Gun owners are not the NRA

Sam Smith –As noted here before, one of the main reasons  we don’t have better gun laws is that liberals have gone it alone on issue instead of building alliances with rational  gun owners. Gun owners are not the NRA as a recent CBS poll shows.

For example:

  • 56% of gun owners do not believe gun control supporters are trying to take away traditions and a way of life.
  • 55% of gun owners do not believe gun control supporters are trying to take away all guns.
  • 60% think gun control supporters are promoting public safety and lower gun deaths for everyone.
  • 43% of gun owners think the NRA is too extreme in its positions.
  • 55% of gun owners disapprove of the way the NRA handles the debate.
  • 54% of gun owners are concerned about the possibility of gun violence at their children’s school
  • On a scale of one to five, with the latter representing pro-control 42%  of gun owners place themselves at 4 or 5.

In short, the image projected by liberals and the media of gun owners is markedly wrong. They should recognize that the view of these owners is quite varied and start to work with hunters and other owners who favor a rational approach.


Lower the heat on heat

From our May 13, 2013 edition

Sam Smith – I’ve been a lonely voice on the left urging a far less aggressive approach on the gun issue. It’s not a personal matter. I haven’t shot a gun in over 50 years and have never owned one. I’m the product of a Quaker education and qualify, I guess, as a peacenik.

But one of the things I’ve learned in seeking the nonviolent approach to things is that you can’t bully people into a more peaceful approach. It’s a psychological and cultural matter and you don’t change that through the vehemence of your argument or the rigidity of your laws. You must act in the manner of that which you wish to achieve.

Which is the exact opposite of how liberals have handled the gun control issue recently. .

It hasn’t paid off. Instead of an increase in gun control, we find ourselves with an increase in gun anger.
Consider this item from Think Progress:

“Almost 900 people are RSVPed for a July 4th march on Washington, D.C. where protesters plan to carry loaded rifles. In D.C., openly carrying guns is against the law. But the organizer of the event, libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh, says the march is an act of “civil disobedience” that attempts to prove gun advocates’ point in the “subtlest way possible.” The event’s Facebook invitation describes the march as a nonviolent demonstration, “unless the government chooses to make it violent”

Or consider a recent poll that found 44% of Republicans think that “an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties,” as opposed to 18% of Democrats.

These are new and scary phenomena in American politics and the way liberals have approached the gun issue hasn’t helped.

Consider a few facts about gun owners.

– Only about one hundredth of one percent of gun owners killed anyone last year.

– A third of gun owners are women

– A quarter are black, or roughly twice as many as the black share of the general population

– About a third are college graduates

– Gun owners are politically divided much like the general population.

– Only about one in ten is a member of the NRA.

How does it help make America become less violent to treat this huge voting bloc as criminals-in-waiting who must be massively restrained?

Obviously, the issue of violence in America needs to be addressed. But stunningly lacking the current debate is mention of anything but guns. What if a group of those who do and don’t own guns came together to support the teaching of dispute resolution in public schools or restorative justice in our courts? What if this group just sat down and discovered what it is they did agree upon? They might be surprised..

I know. It probably won’t happen. But in the meanwhile, liberals could do one simple thing that would lower the heat and hazard considerably: take gun control off the national agenda and make it state by state issue. I know today’s liberals don’t like the Tenth Amendment but this is a perfect example of an issue it was designed to address – an important tribute and recognition of the cultural diversity of America and how to deal with it.

Post Navy Yard killing thoughts

Sam Smith

It appears from the evidence so far that the killer had serious mental problems. Could some of the time spent arguing about guns be turned instead to how we deal with mental problems in the military?

The last two mass murderers spent a lot of time playing violent computer games, Why is this mentioned and discussed so little?

There have been a number of these incidents on military bases. Could one reason be that the military teaches people to solve their problems by killing other people?

According to the FBI the number of U.S. murders dropped 39% between 1992 and 2011. Between 2006 and 2010, gun murders dropped 14%. Murders by rifles and shotguns declined 21%.

Dan Baum – We have a tendency to say, “There oughtta be a law!” Why would you ever think that someone who’s bent on homicide is going to obey any of these laws?. . . Once you have made a consumer decision for 100 million gun owners that they can’t have these magazines because they are too irresponsible, you have now driven them out of the conversation.

Half the ten states with the worst 2011 murder rates were in the south. None of the  ten states with the lowest murder rates were in the south. Four of the ten states with the lowest murder rates were in New England. None were in the South. You are nearly nine times more likely to be murdered in Louisiana than you are in New Hampshire,. You are four times more likely to be murdered in Mississippi than in Maine. What do guns have to do with these facts?

After DC passed a handgun ban in the 1970s, the murder rate almost tripled, One possible reason that few mention: the violent side effects of the war on drugs

After Britain passed a gun law in the 1960s, the murder rate increased by about 60%. When another gun law was passed in the 1990s murder deaths increase by about 25%.

At least 85% of gun owners support background checks. What gun owners object to are more intrusive regulations and bans.

Liberals are hurting all sorts of causes by being so belligerent about guns.  You can’t piss off 80-100 million Americans on a cause they believe in and still get them to support the rest of your agenda.

As the Civil War officer told his troops, “Elevate your guns a little lower.”