Tom Nichols can’t think of good reasons that people would carry guns and take an interest in gun policy. That’s telling.
My friend and former colleague Tom Nichols has been going on one of his regularly scheduled Twitter anti-gun rants over the past few days. In his latest, he slammed the “spread of gun worship” among conservatives. That Nichols’s opinions on the subject, which resemble a progressive 17-year-old’s knowledge of American gun culture, get a lot of attention from anti-gun types tells you something about the anti-gun movement: that it, too, has very limited experience with guns and the people who own them.
Among Nichols’s beliefs is that, as he put it this week, conservatives now “measure freedom by how many of us walk around with guns.” He also believes that concealed carry culture is really just “conservative virtue-signaling” as a stand-in for real patriotism, that gun owners “measure [their] sense of worth” by whether or not they are carrying firearms, and that gun “worship” has become a “litmus test” for conservatives, to the detriment of conservatism itself.
It is safe to say that none of this is true. What Nichols advances is a grossly distorted view of American gun culture, one that suggests he either has spoken to zero gun owners about guns or didn’t listen to them when they did speak.
In fact, the people whom Tom is clumsily describing — those of us who carry guns, who take a keen interest in gun policy, and who believe that it is fine for responsible and well-trained gun owners to carry their firearms in public places — do not actually “worship” guns. Nor do we tie these interests and habits into our sense of self-worth and patriotism.
Here is the truth: Guns are many things, and one of the things they are is tools. Like any tool, guns have a good and meaningful application when used properly and correctly, e.g. when they are carried by trained, law-abiding citizens and used for proper defensive and life-saving measures. A good example of that is the recent shooting at the church in White Settlement, Texas, in which an armed parishioner shot and killed a murderous gunman before a rampage could really begin.
Tom calls that scenario a “lucky break.” But this is precisely the point. The vast majority of gun carriers will never have the need to draw their weapons. Virtually none of them (a few blustery dimwits aside) wants to draw his weapon. Tom’s claim that the Right has undergone a “pornification of gun ownership” does not comport with the reality of those gun owners who would be happy to live out their lives without getting in a firefight.
For these gun owners, carrying guns has nothing to do with some base desire to get in a shootout. They carry because they want to be able to protect themselves and other innocent people if an insane murderer decides to start shooting. It’s not rocket science.
Statistics are not on the side of Nichols’s argument. In the past twelve years concealed permits have increased by over 300 percent; homicides, meanwhile, have been dropping since the early 90s, with the murder rate 5.3 percent lower than it was in 2009, at the beginning of the concealed-carry boom. Nichols’s persistent prognostication notwithstanding, the rise of concealed carry has not actually led to more accidental gun deaths, either; such deaths are at historic lows.
There are plenty of other reasons besides self-defense that many Americans enjoy guns: They are fascinating machines, they are fun to shoot for sport, they are both a potent symbol and a practical example of the unique American brand of civic and political freedom. Yes, we like guns. Yes, many people carry firearms for self-defense. No, we do not “worship” guns. Nichols and his friends would do well to get off their sneering Twitter feeds and actually talk to gun enthusiasts at length, as we are not the idiotic slack-jawed trigger-happy cowboys he so desperately wants us to be.
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…. The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.”
– Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778
I forget which year of Obama's reign that he asked the CDC to research guns used in self defense. The resulting info difficult to track did not fit his agenda so it was never made a big deal of but USA Today did report it.
Somewhere between 800,000 and 2,500,000 times a year a gun was used in self defense. This included many times NEVER firing a shot.
__________________Making Good People Helpless . . . Will Not Make Bad People Harmless!___________________
The most common tactic employed by Modern American Liberals while debating any policy issue is to portray any opponent as ignorant, immature, mentally incompetent, or just plain stupid.
In the case of gun control policy there is simply no way for the left to win the debate using facts, so denigrating their opposition is the only way to affect the outcome.
Modern American Liberalism exists as a means for the self-perceived liberal to believe himself/herself superior, morally and intellectually, to the common man. The true danger arises when the MAL decides that because of his superiority he has a duty to control the lives of others (for their own good, of course). The final step comes when the MAL enters politics, where perpetual power can be obtained in exchange for empty promises of utopia.
Retired holster maker.
Retired police chief.
Formerly Sergeant, US Army Airborne Infantry, Pathfinders
|Muzzle flash |
Tom Nichols is also wrong that "conservatives now measure freedom by how many of us walk around with guns.” Or that concealed carry culture is really just “conservative virtue-signaling” as a stand-in for real patriotism, that gun owners “measure [their] sense of worth” by whether or not they are carrying firearms.
I can assure him that he is wrong about that. I consider myself a true Patriot, but (although I have a permit) I do not carry. I am saddled with the unfortunate mind-set that would not permit me to take a life, even though justified. That, however, does not dilute my fierce love of my country and its freedoms (including the right to own and carry firearms) and my efforts to maintain our freedoms. My choice not to carry may have unfortunate consequences someday (i hope not), but I am willing to accept the risks. At age 82, the risk is greater (old people are frequent targets for violence), but I don't have many more years to worry about it, either. And I fully support all those lawful souls who do exercise their rights to carry. (But I don't consider them as being "more Patriotic" than I am.)
FWIW, I have a LTC here in Texas because I can. It is my way of exercising the right. I also own and shoot firearms, principally for pleasure (it's fun!). And some of my guns would be suitable for personal protection, were I to some day choose to go armed.
Texan by choice, not accident of birth
What on earth... They'll make up anything. My religion encourages me to be armed -- it's right there in the Bible.
But gun worship. What a dork.
|His diet consists of black|
coffee, and sarcasm.
In "virtue 'signaling,'" don't you want other people to see it? How does concealed carry do that? (Rhetorical.)
If you engage people like this, with their minds already made up, in "conversation," they will just twist your words. Hell, even if you tell them that they will still find a way to twist it.
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