A teenager Hell-bent on killing himself will find a way to do it. I didn’t “let it happen” if he breaks the lock on the liquor cabinet, or the medicine cabinet, or anything else. I didn’t “let it happen.” I made a reasonable effort to secure my belongings that have the potential for misuse, and someone intent on misusing them circumvented my safety protocols.

    The discussion about the toddler finding a firearm laying around and accidentally shooting somebody is a different argument, because as a parent you are 100% responsible for watching out for that toddler 100% of the time, because they are incapable of taking care of themselves. That is a world of difference from a young adult or adult who is in fact capable of handling personal responsibility.

    You simply cannot hold the owner of an object, whether it’s a gun, a knife, an SUV, or a bottle of Jack Daniels, responsible if someone else intentionally misuses those items. That’s not how this country works.

  9. Give them an inch and they take a mile. At the end of the day, we need to draw a line in the sand and make it clear that crossing said line will have drastic and personal repercussions for those that do. I say we bring back tarring and feathering of people who lobby to restrict the rights of others. If the likes of Watts show up on their lawn covered in tar and feathers, perhaps the lesser trolls will get the message that certain arguments simply are not acceptable. Right now we are taking the “moral high ground”… I, however, reserve the right to punch in the face anybody who is a clear and present danger to my freedom. Freedom of speech is not the same thing as freedom from repercussions for said speech.

      • I take this sarcastic response to mean that you DON’T believe in fighting those who represent a threat to our freedoms?

        That’s a shame.

      • No, that should be reserved for actually serious crimes. I prefer physical discomfort and humiliation as an appropriate punishment for stupidity.

        • Public humiliation and embarrassment would likely discourage some the anti-gun copycats.

          But the hardcore antis themselves don’t seem to have any perch on reality when it comes to guns, and their veracity is so thin I seriously doubt they would ever suffer humiliation or embarrassment, just anger.

  10. Ehhh… partial agreement. We can do more to encourage safety and proper safekeeping. We are not however responsible for the actions of others.

    Locking up your guns when not in use is like locking your doors, its common sense, anything you own and wish to continue owning you should take measures to protect. However, that does not transfer the blame when something is stolen to the owner. Taking every measure to prevent becoming the victim (in this case of theft) is wise, but the ultimate responsibility for criminal action falls upon the person who committed the crime. As a liberal, I’m sure you know better than to blame the victim, whether its rape, murder, or theft.

    Also, in the example of the teenager who swipes a gun to kill themselves, the will to commit suicide comes before the action, and is the ultimate cause regardless of the means. Removing firearms from a person who is so desperate to escape themselves and their lives will not prevent them from taking their lives, the will still exists, the motive is there, they will simply seek another means or opportunity, like a car, train, or rope.

  11. Dan,

    Very nice and I totally agree. In particular, “……. by open carrying into Kroger, insulting the “liberals” and the “gun grabbers” — the very people we need to win over — and incessantly beating our spoons on our high chairs about our “rights.” We do so by showing that we accept our responsibility, as the keepers of the national civilian arsenal, for keeping the country as safe as possible from the harm that firearms can do.

    However, you leave open questions that need answers. You state, “So this is an invitation to the People of the Gun. How do we do this? What can we do as individuals and as a community to demonstrate to the majority that we are as useful to democracy and to the safety of the nation as we believe ourselves to be? How do we lead by moral example?”

    I would suggest that training and multiple certifications around training be far more encouraged by the gun industry. Its a win/win. And we communicate that commitment and responsibility at large as a group. Organizations such as the NRA, SAF and the USCCA are moving in this direction but we need to be much more diligent.

    I am preparing an article comparing gun ownership and use to that of owning and flying an airplane. In aviation, safety is much less about greasing landings, smooth take-offs and manuring the airplane and more about risk management and decision making. I hold an FAA Commercial Pilot’s License with Instrument ratings and have owned my own plane. Risk management and critical decision making under stressful situations is the majority of pilot training and certainly key to professional commercial aviation with all the simulation training they do.

    So to answer your question, the gun industry could / should drive continuous training and certification programs and also help make them affordable. Gun manufacturers can help drive this. The NRA, USCCA, SAF and the USPSA can all help drive much more responsible ownership of guns. They can help shape a culture where not training on a continuous basis is viewed negatively amongst the peer group.

    • Well put. I might add this: When a gun store completes a sale, would it be a good idea for the clerk to ask, “Now, how are you planning to store this?” If the buyer says, “I’ve got that covered,” I’d suggest the clerk drop the subject. But it *might* make the gun buyer stop and think. I’m against safe storage laws and any kind of coercion. But I’d like to see gun owners more serious about keeping their firearms secure. Why shouldn’t, “How are you planning to store that?” be the “Would you like fries with that?” of the gun industry?

        • Actually it is, if the gun store sells secure storage it’s a natural chance for an upsell. Storage case, cleaning kit, box of ammo, coupon for the local range….

        • No Don, it’s not the clerks business to know about the storage of weapons he sells.
          .
          But it never hurts to ask if the customer would be interested in a particular storage option (one that he sells, of course).
          .

          .

      • This sounds like an invitation to liability for offering bad advice (or rather, advice that doesn’t work out that one time). And it’s not like people buy safes every time they buy a gun. Or that buying a substantial enough safe to actually mitigate the risk of theft is a decision people can make on a whim. The actually better answer to what a standardish question should be (to people who appear in the dark) is if they’d like to sign up for a training class operated by a separate legal entity.

      • And my response would be “That’s none of your business.” I agree that name calling is an ineffective way of dealing with people who oppose your point of view, however, I take an issue with the attitude that the means and measures I take to secure my firearms are anyone’s business but mine. Personal responsibility > government “enforced” standards. Every. Single. Time.

        • So I take it the proper response to “Would you like fries with that?” is “None of your damn business.” How about if a gun store clerk asks, “Need ammo?” Is the right response, “None of your damn business.” How about hearing protectors? Targets? Why is a gun safe different from any other piece of shooting equipment a gun store clerk might want to sell?

        • its hard to equate buying fries that come with a cheeseburger or ammo that you need to operate a firearm to a gu nsafe. When you buy a car they don’t ask you if you have a garage to store it in. A safe is an investment of hundreds of dollars. Call me paranoid if you wish but I don’t relish the idea of someone knowing where or how my guns are stored, especially if I just gave them a stack of paperwork with my address on it

        • Dan, you need to stop conflating different arguments.

