I’m a 61 year old lifetime shooter and gun owner, I have a concealed weapons permit, I held a Federal Firearms (dealers) License for years, I owned a gun store at one time, and I was a firearms instructor at the U.S Military Academy during my Army days. So I’m a gun guy. Let’s put that on the table up front for anyone who doesn’t know that already.
That being said, I believe that the biggest threat to our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms does not come from the left wing extremists or the ultra liberals who live in LaLa Land and believe that if we all just love one another we have nothing to fear from our fellow man, even if he is Charles Manson. No, the biggest threat comes from my fellow gun owners.
Not the majority, those millions of gun owners who use their firearms safely and who understand that with the freedom to own a gun comes a great responsibility. No, the danger comes from those gun owners who wear blinders and have an all or nothing mentality. Those who think any attempt to inject reason into the gun control debate is a plot to disarm them.
Consider the current furor over a column written by Dick Matcalf, longtime Guns & Ammo contributing editor, in the popular gun magazine’s current issue. Metcalf wrote that “Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be. All U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly."
Predictability, Metcalf’s words ignited a firestorm of protest from Guns & Ammo readers, cancelling subscriptions and demanding he be fired, and the magazine responded by dismissing him.
Why? What did he say that any level-headed gun owner has a problem with? Mr. Metcalf said all U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but he does not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly. What part of that do you disagree with, the right to own a firearm, or that we should be responsible gun owners? To me, they go hand in hand. I don’t see what the hell everybody is upset about.
The reaction of those who are throwing a fit over Metcalf’s column is just what the anti-gunners love to see. To them we are all a bunch of ignorant hillbillies who refuse to accept responsibility and shouldn’t be trusted with anything more lethal than a butter knife. And sooner or later that attitude is going to cost us supporters as, over time, terrible things like school shootings continue to happen, and that extremist faction of gun owners respond by parading around with their AR-15s like a bunch of cartoon characters saying, “Look at me, I’ve got a big old gun!” like we saw on one newscast after the Sandy Hook shooting.
You see, the majority of Americans who don’t own firearms really don’t care if you or I do. The fact that they don’t own guns is not because they are necessarily opposed to them, they just don’t feel a need for one in their lives. And that’s fine; they have that right just as surely as I have the right to own my guns.
But those are the people who can be swayed, and when the gun control debate kicks up, as it does after every shooting incident, they have two sides to listen to. One side is the Brady gun grabber type who believe all guns are evil, and the other side is the extremists who believe any attempt to interject reason into the debate, which is what Dick Metcalf tried to do in Guns & Ammo, is a plot to disarm them. Given the choices, I can understand why some will be swayed to the wrong side and take that new opinion to the polls with them. Because the alternative, those fellow gun owners of mine who wear blinders and believe it’s all or nothing, scare the hell out of them. They scare the hell out of me, too.
Tags: anti-gun crowd, AR-15, Dick Metcalf, Federal Firearms license, firearms, firearms instructor, gun control debate, gun grabbers, gun owner, gun owners, gun ownership, gun shop, Guns & Ammo magazine, left wing extremists, responsible gun owners, Sandy Hook shooting, to keep and bear arms, U.S Military Academy