Columnist Details Why People Own Guns...Then Blows it

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Crime may be dropping across the board, but homicides are up. Even if they weren’t, crime may be down, but it’s not zero. Anyone could find themselves the victim of some kind of crime. It’s awful, but it’s the reality we live in and, to be honest, have always lived in.

But one columnist outlines one of the big reasons many of us own guns then kind of misses the point.

Bad things happen in our dangerous world all the time. If you live in it, you’re going to catch your share of flak. Sometimes it’s cancer, sometimes it’s a stray bullet. No matter what precautions you take, there’s still risk. Sometimes the ways we defend ourselves are inadequate. Sometimes things just break wrong for you.

Still, it’s prudent to lock your doors, to wear a seat belt, to mask up and to be vaccinated. To wear a bike helmet. Some people think having a handgun and a concealed carry permit make them safer, though statistics don’t seem to bear this out. It’s a choice you have to work out for yourself.

Most of the gun owners I know are highly responsible; they lock their weapons up in safes and only take them out when they mean to give their full attention to the activity involving their rifle or handgun. They don’t harbor fantasies about taking out bad guys, they don’t post looney paranoid screeds on Facebook.

This is after recounting how a neighbor’s home had been shot up.

As for “statistics” not bearing out that concealed carry works, I’d be fascinated to see what statistics he’s referring to. After all, I’ve seen plenty that tell a completely different story. We’ve seen crime drop as concealed carry laws were passed all around the nation. We’ve seen the liberalization of gun laws further reduce crime. We’ve seen statistics showing defensive gun use far outstrips criminal shootings.

We have plenty of grounds statistically to believe concealed carry makes us safer.

However, he kind of goes further off the rails just a bit in the next paragraph.

Most of them understand that what passes for the gun-rights debate in this country is hyperbolic silliness. No serious person wants to take away their guns; the Second Amendment probably doesn’t give everyone the right to own a grenade launcher.

While I’m more than willing to debate him about the grenade launcher, he’s dead wrong about people not wanting to take away our guns. Of course, he sets up a No True Scotsman fallacy in the process. He can say anyone I present isn’t a serious person. If he wants to say a former Supreme Court justice isn’t serious, more power to him.

He continues:

But then, more than most, I’ve seen what damage people can inflict on one another, and how that damage is multiplied by weapons. I’ve seen people who have been shot dead and know how it feels to be shot at. (It was nothing personal, the bullets were meant for the undercover detectives in the car.)

And I know how erratic and misguided people can be, and how we all are susceptible to trusting our fallible instincts. The best of us will at times fail to do what we ought to do, and we all struggle to live with our mistakes. I understand why my neighbor whose house was shot up would want a gun, yet am not sure that his having one will solve anyone’s problems.

But he has to defend himself.

To be clear, I don’t think the author is truly anti-Second Amendment. I think he’s one of the millions of people who sort of straddle the line. They believe some gun control is needed and even constitutional, but they aren’t remotely interested in total gun bans.

That’s a good thing.

And these people will probably never really accept that “shall not be infringed” means precisely what it says. That’s not good.

Yet it is what it is.

These are the people we need to reach. These are the folks we need to educate. They need to know better and it’s on us to teach them. Respectfully, of course, but we still need to educate them.