By Chris Knox and Jeff Knox : Opinion
Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- Once again, the nation mourns the actions of a pathetic madman apparently acting alone, and we on the pro-rights side of the gun control debate are forced to process our horror and grief under a barrage of assaults from media pundits and politicians.
We're as horrified by the carnage as anyone, and additionally frustrated that such tragedies always trigger an outpouring of ill-informed, biased attacks on our rights by the political control freaks demanding that “We” must “Do Something” regardless of how ineffective and counterproductive that “Something” may be.
This sort of thing always puts us in a difficult position, because attacks on guns and gun owners, and calls for action to prevent future tragedies, are widely perceived to be compassionate and rational, while logical retorts and discussion of historical, technical, and moral problems with the proposed “solutions” comes off as cold and uncaring.
That's the dilemma we find ourselves in right now. If we remain silent, the knee-jerk reactionaries get free rein to rant unchallenged and set the narrative about the evils of firearms, and the need for additional restrictions.
By speaking up and pointing out the flaws in the gun control proposals, we are painted as unfeeling ideologues, more concerned about our “hobby” than the loss of innocent lives. Be that as it may, we cannot stand idly by and allow our rights to be additional victims of a madman's rampage.
As in most all of the other high-profile firearm attacks in recent history, the killer in this case had no history of mental issues or criminal activity, and acquired his weapons through legal channels after passing multiple background checks.
Yet, one of the first “solutions” we heard offered was a proposal to expand background checks to include personal transfers. And though the murderer didn't use a silencer, that was the target of Hillary Clinton's tweet on the matter, suggesting that the tragedy would have been worse if a silencer had been employed, and urging rejection of current legislation which includes loosening of restrictions on those devices.
Obviously she doesn't understand that the victims, who were 300 yards away from the attacker, were hearing the bullets breaking the sound barrier, not the muzzle blasts of the guns, and silencers have no effect on the crack of a bullet moving at supersonic speeds.
Then, as more information became available, we began to hear calls for restrictions on “bump-stocks” and “trigger cranks,” devices that allow shooters to waste ammunition at higher rates of fire than normal from semi-auto firearms. Senator Dianne Feinstein has already filed a bill, copied from California statutes, that would criminalize manufacture, importation, sales, and possession of these devices, requiring that present owners surrender or destroy them, or face felony charges. Of course, it completely ignores the fact that these devices are easily fabricated from such exotic materials as rubber bands, scraps of wood, or plastic soda bottles.
The day after the attack, we received a request from the USAToday newspaper's editorial board asking if we would provide an op-ed counterpoise to their comments on the slaughter. Their description of the board's approach to the subject was telling.
In the email, the representative of the editorial board said; “We’re going to cite this event as yet another reason, and an opportunity to push, for stricter gun controls.”
We found that word “opportunity” chilling. The gun control industry keeps focus group tested, “reasonable” and “commonsense” (they like “commonsense” as one word – it must have tested well in focus groups) measures waiting in the wings for opportunities such as this. Their allies in the dominant media, which certainly includes USAToday, then beat the drums in unison for those “reasonable” steps whenever the opportunity arises.
The “gun control” agenda is a vote-getter among some constituencies, and politicians who serve those constituencies see tragedies as an opportunity to advance that agenda. We think that's pretty sick. What's worse, the agenda they advance as they dance in the blood is never anything that could possibly prevent or even mitigate the tragedy, nor intercept the next one. Their “solutions” sound good, and poll well, but in real life they solve nothing. They won't impact everyday crime, and they certainly won't have any favorable impact on the big-stage horror show of a mass casualty shooting any more than stricter truck licensing would affect the use of trucks as weapons of terror.
In the coming weeks Congress will hold hearings, celebrities will emote on cue, and very public tears will be shed with pleas that we “Do Something!” But what “Something” should we do? Is “Something” better than nothing – even if it does no good? What if “Something” does more harm than good? Taking money away from things that are working, and dumping it into things that don't, is “Something.” Taking cops off the street to shuffle paper and harass responsible gun owners, is “Something.” Banning guns that are hugely popular with Americans, and which are used in less than 2% of crimes is “Something,” but what do you do when that meets with massive resistance and non-compliance?
Do you imprison or kill the millions of people who see this as an unconstitutional infringement on their rights and refuse to comply?
How about Feinstein's proposed ban on bump-stocks and trigger-cranks? These things have been around for decades, and they've been used in violent crime – – once? So the hundreds of people employed in making them, and the tens of thousands of people who own them, should be put out of work and turned into criminals?
In times of grief and anger, humans tend to lash out. There is a reason financial planners and life coaches advise people not to make major decisions right after a death or divorce. We wish we had an answer for how to prevent these terrible atrocities, but we don't. And neither do the people calling for stricter gun control. Improving mental health services and education might help.
Blaming and punishing responsible gun owners for the actions of a mad man won't help, and is heading down a road that is fraught with peril. Sanity cannot be legislated, and blaming the innocent is “Something” that should never be done.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.