          “How do you intend to store this firearm?” is an inappropriate question.

          “We’re running a promotion, 5% off bedside safes with the purchase of any handgun! You interested?” is an appropriate question, because it’s asked with the intention of making a sale, not inquiring about his home safety.

          “Would you like fries with that?” is asked with the intent of making a sale. That’s not an interrogation to verify that the customer has adequate sides for his meal.

        • Dan,
          Asking if a customer wants fries with their order is different than asking about how one is securing a weapon.

          Please, no more feigned cognitive dissonance. If this isn’t cognitive dissonance, it’s willful ignorance.

  12. Breitbart was right: Control of media is control of culture, and therefore politics.

    Even in the two “examples” brought up by the author this was really the driving force. It was not moral righteousness -in both efforts, there are many, many, many bad actors. But with support of media they can achieve their goals.

    • I think this is one of the biggest hurdles. The media that is still mostly dominate today will rarely, if ever put forth a story that is positive for gun rights and gun owners. They constantly focus on any negative aspect they can, real (murders) or imagined (scary black rifles able to cause more destruction than nuclear bomb). When was the last time any major network or daily newspaper focused on a person that stopped an atrocity from being a much worse event? Fort Hood when Major Hasan struck maybe? There are stories but they are intentionally not told by media sources because it doesn’t fit their world view. As much as we try to lead responsible lives while owning firearms, we get painted with the broadest of brushes by a media both ignorant of and hostile to us.

  13. So it’s our responsibility to prevent people we don’t know from committing suicide?

    Hahahahahahahahah!

    With friends like this, we don’t need enemies.

  14. Sorry, you lost me at “civil rights of blacks and gays.”

    Denying a black man the same freedom as a white (green, blue, insert color here) man is immoral.

    Prohibiting behavior of a “class” of people identified by said behavior is based on morality, AS IS ALL LAW (please don’t bring the false “don’t legislate morality” argument). In truth, a “gay” person enjoys the same rights as a “straight” person. There is no right to marry a person you love. If I love a woman who is already married, then I have no “right” to marry her. What I do have, is the right to marry a woman who is free to marry me, if she so chooses. I do not have the legal right (though that is changing) to marry a man. Whether I want to or not is immaterial. The joke of all of this is, any “gay” people are free to live together, and do what they want to each other. What they truly seek is legitimacy (i.e. calling for acceptance of sin), and government-sanctioned benefits.

    It is a shame and a sham to equate the two.

    Further, we do not have a representative democracy. We are a constitutional republic. Democracy is rule by the majority. We have rights endowed by our Creator, which rights the government is sworn to protect. We do not create a “right” to marry an earthworm, nor would it be constitutional to collect taxes to support the National Endowment for the Arts, simply because a majority of the people might vote for it.

    Our country’s tendency to legislate based on “feelings” and need to call sin a blessing is taking us downhill, and fast.

  15. I guess I’ll be the voice of dissent. I felt that the post is spot on. We talk about rights as a theoretical. The poster points out the reality.

    It would be nice if people would dress up for gun rights demonstrations like they would for a job interview instead of giving the press opportunities to take pictures of people who look like they are members of Hell’s Angels. The fact that Ted Nugent is a prominent face of the gun lobby (Is he still on the NRA board) instead of a man in dress clothes is a problem.

    • We’ve got men in dress clothes–Wayne LaPierre, for example. And others in the 2A community are writing them off as “old fogeys”.

      • I would argue that it is much less about his age(or not at all about it imo), and more specifically about demeanor, the way his particular speeches are of a “fire and brimstone” tone instead of an approachable medium and personally for me, continually blaming video games the exact same way the antis do. Then again I imagine someone could say the same thing about the “from my cold dead hands!” speech but I am a fan of.

    • It would be nice if people would dress up for gun rights demonstrations like they would for a job interview instead of giving the press opportunities to take pictures of people who look like they are members of Hell’s Angels.

      How about we dress up as Patriots? That would make an impression.

  16. OK, philosophically, I disagree. As a practical matter, I see your point. And to the extent that you are essentially saying, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”, I agree. But as a practical matter, we are not going to “win over” the antis. To continue your civil rights analogy, there are still plenty of racists out there. And there are still plenty of people out there who see no reason why the state should legally sanction biologically aberrant (in the strictly Darwinian sense) unions–indeed, that “fight” has still not necessarily been won. And as others have pointed out, you are just playing into the gun-grabbers’ hands when you agree that as an individual gun owner, you are somehow responsible if a gangbanger with a black-market pistol guns down a rival. Leading by example certainly has its place–as do advocacy in the courts and legislatures, and calling out the mistakes and misrepresentations of the opposition. And, as does the recognition that, as a man much wiser than myself noted, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

    • Here’s where we disagree: If a gang-banger guns down someone with *my* pistol, a pistol I did not make a good-faith effort to secure (i.e. by keeping it on my hip or in a safe), then yes, I feel responsible. Not legally responsible. But morally responsible. (I’ve been there. All my guns were stolen from my house in Atlanta in 1986, and I’ve worried about them ever since.) Yes, the thief came in my house, which was against the law. Yes, the killer pulled the trigger. But I’ve always felt queasy that I wasn’t more careful. And I wouldn’t blame the mother of a murder victim who was shot with my gun for thinking me as partly responsible.

      • Well, since not all safes are giant vaults that couldnt be carried by 2 grown men, I will use one of mine as an example. While the safe may be hidden and even bolted to the ground, given enough time it could be compromised. What about the small handgun vaults designed to be stored in strategic locations around the home, those could EASILY be compromised with the proper tools (and you wouldnt necessarily have to do it on site in a home you broke into). The issue I have is that at some point in these scenarios, youre just going to be a whipping boy, used an example to the masses.

        • Looks like I missed quite a few responses in replies about no firearm being absolutely secure. I will just add that I have seen combined security in the tens of thousands breached (over $10k on the safe alone) and the firearms stolen. Yes it is great to do what you can but there should be zero expectation that your firearms can’t be stolen and it is absolutely possible and likely to be no fault of the owner for letting something happen.

