|One perspective on the often shrill|
arguing over gun control laws.
Lots of Vermonters hunt, and a fair number of people from around here like to go to gun ranges, target practice and have a grand old time.
Like most gun owners nationwide, gun enthusiasts in Vermont tend to be nice, normal sane people. Which of course is a good thing when you're talking about firearms.
And good for the state, seeing how hunting brings visitors and revenue to Vermont.
These gun owners naturally want to maintain and preserve the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
It's too bad the radical fringe of gun rights activism is screwing that up. The most ardent gun control advocate couldn't do a more effective job of encouraging gun control laws than the idiots on the extreme end of the pro-gun movement who think the mildest restrictions on gun use in sales is tantamount to treason.
Or something like that.
Case in point is this yahoo from Michigan who decided to exercise his right to openly carry a gun by walking around outside a high school with a long gun and holstered pistol, says the Detroit News.
OK, technically this guy indeed had the right to carry his guns, and when police investigated, they didn't arrest, cite or warn him, because he committed no crime.
But is scaring the bejeesus out of a high school full of teachers and students and forcing a lockdown really the right way to promote the Second Amendment?
People are understandably nervous about school shootings, after all. No offense, but sometimes it's hard to distinguish between a nut who really, really likes the Second Amendment and a nut who wants to shoot up a school.
The Detroit News quoted Officer Carey Spangler saying police got "about a million 911 calls" about this guy.
Yeah, no kidding.
Even the pro-gun, pro-open carry web site bearingarms.com is fed up with the gun idiot at the school.
"Law enforcement officers were diverted, and school was disrupted, because this 'gentleman' insisted on open carrying past a high school, seemingly with the express intent of getting a rise out of authorities and making a public spectacle out of himself.
Most gun owners support the theory of open carry, and most have the basic sense to understand that it should not be used in such a manner that it can be taken as a threat against the public, or against private individuals.
Unfortunately, individuals have abused open carry in various states to the point that restrictions have been placed upon open carry. Sometimes, this sort of trolling has led to open carry being outlawed entirely, with California being the prime example."
That's just it. The seriously overcompensating yahoos out there who get belligerent with their open carry showboating are probably more responsible for gun control laws than any outfit like States United to Prevent Gun Violence.
The wackos like the guy in Michigan feel powerless because they are. They have nothing going for them.
So, parading around a school with a gun gives them the illusion of power. "See, I can shut down a school and the cops can't arrest me. Aren't I a big man?"
Like it or not, you've got to both employ good PR, and demonstrate at least a little common sense to persuade people to agree with your cause.
I have to say gun control activists are pretty good at this.
To wit: That group I mentioned, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, might be outgunned, to use the pun, by the Second Amendment wackos. But States United really know how to make their case Unlike the NRA whose leadership can get pretty extremist, States United is good at getting their message across
Like this PSA, in which they opened a gun store in New York City. The guy behind the counter then explains the sordid history behind the type of gun he's showing the would-be buyers.
The National Rifle Association responded, not by countering with information that it wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, or the dangerously mentally ill, went off on what a fraud the store was, how it probably violated the law (it didn't) and how the anti-gun New York City and State government probably had a hand in creating the PSA.
Of course, the Second Amendment and guns has become one of those political dog whistles that make it impossible to have a sane conversation about the subject.
The general public would welcome such a conversation on the right way to manage gun violence without gutting the Second Amendment.
There are certain restrictions on First Amendment rights to free speech, such as the proverbial not yelling fire in a crowded theater or threatening to kill public officials.
So, there are probably ways to tamp down gun violence without interfering with all those law abiding hunters and shooting range enthusiasts in Vermont and everywhere else in the nation.
Here in Vermont, it looks like the legislature is headed toward passage of a law that would prohibit people convicted of some violent crimes from possessing a gun.
There's already a federal law to that effect, but the feds don't have the resources to fully enforce it so the logic is let the state help.
Seems reasonable to me, but gun rights advocates were apopletic at this idea. Especially since it also tighten restrictions on gun possession by people who are deemed "in need of treatment," code for dangerously mentally ill.
Gun Owners of Vermont, of course, are among those vehemently opposed to the proposal.
But their organization's motto is telling: "Dedicated to a no-compromise position against gun control."
However, there are compromises in everything out there. If you don't give just a little tiny bit, chances are you won't get anything you want.
You'll end up getting as much respect as that yahoo with the gun outside the Detroit school. People just roll their eyes and move on.