Are our Gun Fights hiding our broad agreements?


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Sage Thrasher
December 8, 2009, 11:20 PM
There are many, not a majority, but many, who'd genuinely like to take away modern firearms, pistols, or even all guns altogether. Let's agree they are misinformed about the Constitution and a few other things.

But let's also agree their numbers are shrinking. You've all no doubt seen the recent Gallup poll showing support for new guns restrictions is at a RECORD LOW (http://www.gallup.com/poll/123596/In-U.S.-Record-Low-Support-Stricter-Gun-Laws.aspx). The gun-grabbers have lost, even if they don't know it.

But what's not shrinking, and may be holding the pro-gun movement back, is the rhetoric: anti-gun on the extreme left; anti-government on the extreme right. I can do without either, and so can the gun rights movement, IMHO. Check out what gun rights activist and former NRA regional political director Richard Feldman has to say about that in today's LA Times:

We must stop debating the polemics of guns and instead show wisdom and maturity to begin to resolve the problems of the negligent misuse of guns. Though a cliche, the following is nevertheless true: Guns aren't ever the problem; guns in the wrong hands are always the problem. How we address this problem will determine the future of gun safety in America.

Here's the link to the full story "America's Pointless Gun Fight (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-oew-feldman9-2009dec09,0,3411492.story)":
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-oew-feldman9-2009dec09,0,3411492.story

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mljdeckard
December 8, 2009, 11:26 PM
What is it you propose?

Sage Thrasher
December 8, 2009, 11:49 PM
"What is it you propose?"

Not sure, wish I knew the secret. But I agree with Feldman that backing away from overheated rhetoric sounds like a good start. Calling someone a fascist gun-grabbing commie pinko anti-American rarely seems like a good place to start a conversation or to actually engage in a discussion if you want to educate someone who believes what they do out of ignorance (which generally seems to be the case with anti-gunners.) Seems self-defeating.

hso
December 9, 2009, 03:45 PM
Letting the chest bleating Walter Mittys represent us is and always has been a mistake and certainly plays right into the hands of the folks that want to convince the public that we're not responsible and can't be trusted.

THE DARK KNIGHT
December 9, 2009, 04:32 PM
Gotta agree, the extreme rhetoric hurts us. I went to a gun shop in PA with a friend who's 50/50. Guy at the counter is ranting and raving about how "ammo is dried up for a year now" (despite the fact that I'm getting basically whatver I want at great prices for 3 months now) "could be any day now man, any day now gotta get what you can when you can" and then it degraded into a rant about "health care death panels" and we were only in there maybe 10 minutes....he was acting all heated and scared. Whatever his opinion, he came off as paranoid and detached from reality and didn't make my day trying to get my friend into shooting any easier.

gossamer
January 12, 2010, 03:48 PM
THE DARK KNIGHT: +1. Add to this I heard that same schpeel in very much the same context (friend, looking to start shooting) and then the guy who had been ranting started talking about how "I stock the cheap s**t ammo because the gangbangers want it. I'll sell it to 'em I don't care." My friend said "Well the crazy guy seemed pretty pragmatic when it came to making a buck off of gang-bangers."

These are largely isolated cases, but the over all point is, in general I try to talk about gun ownership for any reason as a very serious, responsible, sober decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. It's a decision that may not be right for everyone. And I also try to demonstrate to friends and family who are on the fence, or even devoutly anti - that I have no use for the vitriolic, deranged and even machiavellian pro or anti-gun folks.

Vern Humphrey
January 12, 2010, 04:58 PM
We must stop debating the polemics of guns and instead show wisdom and maturity to begin to resolve the problems of the negligent misuse of guns.
"Negligent misuse" implies "accidental shootings." If you look at national accident data, guns are so low on the list that they wouldn't be a separate category if it weren't for the politics -- they'd be lumped into "other."

And firearms accidents are going down, not up. Programs like Eddie Eagle and mandatory hunter education are working.

In other words, we're already doing what needs to be done to "resolve the problems of the negligent misuse of guns," and it's bearing fruit.

What else does he suggest?

