I got involved in an online discussion the other day with a fellow that said “The mainstream media will never post a pro-gun story…. ever.” While I agree that there is a lot lacking in the way much of the media handles news, I had to disagree with him on such a blanket statement. The trend to paint everybody in the media with the same brush is just as unfair as is the one-sided reporting. And, it loses potential friends in the media that we on the pro-gun side could have.
One newspaper publisher I know in the Midwest has decided that there are too many gun nuts out there, not because he is/was antigun, but because every time he reported a legitimate story about a crime that involved a gun, a small faction of extremists gave him so much grief. If all you ever hear from are those on the extreme side of any issue, you soon forget there are a lot of reasonable people in the middle.
I have been a gun owner all my life, I even owned a gun shop at one time, and I owned newspapers for 30 years. But I saw the same extreme viewpoints on the part of people who do the pro-gun cause a lot more harm than good. Once, I reported the facts on a case where a guy bought a gun at a flea market and then threatened a neighbor with it, and that among the other things he was charged with was being a felon in possession of a firearm, since he had three prior felony convictions and should have never been near a gun. When the paper hit the street, a couple of guys showed up at my office wearing handguns on their belts (which is legal in Arizona) demanding to see me to talk about my yellow journalism and trying to intimidate my secretary, all the while holding their hands on their gun butts. How does that help win any friends to the gun cause?
Blaming the media every time they report on a legitimate news story where a gun is involved is as unfair and as bad as a recent television news story I saw in which a career criminal stabbed a man to death. No firearm was involved, but the graphic on the screen was of a handgun and crime scene tape.
The thing I keep trying to preach is that not everything is black and white. There is a huge middle ground where we can meet and solve a lot of problems if people were just willing to do so. Why is everybody so afraid of it?
Yes, I’m very pro-gun. But that doesn’t mean everybody should be allowed to own a bazooka. There has to be some middle ground between the total gun ban that some people want and the idea that any commonsense restrictions on firearms are the first step toward total disarmament.
I have no problem with universal background checks when purchasing a firearm. We keep hearing about the gun show loophole, but I can walk through the local swap meet and come away with more handguns, shotguns, and rifles than I can carry, as long as I have the money, and nobody’s going to ask me for any identification. Which means anybody else can too, including criminals and people who cannot legally pass a background check at a gun shop. That has to stop.
We need to get together in that middle ground. Trust me, it’s really not all that spooky. If you’re really afraid of it, stand close to me. I’ve got a gun.
Tags: anti-gun bias, gun crime, gun laws, gun nuts, gun owner, gun shop, gun show loophole, handgun, handguns, mainstream media, newspaper publisher, online discussion, pro-gun, purchasing a firearm, restrictions on firearms, rifles, shotguns, total gun ban, universal background checks, yellow journalism