It’s Time To Stop Talking To Ourselves.

              Here’s the takeaway from last week.  The NRA dumped Ollie North, who turned out to be a very good fundraiser for himself, and replaced him with a woman best known for her involvement with a group which preserves a Confederate memorial that graces the side of a mountain considered sacred ground by the Ku Klux Klan. On the other side of the ledger, the House Appropriations Committee put $50 million for gun research into the  budget of the CDC. 

              In the greater scheme of things, neither of these two events will make a big difference in how we try to deal with the 300 intentional gun injuries that we suffer from each day. But they do symbolize, to quote a Nobel-prize winner, as something ‘blowing in the wind,’ and the wind seems to be getting a lot stronger every day. Maggie Astor got it right yesterday in the ‘failing’ (ha-ha) New York Times, when she said that the national gun-control movement has now built “an infrastructure that had previously existed only on the conservative side of gun policy.”

              I see evidence of this infrastructure in terms of the number of fundraising emails I receive (and I get them from both sides), in terms of media coverage where outlets like The New York Times now seem to carry a feature about guns and gun violence seemingly every other day, and most of all, I see it in the pronouncements by the 20-odd candidates who have announced their intention to chase schmuck-o Don out of Washington, D.C. Just four years ago, conventional wisdom still considered it to be a big risk if you ran for public office and were anti-gun. That bit of received sagacity has disappeared. Fartig (read: finished.)

              Before you read further, let me make one point. My perspective on gun control and gun violence doesn’t date back to Sandy Hook and 2012. It doesn’t date back to 1999 and Columbine or 1994 and the Assault Weapons Ban. It dates back to 1966 when Chuckie Whitman climbed to the top of the Texas Tower and began blasting away. That’s when I first started paying attention to gun violence, okay? So when I say that we are in a very new and different state of affairs as regarding what to do about America’s love of guns (including my love of them) I’m taking the long view, probably longer than any of you. And my long view tells me this.

              Sooner or later, if you want to make a real dent in gun violence, the gun-control community is going to have to start talking to gun owners not as enemies but as friends. And this doesn’t mean just coming up with some ‘reasonable’ gun laws which allegedly garner support from both sides in the debate. What it really mean is talking to gun owners about why the ‘good guy with the gun’ narrative is a myth.

             So here’s my challenge to my friends in Gun-control Nation. There are somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 gun shows held in the United States every year. This means that on any given weekend, there are probably 100 locations where 5,000 to 10,000 bone-fide gun nuts get together to play around with guns. I’m going to a nearby show next weekend, in fact. Here’s a calendar of upcoming shows.

              I am willing to pay the costs of renting a table at one gun show a month for the next 12 months. I’ll send a check to the show’s sponsor which will be in the name of the gun shop that I own. And then you come to the show, sit behind the table, maybe give out some literature or whatever, and engage the gun owners who attend the show in a discussion about their guns.

              I don’t care what you say. I don’t care which organization you represent. Or maybe you’ll just represent yourself. Fine with me. But let’s stop talking just to ourselves, okay? Let’s see what happens when we talk to the other side. And by the way, I have been to hundreds of gun shows and the food is always great.

8 thoughts on “It’s Time To Stop Talking To Ourselves.

  1. Regarding “the gun-control community is going to have to
    start talking to gun owners not as enemies but as friends”….

    Mike….it has become very apparent this is not their intent…not
    part of their agenda. Most of the gun-control groups are now nothing
    more than an arm of a broader political agenda.

    • Not true, though I can see why you’d think that way. They (really we) want to talk to gun folks but most GVP people lack the vocabulary. Also the general animus in politics today is an obstacle.

      • Got that. Its tough going out into no-man’s land on this issue but without it, we are at an impasse. Maybe at an impasse anyway, but one has to try.

  2. Mike, this is a super-duper installment!!!! And a great idea. Frank, open discussions between GVP members and gun nuts is THE ONLY WAY TO GET THINGS MOVING IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION!
    Hate to say though, we sorta’ beat you to it:
    Summer, 2009, White Bear Lake, Minnesota. I had a table with guest Colin Goddard (of Va. Tech fame). Frankly, however, we didn’t engage gun folks much. You’re taking it a step further with your proposal here – and bully for you!

    • I tried working with one of the local GVP groups out this way but I disagreed with them on banning ARs, or writing editorials saying the NRA is a “terrorist organization”. On a radio show preceding a gun buy-back, I said over the air that if someone was not sure about whether a gun was a collector piece or something to turn in for a gift card, take it to an FFL for an appraisal and if it was high value, by all means, sell through an FFL to get a background check done.

      With so many points of disagreement, the exasperated organization told me that I was drinking the pro-gun kool-aid. That was the end of it. As far as my flavor of Kool-Aid, you can read my posts here or at North Mesa Mutts.

      Besides, I preferred Funny Face to Kool Aid. Sometimes its good to sweat the details before you insult someone.

  3. Said by the man who bans anyone who disagrees with him, and really only has two regular commenters on his site whom he largely ignores

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