An armed society is a polite society. – Robert A. Heinlein
Only in liberal America would someone be less afraid of a criminal with a gun than a law-abiding gun owner. And certainly only in this warped sense of reality would they be for a gun registry, not for furthering an agenda, but for making play dates safe. That’s what Tricia Bishop of the Baltimore Sun wrote on January 6; that we should have a gun registry akin to those used to track sexual predators. No, I’m not joking [emphasis mine]:
I'm less afraid of the criminals wielding guns in Baltimore, I declared as we discussed the issue, than I am by those permitted gun owners. I know how to stay out of the line of Baltimore's illegal gunfire; I have the luxury of being white and middle class in a largely segregated city that reserves most of its shootings for poor, black neighborhoods overtaken by "the game." The closest I typically get to the action is feeling the chest-thumping vibrations of the Foxtrot police helicopter flying overhead in pursuit of someone who might be a few streets over, but might as well be a world away. But I don't know where the legal gun owners are or how to ensure that their children, no matter how well versed in respecting firearms, won't one day introduce that weapon to my daughter.
And so, as President Barack Obama announced plans this week to tighten background checks for gun buyers and increase gun tracking and research, I thought, that's all well and good, but how about adding something immediately useful: a gun owner registry available to the public online — something like those for sex offenders. I'm not equating gun owners with predatory perverts, but the model is helpful here; I want a searchable database I can consult to find out whether my kid can have a play date at your house.
My only exposure to guns has been to legal ones. I remember as a teen-ager spending an afternoon with a couple of boys who were showing off after school, firing a family gun in the backyard and play aiming at one another. And I fired a .22 caliber pistol several years ago as a reporter covering handgun-carry regulations in Maryland; I still have the paper target practice sheet taped to my cubicle to flaunt my bullseye. There was a definite rush to handling the weapon, and I could see the attraction of target practice as a hobby. But the risk to owning the gun isn't worth it to me.
Guns in the home are far more likely to be used accidentally, in suicides or family disputes than in self defense, according to studies based on anecdotal evidence. (Perhaps Mr. Obama's improved research will show for sure.) And I'm pretty certain that if I'd had a gun the one time I was the victim of a violent crime (in upstate New York), the outcome would have been a lot worse than it was, with the firearm turned against me in short order. Instead, I was able to scream and break away from a mugger with a dull knife trying to force me into a vacant lot between rowhouses.
Gun owners may feel picked on, but they are not a persecuted class. They are individuals who have chosen to keep in their homes an object whose chief purpose is to injure or kill, whether in self defense or otherwise. The rest of us should have a right to know it's there before we — or our children — enter.
Well, of course, one’s exposure to firearms has probably been in a legal setting, as virtually all gun owners are law-abiding; even Sen. Bernie Sanders know that. In fact, concealed carry holders are more law-abiding than the police. It’s great that both law enforcement and permit holders register extremely low on the felonious activity scale. Second, gun owners know their firearms are for self-defense. It isn’t some luxurious bottle of wine that you show to friends or guests. No one in his or her right mind is going to say, “oh, look a family friend’s kid is over–let’s show her my gun.” That’s nonsense–and totally irresponsible. Oh, and given that gun owners are law-abiding, it’s a crime to keep firearms within the reach of children.
Second, Bishop worries about safety. She’s genuinely afraid of gun owners. That’s fine; most liberals are terrified for wholly irrational reasons. To draw the sense of horror to the picture, she said that toddlers were shooting people all over the country. Of course, that fact was linked to a Washington Post article using some data from the Centers For Disease Control, whose data is infamously used by anti-gunners to inflate the number of gun deaths in the country, so as to strengthen their false narrative that America has become something akin to Escape for New York (good movie, by the way). The National Shooting Sports Foundation has slightly different numbers, which isn’t based off of “anecdotal evidence.”
Firearm-related fatalities in the U.S. have been decreasing consistently since record-keeping began in 1903 and dramatically in the last 20 years.
During the last decade, the number of unintentional firearm-related fatalities involving children 14 years of age and under has decreased by 28 percent and by 74 percent over the last 20 years.
Unintentional firearm-related fatalities are substantially lower than the number of unintentional fatalities caused by other forms of injury.
Firearms are involved in less than 1.5 percent of unintentional fatalities among children 14 years of age and under, and are among the least likely causes of unintentional fatality.
In the past 10 years, firearm-related fatalities in the home have dropped by 33 percent, and by 50 percent in the last 20 years.
Firearms are involved in fewer than 1 percent (0.5 percent) of all unintentional fatalities in the United States.
Lastly, a gun registry akin to sexual predators for gun owners; has it truly come to this? This will never happen any time soon, there are no votes for it in Congress. Also, I know Bishop wasn’t equating gun owners to perverts, but the fact that she wants to use the same enforcement measures on gun owners is telling. Child predators have hurt people–their victims and their families; gun-owning families have not done that in any way shape or form. To think otherwise is irrational, unadulterated nonsense. Anyone with a scintilla of brain function knows that buying a gun doesn’t violate anyone’s rights - raping someone does.
Ms. Bishop is right to say that owning a gun is a choice, but one that’s guaranteed in our Constitution. It’s one of the oldest civil rights that we have and millions of Americans - Democrat, Republican, men and women - have decided to exercise that right to the fullest. The notion of destroying the village to save it, which is precisely how this gun registry would be used to ensure safety, is both stunningly stupid and absolutely terrifying. I, for one, am not willing to shred other Americans’ constitutional rights so my hypothetical anti-gun fears can be assuaged. After all, there are already over 300 million firearms in the U.S. alone.
In fact, since Obama’s presidency, Americans have bought over 100 million guns. It’s a mind-boggling statistic. First, it shows how gun confiscation, let alone a gun registry, would easily tread into either unconstitutional or unfeasible territory. Gun registries have failed in other countries, and confiscation would most certainly have to include the military (due to lack of manpower), which is barred from police actions via Posse Comitatus.
We’re a country that doesn’t go after (or at least we shouldn’t be going after) people for their political beliefs or life choices, especially when those beliefs and choices fall right in line with the Constitution. Buying a gun in America should not subject one to ridicule, harassment, or any policies that would undermine Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.
Ms. Bishop says that gun owners may feel “picked on,” but they’re not a “persecuted class” because they bought firearms. They were asking for it, I guess. Well, I’m certainly not going to tell a rape survivor (either directly or indirectly) that she shouldn’t exercise her right to self-defense by purchasing firearms because statistics show that of she could still die, or shoot her kids. That’s not my place, nor is it the place of some urban-based liberal elite to dictate that and other anti-gun policies to the rest of us. Also, that’s downright horrible to say to a survivor. She shouldn’t utilize every legal method to defend herself and her family? Well, that gun registry proposal that’s modeled after those who keep track of child predators, but it isn’t when applied to gun owners because that would be idiotic, would do exactly that to those people: pick on them and other law-abiding Americans.
“That’s not who we are.” Remind me who said that over and over again?