KBintheSLC
January 12, 2010, 06:29 PM
I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I propose a simple solution... individual rights & individual accountability. Allow The People to have our rights, and punish people for violent crimes only AFTER they have committed them.

Instead, the gun-grabbers make us all criminals with no rights long before any of us have committed a crime. Want to make America safer? Hold violent criminals accountable for their own choices. Don't place the preemptive accountability on society-at-large.

FRJ
January 12, 2010, 06:34 PM
Talking to any liberal about our absolute right to own, use, and carry firearms is like pissing into the wind. Sloppy at best stupid at worst. You will never convince these humanoids that you actually have a right to defend yourself and yours. FRJ

gossamer
January 13, 2010, 06:05 PM
Talking to any liberal about our absolute right to own, use, and carry firearms is like pissing into the wind. Sloppy at best stupid at worst. You will never convince these humanoids that you actually have a right to defend yourself and yours. FRJ

This seems fairly off topic to me. Unless you saw some wisdom in calling it "stupid" when people try to generate broader support for RKBA outside of the typical low-hanging fruit.

The question is about stopping polemics from keeping us from generating more RKBA support, and your answer is to induce more polemics into the discussion?

Have you read a number of the posts on this very site from Liberals who absolutely support RKBA? http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=484786&page=2

read here: http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=6094858&postcount=45

There's also this RKBA: Why Liberals Should Love the Second Amendment (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/10/6/11474/7753)

Cute little platitudes didn't stop Regan from supporting the Brady Bill (http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/29/us/gun-control-bill-backed-by-reagan-in-appeal-to-bush.html?pagewanted=all) and they won't help continue the increase RKBA support among Americans.

Cosmoline
January 13, 2010, 06:14 PM
Our position, in broad terms, is incredibly simple. LEAVE US ALONE! That's it. No complex rules to draft, no laws to debate, no nothing. Just leave us alone. Period. That's not something the other side can even comprehend. Any "compromise" position implies some level of new legislation. Some level of interference. We already have far too much of that.

Caliper_RWVA
January 29, 2010, 11:04 PM
Talking to any liberal about our absolute right to own, use, and carry firearms is like pissing into the wind.

Huh, I fall into the "liberal" camp on many issues and while I didn't grow up with guns in the house I have always been in favor of the RKBA. Just recently renewed my NRA membership and got my g/f a membership as well.

The OP has a great point though. Both my and my g/f's fathers are in favor of the 2A. Hers because he is a lifelong hunter and firearm owner, my father on principle although he has handled comparatively fewer firearms. However, both regard the NRA as too extreme and I highly doubt either would truly consider joining. I admit that even I read some of the things the NRA puts out there and shake my head, thinking how folks like my mother and others I know would take them. Let's just say it doesn't always win friends and may be alienating a fair segment of the population.

JImbothefiveth
January 31, 2010, 01:33 AM
However, both regard the NRA as too extreme and I highly doubt either would truly consider joining. I admit that even I read some of the things the NRA puts out there and shake my head, thinking how folks like my mother and others I know would take them. Let's just say it doesn't always win friends and may be alienating a fair segment of the population.
Quite simply, if the NRA is too extreme, what isn't? Compromising right now will gain nothing. The momentum is in our direction right now, not their's. Now would be a bad time to change tactics.

Prion
January 31, 2010, 08:18 AM
backing away from overheated rhetoric sounds like a good start.

Agreed, so tired of it. I actually like to think and the pundits in both parties make it impossible to debate issues with any intelligence. I think the right-wing, of which I mostly belong, alienates the left and vice-versa. The left won't listen to reason about the RKBA because we are lumped in with these loud-mouthed obnoxious hatemonger talk-show types who spew drivel, fear and hate.

I was sure glad my on the fence brother wasn't with me when the gun shop guys were gleefully celebrating Ted Kennedys death. While I agreed with them and am glad to see him out of politics it won't help our cause to portray ourselves as savage, heartless, and hatefilled.

shockwave
January 31, 2010, 09:09 AM
There's also this RKBA: Why Liberals Should Love the Second Amendment (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/10/6/11474/7753)

That is very consistent with what I'm seeing. Liberal activists are not talking about guns, and when they do, they are strongly RKBA. There are exceptions, just as there are conservatives opposed to private ownership. Some strongly opposed to RKBA. This is not a "redstate/bluestate" problem. The problem is that some people just don't like guns period and support efforts to reduce their number and availability.

