Monday, February 19, 2018

The Gun War Is Being Joined

 I've said before that the firearms community should be involved in firearms violence prevention. Two reasons come to mind. One, we know more about firearms than the typical non-shooter. Two, we need to engage and try to reduce the harm out there while moderating the discussion. Unfortunately, the loudest voices are not always the most careful ones. While some of the gun violence prevention folks tend to suggest ideas that many gun owners loathe, the 2nd Amendment purists are typically the Party of No, regardless of the question.

As a result of the latest high school shooting in Florida, all Hell is breaking loose on the "gun prevention", so to speak, side. An example is the Sunday editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican, which pretty much threw everything the Editorial Board could think of at gun owners and then tossed the kitchen sink along for good measure. Given the blood-soaked circumstances, who can blame them? Among the suggestions are"...bans on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines, better background checks and numerous other amendment to the state constitution removing the prohibition on local governments passing any gun restrictions, or even rewriting a provision upholding gun rights..." A law abiding citizen who has never raised a gun in anger might find himself or herself suddenly on the wrong side of the law simply by virtue of having bought a gun with a 12 rd magazine. Its not even about "common sense gun laws" but about retaliation for the NRA and GOP's intransigence and, as many Progressives would like to do, make many if not most of today's modern, high capacity semiauto guns (see below) scarce and inconvenient to own.

But protecting the 2A, and the state constitution's analog, from emasculation should not have as a pricetag more and more bullet-spattered schools, theatres, and churches. Something is going seriously wrong in the country and its not just one issue but as our Los Alamos Catholic priest said yesterday, a host of variables are responsible of which the firearm is the enabler, even if the culture is the ultimate culprit. As anyone who reads knows, we have always had guns. Lots of them. Actual household ownership rates are probably down even as sheer numbers have gone up (based on recent research). What's changed?

When I was a teen, I legally carried a box of 22 Long Rifle ammo to school in my book bag as I was a member of the Rifle Club. One could mail order a rifle or walk into the local K Mart and see racks and racks of military surplus, "NRA-Fair-Good-Excellent" rifles that could be had for a few greenbacks. Indeed, these could be had without telling your life story to the FBI's NICS system as these were pre-background check days.  Most of those surplus guns were purchased to be modified to be sporting and hunting rifles. We didn't have endless mass shootings by me-too youths, or self-styled militias of the right and left parading under banners of intolerance. Its the culture that has changed, and in part, the kinds of guns flying off the shelves reflects the change in culture. Guns used to be primarily for sport and secondarily for guarding the hearth. Nowdays, Gun Culture 2.0, as Wake Forest Sociology Professor David Yamane calls it, is about self defense and even the shooting sports reflect that, i.e., NRA Precision Pistol has given way to International Defensive Pistol Association matches. The look and function of the guns follows the paradigm shift. Black rifles, high capacity or pocket pistols, and short barrelled shotguns with only a pistol grip to make them street legal replace Grandpa or Dad's Model 70 Winchester or Smith and Wesson revolver.When you are planning for a personal defense moment, more bullets are better. My concern, articulated here before, is that Maslow's Hammer has become, in part due to this paradigm-shift in gun culture, Maslow's Handgun.

I think those of us who enjoy firearms need to hustle over to the Middle of the Road and help find some solutions. For the life of me, I don't know why an immature nineteen year old with emotional problems should be able to walk out of a gun store with a weapon designed to control a battlefield, no questions, other than the innocuous NICS ones, asked. As I have said before, anyone old enough to get a driver's license can drive. Not everyone is allowed to drive a Freightliner. If I want to drive a Freightliner, I owe it to society to show I can handle it safely.

As far as armed teachers and the like? Aside from the fact that teachers are underpaid as it is while not being asked to get into firefights with heavily armed terrorists, surprise matters. Pearl Harbor showed that its not enough to be armed. A school shooting is a surprise attack, and will succeed just as the Japanese naval air forces succeeded. Sure, someone can eventually shoot back to limit the damage but meanwhile, people are getting shot. More guns is not the answer. More sanity, perhaps, is.


Weer'd Beard said...

One must remember that "Gun Culture 2.0" is really a direct response to the gun control movement.

There were always people defending their hearth and home with guns, while concealed carry was virtually illegal in most places in the middle of the 20th Century, there were some places that went virtually unchanged from the days when Thomas Jefferson would go for a stroll with a pistol on his belt.

But in 94 gun owners conceded that those then rare and expensive guns could be banned as an olive branch to the other side so that the commonplace revolvers and sporting guns (Irony noted that those K-Mart surplus guns were ACTUAL weapons of war, and that 1903 .30-06 "Deer Gun" previously had been lugged across Europe for the sole purpose of killing other human beings) would be kept safe.

Except we all know that the gun banners weren't happy....we know that at their heart people like Michael Bloomberg are indeed coming for ALL the guns, he just knows he can't do it all at once. The anti-gun side aren't praising the UK and Australia out of ignorance. And the powers that be in those countries are still going after guns....not to mention the absurdity of putting people in jail for carrying simple pocket knives.

When your opponents are that serious, one must be serious as well.

Possessing a gun for hunting is indefensible. Possessing a gun for target shooting is indefensible. Possessing a gun as a collector's item is indefensible.

You want fresh meat, go to the grocery store. You want to enjoy nature, start hiking and biking. You want a precision sport, take up golf. You want to collect things, collect stamps, coins, or pokemon cards.

But a firearm for the defense of human life is VERY good reason.

EVERY nation on this planet has an allowance in the law for the use of deadly force. Some places make the taking of a guilty life in defense of an innocent one VERY difficult....but it is still legal.

Self defense is a human trait (one could argue it runs deeper in biology, but that's a talk for another day), and in the end the anti-gun side is absolutely taking the side against self defense, which by virtue is very much inhuman.

Weer'd Beard said...


" For the life of me, I don't know why an immature nineteen year old with emotional problems should be able to walk out of a gun store with a weapon designed to control a battlefield, no questions, other than the innocuous NICS ones, asked. "

Well it would have helped if somebody was watching the switch when so many people spoke out that he was crazy and likely dangerous. Seems the police were at his house on a semi-regular basis, but never once seemed to translate that rare and anti-social behavior into any legal action.

The same thing happened with the nut who shot Gabby Giffords, he was in the back of a police car every other week facing honest-to-God felony convictions for violence and drug possession. But not a single conviction, I believe he never even saw the inside of a court house.

The Virginia Tech killer did, but the judge did the bizarre thing of declaring him "a danger to himself and others", but then sentencing him to VOLUNTARY mental health treatment.

Of course the jerk in Sutherland Springs was actually convicted....too bad the Air Force didn't think nearly murdering a child was worth reporting....nor did the prosecution feel that a baby with a fractured skull from a violent repeat-offender needed an attempted murder charge.

The list goes on. Unfortunately the NRA is 100% correct when they say "We don't need new laws, we need to enforce the ones already on the books". Adding more laws to a system that is completely dysfunctional will only hassle the lawful and do nothing against those who are truly dangerous.

BTW the police interaction with violent gang members is no different than society's interactions with the rare spree killer. We have a system, and we don't use it.

Also you know better than to call a semi-auto rifle "a weapon designed to control a battlefield", an AR-15 is not an M4 or an M16, and even those military rifles are not designed to control a battlefield, that's the job of close air support and artillery.

As for the armed teachers one can note that there have been ZERO mass shootings at schools or universities that DO allow campus carry.

Certainly gun bans haven't had those results.