Letter From Anti-Gunner: “Guns Aren’t Supposed to Be Fun”
You know what I’m doing in that photo? Having a lot of fun. Late last night, an open letter was posted by a Duncan Black (I’ll assume it’s the liberal blogger who wrote the letter and not the male pornstar by the same name who apparently has a better SEO guy than the writer) was posted to The Daily Record. The title of the letter – Guns Aren’t Supposed to Be Fun.
It’s been a while since I broke down and replied to an anti-gun opinion piece, so let’s do just that, shall we?
First off, Black started by bringing up the recent open carry demonstrations in Texas. He says,
I can only think of two reasons why someone would want to openly carry a firearm, especially a very large one that reduces personal mobility by virtue of being so big and heavy. The first is in order to intimidate people around you. The second is simply to show off. But gun owners who fancy that people at McDonald’s and Chipotle will be impressed by their peacocking should learn that most people are unlikely to be impressed. I thought my “Doctor Who” fan club button might impress people back in 1986. I was wrong. Our interests, however devoted we are to them, don’t necessarily have universal acclaim. You might think your hobby is cool, but it doesn’t mean the rest of us do.
OK, to be clear, I think the carry of long guns into private businesses is a bad strategy for advancing gun rights. I’ve said so in several prior pieces, it’s no secret. However, unlike Black I *do* understand why demonstrators in Texas are doing this. In Texas, by law, if you have a carry license and want to carry a handgun, it MUST be concealed under the law. This means Texans are greatly limited to what kind of holsters, belts and apparel they can use while carrying. Many other states allow for openly carrying handguns with or without a permit. This is simply more comfortable and practical for many people and some people simply prefer it. In Texas it is, however, completely legal to carry long guns in public. The recent protests have been an effort to point out the absurdity of the current laws and attempt to get a bill that allows the open carry of handguns passed.
I understand that people hunt. I understand that people in rural areas, particularly people who work in agriculture, might have a genuine need to regularly employ the use of a gun to deal with predatory wildlife. But increasingly, “gun culture” just refers to people who amass large arsenals without any genuine practical purpose. Even if we accept personal self-defense against the bad guys with guns as a legitimate reason for firearm ownership, this is not a legitimate reason to stockpile multiple weapons. Boys do love their toys, but let’s acknowledge that is what they are. For most people, they’re expensive, noisy, deadly toys. Enjoy your games. Your too often tragically deadly games.
Black assumes that personal defense and hunting are the only two reasons people own firearms. I own a collection of firearms that Black would likely consider an “arsenal”. Some are, in fact, for hunting. Others are for personal protection. I have a variety of handguns that I can carry depending on what I am wearing and what sort of activities I will be doing that day. I own long guns for home defense as well. I also own firearms that are setup strictly for range use. I even own some classic firearms that I own solely because I enjoy their historical significance. Some I own because I like the way they look, or I admire their unique function. For people who compete in 3-gun competitions (even amateurs) it would be common to own 3-9 different guns along with dozens of magazines just for competition alone. Maybe someone should tell Mr. Black that over 300 million privately owned firearms aren’t used to shoot people each year.
Someone concerned with self-defense will, understandably, want to have a weapon that they have easier and quicker access to. Fears of home invasion are overblown, but if that is your concern, your safely locked up firearm isn’t going to be much help.
Do a quick Google News search for home invasions. Read a few of the stories. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Find some stories where neighbors are interviewed. How many said something along the lines of “This is just such a quiet, safe neighborhood, I never thought this could happen here.” Then again, some of us live in areas where home invasions are common. I live in an urban area. I don’t have a front yard, I have a public sidewalk outside my front door that is traversed by probably 300-500 people daily. Home invasions ARE common in my area. As a matter of fact, while I was writing this, I got my customized crime report for my area in my email. Two residential robberies (aka home invasions) within 1 mile from my house this week alone. Mr. Black might tell me to move. Well, my wife and I enjoy living in the city. We like being close to art, music and multiple dining options (yes, us so called “gun nuts” can appreciate those things as well). I’m not going to let other people’s actions determine how much I enjoy my life, I’m simply going to take responsibility for my own safety. Also, I don’t live in “bad area,” I just live in the city, where the population density is much higher than the suburbs or country.
Because of various cultural narratives in this country, some people think guns are just intrinsically cool. Much like bow ties, they really aren’t. You might like them and enjoy going out in public dressed up as Heroic Guy With Gun, but that character is going to scare a lot of people.
Guns, like numerous other hobbies *can* be intrinsically cool, and yes, a mishandled gun can be dangerous. However, just like motorcycle riding, downhill mountain biking, bull riding and sky diving, with education and practice comes safety.