The National Rifle Association and its allies insist to anyone who will listen that any efforts at reforming our gun laws are merely the next step to taking people’s guns away without cause, and are an attempt to smear gun owners. If you’re wondering how this line can possibly get anywhere, a prominent pro-gun blogger gave a very loud answer earlier this week. He claimed gun control advocates are making gun owners second-class citizens–and wants to counter this trend with a “Gun Pride Month.”
Tom Knighton of Bearing Arms, an affiliate of the Town Hall network of conservative blogs, is none too pleased with what he claims is “an ongoing effort to stigmatize gun ownership.” To his mind, if people see that “folks they know and respect are gun owners,” they’ll see that arguments from the likes of the Parkland kids, Everytown for Gun Safety and others “don’t hold water.”
Knighton claims that gun control advocates want to push gun owners into the same closet to which the LGBT community was relegated for years. Using what he claims is the original premise for Gay Pride Month–originally “Gay Pride Week”–he wanted to give gun owners a chance to say “we’re here and we won’t be silent.” His idea? Make July “Gun Pride Month.”
To Knighton’s mind, using July for such an occasion is appropriate, since it is the month in which we celebrate an independence won because “we shot people who thought we shouldn’t have it.” Soon afterward, with his encouragement, the hashtag “#GunPrideMonth” began popping up among the Second Amendment absolutist community.
This is a solution in search of a problem. Let’s say it all together as a group–all gun control activists want is to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and to take weapons of war off the streets. Even people who have been around guns all their lives know this.
For instance, take Larry Alan Burns, the judge who sent Jared Loughner to prison for nearly killing Gabby Giffords. After the Sandy Hook shooting, Burns penned a riveting op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which he called for the return of the assault weapons ban. Burns described himself as a line-drawing conservative and gun owner who believes there is no “social utility” for high-capacity clips. He argued that if we can’t draw “sensible lines” about guns, democracy itself could be in danger.
Lest you think this is an argument made by someone in an ivory tower, ordinary gun owners want common-sense reforms as well. I dated a woman who grew up right on the line between New York and Vermont. She grew up in a family of hunters, and once told me that the only people who need 30-round clips to go hunting are really bad shots.
Indeed, you can make the argument that if anyone is being played, it’s Knighton and his readers. Remember, folks, the NRA is the trade association for the gun industry, which is made up mostly of privately-held companies. So when Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent, and other NRA big shots move their lips, they are actually speaking for a cabal of faceless men who are not accountable to anyone. These faceless men are trying to scare people like Knighton and others into thinking we’re out to take their guns mainly because they’re only concerned about their checkbooks, not safety.
So if you see anyone calling for a “Gun Pride Month,” remember that they’re helping feed a false narrative.
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