Opinion by Rob Pincus
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- As has happened many times, politicians with an anti-gun agenda have shown up with Gun Control Legislation in the wake of a tragic spree killing.
There are a couple of important things that are different this time:
1. False Promises : President Trump follows polls and public opinion more than any other President in history. He may not respond the same way as others in the past did to public opinion, but he pays more attention and obviously reacts quickly and in extremes with his expressed positions.
He has already signaled that he is open to significant gun control.
This comes as a shock to many American Gun Owners and has us on our heels as a community. The fear factor with the Clinton and Obama Administrations kept us sharper… even though our gun rights were expanded at the Federal Level and in most States under the latter.
Trump told us all at SHOT Show 2017 that the Federal War on Guns was OVER. Too many on our side fell for it.
2. NRA Weakness : The NRA opened the door to blaming an inanimate object for any part of a killing spree last October with their statement on Bump Stocks. That signaled either a change of position to the opposition or simply weakness. I thought right away that the statement was likely related to their knowledge that Trump was going to cave on gun rights and they chose to be aligned with him instead of being forced to admit that they far over-played their hand in regard to supporting his campaign and defending his Administration.
3. Reasonable Gun Control : Many people on “our side” have been signaling that there is such a thing as “reasonable gun control” very overtly in regard to National Reciprocity (signaling that a national training standard would be accepted), Arming Teachers (again, suggesting that higher training standards should be required for people carrying in places where there were crowds or kids) and by stating outright that a ban on Bump Stocks wouldn't be a big deal.
At a time when we should be pushing to expand Right to Carry by continuing the momentum of States adopting “Constitutional Carry” and with Republicans in control of the Government for the last 12 months, it is disheartening to find so many people willing to compromise.
Now is the time to be clear about the underlying concepts of the fight for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the United States and to be able to apply those concepts to the problems our Country and our Community are facing:
Infringement – Any restrictions on ownership or requirements for training imposed on individuals who have done nothing to demonstrate that their guaranteed rights under the US Constitution should be rescinded is an “infringement”.
The Federal Courts have almost universally upheld the Second Amendment as referring to an individual right over the past several decades. Before any other legislation should be discussed, Anti-Gunners should be forced to accept this reality and start working to change the Constitution. There is a process in place, it has been used in the past. They know it would be close to impossible to do because the majority of Americans in the Majority of US States don't want the Second Amendment Changed.
Right to Carry – The “Bear” in the RKBA includes the right to carry your firearms for defense. Federal Courts have notably ordered Washington, D.C. and Illinois to submit to that reality. There has been a successful movement in the US over the past handful of years towards “Constitutional Carry”… the term used to describe the universal application of the Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms to anyone who legally owns a firearm without any additional process. Vermont was the First CC State, there are now over a dozen. The push for the Second Amendment to be applied appropriately, for regulation and restrictions to be removed, should be our community's focus.
Firearms Training – As an educator in the field of Armed Defense, I encourage everyone with a firearm to seek out training and to practice their skills, especially anyone who would hope to be able to use their gun to defend themselves or others. In fact, I think it is part of being a Responsible Firearms Owner. I do not, however, support the establishment of minimum training standards (see “infringement” above). I have never seen a State CCW Course that actually meets what I would consider the minimum acceptable level of training for carrying a defensive firearm in public…nor do I believe that the Government would ever establish one that did. I believe that completing an official sub-standard class leads to a False Confidence far too often. Unfortunately, many pro-gun people have looked at lower barriers to obtaining CCW Permits (non-live fire classes, permits being issued for Hunter Safety Classes, Permits being being given to Veterans with no practical defensive handgun training/experience, etc…) as a political positive and that has translated into an attitude that actually works against people being encouraged to seek out training by a vocal minority of gun owners who are over-confident and/or naive in regard to the preparation for armed defense.
Promoting the need for training while resisting the attempts to put mandatory training in place takes a deeper understanding of the issues involved and integrity… as well as the ability to explain the difference between the two things if you really want to be an advocate.
People, not Inanimate Objects, Kill – There should never be a hint of doubt in the fact that Evil or Deranged People who want to hurt others will find a way. Guns, Bombs, Poison, Trucks, Cars, Knives, Hammers… the human mind is resourceful and creative. The objects are not the issue.
We need to overhaul the way we deal with the Mentally Ill in this country and the way we respond to people who threaten to hurt themselves or others.
I encourage anyone interested I the fight for our gun rights in the US to study these concepts and their application to the issues being discussed in our country today. They underly all of the important positions on the complex and important questions being asked right now… as they always are in the wake of high profile gun violence.
About Rob Pincus
Rob Pincus has been educating people about defensive shooting and related personal defense topics for over two decades. He is the Executive Director of Personal Defense Network and the owner of I.C.E. Training Company. He has authored several books, produced over 100 training DVDs, appeared on several TV & Radio shows and trained military, law enforcement and armed individuals around the world. His advice focuses on efficiency and practicality based on his own experiences and continuing research of both real world events and cutting edge training practices. www.icetraining.us