Here are a couple of reasons why I think that there will be no compromise for some. First is this article by Cliff Schecter about the NRA and the gun rights movement. From the article:
"If you are looking for the literal embodiment of dysfunction in American political culture and the institutions that serve it, look no further than the National Rifle Association (NRA), and the deadly and divisive role it plays in shaping the political agenda. Specifically, the radically and reliably dishonest, dangerous and deranged legislation they foist upon the American people day in and day out through their purchase of most Republican and many Blue-Dog Democratic officeholders."And further, Schecter goes on about who are the politicians who make the gun laws in our country.
And speaking of politicians who make the laws, check out the encounter at a local Virginia legislator candidate forum. Tea Party supported Republican candidate Carin Merrick has been having some problems answering questions about her positions on gun control. In addition, she has so far refused to release the answers to the NRA questionnaire she has received but doesn't want the public to know about. Can you blame her for not wanting to give answers to these kinds of extreme questions?Finally, because carrying concealed weapons in grocery stores and parks just wasn’t enough, the NRA decided to start pushing bills to allow concealed weapons in bars–which makes sense because nothing I can think of goes better together than six shots of Jack and a loaded Glock. Of course, “technically,” only non-drinking customers are allowed to take their guns into bars.Somehow, however, this doesn’t seem to explain how the sponsor of this ultimately successful bill in Tennessee, Rep. Curry Todd, was pulled over in Nashville driving drunk with a loaded gun in his car. In fact, police at the scene claimed he was “almost falling over at times.” I mean, didn’t he read his own legislation?Meanwhile, over the past 6 months, 3 Republican state representatives in Ohio who thought concealed guns near booze to be smart policy (the legislation also passed in Ohio) also thought non-concealed drunkenness and driving to be a a swell idea.Yes, these are definitely the people you want making decisions when it comes to deadly weapons.So whether it is the conspiracy nuts, dishonest hypocrites or drunk drivers, this is who is charged with making decisions about who can have a gun these days.
Also, as the person who forwarded these questionnaires to me (and who works intensively on this issue in Virginia) points out, many of the questions in these surveys misstate the facts, are disingenuous in a variety of ways, and are cleverly designed to trap and trick the candidates answering them. Probably the smartest thing 2011 candidates in Virginia can do is not respond to these questionnaires at all, because they really can't win if they do so. Even more troubling, think about what Virginia - and America - would look like if these groups get their way on many or most of their demands? Extremely powerful and deadly concealed weapons anywhere and everywhere, held by people who have received minimal if any scrutiny or training. Basically, it's Virginia (and America) as the Wild West. Does that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, or does it perhaps send a chill down your spine? Personally, I'd vote for the latter.The article linked above also points out what Virginians answer to polling questions about gun issues in their state. They are consistently in favor of common sense.
Here in Virginia, Hart Research has found that Virginians overwhelmingly support gun safety measures like requiring the reporting of lost or stolen guns (95% favor); requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check (89% favor); and requiring sellers at gun shows to run a background check (88% favor). To a slightly lesser extent - but still strong majorities - Virginians support requiring gun owners to register guns (67% favor) and also support banning the sale of high-capacity ammo magazines (66% favor). Also, around the country, large majorities (69%-80%) oppose allowing guns in bars, in government buildings, or on college campuses.But never mind the facts. We know there are reasonable people who own guns. We also know there are unreasonable people who make up their own paranoid and fearful world in which those of us who want reasonable gun control measures are out to take away their rights and their guns. They are wrong, of course, but they have managed to frame the issue their way. It's time for that to change. But some unreasonable extremists are fighting hard and fighting with aggressive, rude, insulting, threatening, inappropriate and downright evil words.
Such as the case at New Trajectory, when fellow blogger Baldr Odinson had to stop anonymous commenters. I suggest that you read the comments to see why it is impossible to have a reasonable discussion about gun issues with the people who troll gun control blogs. These comments are over the top and express the hatred, bigotry, and anger of a minority. Or let's hope so, anyway. We know that the NRA has some pretty scary board members who set the tone for their members. So are these folks on the blogs representing the views of the gun rights community? If not, it is up to them to monitor their own. If not, they are complicit in allowing such incendiary, scary and hateful views to represent them all.
And speaking of hateful and racist- a Texas concealed carry permit trainer won't teach classes to Muslims, not Christians or Obama supporters. Promoting racism while teaching people how to shoot guns they intend to carry around in public is a scary idea, not to mention distasteful and ugly. These are radio ads run by the training instructor about his classes.