      • Ahh, there’s the rub.

        You would *feel* responsible.

        And because of that, you think everybody else is responsible in such an event too.

        Wrong.

      • Well, you are right–we disagree about that (among other things). If someone breaks into my car or house or office to take stuff that doesn’t belong to them, they have already taken on any “moral” responsibility for what becomes of that stuff. I might, as a matter of simple emotion, worry about it, but I would not feel any way responsible. And again, I think you are playing into the hands of the hysterical “moms” to propose that I would have any such responsibility, short of acting with overt negligence.

  17. Make no mistake–this piece is about homosexual acceptance while masquerading as a gun article. Carolinas, Arizona, and Oklahoma voters did not change their mind on homosexual marriage; liberal activist judges wrongly enacted sweeping changes against the will of the people. The homosexual lifestyle is not just as rich, and loving as a monogamous heterosexual relationship. By accepting his gun logic (some of which is correct), you are tempted to buy into and accept his other arguments. For example, if I can own 5 guns, why can’t a homosexual have 5 spouses? This isn’t perverted thinking on my part; it’s already being pushed. The dissolution of the family and the erosion and abandonment of Judeo-Christian values (core liberal planks) will ultimately be the reason we will have no gun rights. Show me a liberal or progressive or accepting state or country that does not restrict the natural right to self defense.

    • Agreed.

      Ultimately, the gun rights issue, as well as the “gay marriage” issue, is only an issue because of the flexible morality perpetrated on our country by immoral people.

      There is freedom from slavery to sin, but some love the darkness of sin so much, that they shun the Light of the world sent to rescue them from it.

      • Spot on.

        “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

  18. Thought provoking, to be sure.
    When carrying, I am one of the most polite people you will meet.
    If I get to be part of a discussion on guns, rights or hunting. I try to be equally as polite while staying factual.
    As we have seen in post after post on MDA or everytown… It’s not what is said or done, it’s how we made them feel.

  19. In a representative democracy like ours, nobody has any rights that the majority doesn’t want him to have.

    We don’t live in a representative democracy; our form of government is constitutional republic, which is intentionally and explicitly designed to avoid the mob-rule of democracy – the very mob rule at the heart of your argument here.

    When a child finds a loaded gun and kills herself or a playmate, it’s because a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. When a teenager gets ahold of a gun and commits suicide or worse, a law-abiding gun owner let it happen. Most guns used in violent crime are stolen, usually from law-abiding people who leave them unsecured. The majority is not wrong for wanting this nonsense to stop.

    Accidental firearm deaths account for a minuscule fraction of child mortality. A teenager (or anyone else) who wants to commit suicide will use any means available to do so (and the deal with the problem, address the causes of so many people seeking suicide, rather than attempting to regulate the chosen tools of implementation).

    Where is the citation that most stolen firearms were stolen because they were left unsecured? And where is the context between, say, the number/rate of accidental firearm deaths and murders (and other crimes) committed with stolen guns? To present the two as you have here is to create a false equivalence.

    The truth is that while each of us individually may believe he’s careful, as a community we are fatally sloppy.

    A complete load of bollocks. Firearm ownership is at record highs, and accidental firearm injury/death are at historic lows.

    2/3 of firearm-related deaths are suicide. Of the remainder, about 2/3 are gang/drug-related. Neither has anything to do with “sloppiness” of the firearms community.

    It is only by rediscovering, as a community, our commitment to the awesome responsibility of owning something as lethal as a firearm that we will ultimately secure our rights.

    Where is the evidence that we, as a community, have lost that commitment?

    We need to take the lead on reducing firearm accidents, suicides, and homicides away from Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg and the Brady Center…

    They don’t have the lead on those issues. They only have the lead on the issue of civilian disarmament disguised as “common-sense gun control”. They don’t do anything to preach firearms safety or to promote the efforts of the firearms community (Four Cardinal Rules, Eddie Eagle, other NRA efforts, etc.). They don’t do anything to deal with the causes of suicide. They don’t do anything to address homicides.

    …who don’t understand firearms at all — and reclaim that leadership for ourselves, who do…

    I don’t think we have to take the lead on most of those issues, at all – other than firearms safety, at which we as a community are so successful that accidental firearms deaths are a blip on the mortality radar. We have no direct connect to suicides or the mostly gang-related homicides.

    We need to demonstrate to the majority, by our moral example, that our right to keep and bear arms is not a zero-sum game — we win and you lose, or vice versa…

    Or vice versa? Such a view is dangerously naive. The other side doesn’t want to reduce accidental gun deaths, suicides, and homicides; they want to disarm the civilian populace, completely. If they win: we lose.

    …It won’t do to say that winning over the antis is a lost cause…

    Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg, and their ilk are a lost cause. Their goals are the polar opposite of ours, and their convictions as deeply held.

    So this is an invitation to the People of the Gun. How do we do this? What can we do as individuals and as a community to demonstrate to the majority that we are as useful to democracy and to the safety of the nation as we believe ourselves to be? How do we lead by moral example?

    That is something that we, as a community, prove every single day – all 100,000,000 of us who own guns, and all 11-12 million of us who carry daily. We prove it by being demonstrably more law-abiding than even law enforcement officers. We prove it by murder and violent crime rates that plummet in areas where everyday carry is more common.

    • Thank you for taking the time to disassemble and refute this article point by point. You’re much more patient than I am.

      • Agreed! Chip said all that needed to answer Dan’s missive. Dan, your liberal leanings are blinding you to the Liberty that our Constitutionally protected NATURAL RIGHTS describe. Come into the light, brother.

    • Well done, Chip. You’ve taken a page from the Bruce Krafft book of deconstruction. And that is a high compliment indeed.

    • Thanks Chip! Well done. This article has ticked me off.

      How do we lead by moral example?

      Like nearly every decent American, I get up, go to work, pay my taxes, look after my family and don’t murder anyone. Every day.

      You know what is NOT a moral example of living? Asking me to give away my natural, civil and constitutionally protected rights–rights that are protected from government infringement as outlined in the Bill of Rights–just to appease some pearl-clutching hoplophobes. I will not do it. I have an obligation to my God who gave me those rights, my family and myself to protect them against all comers. If that’s too strident for Dan Baum, when then all I’ve got to say is toughen up, Buttercup.

