by Greg Camp ; Opinion
AmmoLand News welcomes Greg Camp to our list of the best and brightest Second Amendment contributors.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- According to the critics, the 2013 movie, 2 Guns, was “Formulaic and often jarringly violent,” while resting on “its old-school appeal on the interplay between its charismatic, well-matched stars.”
But that’s not what the article in Slate was talking about. Nor did the author, Doug Pennington, have in mind the fact that people in the Old West – the inspiration for the characters that I write about – often carried two sidearms because five shots was the typical load for a revolver, since six would put the hammer down on a live primer.
No, the former Brady Campaign employee and now “communications professional” wants to restrict all Americans to a maximum of two firearms per person, as he discusses in his article, “Two Guns Per Person: A simple, constitutional proposal that protects both Americans’ lives and liberty.”
In his view, a pistol that holds ten rounds and a pump-action shotgun in twelve gauge with six rounds on board is all anyone needs for home defense. How generous of him, though he doesn’t seem to have heard of hunting, of target shooting, or of collections of historical firearms. Nor does he show any knowledge about the terminal ballistics of various types of ammunition.
I won’t hold the cartoon image at the top of the article against him, even though it shows something that’s almost a Beretta 92 that can hold a good deal more than ten rounds and a left-handed lever-action rifle, minus a rear sight. Authors don’t generally select the artwork that goes with their essays.
He claims that only twenty-two (22) percent of Americans are gun owners, with three percent of us having half of the weapons in private hands. This number goes back to that Harvard/Northeastern study that was reported on last year. My mama didn’t raise any children who would tell a random stranger on the telephone about the guns in the house, but let’s pretend that the number cited is accurate. Does he really want to make the argument that rights are determined by the percentage of the population who exercise them?
Compare that twenty-two percent to some other groups in this country. African-Americans make up 12.6 percent of the population, according to the Census data. The CDC found that 3.4 percent of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. And the number of people among us who identify as transgender is 0.6 percent. Now I’m not advocating that we should tie rights to how many in the country will take advantage of them. But I do find it interesting that gun control advocates will take that position, if only by implication.
I also have to wonder where Pennington finds the authority in the Constitution to limit the number of guns that you and I may have to any particular figure. He does at least understand that “arms” in the Second Amendment is a plural word, or perhaps he would have decided that one was all he could accept. He wants to treat anyone who has more than two the way that we burden law-abiding owners of full-auto guns or suppressors today.
Probably, he wouldn’t care even if I could present to him the facts about guns—how each type is used and how many Americans protect themselves each year with firearms. On that latter point, his fellow Slate writer, William Saletan acknowledges that the number is in the hundreds of thousands. But let’s put things in terms that he can understand.
By the same line of reasoning, the First Amendment doesn’t specify how many words a person can use. Since a novel, for example, had 50,000 words without the letter “e”, we could argue that writers don’t need twenty-six separate symbols to express themselves, either.
Pennington might argue in reply that books don’t kill people, and I would – again if he’d listen – remind him of Common Sense, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Mein Kampf, three books that were, shall we say, influential in wars that came shortly after their publication.
I have my doubts that listening is something that he’s interested in doing. After all, the facts that I’ve cited could have been found easily with whatever search engine he favors. But that search requires first an awareness that the articles of faith held by supporters of gun control don’t bear examination, and it’s up to those of us who care about gun rights to get the message out.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.