If you are a citizen of the United States of America and remember your history lessons pretty well, you might remember the Minute Men who fought in the American Revolution. These were people who could grab their guns and defend their homes on a minute’s notice. They usually owned those guns and used them to fend off many of the threats they found on the frontier. They might shoot a buck for supper on their way home from scrapping with British forces. These people didn’t own a gun because it made them feel macho. It was simply part of surviving in an America that was still untamed.
The Founding Fathers understood many of the points of owning a gun. They remembered all the ugliness involved in the Revolution. It was a war that they wouldn’t have won without their guns and a fair amount of help from the French. They understood that the defense of any free society would rest on common citizens who would need to know how to use a gun without blowing their own heads off.
Overthrowing a tyrannical government isn’t even the only reason that people might want to own a gun. I heard from one gun owner that he let word get around that he had a gun, and his apartment is the only one out of the entire apartment building that hasn’t been robbed at some point. Guns in the hands of people who use them only to defend themselves can actually prevent crime.
I’ve even heard them verbally lambast the gun control crowd for their ivory-tower attitudes and I can’t disagree. I’ve tried to get the people who want to clamp down on gun ownership to give me a straight answer about how they’re going to get deadly weapons out of the hands of violent criminals while still respecting the rights of law-abiding citizens who are responsible gun owners. I haven’t gotten that straight answer yet because they know that, if existing gun laws that require a Firearm Owners’ ID card, a background check and a waiting period don’t work, there isn’t much short of destroying every single firearm in North America and banning the creation of new ones for any purpose including military use that will. Even then, there are still specs for 3D-printed guns floating around on the Internet and that kind of thing is next to impossible to clamp down on once it’s out there.
Some people blame the NRA for every violent crime involving a gun that you read in the news. These are the people who would have you believe that NRA members are the redneck hippie gun-toting crowd who run around shooting their pistols into the air or they’re planning to stage a revolt against the federal government and they’ll need some good assault rifles to do it. The NRA members I’ve actually talked to are saner than that. Sure, they’ll tell you that the Second Amendment exists because the people who wrote it recognized that sometimes the American people will have to go up against tyranny and it’ll help if they already know one end of a gun from the other so they don’t shoot their own heads off while doing it. However, they are members because gun ownership is about more than that to them.
They’re members because they recognize the stories about the latest mall shooting that can linger for weeks in the mainstream media for what they are. It’s propaganda that can be used as an excuse for the gun control crowd to clamp down on legitimate gun ownership while ignoring the background issues that led to the shooting.
They’re member because they see “the right to bear arms” as a corollary of the right to defend themselves against any kind of aggression as they see fit. They may know total pacifists who will not own a firearm under any circumstances and recognize that it’s their choice and they may eventually wise up if they become a target for violent criminals.
They’re members because they see the term “assault rifle” as a vaguely defined term that gun control activists could apply to a typical hunting rifle as easily as a high-powered machine gun like the kind you often see SWAT teams hauling around. Many members may bag a few deer and this year’s Thanksgiving turkey every hunting season and not touch their hunting rifle beyond making sure it stays in good working order the rest of the year.
They’re members because they are responsible gun owners who keep their FOID cards current, take refresher classes on gun safety on a regular basis, store their ammunition separately from their guns, and keep their weapons in a safe place where the kids can’t get at them and hurt someone by accident. These are people who don’t start trouble but know how to finish it if somebody else decides to pick on the wrong person.
NRA members know how easy it is to buy a gun. If you can’t find a gun dealership where you live because your local government has made it impossible for such dealerships to exist, you could probably drive over to the next county to do business there. This is probably how the gangs in Chicago are getting all their firearms. If someone is going to ignore the law anyway, he might as well ignore it even more and drive south or west to a place where he can buy guns without a lot of hassle.
Ebay doesn’t seem to like the idea of people selling weapons on the site, probably for legal reasons, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy guns online. An auction site called Invaluable.com seems to have a pretty good selection of firearms, many of which could be classed as antiques but look to be in good enough condition that they might still be usable in a pinch. This is not necessarily a bad thing even if you don’t like the idea of gunrunners shipping weapons across state lines. It just means that people who actually want to exercise their right to defend themselves have one more way that they can buy a gun.
These aren’t people who are building Hamas-style rocket launchers in their back yards, folks. Most gun owners actually care about keeping things legal, know how to store their guns safely, and don’t hurt anybody who don’t attack first. Many gun owners live in places that would curdle the blood of gun control activists who might have forgotten that Dexter did not necessarily need a gun to hunt down his target. Those gun owners aren’t necessarily using those guns to commit crimes. The answer to all those gun crimes isn’t banning guns altogether like many gun activists would very much like to see. It’s clamping down on the real social issues that lead to violent crimes every day.