      P.S. To say for one second that a person who has guns stolen from them is morally or otherwise responsible for acts committed by the thieves afterwards is lunacy. In fact, it’s insulting, blame-the-victim crap. I’m now totally disinclined to read anything Dan Baum has to say on any subject because of his naive opinions on this matter. Not to mention which, he wrote this same piece for Al Jazeera. Really? We’re done here. In the words of Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • “We don’t live in a representative democracy; our form of government is constitutional republic, which is intentionally and explicitly designed to avoid the mob-rule of democracy – the very mob rule at the heart of your argument here.”

      Call it what you like, but we have mob rule here all the time. Ask any African American who lived under Jim Crow. Ask a gay Texan who wants to marry. Ask a Massachusetts firearms enthusiast who wants to buy an AR-15. I’m asking how we achieve the promise of the constitution.

      “Accidental firearm deaths account for a minuscule fraction of child mortality.”

      And it makes the news every time, feeding the antis’ passion for more stupid laws. We can stop this.

      ” A teenager (or anyone else) who wants to commit suicide will use any means available to do so (and the deal with the problem, address the causes of so many people seeking suicide, rather than attempting to regulate the chosen tools of implementation).”

      People who attempt suicide with a gun succeed at a much higher rate than people who choose other means. And again, when a gun is used, it’s bad for all of us. Why would we not want to do everything we can to put more distance between the suicidal thoughts and the gun? Why is that something you oppose?

      Where is the citation that most stolen firearms were stolen because they were left unsecured? And where is the context between, say, the number/rate of accidental firearm deaths and murders (and other crimes) committed with stolen guns? To present the two as you have here is to create a false equivalence.

      James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi discovered, when researching Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, that only 16 percent of the felons they surveyed said they got their guns from gun stores, in all likelihood because their criminal records make them “prohibited persons.” And Wright and Rossi conducted their survey in 1986, eight years before the Brady Act would mandate computerized background checks.

      ” Firearm ownership is at record highs, and accidental firearm injury/death are at historic lows.”

      So what? The antis correctly point out that deaths caused by guns are much higher in the US than elsewhere and they’re freaked out about it. And when they’re freaked out, they come after our guns. Would you rather be right, or would you rather hold onto your guns?

      “2/3 of firearm-related deaths are suicide. Of the remainder, about 2/3 are gang/drug-related. Neither has anything to do with “sloppiness” of the firearms community.”

      Wrong. Any kid who kills himself with a gun got the gun from an adult; kids can’t buy guns. Most gang members and drug dealers have records and can’t buy guns legally. So they get them from law-abiding people willing to make straw purchases, or they buy guns stolen from law-abiding people who left them unsecured.

      “Where is the evidence that we, as a community, have lost that commitment?”

      The relatively high number of child accidents, teen suicides, and crimes committed with stolen guns.

      “(Watts and Bloomberg)don’t have the lead on those issues.”

      Wake up and smell the napalm. They’re the ones dictating terms, not us.

      ” They only have the lead on the issue of civilian disarmament disguised as “common-sense gun control”.”

      Call it what you like. The media give them center stage. And Wayne LaPierre isn’t going to take that away from them. Not in this media environement.

      ” They don’t do anything to preach firearms safety or to promote the efforts of the firearms community (Four Cardinal Rules, Eddie Eagle, other NRA efforts, etc.).”

      The NRA can’t get this done because it has chosen to be a political entity instead of a leader on gun safety. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Schools aren’t going to take a program written by the NRA. We can argue about whether that’s right or wrong, but that’s how it is. We need to do this a different way.

      “They don’t do anything to deal with the causes of suicide. They don’t do anything to address homicides.”

      And neither do we, except carry guns into Starbucks and offer to arm teachers. The rest of the public isn’t having that. So what else you got?

      “I don’t think we have to take the lead on most of those issues, at all – other than firearms safety, at which we as a community are so successful that accidental firearms deaths are a blip on the mortality radar. We have no direct connect to suicides or the mostly gang-related homicides.”

      See above. You’re wrong, and the non-gun owning public knows you’re wrong.

      “The other side doesn’t want to reduce accidental gun deaths, suicides, and homicides; they want to disarm the civilian populace, completely. If they win: we lose.”

      You go play your zero-sum game and call names. Others of us have serious work to do.

      “Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg, and their ilk are a lost cause. Their goals are the polar opposite of ours, and their convictions as deeply held.”

      George Wallace was a pretty tough segregationist, I think we’d all agree. And he ended his life repudiating all of it. Don’t tell me about lost causes.

      “That is something that we, as a community, prove every single day – all 100,000,000 of us who own guns, and all 11-12 million of us who carry daily. We prove it by being demonstrably more law-abiding than even law enforcement officers. We prove it by murder and violent crime rates that plummet in areas where everyday carry is more common.”

      I agree; concealed carry seems to reduce crime. But we can do more. And we have to do more, because this endless trench warfare is exhausting and counterproductive.

      • There is absolutely no way that you can attain the “dream” of the Constitution by not knowing what it says. Ignorance of our type of government is symptomatic of the problem, not the solution.

      • Call it what you like, but we have mob rule here all the time. Ask any African American who lived under Jim Crow. Ask a gay Texan who wants to marry. Ask a Massachusetts firearms enthusiast who wants to buy an AR-15. I’m asking how we achieve the promise of the constitution.

        I think it is rather imperative – don’t you? – that we understand our system of government, if we are to have any hope of implementing change for the better.

        “Accidental firearm deaths account for a minuscule fraction of child mortality.”

        And it makes the news every time, feeding the antis’ passion for more stupid laws. We can stop this.

        No, actually, we can’t. You can’t fix stupid, and in a free society, there will always be stupid. We can minimize it, but we cannot eliminate it, so long as every person has free will.

        I would argue that we have minimized accidental firearm deaths about as much as we feasibly can – not that we should curtail our education efforts; only that there isn’t much more room for return on additional investment.

        (As an aside and out of curiosity: how many children killed by accidental firearm discharge died at the hands of a legally possessed firearm?)

        ” A teenager (or anyone else) who wants to commit suicide will use any means available to do so (and the deal with the problem, address the causes of so many people seeking suicide, rather than attempting to regulate the chosen tools of implementation).”

