Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Can We Talk About Gun Control Yet?

Probably not. Charlie Pierce explains.

There is a debate to be had in this country still over how we should arm ourselves, and why. People of good will on both sides can debate this issue ferociously. Time and time again, I hear about this mass of reasonable gun owners who are dismayed by events like the one in Wisconsin this Sunday. I hear, endlessly, about the “responsible” gun owners of this country. I have no doubt that they exist. I know a great many of them, some of them friends of mine from Wisconsin itself. They are people of good will with whom I disagree. My question is: Where in the hell are all the “responsible” people today? Where were they two weeks ago? Make no mistake. Without them, this profound problem cannot be solved. If they are the majority — and god knows, I hope that’s the case — then why don’t they wrest control of their side of the issue, and of the NRA itself, from the crazy mountebanks who are only in it for the buck? I am quite sincere about this, and I’d like any gun owners who read this blog, and especially any members of the NRA, to provide me with an answer. Where are you people?

They’re being drowned out by the geniuses who write letters to the editor proclaiming that if only the people being shot at could shoot back, everything would be fine. No, it wouldn’t. Even after explaining that the shooter in Aurora was wearing enough body armor to make him impervious to most weapons allowed under a concealed weapons permit, the result would still look like the train station scene in Gone With The Wind, with the bodies of the dead and dying as far as the eye can see.

The NRA has very effectively ended the discussion by making gun control into a political issue rather than one of safety and sanity. No one in elective office or with hopes of being elected will touch it now. And that’s exactly how the NRA wants it, because they know that they can make millions of dollars by just sending out one fundraising letter saying Candidate X is plotting to take your guns. Even after two mass shootings in two months, you can expect the money machine will crank up now that the White House has suggested, however gingerly, that a renewal of the assault weapons ban is worth considering.

I’m like Charlie. If there are any people out there who are gun owners and don’t like the way things are going with the gun nuts at the controls, speak up. Or have they got you too afraid, too?

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