Tuesday, August 18, 2009

For Once, I Agree with Jim and Sara Brady

News stories like this will only serve to turn Americans against guns and gun owners

In court, when two judges arrive at the same conclusion but through different methods, it is called a concurring opinion.

That's what I've come to today with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. I've never agreed with them before, but I do agree that if you're going to a presidential event, you need to leave your guns at home.

Those who know me, know that I am a staunch supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. I've written and spoken extensively about that view. In this blog, I've written about how I enjoy living in Florida because I can take my kwan dao, my gim or the my three-sectioned staff to the neighborhood park and enjoy a quiet training session along the Hillsborough River. In other places where I've lived, such as California, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, I'd be committing a felony if I did that.

Believe me, I am no friend of the Bradys. I learned first-hand how poorly gun control works to prevent gun violence when I was 18 and found myself staring down the business end of a .38 revolver. I've seen how well gun control d
oesn't work in New York City, Boston and Oakland, CA., three cities with abominable crime rates despite their strict gun laws.

But this week, as President Obama and members of congress take part in town meetings to discuss healthcare reform, some boneheads decided that now is the time and place to make a statement about the 2nd Amendment by showing up armed.

That's just what responsible gun owners don't need is more dumb (expletive deleted) perpetuating the stereotype that gun owners are a bunch of inbred, right-wing reactionaries bent upon violence if they don't get their way at the ballot box. Yes, we do have a legal, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. But by carrying them at these to
wn hall meetings, we are not making a statement, but instead playing into the hands of those who would ban everything from pocketknives to semi-automatic rifles.

God forbid if some psycho actually does take a shot at Obama. If you look at the history of gun control, you'll see that high profile assassinations are often the catalysts for more controls on weapons.

The killings of Jack and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. did a lot to turn the tide against gun ownership. Many new laws restricting carrying of weapons were passed in response to those shootings. *

In California, the Black Panther Party sought to make the same statement about the right to keep and bear arms as today's right-wingers are attempting to do today by carrying rifles into the state capital in Sacremento. The response by the California legislators and several local governments was to place more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms in that state.

Images like this, showing Black Panthers brandishing rifles, went a long way to scaring people into supporting gun control during the 1960's.

In 1980, the killing of John Lennon also spurred the call for more gun control.** Three months later, the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan kept the anti-gun momentum going. What's more, that shooting turned White House press secretary Jim Brady, and his wife, Sara, into two of the most vocal and most successful opponents of the right to keep and bear arms following his near-fatal injuries at the hands of John Hinckley, Jr.

So speaking on behalf of responsible gun owners everywhere, leave your weapons at home if you're going to one of those town hall meetings. All it is going to take is one accident, or one nutjob to turn the tide against us once more.

* I don't believe for a second that all the gun control in the world would have saved the Kennedys or King. I don't claim to know the truth about how and why they died, but I have no doubt that their killings were orchestrated by factions within our government. Because of this, their assassins would have had access to weapons no matter what the law said.

**I'm no fan of John Lennon, but I have my suspicions about his killing, too. It just seems strange to me that such prominent foes of the Vietnam War all met the same untimely end.

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