        People who attempt suicide with a gun succeed at a much higher rate than people who choose other means. And again, when a gun is used, it’s bad for all of us. Why would we not want to do everything we can to put more distance between the suicidal thoughts and the gun? Why is that something you oppose?

        Because it is impossible to separate the suicidal thoughts from any means of implementation of those thoughts. Because we would be far better-served to do everything we can to put more distance between the suicidal thoughts and the suicidal person.

        Where is the citation that most stolen firearms were stolen because they were left unsecured? And where is the context between, say, the number/rate of accidental firearm deaths and murders (and other crimes) committed with stolen guns? To present the two as you have here is to create a false equivalence.

        James D. Wright and Peter H. Rossi discovered, when researching Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms, that only 16 percent of the felons they surveyed said they got their guns from gun stores, in all likelihood because their criminal records make them “prohibited persons.” And Wright and Rossi conducted their survey in 1986, eight years before the Brady Act would mandate computerized background checks.

        A 30-year-old study is the best you have? And you accuse me of not being serious?

        ” Firearm ownership is at record highs, and accidental firearm injury/death are at historic lows.”

        So what? The antis correctly point out that deaths caused by guns are much higher in the US than elsewhere and they’re freaked out about it. And when they’re freaked out, they come after our guns. Would you rather be right, or would you rather hold onto your guns?

        Then why are you here, lecturing the safe and responsible firearms owners, instead of out there, correcting the misinformation and propagnda being put out by the antis? It takes all of about 30 seconds to deconstruct that canard. Where does the US rank in terms of per-capita firearms ownership? Where does it rank in terms of firearms mortality rate?

        Why are you so afraid of such canards?

        “2/3 of firearm-related deaths are suicide. Of the remainder, about 2/3 are gang/drug-related. Neither has anything to do with “sloppiness” of the firearms community.”

        Wrong. Any kid who kills himself with a gun got the gun from an adult; kids can’t buy guns. Most gang members and drug dealers have records and can’t buy guns legally. So they get them from law-abiding people willing to make straw purchases, or they buy guns stolen from law-abiding people who left them unsecured.

        Statistics, please. Was the gun lawfully possessed in the first place? Did the kid who committed suicide steal it? Where are criminally prohibited persons getting their firearms?

        What is a “law-abiding person willing to make straw purchases”? By definition, someone willing to make a straw purchase is not “law-abiding”.

        You seem to be asserting/implying that sloppy gun-storage practices by the firearms community at large is the primary driver for getting guns into the hands of prohibited persons. Citation, please.

        “Where is the evidence that we, as a community, have lost that commitment?”

        The relatively high number of child accidents, teen suicides, and crimes committed with stolen guns.

        You lose all crediibility when you keep insisting on ficticious things such as “relatively high number of child accidents”.

        “(Watts and Bloomberg)don’t have the lead on those issues.”

        Wake up and smell the napalm. They’re the ones dictating terms, not us.

        What terms are they dictating, and to what ends?

        Again: why are you not out there, actively challening the terms they are attempting to dictate? What will navel-gazing by the firearms community do to counter the false narratives of Bloomberg et al?

        ” They only have the lead on the issue of civilian disarmament disguised as “common-sense gun control”.”

        Call it what you like. The media give them center stage. And Wayne LaPierre isn’t going to take that away from them. Not in this media environement.

        Unless I’ve missed something, the firearms community has no control over the media. Nothing we can do will change that.

        ” They don’t do anything to preach firearms safety or to promote the efforts of the firearms community (Four Cardinal Rules, Eddie Eagle, other NRA efforts, etc.).”

        The NRA can’t get this done because it has chosen to be a political entity instead of a leader on gun safety. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Schools aren’t going to take a program written by the NRA. We can argue about whether that’s right or wrong, but that’s how it is. We need to do this a different way.

        The NRA is the leader in firearms safety. Go ahead: name another organization or entity who leads in the arean of firearms safety. I’ll wait.

        “They don’t do anything to deal with the causes of suicide. They don’t do anything to address homicides.”

        And neither do we, except carry guns into Starbucks and offer to arm teachers. The rest of the public isn’t having that. So what else you got?

        What do you expect the firearms community to do to deal with the mental health issues facing our country – the issues leading to so many suicides? Why is it our responsibility as a firearms community?

        I would assert that me carrying into Starbucks (which I do, every time I go) does a small part to deal with homicide. The more widespread everyday carry is, the less violent crime there is.

        And why are you so opposed to arming teachers? It is the one, single thing that will put an end to completely overblown risk of school spree shootings. (That, and campus carry.)

        “I don’t think we have to take the lead on most of those issues, at all – other than firearms safety, at which we as a community are so successful that accidental firearms deaths are a blip on the mortality radar. We have no direct connect to suicides or the mostly gang-related homicides.”

        See above. You’re wrong, and the non-gun owning public knows you’re wrong.

        In what way am I wrong? How is the firearms community responsible for the prevalence of suicidal people? How is the firearms community responsible for homicides committed by violent felons? If the non-gun-owning public blames us, then they blame us falsely.

        As for accidental gun deaths: the numbers speak for themselves, no matter how much you wish to ignore them.

        “The other side doesn’t want to reduce accidental gun deaths, suicides, and homicides; they want to disarm the civilian populace, completely. If they win: we lose.”

        You go play your zero-sum game and call names. Others of us have serious work to do.

        First of all, you can save your condescenscion for someone it will work on. Second, I have called no one any names, and you really should stop going to the well so often on that little bit of ad hominem; it gets boring in its repetitiveness. Third, how do you deny that it is, in fact, a zero-sum game when our ideological opponents want nothing less than complete civilian disarmament? If they win, we lose.

        As for your little quip about having “serious work” to do: based on your comments here, you sound more like a Concern Troll than someone engaging in serious, good-faith dialogue.

        “Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg, and their ilk are a lost cause. Their goals are the polar opposite of ours, and their convictions as deeply held.”

        George Wallace was a pretty tough segregationist, I think we’d all agree. And he ended his life repudiating all of it. Don’t tell me about lost causes.

        If Shannon Watts some day manages to come to her senses, good for her. I won’t waste time tilting at that windmill. But again: if you think she can be turned, why are you here, admonishing us, instead of out there, trying to convince her of the error of her ways?

