Sunday, January 23, 2011

Moderate Gun Owners -- Speak Up! We Have A Lot In Common

It is always refreshing to talk to everyday gun owners about their views.  It's why I recently solicited gun owner responses.

The majority of activists against gun violence, such as myself, and organizations such as Ceasefire Oregon and the Brady Campaign, see eye-to-eye with the majority of gun owners on a wide range of issues:  safe gun storage, the need for proficiency training prior to purchasing a weapon, requirement of background checks for ALL gun purchases, severe limits or banning of assault weapons and extended ammo clips, closing the gun show loophole, holding parents responsible for their children's safety regarding guns and gun accessibility (child access prevention laws), better mental health records for background checks, waiting periods, and other issues.  Here on New Trajectory and other similar blogs, we get comments from quite a few pro-gun extremists who advocate for no compromise at all, who make ridiculous attacks on the sound studies that have shown regulation of guns to be effective, or who feel personally outraged by background checks or other basic legislation because they feel they are being blamed for the actions of bad guys -- as if public safety as a whole is some sort of attack against law-abiding citizens. 

But when I actually talk to the typical gun owner, those extremists are shown for what they are. 

Need proof?  Over at the Common Gunsense blog is a recent post where the author posted quotes from gun owners she knows, all of whom are sensible people who support common sense legislation in these areas.  There are also links there to articles and videos, such as this one, where other gun owners feel the same, and a link to the recent study sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which shows such agreement.  HERE is a link summarizing that survey.  Heck, even Dick Cheney, as hard-line a conservative politician as you can get, recently showed a willingness to open up to tighter gun regulation.

But don't take my word for it, or the word or those I mention above; start a dialogue yourself with gun owners and non-gun owners.  I think you'll find agreement with the majority of them.

One can only wonder why the NRA wouldn't be behind what the majority of gun owners feel are important pieces of legislation.  Has the NRA become an organization of extremists, intent upon ignoring public safety for stubborn adherence to hard-line interpretations of the second amendment?  Remember, 33,000 people die every year in the U.S. by gunfire (around 10,000 via homicide), and another 70,000 injured. Far higher than any other nation not at war.

If you are a gun owner, and you support common sense legislation to curb gun violence, I urge you to contact your politicians and tell them you support these changes.  And if they don't represent your views, perhaps it is time to withdraw your support in the next election. 

The same goes for the NRA, if you're a member.  Tell them how you feel.  If they don't back these changes, withdraw your membership.

I might also add that you can be a gun owner and still support organizations such as Ceasefire Oregon and the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence.  We welcome your support to make our communities safer.  Let's give our communities a new trajectory away from gun violence, together.

UPDATE (1/19/11):  Here is another link with data that goes very well with this data, including maps of gun death rates by state and information on variables (such as poverty or strictness of gun laws) that have correlative associations:



  1. When you say "moderate", what do you mean?

    Most extremists think they are moderate, and anyone who disagrees is extreme.

    Is it an internal question, or are there objective historical external criteria? Who decides?

    What if a society goes like 1938 Germany- Is the sane moderate man extreme because his neighbors have become aberrant?

    I think "moderate" has a timeless meaning, based on reasoning expressed from Socrates, through the Magna Carta, through Locke and Jefferson and our Founding documents.

    Men are responsible for themselves.
    Any attempt to make man irresponsible, has always led to anarchy.

    (so many of my comments never get posted. hope this one makes it.)

  2. I actually know a lot of gun owners who have, indeed, withdrawn their NRA memberships because of its' leaders extreme positions. The NRA must send out literature and appeals for membership to anyone who purchases a gun because one friend who owns only hunting guns told me he keeps getting membership appeals from them even though he has never belonged. He regularly sends them back with his comments about their extreme rhetoric but they keep sending anyway. For some odd reason, some of us involved in the gun violence prevention movement occasionally receive membership appeals or robocalls from the NRA. And it is true that gun owners can belong to organizations that appeal to them because of their views on prevention of gun deaths and injuries- something everyone should be able to support.

  3. Sofa, how ironic that you, of all people, should argue that extremists don't know they are extreme. I routinely delete your comments due to their insulting/racist and extremist wording.

    Example comments from you include this one regarding the McCarthy Bill to ban extended clips: "What you're proposing is: Taking things from people, against their will, using enforcers. Robbing and assaulting people, "for their own good". "Anti-Freedom Extremists" inciting violence."

    Or this one, outrageously comparing gun regulation to slavery! "The details of how much gun regulation you support, misses the point entirely. Like arguing how much slavery is ok, and under what conditions, and how many generations, and what percent blood... There shall not be slavery. And the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

  4. Baldr wrote:
    "...sound studies that have shown regulation of guns to be effective..."
    Which studies are these?

    "...common sense legislation to curb gun violence..."
    Which laws are those that have been proven to work as advertised?

