“You can’t have people walking around with guns.” Bill Clinton’s words were broadcast across the country during a recent appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” as he discussed his views on the recent turmoil in Ferguson and Baltimore with Jake Tapper. Clinton made his feelings known quite clearly, going on to say “to hold a community together you’ve got to have a high level of trust.” Apparently the presence of legally owned firearms is a sign of untrustworthy circumstances, and it’s just this mindset that’s endangering our nation’s right to bear arms on a level few seem to comprehend.
It’s been centuries since our forefathers penned the Second Amendment, a phrase written quite simply so it could be easily understood by the many uneducated citizens of the time. For years historians and even English professors have argued over the wording with one of the most common claims being that it was meant to apply only to arming militias and had nothing to do with the average citizen. Wording aside, why is it politicians and citizens like Bill Clinton are going around making statements questioning the trustworthiness of gun owners?
The simple fact of the matter is that gun control laws serve only to hinder law-abiding gun owners. Criminals will continue to get guns whenever and however they wish regardless of how laws list magazine capacity, sear capabilities, and carry laws. It is the law-abiding who end up hurt, because it is they who follow the laws while the criminals flout the laws, arming themselves – frequently with greater firepower – to the teeth and carrying their illegal weapons anywhere and everywhere.
Ferguson and Baltimore are both prime examples of a populace set on destruction from within. It’s certainly no coincidence that the crime rates are higher in areas with stricter gun control, and it’s both baffling and ludicrous for Clinton to attempt to blame recent events on gun owners. One of the biggest problems with this mindset is the group-think of the general public, many of whom will believe anything they hear trickling from their televisions on the news, no matter how lacking in logic it may be. If Bill Clinton says gun owners are to blame for the terrible destruction of Ferguson and Baltimore, well, he must be right. He is, after all, a former President, and one of the more charming, slick Presidents we’ve had, at that.
Statistically it’s been proven time and again that legal gun owners stop more crimes than law enforcement officers thanks to their being right there on-scene, among other factors. Accidental shootings during the stopping of a crime are also significantly lower among gun owners than LEOs, which is not an insult to the law enforcement community but rather a simple fact, one frequently ignored by the gun control crowd. LEOs have a number of hindrances to their using their firearms from concerns over when they could or should actually resort to deadly force to the way they’re likely to be crucified in the mainstream media for daring to draw their weapon to lack of training. Having come from a family including LEOs myself I have nothing but respect for those on the job, but I’m also fully aware of the risks and drawbacks. Private citizens legally carrying firearms have helped LEOs on more than one occasion as well, even saving officers’ lives. Seems fairly trustworthy, doesn’t it, to be a private citizen willing to risk your own well-being to save strangers?
Something Clinton fails to realize is that law-abiding gun owners who carry their firearms for self-defense purposes rarely do so lightly. It’s a big responsibility, and the majority of gun owners know it. Aside from following the golden rules of gun ownership – keep your finger off the trigger until you’re on target, treat all firearms as though they’re loaded, know your target and what is beyond it, and never point the gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy – there are myriad other rules and guidelines for those taking on the weight of self-defense carry. There are countless factors to consider from how and where to carry, what gun to carry, what holster to use, and, of course, what ammunition to load your firearm with. Laws must be known and followed, and they vary from state to state, so if a gun owner is going to travel, they need to be aware of the laws in every state they plan to pass through or visit. Concealed carry permits must be obtained and kept up-to-date, reciprocity – or lack thereof – with other states must be known and respected. Practice at the range must take place and should go beyond simply putting a few holes in paper from a short distance. It’s a large, weighty responsibility, and those who take it on are shouldering yet another burden: the potential self-sacrifice of a true self-defense situation.
Law-abiding gun owners carry their firearms on a daily basis knowing their own lives may be forfeit, should a threat occur. While people like Clinton have a tendency to portray gun owners as John Wayne wannabes, going racing into a six-year-old’s birthday party with guns blazing, reality is far different. Responsible gun owners are constantly aware of their surroundings, assessing and re-assessing the situation in the hopes they’ll see trouble coming before it overwhelms them. If and when a threat does arise, those gun owners willingly step into harm’s way in an attempt to protect others from danger. Those “others” are most often strangers, yes, a vast number of legal gun owners are willing to surrender their own safety for people they’ve never met.
Trust is earned, and those who follow the laws and carry legally have more than earned the trust of those around them. After all, there are legally armed citizens walking around all over, and the majority of the time, no one ever knows who is or is not armed. That’s the idea, after all; making yourself a target by advertising the fact that you’re carrying not only limits your effectiveness but does harm to the public image of gun owners in general. Yes, there are those who irresponsibly stalk out in public with their ARs slung over their shoulders, claiming they’re simply exercising their Second Amendment rights, but they are, fortunately, the minority. While it’s true those self-proclaimed open-carry activists are typically technically within their rights, it’s also true they’re being disrespectful. Lack of respect breeds a lack of trust, and here we come full circle.
It can be hard to explain to anti-gunners the stark difference between respectful gun owners and those who head out armed with video cameras and bad attitudes hoping to score the biggest number of YouTube hits. The minority has a tendency to be the loudest and to garner the most media attention, because the majority doesn’t want to draw attention to themselves. The minority stalks the aisles of the local stores with a rifle in their arms, frequently engaging any and all who approach them in a bitter verbal battle, while the majority remains silent, walking those same aisles, armed, with none the wiser. It’s past time the minority quit looking for ways to draw attention to themselves, all under the guise of furthering gun rights, and understands that the best way to promote gun rights is through responsible ownership and carry. That is not to say firearms should never be open carried but simply to say Target is no place for a rifle. Trust is broken each and every time someone purposefully thrusts their firearms into the face of the public, camera in hand, just itching for a confrontation. Who wants to trust people who behave so immaturely?
Here we come to the crux of the matter. Reality is most gun owners are responsible and carry their guns properly. They have more than earned the trust of the public. The problem is, the public doesn’t seem to understand that, they seem to focus, instead, on the poor behavior of the minority. Attention also goes to those who are not law-abiding gun owners, attempting to lump anyone who has ever touched a firearm into the same ball. Drama and big, bold moves draw publicity. Quiet, subtle carry draws no attention, which is precisely how it should be. The majority has earned trust; the minority chips away at it. As for the media, well, they’re all too happy to assist in the destruction of that trust.
There will always be politicians and actors voicing their negative opinions about guns. Firearms are a hot issue and always will be, but if it seems there’s nothing to be done when it comes to furthering gun rights, I’m here to tell you not to give up hope. There are countless ways to gain ground as legal gun owners from supporting the right laws – and the right politicians – to doing your part to carry your firearm in a responsible, respectful manner. It’s absolutely understandable to want to do whatever you can to make a point, but when it comes to guns the point cannot be made through immature, in-your-face behavior. Trust is an incredibly important factor, one hard to win and easy to break.
As long as there are Bill Clintons around telling the public gun owners cannot be trusted, there will always be a fight for what’s right. Finding the proper balance in that fight is key, one that might be tempting to push the boundaries of but that is so delicate it absolutely should not be tried. Do your part. Be a responsible gun owner. Be a responsible armed citizen. Don’t give the anti-gun crowd anything with which to fan the flames of their own dislike. After all, we may have the right to bear arms, but there’s no need to do so with a bad attitude. Simply carry on, and do it wisely. Trust is earned, and it’s time the gun community as a whole dealt with the minority and got our respect back. It’s time the naysayers were proven wrong, and we do have the power to get it done. We need to practice what we preach, and the sermon of the day is responsible carry.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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