        “That is something that we, as a community, prove every single day – all 100,000,000 of us who own guns, and all 11-12 million of us who carry daily. We prove it by being demonstrably more law-abiding than even law enforcement officers. We prove it by murder and violent crime rates that plummet in areas where everyday carry is more common.”

        I agree; concealed carry seems to reduce crime. But we can do more. And we have to do more, because this endless trench warfare is exhausting and counterproductive.

        All carry reduces crime – not just concealed carry. All carry serves to re-normalize the free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms.

        There are 100 million of us. I would posit that we “do more” simply by living our lives, every day, lawfully going about our business, and being left alone by the government and the gun-control bullies.

        What do YOU propose that we “do” more of?

        • Well done, again, Chip.

          Of course Dan does not understand your arguments … by his own words, gun ownership and shooting are mere hobbies to him. He wants to keep his guns to keep a paste time, an aristocratic luxury.

    • Excellent response. I would like to add, gun owners already lead by moral example. We follow the legalities of laws that are logically indefensible, some of which were passed to discriminate against minorities and protect corrupt politicians. We obey the law more than the people who are responsible for enforcing it. We protect strangers that we have no legal responsibility to do so. We give to charities. We don’t use our guns to shoot at those who oppose us (unlike liberal Democrats, who have overwhelmingly committed mass murders and political assassinations in this country in the past 60 years).

  20. Education is the answer. Calm, relational, factual education.

    That said, I wouldn’t turn down the idea of government subsidies for gunsafes.

    • I would be more inclined for a lower rate, overall flat tax so I can afford to buy a gun safe if I so choose, instead of another crumb thrown to the masses from the powers at be.

  21. You’re very delusional, dan. We police our own and prevent all the misuse and guess what? Bloomberg and the rest are still going to be after our guns. Period.

    The only compromise we can reach with them is if we do away with all civilian gun ownership. Ain’t gonna happen.

    And majority rules is a non starter in a country that recognises the rights of the individual over the crowd. If majority ruled 51% of the voting population could remove gay rights and re-install jim crow and it would, under your reasoning, be legal.

    • It might be “legal” but it wouldn’t be Constitutional. But that’s how things were for most of our country’s history, and that’s how it is for us when gun laws are passed that infringe our rights. My question to you is, how do we achieve the same victories that African Americans and gays have achieved? Because what we’re doing now isn’t sustainable. Precisely because of the Bloombergs and Soroses of the world.

      • Dan, we are winning. Are you old enough to remember when the 68 gca was passed? We had a country where gun ownership actually was dieing out because of urban sprawl and a percieved non need of guns. Shall issue was practically non existent nationwide and the supremes had never ruled that 2a was an individual right.

        Now let me ask you a question. Are those guns actually yours in the photo? Do you actually shoot or are they just for photo ops to prove you’re one of us.

        Or are you just waiting for the right moment to do a sean penn and claim a come to jesus moment and melt them into a manhole cover?

  22. There’s a lot of baby going out with the bathwater in the comments here. If we lose the popular battle for hearts and minds over guns, it is easy to believe laws will continue to be passed in this country limiting our ability to legally partake of our natural rights. We can get all excited over whether they are natural or not and whether this is a Constitutional Republic (it certainly doesn’t seem to function as one these days), but Dan’s question is still very valid: is there an approach gun owners can take to win that battle for hearts and minds so the legal access to our natural rights won’t be threatened here?

    A few posts back, we see a Democratic lawmaker in New York trying to ban children from gun shows. That is what Dan is getting at! Gun grabbers play a brilliant long game, infiltrating education, entertainment and news, effectively controlling the messaging fence-sitters hear and see about guns. I’d love to see gun owners coordinate our efforts to present those fence-sitters with an influential, effective, positive message that simply overpowered the negative propaganda from the other side.

    Any ideas on that other than “take a newbie shooting”, which is absolutely great, but already well known?

    • …is there an approach gun owners can take to win that battle for hearts and minds so the legal access to our natural rights won’t be threatened here?

      Yes: utterly and completely defeat the efforts of Watts, Bloomberg, and their ilk.

      It is not lack of moral character or action of the firearms community that is the problem; rather, it is the rhetoric, propaganda, misinformation, and subterfuge of the Civilian Disarmament Industry that is the problem.

      To win, we must defeat them.

  23. “There are no “natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected” rights”
    You can indeed go pound sand, sir. What you are suggesting is the height of moral relativity – anything goes as long as the majority goes along with it.

    BULL.

  24. Dan, I agree with you completely. Hang in there it’s tough being the voice of reason and common sense.
    No disrespect to the dissenters, but the “My way or the highway” mentality most often just leads to more polarization. Yes, we have to fight, yes we can’t compromise our rights, but let’s be the best citizens we can be and educate politely in the hope of recruiting some of those who aren’t yet “Bloomed” or gain some converts that may be able to see the light.

    • “but let’s be the best citizens we can be and educate politely in the hope of recruiting some of those who aren’t yet “Bloomed” or gain some converts that may be able to see the light.”

      I get the sense that IS what a lot of people are saying in the comments, maybe not in those exact words, but in the acknowledgement that you CANNOT.EVER. win over a true believer, they would probably explode from cognitive dissonance or simply write you off while plugging their ears. The only hope we have of even swaying a portion of the majority who is not a dyed in the wool, down home proggie is by doing just what you suggest, and refusing to compromise to those who will never stop taking.

      • Brother, look at the distance the south — and for that matter — the rest of country has come since the 1960s vis a vis blacks. Is it perfect? No. Does racism still exist? Of course. But not in the law. And to a much lesser degree elsewhere. If we can get that done, we can get this done.

        • Minor point regarding, “Does racism still exist? Of course. But not in the law. And to a much lesser degree elsewhere.” We have passed laws that institutionalize racism through affirmative action – reverse discrimination.

    • let’s be the best citizens we can be

      I think we already are. You believe otherwise. And that’s the basis of our irreconcilable disagreement.

      • Really? We are as absolutely perfect as we can be? Like the gun owner who just left a gun where his five year old daughter could get it and shoot her little brother? Like the woman who let her two year old grab her gun in Walmart? You serious? I agree that gun violence and accidents are down and that that is a good thing, a major public policy that that is too seldom recognized. But clearly we can do more. And by “we” I mean we, the people who own the guns. We’re the ones who decide what happens with firearms in this country.

