Yesterday I saw a news article online where former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ant-gun group, Everytown for Gun Safety, plans on sending a questionnaire every candidate in the U.S. who is running for a House or Senate seat in the Fall elections this year. According to Everytown President John Fienblatt, ““People deserve in this country to know where candidates stand on reasonable gun measures.”
That started me to thinking. The NRA and other groups, like Everytown, are always grading people on their position on guns and asking for their beliefs and opinions on the subject. I am a reasonably smart, adequately educated, professional middle-aged white guy, but no one has ever graded or asked about my stance on guns or gun rights. Maybe that’s because I have never run Congress. And, I don’t intend to as long as I am in possession of most of my mental capacity. But, just in case, I decided it might be a good thing to get my opinions “on the record”, just in case. Plus, that way if I ever do lose my mind and decide to run, I won’t have to waste time filling out forms or answering questions; time that I could be spending shaking hands and kissing babies. Or is that kissing hands and shaking babies? I always get confused. But I digress.
So here goes.
First, I like guns. No, actually I love guns. I am a country boy and I have been around guns and people who also love guns all my life. My Daddy owned guns and bought me my first one when I was 12 years old. It was a single shot H&R .20 gauge shotgun. Nothing compares to being a young boy, growing up on the family place and taking your own gun out in the woods to stalk big game, like squirrels, rabbits, birds and an occasional copperheaded rattle moccasin. As I got older, I was allowed to take one of my Daddy’s guns on hunting trips. It was an Ithaca Feahterlight .12 gauge. It was a beautiful one that was fun to shoot. Once my Daddy passed, I got that one and still treasure it very much. I guess that is okay with Joe Biden, since it is a shotgun, but I don’t really care one way or another.
I have owned many other guns over the years as well. The first handgun I ever bought for myself was a stainless steel Smith & Wesson Model 13 .357 magnum with a 4 inch barrel. When I was a deputy sheriff, this was my ‘duty weapon’. Since then I have owned several different models of semi-auto handguns in various calibers. I have also owned several rifles. Not hunting rifles, since I don’t hunt anymore. My tastes generally run to collectible old military style stuff. The finest one I ever owned was an World War II era M-1 Garand, which was chambered for .30-06. It was the gun that won the war and that General Patton said was “the greatest battle implement ever devised”.
So, as you can see, I have, and do, own quite a few guns. One thing I have noticed over the years is that none of them have ever shot at anything that I did not want to and make a conscious effort to shoot at. Okay, there was that one hole in the ceiling at the camp, but even that was my fault. Don’t ask. Nobody was hurt and its best just to not talk about it.
The point is, I don’t feel that guns are bad or inherently evil. A gun is tool to be used for a particular purpose. In that sense, a gun is just like a shovel or a power saw. And like a shovel or a power saw, they are best when used in the hands of people who are familiar with them and know how to use them safely. Shovels and power saws have been used to murder and maim people at times, but that does not make them evil. It all depends on the mind and actions of the person holding them. One thing that guns, shovels and power saws do have in common is this: You can take each of them, get them ready to use, lay them on a table, step back and tell them to do their thing. And you can wait as long as you want, but none of them will do anything until someone puts their hands on them. Sometimes people use them wisely and sometimes they don’t, but whatever happens is not the fault of the tool.
Second, I am a card carrying NRA member. I think I should say that in the interest of full disclosure, although I don’t see where that is anyone else’s business. I also believe in the Constitution of the United States, which includes the Second Amendment. I believe that the phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is one of the cornerstones of freedom. I also believe that the words “shall” and “not” are mandatory and are pretty clear. I think what the words “keep AND bear” are pretty important. We, as Americans have the constitutional right (which is not granted by the government, by the way) bear arms. That does not mean I intend to always go around armed. But when I think I need to, and that decision should be up to me, I have that right. I don’t need a permit or permission. It is my right. Which brings up one of the first lessons my Daddy taught me about guns. He used to say “You don’t always need a gun, but when you do, your gonna need one real bad.”
Since we are on the subject, I might as well let you know that I don’t think the Second Amendment has anything to do with hunting. Or with self-defense or home protection. It has to do with the fact that the founders, who had just fought a revolution to gain independence, knew that an unarmed populace was the greatest threat to freedom and liberty in the world. I know a lot of people today see this as a radical thought, but while it does provide for us to hunt or defend our person or home from criminals, the Second exists to allow us to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government.
For what it is worth, I do favor laws, and the enforcement of those laws, to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are mentally unstable. But I do not think the way to do that is to restrict the rights of sane, law abiding citizens. To me, that is like saying we should take people’s cars away because some people drive drunk or some old people can’t see to well anymore. And on that note, I don’t think MORE gun laws are a good idea. Maybe before we start passing more laws on that subject, we might want to try enforcing the ones we already have and see if that makes a difference.
I also do not believe that gun free zones and other such things do much to curb violence. In fact, I think they encourage it. First, if a homicidal maniac is out to shoot up a theater or school, they are not gonna stop and say “wait.. that is a gun free zone. It would be illegal to do it there!”
Plus, criminals like to prey on unarmed people and tend to avoid those that they think might be packing a gun. I saw a few news articles this week that tend to confirm that. First, recent statistics show that as there has been a rise in granting concealed handgun permits in this country, there has been a corresponding decrease in violent crime. Also, Target stores recently banned possession of handguns in their stores. Surprising no one, there has been a sharp increase in store robberies and crimes committed against customers in and around the parking lots of Target stores. This is why I think ‘gun free zones’ should actually be called ‘a target rich environment’ for bad guys. It would make things so much simpler and not give non-smart people a false sense of security.
In addition, I have heard people say why do you need a gun to protect yourself? Wouldn’t a knife or a baseball bat be just as good. It would if the other guy had a knife or a baseball bat. But if you don’t understand why bringing a knife to a gunfight is not a good idea, you are a special kind of stupid and there is nothing I can do for you. So disarming law abiding citizens is not a very smart idea.
I believe that we all have a right to defend ourselves and our families. This is not a constitutional right, but a natural right that exists outside the provision of any law or statute. Come in my house in the middle of the night and you will learn what kind and how many guns I really do own. And, while I have the utmost respect for the police and the men and women who serve us, I always think about this inconvenient little fact that the anti-gun crowd hates. Most violent criminals, whether burglars, robbers or rapist are still smart enough not to hang around until the cops show up. A quick plan of ex filtration is always part of the plan. So, remember, when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.
Also, I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I am some kind of right wing nut job. I am not planning or plotting the overthrow of the government, waiting for the revolution to start or actually expecting a zombie apocalypse. But, I have lived through natural disasters and seen civil unrest, even in this great country of ours. I am not preparing for doomsday, but I am preparing for the day that something happens and help is 3-4 days away and I have to protect myself and those I hold dear. If you are one of those who believes that everything is going to be okay because the government can help you, you either did not live through or have forgotten about a little thing called Hurricane Katrina.
Another news story that was interesting was the fact that over the 4ht of July weekend in Chicago, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in America, 82 people were shot, 16 of them fatally. You would have thought that a legally gun free city would be much safer, right? I agree with Samuel L. Jackson on this one.
And this guy:
While we are on the subject of gun laws, while I don’t think we need more, if we are going to pass some anyway it might be a good idea to let people who understand guns do the thinking.
There are other issues like registration, banning certain firearms or restricting magazines, but I think by this time, Mayor Bloomberg and my potential voters should have a pretty good idea of my “position” on guns. If anybody else is unsure, you are a special kind of stupid and I can’t help ya.
I am Robbie Harrison and I approved this message! (I know you knew that, but for some reason Mary Landrieu says I have to say it).