Now that a new momentum seems to have infected the gun-control movement, the media has responded by publishing all kinds of surveys and personal testimonies which claim to show that many gun owners aren’t just the red-blooded defenders of God-given gun rights, but are responsible, reasonable people who not only accept the idea that gun ownership needs to be regulated, but even go along with such radical ideas as extending background checks to secondary transfers and sales.
One of the recent surveys that caught my eye was published by Huffington Post, which asked gun owners who weren’t members of the NRA the reason(s) why they opted not to join America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization.’ The survey was taken by 1,000 adults of whom HP says includes 184 gun owners who are “not members of the NRA.” And when asked why they were not NRA members, almost half the gun owners said that the organization didn’t represent them politically or otherwise. If this survey is correct, it tends to verify a cherished and long-held belief on the part of gun-control activists that the people who are most adamant about protecting their beloved 2nd Amendment, may not represent the ‘average’ gun owner at all.
Which brings us to the most salient question floating around since Parkland, namely, how do you sustain the energy and activity of the ‘silent majority’ (or near-majority) of gun owners who might be willing to support more regulation of gun ‘rights?’ Yesterday, the Governor of Oklahoma vetoed a bill which would have basically ended gun regulations in the Sooner State, and if gun ‘rights’ can be curbed in Oklahoma, they can be curbed anywhere.
The day before Governor Mary Fallin told Oklahoma gun-lovers to stick their guns up their you-know-where, the 9th Federal Circuit Court basically said the same thing to California gun nuts, when it upheld a county ordnance preventing a gun shop from operating within 500 feet of a residential zone, the majority opinion citing the 2008 Heller decision which said that the 2nd Amendment did not prohibit the government from regulating the sale of guns. This opinion will be appealed by Gun-nut Nation to the Supreme Court in the hopes that with a conservative majority still intact, the ruling will be overturned. Don’t bet on it.
Meanwhile, to help the gun-control contingent promote their new-found strength and public élan, Huffington published ‘An Open Letter From Hunters About Gun Reform’ (note the substitution of ‘reform’ for ‘control’) that was signed by ten members of what is called the Circle of Chiefs, which is what the Outdoor Writers Association of America refers to as their ‘conservation conscience,’ whatever that means. Their letter promotes the standard laundry-list of gun-control items which have taken on a new life since the appearance of the Parkland kids – an assault weapon and high-cap magazine ban, comprehensive background checks, no bump stocks – the usual things. These new ‘reforms’ are referred to as “responsible limitations that do not infringe the ability of Americans to hunt, shoot or protect themselves and their families.”
The last gun shop that any of these letter-signers entered was probably the Dallas Gun Room, where the cheapest gun is a Holland & Holland shotgun that cost at least five thousand bucks. I didn’t have time to stop off there when I came to Dallas last week for NRA, and I’ll bet I wasn’t the only person at NRA who didn’t have time to stop by that store. What I like about NRA are the number of people I meet whom I have seen at previous shows. It might be difficult for Gun-control Nation to accept this idea, but NRA is just like a Boy Scout jamboree – you go because it’s fun.
Either the good folks who seriously want to reduce gun violence will figure out how to attract gun owners to their cause or they won’t. They certainly won’t do it by getting behind a small group of ‘gentlemen hunters’ who wouldn’t know a $200-dollar shotgun if they tripped over one at a local or national gun show.