I’m a long time responsible gun owner and enthusiast who, like many, would like to see more controls on semi-automatic rifles; particularly, what many refer to as “assault rifles”. Indeed, I’m well aware of all the Kool-Aid on both sides surrounding assault weapons, and I think both sides have some rather questionable notions about them. The extreme left seems to have developed an irrational fear and hatred of all guns and the extreme right believes the only solution to guns are more guns (the recent shooting in Las Vegas has shown that “more guns” couldn’t have saved anyone). I used to drink the gun rights Kool-Aid. I’d spent over 15 years shooting and smithing guns, gotten the NRA certifications to supervise ranges and to carry concealed weapons, and have been an avid long range shooter. Up until a few years ago, when I sold the rights to it, I produced the #1 ballistics computer in the App Store, and made a very comfortable revenue off of the gun community with just a few hours a month of coding. I’ve watched both the community and the ranges change dramatically over the years, and the current state of extremism in this country has become more than evident.
I’ve spent over 15 years in the gun community total, bumped elbows with the gun industry on several occasions, listened to all of the political arguments surrounding “assault weapons”, and have met some intelligent people. What’s bothered me is that I’ve met even more ignorant and zealous people, who don’t even know how their firearms work let alone have any sense of the world, diplomacy, or a sense of serving something greater than one’s self. In place of the values I’m used to seeing, I instead see fear mongering and propaganda from the gun industry – effective propaganda, even though it doesn’t hold any water.
If we really believe that guns are keeping the government in check, for example, then they’ve quite failed at that task. If guns supposedly make for a more peaceful society, then why is our country’s gun violence worse than most third world countries, and why are virtually all other first world countries statistically safer on a high order of magnitude? Perhaps if more gun owners traveled and saw how other societies lived – many without the distrust and predisposition to violence that we hold even towards our own neighbors – they might see how sorely mistaken this mindset has been all this time. Instead, the multi-billion dollar gun industry continues to sell a militia image that unfortunately many are too weak minded to see through. The fact remains that the world isn’t as vicious and violent as they’re told it is by the NRA, the top marketing agency for the gun industry.
Sandy Hook was really the point of no return for our country. As we watched our government and gun owners’ non-response to the murder of 20 school children, I knew then and there that we’d never do anything meaningful to control mass murder in this country. Sandy Hook was the day many demonstrated they had no soul.