Every time there is a shooting that involves a high profile individual within minutes there are those that wish to exploit the tragedy and call for increased barriers to gun ownership and question the purpose of gun ownership. Yet when someone uses a gun to subvert a criminal we rarely hear high profile individuals call for increased gun ownership.
Both sides of the gun debate quickly dig in with the usual arguments. If he did not have a gun then the tragedy would not have happened. If the victim of the criminal had a gun maybe it would not have happened. Both statements are possibly true but neither can be proven for a specific incident. We can only extrapolate the outcome.
What we do know to be true is that predators are less likely to attack an armed citizen.
How can we as a nation keep having the same discussion on gun ownership? It’s because of how we perceive gun ownership. People generally agree gun ownership is ok if the gun is to be used for hunting or skeet shooting. Where we generally part ways with gun ownership is when we want to own guns for reasons outside of sporting purposes.
Anti-gun proponents see guns as offensive weapons. It’s a tool used to harm others. They usually acknowledge that banning, confiscating and outlawing guns won’t stop violence. They still blame guns for violence where guns are banned. The focus of their rage is the object and not the individual using the object. If that were not true anti-gun groups would be camped out in Chicago, Detroit and Washington, D.C. calling for the heads of those that commit gun crimes. Instead, they aim their wrath at legal gun owners who are an easier legislative target.
Gun owners see guns as a method of defense. Americans are buying guns at an unprecedented rate for self-defense and crime is dropping but the anti-gun crowd is still digging in to ban gun ownership, or more specifically handgun ownership.
I had a discussion with a television producer for an extremely well known show that involves people voting for amateur singers. He was tasked with coming up for a gun related reality show and he mentioned that he did not know much about gun owners – he was a self-proclaimed Los Angeles liberal.
His idea of concealed carry was an older fat white guy smoking a cigar and looking for a gun fight. To him a concealed carry permit was an urban hunting license. When I informed him that the new face of concealed carry was a 37 year old mom of two in a mini-van he was surprised but agreed that I was probably correct. Then he mentioned that he just found out his mom had a revolver. He was OK with her owning a gun but he was not ok with gun ownership in general. He went on to tell me how a big obnoxious guy with a gun would be a better show unless we could get a gun shop owned by good looking women wearing skimpy clothes. When I explained that gun owners won’t watch a show that makes a mockery of gun owners and anti-gun people won’t watch the show so why bother? It looks like the network has dropped the idea since portraying gun owners in a positive way was something that was not going to happen. He was convinced it wouldn’t pull the ratings.
When gun owners hear of an innocent being shot we cringe. I’m talking about legal gun owners and not gang-bangers and criminal gun owners. I’m talking about the 80,000,000 gun owners that value life and have never used a gun for evil. We see a tragedy. We see something that we truly wish never happened. Not because we know that the onslaught of gun banners will come out in full force but because we have guns to protect life, and any life lost to violence is wrong.
Gun owners simply don’t want their right to defend themselves compromised and the best tool for defending yourself is a gun. All the gun laws in the world won’t eliminate violence. It’s human nature to be violent. Before guns, we killed each other with arrows. Before arrows we killed each other with spears. Before spears we killed each other with clubs. We still kill each other with clubs.
I understand that the anti-gun crowd sees guns as the problem. Somehow if all the guns in the US were gone violence would be abated. Maybe they are correct. The residents of London, England certainly thought so and they banned guns. It didn’t work and violence continued. Now they have put restrictions on pocket knives and many anti-knife people want to ban steak knives (not kidding either). Meanwhile a travel guide I have reminds me that the rape rate in London is higher than that of New York City. This came as a surprise because we Americans are savages in the eyes of the Brits.
Many years ago I worked in a gun shop. We occasionally had people come it to tell us how horrible we were. One of the guys that would come in to call me names stopped in with a solemn look on his face. Before he said a thing I told him I was in no mood to hear his rant. He quietly explained that he frequently traveled and while he was gone there was a home invasion and his wife was beaten while the home was robbed. He never wanted that to happen again so he was there to buy a gun. It took a tragedy for him to come to the conclusion that his wife needed a means of defense.
We gun owners can’t change our nature. We’ll always want to own guns for a many reasons. We’ll always want to protect ourselves and others. We’ll always want our loved ones to have the ability to protect themselves. Most importantly, we’ll always want that right for all Americans regardless if they agree with us or not. I’ll never deny you the right to be a victim so why try to limit my ability to protect myself? It’s not paranoia, it’s just that the world we live in is violent and we need to be able to defend ourselves against those that would cause us harm.
Creating a larger victim pool is not the way to end violence. Until the anti-gun crowd understands that premise we will suffer fools living in their ivory towers that preach the common good is enhanced once our ability to defend ourselves is gone. Killing the sheepdog doesn’t encourage the wolf to change its ways.