Sunday, December 21, 2008

* A follow up to recent conversations about gun control and gun rights:

Today I took the suggestion of someone critical of my comments about reasonable gun control. I grabbed my ass with both hands but, contrary to his prediction, I did not fall on my face. What did crash to the ground were my suggestions for reasonable gun control. I am sincerely impressed with the knowledge and passion that readers at and have exhibited. Almost 300 people from these two sites have visited this blog. Many have offered comments and I recommend that anyone interested in “gun rights” and “gun control” read them. One of the responses came from a gentleman named Sean who lives in my area and has invited me to visit a range and learn more about this subject. We spoke on the telephone for about an hour and will continue the conversation when we visit a range in the near future.

In addition to learning more about guns and gun control than I would have imagined I have come to see that it is important in any debate to be more knowledgeable not only about one’s position but also the position of others. Until now most of my information has come from those interested in reducing the level of violence by individuals with guns that harm both innocent bystanders and police officers in my and other communities. It is a most sincere and serious objective by people of good will. As I originally commented, we debate to the extremes and this calcifies our thinking. A good example is my calling for a ban on assault weapons – something I have come to learn I could not even define. Joe Huffman has provided two comprehensive dictionaries about guns that I found educational: gun dictionary and scary words glossary.

I have also concluded that even seemingly subtle differences can get us off track. Gun control advocates often say that guns kill people. Gun rights advocates say that people kill people. I can understand both points of view but also realize that by saying that guns kill people there is an implied stigma that taints responsible gun owners and builds a wall to substantive discourse. It is also important to note that by solely concentrating on the gun in the commission of a crime we lose sight of the criminal. Dealing with causes and acts of crime is certainly a priority for our society.

Another blog that added to my education is However, I do take exception to the statement that the restrictions that The Brady Campaign fights for are not for the protection of society but to attrit the number of gun owners until a full ban becomes plausible. I can understand the emotional element of this statement. I can understand the perceived “threat” that gun control advocates pose to gun owners. I do not think it fair to ignore the legitimate concerns that are at the heart of such organizations.

This past week has been very interesting. The most important lesson for me is to question the premises of issues that I support as well as the stances of people and organizations that are “on my side” while continuing to question “the other side.” In a season of miracles there may be a time when, on at least some issues, we can meet in the middle side.

I want to express my appreciation to the many people who shared their knowledge and opinions.


hairy hobbit said...

Congratulations. You have now qualified as "open minded" in my book. Many would simply ignore the comments, questions, and simply huff and puff that they know better.

We'll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily - given the political realities - very modest. We'll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down production and sales. Next is to get registration. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal. — Pete Shields, founder of Handgun Control, Inc., New Yorker Magazine, June 26, 1976, pg. 53

Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?
—Martin Luther

When you go to the range, remember gun control means hitting your target ;) Have fun.

Anonymous said...

looking at the previous comment, i think that it is not clear that the second paragraph as a whole is a quote from the leader of HCI. at first it looks like the statement of the commenter. Pete Shields took HCI to the national organization it became. after the Reagan shooting, they changed their name to the Brady Campaign.

the question in our minds must be, does the Brady Campaign still want to gradually bring about the total ban on handguns. they say they do not, but when we watch them appear to follow their original blueprint, we get nervous about the slippery slope.

it may interest you to know that Brady Campaign is not the most extreme group out there. there is always Violence Policy Center if you want to listen to the full throated, "ban everything, ban it right now" bunch.

they are a pretty humorless bunch. once, they put up a story about how the gun manufacturers target market towards kids, including a little chart with shotguns and rifles made smaller for kids. mostly they were .22 rifles and smaller gauge shotguns. several of us complained to them that while they had done all the market research for us, they had neglected to take full advantage of the web and given us links to the manufacturers web sites. they were NOT AMUSED. my mom owns a youth model lever action .22 rifle that looks exactly like a little version of the classic lever action cowboy rifle. since she is 5 feet tall, full length rifles do not fit her.

it seems to me that the basic situation with people like that is that they are trying to make it so difficult to get a firearm that most people just don't bother. they don't learn to hunt, and they never get gun safety much less marksmanship training as part of their education, so they grow up less likely to know the details of gun ownership. that means that when Brady Campaign and VPC stretch the truth a bit, no one knows enough to call them on it.

hairy hobbit said...

Indeed, sorry about the lack of quotation marks, I am usually pretty good with those.

In other news, related to the bloghost's position on limiting rights based on urban residency, allow me to present this:

Living in an area with much higher population density means the odds of running into predators is that much more likely. Should I ever meet her, the words Pink Pistols would be among the first.

mopar said...

Stephen, thanks for having an open mind. Here's a couple of youtube videos about "assault weapons" that might help:

Anonymous said...


I am impressed at your open mind and willingness to listen. A fellow gunblogger was priginally scared of guns and now is proud CCW holder.Plus she has some good recipes on her blog.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and hope you have fun at the range.


One Sensible Progressive said...

Mr. Weinstein ... I also have read through some of your blog and find it quite interesting (guns aren't my only political interest, and I'm fairly liberal on many issues).

In any case, I'm not arguing that the leaders of the Brady campaign don't believe that they have the best interests of America in mind and think they are working for ultimate good, but I do believe their ultimate goal for what they believe is a safer America is a total gun ban, and they know the only way to get there is one small step at a time by making gun owners pariahs and gun ownership unacceptable in polite society (which is the one place it should be acceptable, since it's so VERY acceptable in unpolite societies all over the world).

I have followed the battle for years, and while both sides use questionable studies and focus on what helps their cause, I honestly believe that if you look scientifically and in an unbiased fashion (to the extent that's possible) at both sides the Brady campaign has a long history of skewing both studies and facts for a short term consequence blind anti-gun agenda.

And believe it or not, this comes from a person who once believed that a great deal of further gun control was necessary -- it was reading up on the issues that changed my mind.

In my most recent post I look at what is being argued for as "common sense gun laws" and at the end take a look at what the anti-gun groups really desire.

Real Common Sense on Gun Laws,

Thanks for your blog and REAL intelligence in debate. It is refreshing and rarely seen on either side by the active players in such arguments.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has lived in both rural and urban areas I think I have a good idea of what both sides of this debate are speaking about. As usual you have looked at this issue with an open mind and will come to your own conclusion only after you have reviewed all of the information at hand.
Well done,
Cowboy Al