April 26, 2012
By Kyle Wintersteen
This is a dire situation: I have three anti-gun media hit pieces left to read, and I'm down to my last antacid. I normally ration them, but that last story was a real doozy. Why endure such torture? If you can grasp the mindset of someone who fears gun ownership — who doesn't even trust himself with the right, let alone you — you'll be better equipped to articulate your point of view. The more we're familiar with the other side's argument, misguided as it may be, the better equipped we are to defeat it.
I've learned something through this approach: Big Media does not understand gun owners. Their anti-gun stories range widely in subtlety, and could be categorized as lazy, intentionally anti-gun or unknowingly biased. The latest antacid-popper comes to us courtesy of The New Yorker and falls into the "unknowingly biased" category. Jill Lepore thinks she is a liberal crusader out there just trying to make a difference, which she has attempted to achieve through an unfair and condescending portrayal of gun ownership in America (She actually compares the ambience of a gun range to visiting a porn shop — what the hell?). Lepore's story, while better written than some mindless anti-gun hit pieces, is undermined by a lack of empathy. There is a cavernous disconnect between liberal journalists (who don't even recognize their own biases) and the plight of gun owners. Here are the top eight things anti-gun journalists don't seem to understand about us.
The Brady Campaign Is Full of Lies
Note to the media: Quit citing hugely inflated Brady Campaign statistics to undermine our gun rights. The Brady Bunch is not some credible non-profit just out there seeking the truth, but an extreme anti-gun group with a complete willingness to lie to meet objectives. At the very least, please admit that the Brady's anti-gun bias is as great as the NRA
pro-gun views. Instead, you act as if Sarah Brady preaches the gospel, then you bury a few facts from NRA deep in the story, hinting that they must be taken with a grain of salt, or you'll ignore the pro-gun side altogether. That's lazy journalism, and we notice.
There Is No 'Gun Show Loophole'
You can't just single out a freedom you don't like and call it a 'loophole. ' In the United States, we have the right to own firearms. We have the right to sell firearms. If I want to walk across the street and sell my 1911 to a neighbor right now, I have that freedom, as long as he's legally able to buy a gun and I'm a legal seller. These same transactions occur at gun shows between private sellers. To require a background check between such individuals would essentially end all private transactions — and that is of course the goal of those who push such legislation. So please, journalists, quit griping about gun shows and we won't touch your 'Free Speech Loophole. '
The Collective Rights Argument Is Over
Lepore's article once again drags out the old argument that, unlike every other freedom guaranteed under the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers intended the Second Amendment to be a collective right. Last time I checked, the Supreme Court looked into this issue
and ruled that the U.S. Constitution guarantees an individual right to gun ownership. Can we move on?
Gun Ownership Is Not Declining
Firearms and ammo manufacturers make up practically the only industry that's actually doing well
during this tough recession. Gun buyers are so active that Ruger had to quit taking orders for certain guns. We've set sales and NICS check records. And yet journalists buy into the strategy of anti-gunners to portray gun owners as a fringe group. A dying breed.
Lepore makes this argument, citing a survey by National Policy Opinion Center at the University of Chicago. However, numbers don't lie: Gun ownership is up and, perhaps not coincidentally, the violent crime rate is down.
Guns Save Lives
Lazy journalists love to drag out the old saying, 'You're more likely to shoot a family member than an intruder. ' Find some new facts — that one's been discredited. It counted illegally possessed guns and gang members right along with the legitimate homes. And it only took into account incidents in which shots were fired.
According to a study by Florida State criminologist Gary Kleck, guns are used in lawful self-defense 2.5 million times per year. However, most times the mere presence of a firearm is enough to frighten away the miscreant without shots being fired. Bad guy kicks the door down. Little old lady points a .22 at him. Bad guy runs away. The incident may not even be reported to police. You see, journalists, unlike the way you insist on portraying us, we don't really want to shoot anybody. But, if we have to, we'd rather be prepared to protect ourselves than wait for the police and hope for the best.
This Is Not an AK-47
If journalists want us to take them seriously, they should at least learn a little about the firearms they so irrationally fear. When we read about an 'AK-47 ' used in a crime that turns out to have been a regular old bolt-action, or when journalists use such terms as '.12-caliber shotgun ', 'automatic revolver ' or 'spray fire assault rifle, ' he reveals his ignorance. He entirely discredits himself. And that's one of the reasons why so many of us tend toward media skepticism even when it comes to non-gun issues.
'Shootings Are Caused by Guns'
One aspect of Lepore's story revolves around a high school shooting. Both parents of the shooter have been in and out of jail for violent crimes, including against each other. The mother is a volatile alcoholic. The father was convicted of kidnapping and assaulting another woman. Reminds you of your home, right?
Then one day their son steals his uncle's gun, takes it to school and commits an atrocity. It's a sad story. It would perhaps bring some resolution if a preventative measure could be found. Lepore tries to find a tenable link between gun owners and mass shootings, but her reasoning is dubious at best.
Journalists always want to point the finger at gun owners after such tragedies, as if there's some way to legislate away the actions of a madman intent on mayhem without expunging the freedoms of law-abiding Americans. They ignore the failures of liberal social programs and instead want to create 'gun free zones, ' forgetting that this is in fact where most mass shootings occur (even in highly firearm-restrictive European countries). And, perhaps most frustrating of all, they deny that an average armed citizen can halt a mass shooting. It's happened, notably at a church in Colorado, a high school in Mississippi, at the Appalachian State law school and elsewhere.
We're Winning Because Shooting Is Fun
Gun rights and pride in gun ownership hit a marked decline in the early to mid-1990's, but since then things have changed. Gun owners have adjusted their strategy. We're back on offense, and journalists don't seem to understand what happened.
Personally, I believe we almost began apologizing for guns during the Clinton Administration. However, at some point we decided to get back to being honest: Shooting guns is an important freedom, we aren't sorry about it and shooting them is good wholesome entertainment. That's a message that resonates with the public, if not anti-gun journalists. The media establishment seems baffled by the Brady Campaign's financial woes. And poll after poll that indicates growing support for gun ownership.
Namely we win because shooting is fun. If you take a rookie shooter to the range, their smile upon that first shot is practically blinding. Despite what they may have read about guns in the media, they just learned how much fun it is to send a round downrange. And there's nothing a New York City journalist can do to convince them otherwise.
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