Opinion piece from The Wall Street Journal. Author is in New Jersey.
On Monday it became official: The police issued me a gun permit. Never did I imagine I’d be here. Not because I was anti-gun. My dad was a career FBI agent, so my siblings and I grew up with guns.
At the same time, my father was never particularly interested in guns. To no avail, we would beg him to go to shoots to show off his skills. More frequently he would remind us that many who keep guns in the house are more likely to shoot a friend or family member than a would-be robber or rapist. His proudest boast about his own career was that not once did he have to shoot anybody.
This may help explain why we all grew up supporting the Second Amendment in principle while not much interested in the practice. What changed? Certainly the rioters played a key part. But far more shocking than the rioters themselves has been the associated spectacle of police and political authorities across America standing down in the face of night after night of criminal behavior directed at the lives and livelihoods of innocent, law-abiding citizens.
Even in suburbia, many are no longer confident our authorities would or could keep us safe. In a small suburb such as mine, what would happen if even 100 or 200 people bent on violence were to arrive at once? Could our small police force really handle it? Or would we be left to fend for ourselves like Mark and Pat McCloskey in St. Louis, who defended their home and were then treated as if they were criminals?
A few years back, I asked a former colleague whom I knew to be pro-Second Amendment philosophically if he owned a gun. He answered no, and then asked if I had one. I said I wouldn’t know what to write down as my reason for wanting one.
He told me, “Write down, ‘Because I don’t trust the government.’ ” That might have worked for the Founding Fathers. But in today’s New Jersey—a state ranked by the Giffords Law Center’s annual Gun Law Scorecard as the nation’s most restrictive after California— the response might be 40 squad cars on the front lawn by morning. I say this only half in jest: Do other Americans buying guns for the first time find it as grating as I do to learn that we need government permission to exercise a constitutional right?
Equally illuminating has been learning about guns and those who own them. Over four decades in the news business, I have often written about the National Rifle Association, usually about some proposed new gun law. Most recently the NRA has been in the headlines over a lawsuit filed by New York’s attorney general in which she accuses top leaders of decades-long corruption and misspending.
But our family’s decision to buy a gun has introduced us to the side of the NRA more Americans see: the education side. The NRA has courses, online and in person, for almost everything. The NRA instructor my wife and I engaged, Billy De Almedia, was firm, professional and patient.
It’s not just the instruction that impresses. It’s the sheer Americanness of a private organization established to support a constitutional right in all its manifestations, from defending the Second Amendment legally and philosophically to instilling in newbies such as myself the respect for guns necessary to keep and use them safely. Not to mention a taste of the satisfaction that comes from mastering a new discipline.
Surely if the government were to assume the functions the NRA provides, the experience would be akin to going to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. In America, by contrast, the ethos emphasizes private initiative and responsibility. In our new interactions with gun owners, gun instructors and owners of gun ranges, my wife and I have found them unfailingly eager to help and to answer even the dumbest questions.
This year a record five million law-abiding Americans, like us, have become new gun owners. Many don’t fit the stereotype: African-Americans account for the largest percentage jump in gun ownership, while women are 40% of first-time buyers. These new buyers join an even larger demographic: the 43% of American households that already have a gun.
The record gun sales for 2020 may have implications for swing states in November as well. In Pennsylvania alone, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reckons there are 276,648 first-time gun owners this year. To put this in perspective, in 2016 Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,292 votes.
Now, I appreciate how unlikely it is that I will ever reach for a gun to defend my home or myself. But after watching the mayhem that’s taken over so many city streets I wonder, probably with plenty of my fellow first-time gun buyers, what alternative I’d have if ever I had to make that terrible 911 call— and it went unanswered?
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
So glad to not live in a state where apparently that is required.
What would New Jersey do if I entered some of my recent reasons for wanting one(s)....
"The design and engineering are outstanding"
"Great reviews on SIGforum"
"I already have ZZ,000 rounds in that caliber"
"I can get 13 rounds of 9mm in my pocket now"
"There's a non-zero risk of a drooling idiot replacing POTUS 45 and trashing 2A"
"Morons in many city/state/county governments are abandoning their responsibilities of protecting the peace, and I may someday have to travel through their benighted jurisdictions"
Author Bill McGurn is often a guest on the Wall Street Journal Editorial Report, shown on Fox at 2PM (Central Time) Sat and again at 2PM Sunday.
|Fighting the good fight|
“And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”
Welcome to the conservative side, friend.
Based on his comments, including recognition that gun ownership is a constitutional right, I believe he was already as conservative as we could hope for in a journalist at a major newspaper. When someone is writing an opinion piece like that, we should be grateful that he points out that we shouldn’t have to put up with governmental interference in the process of owning guns. We accept that, he obviously accepts that, but most of his readers have probably never even considered the fact. It’s therefore important that it be stated clearly in an article like that.
We may wonder why he never felt the need to own a gun before now, but that’s more common in this country than not. Some people would probably wonder why I’ve never felt the need to own a horse, swimming pool, or even a barbecue grill. (I actually owned grills at one time, but realized they were more trouble than the satisfaction I got from using them.)
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
On one hand, hurrah for another obvious liberal elite, or what passes for conservative deep in liberal territory, seeing the light.
On the other hand, elitist "guns are for law enforcement and the political classes bodyguards" douchebags were, and are, a big part of the problem.
I quit school in elementary because of recess.......too many games
You have to give a reason for wanting a gun permit in New Jersey? WTH!!!!
A permit should be unconstitutional, and having to give a reason to get one should be even more so. I realize I'm preaching to the choir on this.
