Khalil Spencer: The Gun War Is 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.

spencer2As 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 laws…an 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 price tag 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.


4 thoughts on “Khalil Spencer: The Gun War Is Joined.

  1. In reference to “Middle of the Road.”
    When you were a teen, you were:
    Able to legally carry a box of 22 Long Rifle ammo to school,
    Mail order a rifle,
    Walk into the local K Mart and see racks of military surplus,
    Didn’t have to tell your life story to the FBI’s NICS system

    And I remember in States like New Jersey you didn’t have limited magazines or were able to carry hollow-points

    I remember in California you didn’t have a list of approved guns that could be sold

    I could go on and on. But my question is; How much further do we who enjoy firearms need to hustle over to get to that Middle of the Road?

    P.S. Sounds like Broward County (or should I say Coward County) along with Miami-Dade County is going to have a lot of explaining to do. I hope that one of Mike’s Contributing Editors, who live in Florida, is ready to open his wallet for the increase taxes that Florida will need when the lawsuits start coming in from those 3,000+ students start filing law suits.

  2. As far as gun control, it’s as old as the Constitution. Go read Adam Winkler’s “Gunfight” for starters. Mike has posted a couple blog essays on the subject and provided links to peer reviewed academic papers too. I downloaded a bunch from home so they can be reached by you. So its not a matter of all or nothing.

  3. I know this topic has been discussed/debated since the creation of the Constitution. But over the years I’ve been around (ask my wife, it’s been a long time) I believe those who believe in the Second Amendment have made many concessions and have, in many cases, went past the Middle of the Road. But that’s just me.

    I just wish many (maybe most) of those who want “gun control” would be more forward about it. Like the Editorial Board in the Santa Fe New Mexican, “…even rewriting a provision upholding gun rights…” I have much more respect for those who just come out and tell the truth on what they want.

    I went to the article on what your Catholic Priest had written. I agree with him, start looking at the families, the single mothers raising the family, fathers who are not involved, taking God out of schools, the school system (hope you looked at the article that I made reference to). There has always been anger and bitter disagreement over fundamental issues of this country. Look at the demonstrations/camps in Washington D.C. during the Great Depression, the demonstrations across the country during the Vietnam war, and now the demonstrations about the current Presidential election. I believe we have always been a divided country to some degree but getting back to the gun issue, I just wish there would be some honesty like Editorial Board of your newspaper, just come out and say “repeal the Second Amendment.” I believe the “gun people” have been in the Middle of the Road for a long time.

  4. School shootings are not increasing per Duwes and Fox. High capacity magazines and semi auto rifles are a century old, are not used in the majority of violent crime nor mass shootings, and per Klecks analysis of actual incidents, their marginally higher maximum rate of fire has not been necessary to achieve the casualty counts of any but a bare few mass shootings. There’s no evidence that any gun control laws can have, nor have had, any stat sig impact on preexisting violent crime rate trends, anywhere. Basically the only variable which has changed is culture, and not “gun culture” yet even with those changes the applicable rate trends are declining or flat long term in the US. Gun control, statistically, is simply rearranging deck chairs.

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