It’s getting to the point that the slow but steady decline in the number of Americans who own guns appears to be provoking the gun industry and its advocates not just to promote the idea that a gun is the best and safest way for people to protect themselves, but to present concealed-carry as a natural and normal way to use guns. The normalization of CCW can be found in a new online publication from the NSSF called First Shot News, The Newsletter for Beginning Shooters. It contains seven articles, and five of the seven articles or videos focus on tactical shooting, which is a polite way of saying that you are going to use a gun to shoot someone else.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that anybody who subscribes to any NSSF online newsletter is thinking of using a gun in an unsafe or illegal way. And I’m also not saying that they will ever use a gun except to have an enjoyable afternoon on the range with some friends. What I am saying, however, is that consumers are told that this particular consumer product is the best way to protect themselves and society at large from any kind of physical threat. So you’re not just buying a gun to protect yourself, buying and carrying a gun is a civic good.
And here’s how that message is conveyed to new shooters by the NSSF. David Dolbee begins his article on choosing a holster like this: “One of the primary reasons people begin shopping for a holster is because they’re planning to carry a firearm concealed.” Another article on short-barreled pistols advises new shooters that short-barreled guns are necessary in order to carry-concealed, but because of their compactness they aren’t much fun to shoot. There’s a “First Shoot Shooting Drill” presented by Claude Werner, the tactical professor, whose website includes a link to “Gun Battles to be Remembered,” and the featured article is by the First Shots manager, Tisma Juett, who has put together some 60 shooting “seminars” even though most of them will be held at just 6 or 7 different sites.
Tisma’s article starts off with the usual bromides about the importance of safe storage, but she gets right down to the nitty-gritty when she asks her readers “Have you considered how you safely store your firearm when carrying concealed?” And if you need a bit more help to understand the point of her remarks, she concludes her safety advice to new shooters by stating that “When time is of the essence, you need to know where your firearm is and how to draw it out of the holster and into a position to shoot safely and even quickly.”
When time is of the essence for what? For defending yourself against the possibility that you might be the victim of a criminal attack? I don’t care how many times John Lott, Gary Kleck and the other self-defense fetishists continue to re-invent the sick idea that guns prevent millions of crimes from taking place. It’s sick because those arguments appeal to fear, have no basis in fact and increase risk. The last time Lott trotted out that stupid argument he couldn’t make any real connection between CCW and rates of crime, ending up whining that the two trends were “associated” with one another, whatever that means.
It’s time for my friends in the gun-sense community to say it loud and clear: You can’t call for CCW on the one hand and call for gun safety on the other. It’s a contradiction in terms and pro-gun organizations promoting such nonsense should be called to account for what they are really trying to do, namely, make concealed-carry a normal and natural activity so that people will buy more guns. But the truth is that walking around with a gun isn’t normal and natural unless you also happen to be wearing a law-enforcement shield. And anyone who thinks otherwise should go back to the O.K. Corral.