Last week I wrote a long essay in The Atlantic that represented my best effort to explain “gun culture” to those who may be more hostile to gun rights than, say, the typical reader of National Review. I began by describing threats to my family and how a person’s decision to carry a weapon is often directly tied to personal experience of real danger. Today, my friend Bethany Mandel published a similar essay in the New York Times, describing how her mother once chased off an intruder with a gun and how she herself decided to buy a gun when her family was threatened during the 2016 presidential campaign....snio...
Yet the responses to both essays have helped demonstrate why the Left keeps losing on guns. It simply can’t persuade a rational, reasonable adult who’s experienced a threat that they’re safer without effective means of self-defense. Indeed, the effort to make this case is so often rooted in condescension or ignorance that it’s deeply alienating.He goes on to debunk the "reasons" given for why he is wrong to arm himself against dangers he can clearly see. The first thing the Leftist typically bring up is that his decision to carry a weapon is based on "fear," and that this is somehow illegitimate. But as he points out most of us accept wearing a seat belt when riding in a car as a precaution against an accident. This is the same type of "fear and paranoia" based reasoning that also goes into making the decision to be armed. So, if it is wrong to take precautions with a weapon, is it also wrong to take precautions by using seat belts? Another versions of this argument projects that carry a weapon must mean you want to shoot somebody. But if carry a weapon makes you a bloodthirsty maniac, does wearing a helmet and leathers make a motorcyclist a daredevil?
The next line of attack comes in the form of "you are more likely to injure yourself or someone you love than to defend yourself from a criminal." This argument was first given the illusion of scientific authority when Kellerman published his supposedly statistical studies in the early 1990s. These have been thoroughly debunked however. In any case, as French points out, another's irresponsibility does not negate my rights.
Moreover, another person’s irresponsibility is irrelevant to the existence of my fundamental liberties. I don’t surrender my free-speech rights because another person uses theirs to troll Twitter. I don’t surrender my right to free exercise of religion because another person joins a cult. I don’t surrender my inherent and unalienable right to self-defense because a man across town decides to kill himself.Then, of course, if the Left deigns to concede that perhaps you might have a point, they start telling you what you "need," or more appropriately, what you don't need. You don't need a "high capacity magazine" or an "assault weapon." Indeed, what you "need" is a shotgun. No doubt you should always first fire a warning shot, even though that is illegal.
But these arguments fall apart the instant one considers the real world. If the most reasonably foreseeable threat is from a person with a semi-automatic handgun and a large-capacity magazine, then how is it possible that you “need” less? When the gun-control lobby tells gun-owners what they “need,” what they’re saying is that law-abiding citizens should be outgunned in their own homes.French concludes that the Left will lose the debate because it is hard to convince a normal American that he is safer without an effective means of defense than with one. However, when I see recent polls that show 30% of democrats want to repeal the Second Amendment, presumably so they can take the guns away, I have to pause. Gun rights, properly understood, should not be a political issue at all. When Bush was in power, Leftists thought he would become a dictator. Weren't they interested in having arms in case he wanted to send out his secret police as hit squads against them? Obama was our first openly Marxist president, and certainly scared the bejeesus out of the right with his rhetoric. We did not want to give up guns, and indeed Obama was thought to be the greatest gun salesman the industry had seen. Now, with Trump, and his constant tweets that scare Leftists, I would think they might feel a need to have a concealed carry permit just in case. But no, the Left seems to want to take away guns from the law abiding. One can not help but think this is a typical ploy, not unlike Lucy who always pulled the football from Charlie Brown at the last moment. They want to trick us into giving up our guns, while they keep theirs.
I can only hope the Left is once again overplaying their hand, and that we will be saved by God's grace. I pray that the thin reed I grasp is stronger than the ferocious forces arrayed against it.