“If you are a socialist liberal and or voted for the current campaigner in chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as under the law,” he added. In an interview with a local ABC affiliate, Keller made it clear he was serious: “I will give up my license to teach before I will teach them.”But now he will likely be sorry he decided to be so openly racist and bigoted because once the ads got so much attention this happened:
As the Southern Poverty Law Center’s HateWatch blog noted, “It’s not clear whether this type of discrimination is lawful,” as business owners have considerable discretion in whom they serve. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which certifies individuals to teach concealed handgun lessons, said discrimination puts instructors’ certification at risk of “suspension or revocation,” but that they need a formal complaint with evidence before they can act.But just maybe Robert Farago who writes The Truth about Guns is willing to have a reasonable discourse about the gun issue? He discovered that another gun rights blogger had posted a photo of new ammunition. The website to which Farago refers is advertising a high capacity magazine all dressed up as a scary phallic symbol. Nice. Check it out for yourself.
But this . . . this is obscene. I’m not speaking here of the unspeakable amount of ammo this would provide a spree killer. I refer to the image’s phallic connotations. Gun grabbers often accuse gun rights enthusiasts of “over-compensating.” This image will erect bigger barriers between us. So to speak.Really? What Farago is suggesting is that selling items such as the one in the ad above just makes the gun bloggers and gun guys look extreme, stupid and ridiculous. He's right. And finally comes this thoughtful article written by a Wisconsin gun owner and hunter. The writer knows that gun control does not threaten him or other rightful hunters and gun owners. He gets it as, do the majority of gun owners, actually, in most polling data year after year after year. ( discussed before on this blog). Here are some of his words:
But for many gun advocates, it's not about the guns, but what their firearms represent. Their guns are to them what freedom of speech is to me: the tangible evidence that we are free people. Add to that the culture war mix of rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal, and all of the markers that come with those things, and you end up with a potent stew of political conflict.But what if we thought about guns as a public health issue? If we had a drug that was killing 30,000 people a year, 17,000 by suicide, wouldn't we declare that an epidemic and do something about it?
How many mass shootings, everyday rampages and lonely suicides will it take until we come to our senses about gun violence in America? And why has the gun control movement been so ineffective in going up against the National Rifle Association, even though most Americans would support stricter gun laws?
Part of the answer is in just how unreasonable the NRA can be. I'm convinced that it is a conscious strategy -- oppose even the mildest restriction so that nobody even dares propose really meaningful controls.
The NRA's zealous unreasonableness has turned out to be a brilliant strategy. They've learned that if they oppose everything, even the most concerned public official won't dare to propose any real steps to get at the problem. We should be debating why handguns and automatic weapons even exist in our society, not just how easy we can make it to carry a loaded firearm across state lines.
I'm a Wisconsin sportsman and gun owner, and I can tell you that the extremists in the NRA don't speak for me. Not even close.
What's needed is a new movement of responsible sportsmen who recognize the fact that there is so much unnecessary death, injury and suffering that goes on in this country thanks to our lax gun laws. I'm not worried that laws clamping down on handguns and automatic weapons will affect my hunting options one bit. My shotgun has as much in common with a machine gun as a Piper Cub has with an F-16.Now here's someone expressing common sense. He is not a scary gun rights extremist. He is a Wisconsin hunter and gun owner who has seen the extremes to which the NRA and its' bought and paid for politicians will go to please the minority. He's willing to state the obvious and the truth and challenge the views of the gun rights advocates who are so unwilling to compromise that their positions are too extreme for most gun owners. Their positions are based on fears and unwarranted paranoia. This time of the year can cause some folks to act on those unreasonable fears. Such was the case at a fateful Halloween party for Japanese exchange students in 1992 that ended up killing Yoshihiro Hattori in a tragic shooting. Hattori and a friend went to the wrong house by mistake and rang the doorbell. They sure did pick the wrong house- that of a paranoid gun owner ready to shoot to kill. You can read the account of the incident and subsequent trial of the shooter but here is something instructive:
Peairs defense counsel's strategy consisted of a claim that Hattori had an "extremely unusual manner of moving", one which any reasonable person would find "scary", and emphasis on Peairs as an "average Joe", a man just like the jury members' neighbors, a man who "liked sugar in his grits".
(...) District Attorney Doug Moreau concentrated on establishing that it had not been reasonable for Peairs, a 6-foot-2, well-armed man, to be so fearful of a polite, friendly, unarmed, 130-pound boy, who rang the doorbell, even if he walked toward him unexpectedly in the driveway, and that Peairs was not justified in using deadly force. Moreau stated, "It started with the ringing of the doorbell. No masks, no disguises. People ringing doorbells are not attempting to make unlawful entry. They didn't walk to the back yard, they didn't start peeking in the windows."Unfortunately, a Halloween costume combined with an innocent mistake resulted in a senseless death. The gun owner said he would never own a gun again. He made a serious mistake that took the life of an innocent person. Happy Halloween everyone. Don't be too scary or too scared and stay safe.