Reader Scott sent me some of his thoughts on why he thought anti-gun groups are so unsuccessful and untrustworthy. He told me if I thought it was good enough to publish I could post up his thoughts and I told him I absolutely would.
Gun control groups such as the Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety are the reason there is such a great divide in this country and such a resistance to any laws that might help positively affect gun violence and safety. They cry for what they call “gun sense” but it’s clear “gun sense” only means one thing to them: bans on guns.
The most prominent reason is because these groups at their core aren’t interested in coming to any solution other than the disarmament of the American People. Most will quickly point out that “No one wants to take your guns.” they only want “common sense” regulations (inferring that if you disagree, you are not sensible). That’s hard to believe from groups that started with names such as the National Council to Control Handguns, and National Coalition to ban Handguns. Are they saying they want to ban guns but still want people to keep them? They claimed victory when Connecticut passed a ban on new “assault weapons” and standard capacity magazines over 10 rounds. The law lets people who already own such items to keep them as long as they register them with the state. Its estimated that about 300,000 gun owners or roughly 90% refused to comply with the registration and are now subject to confiscation and gun crime charges. It’s a similar story in New York where as many as one million New Yorkers refusing to register their guns that are now classified as “assault weapons” under New York’s onerous SAFE Act. Gun owners are so resistant to registration because they know the only reason the government would want to know where guns are is so they may be taken at a later date. Now tell me again that no one wants to take anyone’s guns.
The groups’ vehement hoplophobia is readily transparent. Take a look at their comments on any gun related incident. If there is a negligent discharge and someone is hurt, they wouldn’t dare say they are launching a campaign to reinforce gun safety practices by offering gun safety classes and PSAs. If a child finds an adult’s gun, the call is instantly to ban guns, not to advocate for secure storage or even offer free firearms locks. Take any gun related issue, the only solution is a call to ban guns or take steps to ban guns. While there are plenty of dangers in our everyday lives such as swimming pools, automobiles, and power tools, guns seem to be the only thing that draws an immediate call for a nationwide ban as opposed to helping people use them more safely. Janet Reno purportedly once said “Waiting periods are just a step, registration is just a step, the prohibition of private firearms ownership is the goal.” Whether she actually said it or not is debatable, but the sentiment is alive and thriving in the “gun sense” community.
The other reason the public is skeptical at best of these groups are the lies. Nearly everything these groups say is cherry picked data, half truths, or flat out fabricated. Are 40% of all gun sales made without a background check? Yes, if you go off of data collected in a survey from 251 people in 1994, four years before the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was in place. Were there really 74 school shootings as Everytown for Gun Safety Claimed? Yes, if you counted suicides, criminal activity such as drug dealing, after-hours incidents, and incidents that took place near school grounds such as across the street. The real number is 10 according to poltifact. While 10 is still not a good thing, it’s not the 74 that they sensationalized. Did Starbucks, Target, Chili’s and other major retailers change their policy on guns being carried in their stores? Yes, if you count press statements asking people to not bring their guns into stores, but also stating they will not post signs or ask anyone to leave. Is the USA really leading in the world in gun murders? Yes, if you filter out the 12 other countries like Mexico, Jamaica, Brazil and South Africa ahead of us by saying they aren’t civilized or industrialized. It certainly wouldn’t sound impressive to say we need gun control because the USA is 1st in gun ownership but 111th in the world in overall murder rate. In short, the average citizen not indoctrinated with “gun sense” is wary of any group that needs so many lies to try to prove its point.
I think most gun owners actually support measures that would actually keep guns out of the hands criminals and the mentally unstable. Responsible gun owners would surely think it a prudent to ensure a random stranger isn’t a dangerous person before selling them a gun in a private sale. The problem is no proposed law I’ve seen actually targets criminal activity but instead seeks to burden otherwise lawful citizens with laws unenforceable against legitimate criminals, expensive FFL transfer fees and inconvenience for things such as a father gifting a gun to an adult son, and steps that make it overly difficult to obtain and own a firearm by requiring safety classes that span numerous days, licensing fees that may cost as much as the firearm itself and strict travel regulations that make it illegal to stop to pee at a gas station if transporting a gun. Every proposed “gun sense” solution is like every time Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown; he hopes and wishes she sincerely wants to help, but we all know she’ll pull it out at the last second and Charlie Brown will fall flat on his back.
If gun safety groups seek to actually help and not just try to ban guns, here are some great places to start. Work to help at risk youths to avoid illegal drug and gang activity which the CDC estimates accounts for 80% of gun violence that isn’t suicide. Work to make mental health care more available and more effective for people that need it. Finally, work to educate gun owners on safe use, handling and storage for guns so people, especially children aren’t injured or killed from poor safety practices.