A personal observation: When the assault weapons ban in 1994 was enacted, I began getting serious about firearms and supporting the NRA. Since then, I've been watching carefully and our gun rights today are stronger than they've ever been. You can legally carry into a national park now, thanks to a law enacted by a Democratic president. So I really don't want to hear any crap about "gun-seizing liberals," because obviously most of them are getting the picture.

What we should do is find ways of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Law-abiding owners aren't the problem and everybody understands that.

dg12
January 31, 2010, 10:50 AM
You said, "anti-government on the extreme right. I can do without either, and so can the gun rights movement"

Dude, you just made a broad sweep at Conservative right wingers by implying that anarchists are part of our camp, they're not. We hold to what ALL the Founders laid out, do you call them anarchists too?

Consider Charlton Heston, he wasn't for "no government" but rather a streamlined and not bloated socalist Govt. Isn't that what the pilgrims fled from? I dont want a welfare Govt but do increase our security w/o infringing on our liberties.

Anarchists are simply chemically imbalanced and delusional people. I would call Irreverant Jeremiah Wright an anarchist, Farrakahn, KKK, Muslim Extremists, Black Panthers, America's Taliban (Mexican Nationalists), common criminals etc..

Punish gun crimes but let all responsible citizens pursue happiness.

archigos
January 31, 2010, 11:52 AM
I think the key is to remember that the Democrat Party does not always represent the interests and beliefs of Liberals. In fact, the anti-rights movement is not of benefit to anybody - be they right wing, left wing, or anywhere in the middle.
The fact is that the anti-rights movement has momentum in the Democrat Party only because the Republican Party has claimed the pro-rights movement, and of course, the two parties need to have opposing positions on everything, whether it makes sense or not. The key is to raise awareness and the questions in the minds of Liberals. Anybody who asks the key questions about the benefits or harms of guns in a free society and does their research will inevitably arrive to the same conclusion. The only people that will not turn pro-gun after doing their research are those who stand to benefit from the anti-rights movement - politicians who can use anti-rights rhetoric to motivate constituents to vote for them, people who work for anti-rights groups and thus make money from the movement, etc. The key is to open the minds of regular citizens whose minds are currently polluted by bad rhetoric. Let them fill in the blanks themselves.

PublicRelations
January 31, 2010, 11:58 AM
Recently I have been thinking about RKBA as a civil rights issue just like any other. Some of you may have this view already, but for me, this is a new stance.

I propose we peacefully protest:

Sort of like blacks would hold "sit ins" in public areas that were restricted for "whites only". No shouting, no picketing, just peacefully gathering and let our presence be known.

For example, in California, it is perfectly legal to open carry an unloaded pistol in a holster. Exercising that right would make RKBA issues blatantly present to non-gun owners. It is not normal to see a civilian openly carrying. If a group of 5 or 6 (or more) people open carried at a coffee shop, people would notice. Curious individuals would ask questions and see that:

a) lawful gun owners are not maniacs, gangsters, and anarchists but intelligent, peaceful, and friendly people and

b) guns are perfectly safe when in the right hands.

Of course there will be opponents, that may even voice their opinion aggressively, and it is the RKBA-persons job to "take the high road" and not react emotionally. A smile and, "I'm sorry you feel that way. If you'd like to learn more and know the truth about firearms, please visit [your favorite website]."

Imagine if we peacefully protested by openly carrying (where lawful) in groups of 5 or 6 in multiple locations at once. The media could not ignore us and neither could those that are opposed to guns. If we gathered once a month, in a coordinated effort, it would be pro-active and highly effective on multiple levels.

Why do I believe peaceful protests are effective?

1) peaceful protests are a PROACTIVE action rather than reacting (to negative publicity, etc.). We actively take a stand for our rights in a manner that is peaceful, intelligent, friendly and fun. Too much of our movement is reaction based, trying to stop laws being passed, etc. Think of it as a peaceful guerrilla movement in which we educate and make our presence known to the people. Congressmen won't pass laws that their constituents don't want, if it is a majority of the people.