        • If perfection across the whole of the community is the standard, then no one would have any rights.

          Are there reprehensible white people? Blacks? Jews? Gays? Of course there are. However, white, black, Jewish, or gay people don’t have to police themselves and prove their dealing with their bad apples in order to justify keeping their rights.

        • “And by “we” I mean we, the people who own the guns. We’re the ones who decide what happens with firearms in this country.” -The only thing you said that even comes remotely close to being something that a Free American Citizen, and not like an anti-American statist coward. Coward isn’t calling you a name it is just an honest observation of your lack of character and intestinal fortitude when it comes to standing up for your rights that can only be given away and not taken. Compromise and justifying infringement is all your article is about, and you sound as though England would be more to your delicate needs. If a person kills themselves with a gun it is not my responsibility or concern that a weak minded person disrespected the gift of life and got one thing right. Gangbangers killing each other is what is called an inner city tax break.

          You are from the Molon Labia crowd of living on your knees and being a loyal subject, which is not an American value. Most people on this forum are Americans who are from the Molon Labe crowd and the Second Amendment is exactly what we will use to stop a tyrannical lapdog from trying to take our rights, which are not granted by man.

          Wow-Dan you are very misinformed and you sound as though you work for Demanding Moms, and are trying to bridge the gap between rabid statists and freemen by saying we are not de facto baby killers just de jure as you say we are responsible for every act of evil or negligence with a gun simply by owning a gun. Your sheep mentality is on full display and as a Shepherd of men I would gladly allow you to wander at your own peril as you seem comfortable compromising my defensive options by regulating my God given ability to defend what is mine, life and property. You seem to believe that freemen only have rights as long as they don’t question the people trying to take them away and shouldn’t fight tyrannical laws with force if that is the only moral option, which the Second Amendment was exactly recognized for.
          Constitutional Republic means We American citizens, not subjects like yourself and we are guided by a set of laws that have been codified in a Constitution, written under God, and ensured by the Second Amendment that We a are not ruled by the emotion of government subjects, as is the current situation, and just waiting for the moral high ground for defense. The second amendment was recognized as the best way for men to stay citizens of a free country since the use of protected tools for defense is what freed them from tyrannical chains as subjects of a King.

  25. As soon as I started reading this I knew OP was gonna get panned like a dog. Defending homosexual equal rights on these boards? Preposterous!

    What OP is talking about is the difference between de jure rights and de facto rights. What he’s saying is that if I’m king, and I give every subject a piece of paper that says they have the right to call me an a hole, and then I have every single one of them who calls me an a hole shot, those subjects have a de jure right to call me an a hole, but not a de facto one.

    Kindly chill out, please. The author is stating what is *absolutely* true: if you think you have an infinite right to keep and bear arms, you’re delusional. They founding fathers and state governments wrote what they wrote, and that’s all great. But that piece of paper means jack crap the second you jerry rig a sear on a new lower to make an AR15 full auto. That piece of paper means jack crap the second you carry somewhere you aren’t legally allowed to. We, gun owners, most of us, keyboard warrior our way around talking about our rights, and then we take our concealed carry permits, follow the rules our masters have set up for us, and toe the line.

    What it seems to me the author is saying, is that if we were all a little bit less “COME AND TAKE THEM”, and normalized gun ownership, that line might start (continue) to move in the right direction.

    • “The author is stating what is *absolutely* true: if you think you have an infinite right to keep and bear arms, you’re delusional.”- Tread lightly If you think you can strip me(American citizens) of my rights or keep infringing upon them with the goal of taking them, which is the reason for no compromising with unAmerican serfs. Understand this simple fact that some Americans believe that our guns must be taken from our cold dead hands, and at the time of our death our guns will be hot and empty.
      The Second Amendment, when there was a Constitutional Republic of the United States is as absolute law as there is in a nation of laws based on a Constitutional Rule. The Second Amendment is also what is used to protect all other amendments, and was enshrined as the best means to abolish a government and its supporters when they have become servants of tyranny, instead of Sons of Liberty.

      My Christian belief in God leads me to not be deaf and dumb being led to my slaughter, which is why I carry a gun to protect his precious gift of life that I possess. Freewill is what allows me to think rationally about what exactly I will and will not tolerate from any man, under any guise of authority, by drawing a line in the sand. This is not an imaginary political line but a line that has been established with great thought upon just how far a man is willing to sacrifice his personal liberties to a non-benevolent authority. A moral line is established by having a moral code and then having the honor and intestinal fortitude to follow that code even when distinct consequences for crossing the line need to be swiftly administered at great possible risk, but it is worth having death before dishonor as this is my one and only chance on this earth. My status as an American Citizen gives me the right to Life,Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and my skill with firearms give me a be better than average chance of living and dying a free red-blooded American.

  26. Your entire argument, as others have already clearly pointed out, is based on the complete and totally false ASSumption that the people fighting against our right actually care about the children, or the “victims” of gun crime. For them it is a zero sum game and no matter how nice we are to them or how pretty we brand ourselves they wont be happy until it is literally impossible for a law abiding person to buy or own guns.

    Disarmament is the game and compromise is just a small step toward their end goal.

  27. The gun culture has already changed with respect to storing firearms. Growing up, my grandfather left his shotgun in the corner next to the back door. Now, most gun owners that I know lock-up their firearms or, in the least, use a padlock or trigger lock to keep them safe from children. Would it be ideal for every gun owner to store their firearms in a heavy and expensive safe bolted to the floor and for all “nightstand” guns to be in a smaller safe with a security cable? Sure … to a point. But we’re already moving in the direction of safer storage and have been for some time. So what more do you want? Would you like for all gun owners to simultaneously post pictures of their safes and trigger locks on Facebook to prove to the gun control crowd that we’re responsible? I don’t think they would care one bit.

    • Upon further reflection, might I suggest that you edit the article that you published in Al Jazeera and propose to gun control advocates that they back a bill that would make the purchase of a firearms safe a tax deductible expense? I would very much like to see the comments to that article.

        • As a fiscal conservative: no.

          I would prefer the federal government stop taking my money to redistribute to others – which also means I don’t want the government redistributing others’ money to me in the form of such tax breaks.