I remember some years ago I was in the local Cabelas and a couple of young guys from New Jersey were in there. They were stunned that used long guns were on racks that people could walk up and handle. That ammo was on shelves and could just be put in a cart by the case. That you could buy any gun and ammo for it and walk out the door in 10 minutes. It was like they had lived in a prison their whole life. I don't know what the laws in NJ were then, but apparently you couldn't do any of that.
The real issue though was they didn't really have a problem with the way things were done in NJ and thought the laws in my state were "too lenient and reckless." We basically should do things their way. They were just so much smarter and better than the rest of us rubes, was the attitude. I and others nearby basically told them to shove it, which kind of rocked them back on their heels. They weren't expecting push back even though they were on foreign turf. They then proceeded to meekly go away thankfully.
"These things you say we will have, we already have."
"That's true. I ain't promising you nothing extra."
Bill McGurn is far from being a liberal, he was one GWB's speech writers and not a never-Trumper; if anything, he's an urban conservative. Clearly, he's had an epiphany over the past 6-months regarding gun ownership and personal defense. People like him, who are in the media, will be help to articulate and push back against the tide of anti-gun sentiment amongst the voices in commercial news media, particularly as it relates to all the riots and looting happening in various communities.
|Shit don't |
I moved from NJ to CO in 1995 when I was 21. I won't go into the details, but it's a huge PITA to get a pistol in NJ as you need a both a pistol permit from your local municipality, plus a FOID card. Not knowing how CO handled things I requested paperwork from the Larimer County Sheriff's office. They had no idea what I was asking for and told me, "Son, this is the wild west. The only thing you need to buy a gun is a drivers license."
It's a little more involved now in CO, but you still don't need to justify yourself when buying a gun.
That's very nicely written. He takes many complex issues and distills them to their essence with a minimal word count.
|E tan e epi tas|
Mine too, frankly. I would be tickled pink to live a long life without ever having to use a weapon in anger.
"Guns are tools. The only weapon ever created was man."
Unfortunately sir, you never were. It's an illusion liberals and others like to promote...that the police will keep you safe. No, the police will arrive afterwards and take the report and investigate what happened. Usually, it's only after something bad happens that people wake up to the reality that their only real protection is...them. The continuing riots and unrest has awakened many to this reality, hence the huge surge in gun and ammo purchases. The more people that are awakened through the current BS the better for all of us.
Guns are awesome because they shoot solid lead freedom. Every man should have several guns. And several dogs, because a man with a cat is a woman. Kurt Schlichter
|You don’t fix faith, |
River. It fixes you.
Absolutely! Thank God it's not that way everywhere.
"If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.." - Thomas Sowell
|Just because you can, |
doesn't mean you should
I've heard people that live in my part of the world that were Democrat leaning, express similar feelings.
While I don't understand all of their reasoning, I look at as progress. Hopefully enough others think the same way to keep the Democrats out of power.
Another point from the article; many Americans see the NRA as the face of gun ownership. Right or wrong, we need that organization turned around ASAP and they have historically done a lot to promote gun ownership and gun rights. They have been a large part of electing candidates that have improved the gun rights situation since the 70's. Hopefully the present management hasn't tarnished their name to the degree that we have to start over instead of just cleaning house.
We can nitpick some of the articles points but I see it as some progress in the right direction.
It was good to read this in the WSJ this morning. If it gets just a few more NJ/NY's purchasing a firearm while wondering 'is it now up to me..?' that's a good thing. Too many folks depend on the government to protect them. Even late in life, they now seem to be having an epiphany on self protection, firearms and their 2A rights.
I think they publish a gun story or editorial everytime there's something going on where people feel they need protection. At least this one is positive.
|I have a very particular |
set of skills
^^And for every 'new owner' out there, especially if they were willing to jump through all the BS hoops in some place like NJ, there's probably 50 more that are considering it.
Good chance this whole instigation strategy the left is trying to sell is not going to work out the way they thought it would.
We'll know in 49 days.
A real life Sisyphus...
"It's not the critic who counts..." TR
Exodus 23.2: Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong...
Despite some people's claims to the contrary, 5 lbs. is actually different than 12 lbs.
It's never simple/easy.
Home invasions and drive-way attacks are scenarios in present-day USA that are being played out in many parts of the nation.
It divides people into two distinct groups, and I have to ask which group he imagined he was in to cause such an epiphany.
Group 1/Scenario 1 - He is standing by his kitchen door fixing a salad when somebody bursts in his front door, and at the same time, another comes through the back. He is armed with a pair of salad tongs.
He is dead.
Group 2/Scenario 2 - He is standing by his kitchen door fixing a salad when somebody bursts through his front door, and at the same time, another comes through the back. He has a nice Glock something on his belt. Having rapidly reached the conclusion that this is not a visit by itinerant religious pursuaders of some kind, he puts a few shots in backdoor guy to drop him to the floor and then does the same with front-door guy until HE drops, too. Meanwhile, he just might have taken a shot himself, maybe not.
They are most likely both dead, but he is not.
He has made the choice to be in Group 2, a situation that can only be applauded, no matter what it took to get him to reach it.
Someone mentioned a lack of confidence in police depts. Imagine depending on what liberal bastion you live in having little or no PD. Liberal logic at it's finest.
Please don't interpret this as me defending NJ - the gun laws here suck. But they haven't gotten so bad that you have to give a reason for wanting to purchase a handgun.
I thought the article was excellent and might be particularly persuasive for "fence-sitters".
I picked up my latest batch of permits from my local PD last night (in this very "blue" township) and the detective pointed out to me that my permits were the 406th issued this year. In the entire year of 2019 they only issued 196. There is hope.
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