Last week, I wrote about a Virginia bill that will modify the state’s anti-paramilitary law. The bill seeks to add a small section to the relatively short law that would ban the carry of guns for the purpose of “intimidation.” Of course, the bill has all kinds of problems and those problems need to be discussed.
However, my social media was filled with people in hysterics. It seems this very same bill will also ban not just gunsmiths and firearms training classes, but your child’s karate class as well. People will tell you that it’s a draconian overreach and the bill needs to be stopped for just that reason.
Except, it’s not.
You see, those parts of the law aren’t new. They’ve been in place for years. Decades, even.
The problem is, you wouldn’t know that from the hysterics being bandied about. It would sound like all of this is brand new and incredibly frightening.
Now, don’t get me wrong. As I noted last week, that entire law needs to go away. It needs to be repealed because it can be interpreted to mean all of the things they hysterical headlines claim. It could be used to ban firearms training and even martial arts classes. It could be used to run gunsmiths and firearm manufacturers out of business. All of that is accurate.
The problem is, it hasn’t.
Now, I’m not saying to trust the government. After all, the recent switch in Virginia’s General Assembly gives me plenty of reason to be skeptical all on its own.
What I am saying, though, is that the laws aren’t new so we need to stop pretending those are. They need to be fought as existing laws. The proposed addition needs to be fought as a bill should and for what the bill actually states, not anything else.
You see, out there right now is a legion of people who are more than willing to believe every horrible stereotype about us. Some of those include a perceived lack of intelligence on our parts, of course. They believe that we’re simply too stupid to see the benefits of gun control. That or we see them and simply don’t care.
Either way, though, they see nothing but the worst in us.
When we jump at shadows like is happening with so much of the hysterics I’ve seen, though, we feed into that. We make them feel justified in their belief. “See?” they tell one another. “See how stupid they are? They can’t tell what’s already the law and what’s being proposed. It just goes to show you don’t need to take their scaremongering seriously.”
And yes, they actually do talk like that.
There’s nothing wrong with seeing the bill and recognizing the pitfalls that exist in the anti-paramilitary law on the books in Virginia. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with calling attention to it. At least, I hope not since that’s precisely what I did last week.
Yet there’s something very wrong with not taking a moment to make sure you’ve got the right of it.
I’d like to believe that the hysterics were honest mistakes rather than clickbait attempts to get views. I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt on this one. Maybe a few well-meaning people made a goof and perhaps a few other sites took their reports and ran with them. It happens.
But I suspect some knew damn good and well what was happening and what was already in place and simply didn’t care. They wanted the traffic. Unfortunately, grifters like that are bad for the Second Amendment community as a whole. My hope is that those represent such a tiny minority that they’re a non-factor.
Regardless, though, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.