2) peaceful protests prove that gun-owners are not the ignorant, trouble making, irresponsible people that media and Obama would paint us as. When we organize peacefully, within the law, and have intelligent responses to the questions that will inevitably be asked, it establishes a new stereotype for "gun owners" and 2A activists. We will show non-gun owning Americans that the majority of gun owners are not gangsters, anarchists, and ignorant maniacs, but caring, friendly, intelligent, and family oriented people who care about our safety.

3) a group of RKBA supporters is more of a presence, and more effective than an individual. An individual who openly carries at the super market can easily be perceived as a potential threat. Shoppers don't know why he is carrying and they are ignorant to open carry laws. It's easy for his active exercising of rights to be misunderstood. However, a group gathering at a coffee shop is less suspicious and more easily perceived as "safe" by an ignorant public. We could take it one step further and wear t-shirts that say, "Ask me why I'm LEGALLY carrying a pistol" and it would further put people at ease and also get more curious people interested in our cause.

Do you see any more benefits to a peaceful protest? Perhaps you are a detractor?

I believe peaceful protests to be a powerful message, and if we are organized and make a coordinated effort, it will be even more powerful.

sfc_mark
January 31, 2010, 01:22 PM
PR: Coherent and thought-provoking.

wishin
January 31, 2010, 02:12 PM
An over simplification, but keeping government at arms length and out of our daily lives would go a long way towards regaining our rights. Let government perform as intended by our constitution; not as envisioned by our socialist minded left-wingers (and admittedly, some of the opportunity minded on the right) .

Caliper_RWVA
January 31, 2010, 04:10 PM
Quite simply, if the NRA is too extreme, what isn't? Compromising right now will gain nothing. The momentum is in our direction right now, not their's. Now would be a bad time to change tactics.

I agree, we have compromised too much already and it is a great time to roll things back towards a better middle ground. But, it is not so much what the NRA does or says as much as it is the way they say it.

I know my father is against any form of gun registration and does not believe in restrictions on guns, or any other weapon for that matter. Pretty sure you would get is vote to repeal the NFA (hope the NRA will make a good push for that before too long). However his view of the NRA is that they are just as extreme as the anti-gun movement.

Truth is, despite that I proudly count myself as a member of the NRA and wish they would take a harder line on gun laws, I cringe when I see some of the things Wayne LaPierre says in videos on the NRA website. Especially when he managed to get some air time on CNN regarding the Clinton AWB and totally blew it. I agree with what he was saying - CNN had showed a piece with a full auto AK-47 as "why we need the AWB - what does this have to do with hunting?". Typical straw argument that could have been rebutted in many ways, but Mr. LaPierre just started with loudmouthed accusations instead of calm reason and got cut off the air very quickly. Now, he may be looked on as a "martyr" of a sorts by many in the NRA membership for this action and you can make the argument that CNN wanted to cut him off anyways, but my point is that he didn't have to go and make it easy for them! He won nothing for the pro-gun side by effectively falling on his sword and giving the newslady a perfect opportunity to pull the plug and look like the good guy. This is the face of the NRA that people see and think "geez, those guys are nuts". A better approach would have been a calm, reasoned argument that would appeal to most suburbanites who are really fence-sitters on the gun argument but have not handled one. This could foster more understanding, win a few friends and makes it a lot harder for CNN to cut the NRA off without making CNN look bad.

Honestly, I think stuff like the "Why Liberals should love the 2A" article are just the thing the NRA needs to do. I think that article is perfect. The 2A is our right, as a last resort, to change the Government by force if necessary. Stop tying gun rights so much to hunting. Connect RKBA to the principle of America, freedom, Mom and apple pie, etc. Gun ownership is why we pledge allegiance and not "God save the Queen".

Autolycus
February 7, 2010, 09:31 PM
Another good read for those who seem to think it is the fault of the big bad liberals...

Don't Blame Liberals for Gun Control. (http://reformed-theology.org/html/issue11/dont_blame_liberals.htm)

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