    You keep claiming that gun control works to make people safer, but you haven't provided any proof of it whatsoever.

    You previously posted a correlation between the Brady Campaign's rating of the states and firearm-related deaths, but all it shows is a general correlation and doesn't take into account the other factors that actually CAUSE violent crime.

    So Baldr, can you PLEASE show me ANYWHERE in the world where gun control was introduced, and firearm-related violent crime went DOWN afterward as a direct result? I've been searching for this proof for the last two years I've been actively involved in this issue. Nobody else has been able to provide it, will you be the first?


  5. Orygunner, I actually had you in mind when I wrote the part about pro-gun people "who make ridiculous attacks on the sound studies that have shown regulation of guns to be effective."

    My previous post, that you mention, entitled "Important Data Trends the NRA Doesn't Want You To See," shows correlation, but not causation, it is true. The data is not from the Brady Campaign. But many studies do show causation. Just see my last post for a few of those, or go to the following link where you can find many studies from a wide range of academic and government sources, showing strong evidence for the effectiveness of gun regulation to curb violence, on a wide range of subtopics:

    Of course, none of these are likely to change the minds of extremists. But those who are objective will see clear evidence.

  6. Aside from fundamental marksmanship skills and safety practices, what does the hunting have to do with self defense?

    If someone's interaction with guns is exclusively limited to hunting, their opinion on self defense is as relevant as asking a fly fisher the same.

    The NRA doesn't serve everything well. The main reason I continue to support them, is their carpet bombing approach to influencing legislation.

    There are other advocacy groups I feel more aligned with philosophically, but NRA is like an 800 lbs. gorilla. They may lack finesse at times, but they make it very difficult for any new gun restrictions to pass legislation.

  7. Baldr, those cherry picked quotes raised interesting points. Will you post my reply?

    Or did the brilliant reasoning sway you to accept the truth behind those points? The more you reasearch and the more history you learn, the more you'll come 'round to the Founders point of view.

    Come to "Lady Liberty's side".
    We have cookies, and apple pie.

  8. Sofa, are you talking about Japete's quotes? I didn't get the impression they were cherry-picked, but you'll have to take it up with her. And yes, my reasoning is sound. Our founding fathers never dreamed of the level of destructive power modern guns bring to the culture they founded. Liberty is more than arming yourself.

    "We have cookies, and apple pie." You actually made me laugh, Sofa.

  9. Any gun owner who does not agree with the need for background checks on all gun sales, for example, is an extremist or a fanatic. Those who do agree are moderates.

  10. @Baldr,

    You wrote:
    "Our founding fathers never dreamed of the level of destructive power modern guns bring to the culture they founded. Liberty is more than arming yourself."

    If they couldn't imagine the destructive power, they couldn't predict the defensive power either. Carrying a pistol for self defense is much easier and has much more defensive capability than it did back in the Founders' time. A firearm is of more use defensively than it is offensively.

    The Framers also couldn't have conceived of many other current extensions of our rights such as photography, television, radio, desktop publishing, and the Internet... Just because our other rights can be mis-used for destructive purposes the framers couldn't imagine, is that an excuse to restrict free exercise of those rights, too?

    It's like trying to restrict and ban photography for felons because someone may create child pornography, or ban suspected terrorists from buying newspapers because they may use the information to plan an attack. Sound silly? This is an EXACT analogy to what gun control attempts to do. It restricts free exercise of a right JUST IN CASE someone will choose to abuse the right to do evil.


  11. Mikeb (should have) said:
    "Any gun owner who does not agree with the need for background checks on all gun sales, for example, is a realist or has a more accurate overall view of the issue."

    There, I fixed it for ya!


  12. Baldr,

    What no criticism of you or your comment approval is allowed?

    Is no criticism of your blatant extremism allowed?

    You want gun owners to compromise - you offer no compromise.

    You want 'moderate' gun owners to speak up yet you won't even discuss how offensive it is that you consider most of the people who comment to be extremist.

    How are you helping the civil discourse with your behavior?

  13. "Common sense legislation to prevent gun violence"?

    Firstly...guns aren't violent. PEOPLE who would use guns to commit crimes, or to kill, are *violent*. Guns are nothing more than inanimate objects, that cannot be *violent* on their own.

    We have *tons* of laws to prevent what you call *gun violence*, but we have very liberal judges who see fit to give CRIMINALS a second, third, fourth, fifth chance instead of throwing them in jail at the first offense, and KEEPING THEM THERE for the full sentence.

    We have parole boards who release people that are PRE-DISPOSED to violent acts and criminal activity, all because the criminal did their best acting job (one that would make Hollywood proud!) in order to gain his release, just so t hat he can get back into society at large and go back to his former lifestyle.

    We don't need any more laws that only the law-abiding will follow. We need to be harsher on criminals, we need to keep them incarcerated for the ENTIRE LENGTH of their sentences so as to drive home the point that civilized society will not tolerate them.