          Further, I am opposed on principle to the federal government using income taxes as a social engineering tool.

          That personal responsibility thing? Yeah, I earn my own money, and the more of my own money I can keep, the better I will be able to afford to buy my own safe, or whatever else I choose.

        • Chip, I don’t suspect that those favoring gun control are going to oppose this on fiscal grounds. I want to hear what their opposition to the proposal would be since most Democrats have no issue with using taxes to discourage or encourage certain behaviors. I suspect, “Yuck, no. Because guns.”

  28. Thanks for your contribution, Dan. If I may, I’d first like to address the idea of rights and why you’re getting some pushback before exploring some moral example possibilities and why it’s an uphill battle.

    Based upon your post, I don’t think that you’re quite understanding Robert’s statement on rights. He calls the right to keep and bare arms
    – natural, i.e., inhering in the nature of being an adult human;
    – civil, i.e., part of being a person who interacts with others and his neighbors; and
    – Constitutionally protected, i.e., protected from governmental interference by the main constituting document of the U.S. republic.

    This does not say that the *exercise* of these rights (like any others) can not be physically (i.e., by the use or threat of force) or legally (i.e., by government fiat) halted or reduced, but that such restrictions are a violation of natural rights, civil rights, and the rights the Constitution is to protect. In analogy with your comment re black civil rights, the exercise of the right was once denied individuals based upon their race, but they still had the *moral* right to be members of society. It’s kind of like the difference between a person who “is” free (to do something) and who “ought to be” free (to do something).

    Now, as to moral example: I think that that already is almost universally the case. Very few of those on this list believe it OK for a small child to play with a firearm unsupervised, or that a teenager should commit suicide, or that firearms be stolen. Far from it!

    Consider, for example, the theft of firearms. In only rare cases are they stolen from an unsecured location. Usually there is some form of breaking into a secure place (e.g., a house or car) that occurs. Many gun owners also provide additional security — safes and locking devices — to reduce the likelihood of theft of guns not staged for or in use. Not only that, gun owners tend to *strongly* denounce the thief, and even want the thief punished! Yet, until there are no longer any thieves, some guns will be stolen at times.

    So, in the example of firearms theft, I believe that most gun owners in general already have the moral high ground and are leading by example. The moral low ground lies with those who would punish the innocent and the victims (gun owners) — often even on the presumption of a crime. This is akin to moral low ground that argues a teenage girl should be banned from wearing a miniskirt because it might allow someone to rape her.

    The problem, as I see it, is mainly that the anti-gun people appeal to emotions in order to pretend to have the moral high ground, rather than allow a thoughtful, reflective, and logical discussion to occur.

    Anyway, thanks again for the post.

    • We’re not holding the moral high ground if our five year olds are finding our guns and shooting our three year olds. We’re not holding the moral high ground if our teenagers are finding our guns and shooting themselves or their schoolmates with them.
      We’re not holding the moral high ground if our guns are taken from our nightstands and glove compartments and end up pointed at convenience store clerks.
      And we not holding the moral high ground is we, the owners of the nation’s firearms, have nothing to suggest to a nation distraught by violence committed with guns.

      • We’re not holding the moral high ground if…

        Wait: so we are morally responsible for the crimes of others? How does that work?

        Sorry, I refuse to accept that premise. And other than due diligence, what do you suggest for law-abiding gun owners to do?

        Related question: do you have any statistics regarding theft of lawfully owned firearms? How often they are being stolen? How often they are then used in crimes? What is the scope/context of this concern of yours?

        • Basically, Dan wants the firearms community to be the first group of perfect people in history. Nothing less will do.

  29. Well it seems freewill is very subjective to some of the commenters. Telling some one what firearms they can own and how those firearms must be carried is a violation of the Second Amendment. Telling some who they can marry based on your religious beliefs, and definition of sin, is a violation of the First Amendment. Abortion is legal so suck it up buttercup. Don’t get pissed about someone interfering with your decisions when you are interfering in someone else’s decisions.

    The Constitution is the rule of law. There is a process to make changes if so desired. If we do not draw a line in the sand we will lose those rights little by little. Part of respecting those rights and demanding the gov’t respect them is supporting the rights of others we may disagree with. All or nothing folks. No picking and choosing.

    I alone am responsible for the decisions I make. No one else. I am not responsible for the decisions anyone else makes. You live YOUR life and I will live MY life.

    • Yeah, well, when your gun gets stolen, or carried to school by your teenager, it becomes my problem. Now, you may have your act totally together — guns secured, kids trained. But not all of us do, that’s for sure. And it seems wack to me that we, who own the guns and understand them, have nothing to offer a country distraught about school shootings and other violence accept open carry, arming teachers, and a lot of angry name calling. Is that really the best we can do? If so, prepare to be fighting this useless battle forever.

      • This “useless battle” will be fought right up until this Great Democratic Experiment collapses. Don’t delude yourself. It is inevitable all empires fall. There is no winning in the political arena, where money rules. Guns don’t seem to matter to a lot of the population. They just don’t see the 2A as equal among the others in the Bill of Rights. Attack voting, speech, religion or monitoring communications and people will yell loundly. Guns don’t elicit the same response among non gun owners.

  30. Most of the flaws in this thinking have been pointed out but I want to point out another. I guarantee that if you own firearms, even ones you can’t get to quickly enough to be useful, they are not absolutely secure no matter how much you pretend otherwise. I have seen guns secured in ways that would amaze most people that were still stolen and in a short amount of time. These guns were then sold to other criminals but I am to believe the original owner of these guns is to be blamed for letting something happen? No.

    • Of course, nothing is “absolutely” secure. But there’s a big difference between a loaded gun in a nightstand and a loaded gun in a quick-open safe. And if your security situation warrants it, keep the gun on your hip until you go to bed. A determined burglar with plenty of time and tools will get anything. A child, or a smash-and-grab thief will be foiled by a safe, even a cheap one. Something is better than nothing.

  31. It’s true that accidental gun deaths are a very low percentage of all fatal accidents, and it’s true that pro-gun groups teach about gun safety and, on sites like this for example, gun owners who behave recklessly are called out. I can quibble with a lot of the “trees” in Dan’s argument, but I still think the “forest” – the larger point – is important.

    I think it’s a mistake and hurts “our” side – tha