On Keeping On Keeping On
"The best way to address the firepower concern is therefore not to try to outlaw or license many millions of older and perfectly legitimate firearms (which would be a licensing effort of staggering proportions) but to prohibit the possession of high capacity magazines. By a simple, complete, and unequivocal ban on large capacity magazines, all the difficulty of defining "assault rifles" and "semi-automatic rifles" is eliminated. The large capacity magazine itself, separate or attached to the firearm, becomes the prohibited item. A single amendment to Federal firearms laws could prohibit their possession or sale and would effectively implement these objectives."No doubt about it, the words which Bill Ruger penned in a letter to Congress in 1989 were the basis of the 1994 Assault Weapon's Ban. Fortunately, the actual possession or sale of magazines with a capacity greater than ten was not legislated away. In 1994, the manufacture of such magazines was prohibited in the United States. The result was ten long years of high magazine prices, coddling magazines, and gun marketing based on law making.
During an interview with Tom Brokaw, Bill Ruger elaborated. "No honest man needs more than 10 rounds in any gun," he said. "I never meant for simple civilians to have my 20 and 30 round magazines." The anger of gun owners was unleashed. In a time before the internet, in a move that would make Natalie Maines shiver, many gun owners boycotted Sturm Ruger, refusing to buy any gun made by the corporation. Some would spit on the ground and curse when Bill Ruger's name was mentioned. Even today, as the company moves past Bill Ruger's legacy, many gun owners still hold a grudge for what they deem a traitorous stand against them. Others look at Ruger's stand and see it as a sound business decision. In the political climate of 1994, the production of firearms for civilian purchase was in jeopardy. Some believe Ruger deflected the assault, not only allowing his company to continue to flourish, but ultimately to allow gun owners to continue to purchase new firearms that could accept grandfathered magazines.
Nobody can truly know what is in a man's heart except the man himself, but I knew what was in Bill Ruger's rimfire pistols. When many were refusing to buy, indeed, selling their personal Ruger firearms at a loss (as though crotchety old Uncle Bill cared) I continued to shoot Ruger firearms. The reason was simple. They were affordable, reliable, durable, and accurate. I did not have to agree with the owner of the company to continue to shoot the gun he designed. Hell, I don't agree with Mikhail Kalashnikov's politics either. Neither do a lot of people who own and shoot Kalashnikovs.
In 2001, Smith & Wesson agreed to safety standards and design changes proposed by the Clinton administration. Smith & Wesson, then owned by the British firm Tomkins PLC, also agreed to limits on the sale and distribution of their guns. Gun owners responded by selling off their S&W firearms, saturating a market, and driving down prices. As a result, Smith & Wesson was sold at a loss to Saf-T-Hammer Corporation. Afterwards, Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation publicly denounced the former agreement with the Clinton administration, and the company found itself back in the good graces of gun owners. Although the revolver line of Smith & Wesson would never again be the same, the company survived and went on to introduce their own versions of the 1911 and AR15.
During that time I discovered Smith & Wesson revolvers. Some might sneer, but I am quick to point out that owners can not sell their firearms to saturate a market and eventually cause the sale of a corporation if there is nobody to purchase those firearms. As a purchaser of used Smith & Wesson revolvers, I was facilitating the trade of the guns on the used market, and the Smith & Wesson owned by Tomkins PLC did not profit. Of course during that time, there were those who felt if you owned a Smith & Wesson handgun, you were at best ignorant, at worst in collusion with the enemy. I noticed that while gun owners wanted to show their anger at Smith & Wesson, they did not melt their revolvers down in a smelter of glowing orange gun metal and piss on the stinking hot glob to send acrid steam into their nostrils. They sold the revolvers for what they could get for them.
Today, many gun owners are angry. We have a Socialist gun grabber, actually two of them, in the White House. The author of the 1994 AWB is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Congress is full to the brim with politicians who face the same challenges that were faced in the beginning of the Clinton administration. They will likely fail, as did Bill Clinton, in establishing universal health care, peace in the middle east, respect for the United States abroad, and putting a unicorn that farts rainbows in every home. Obama ain't paying nobody's mortgage, and his cronies are going to start looking for legislation to show they did something, anything.
A year ago, there was an unofficial online initiative among gun owners to introduce new people to shooting. After the last presidential election, some gun owners have found that the people they took to the range voted for Hope and Change rather than Stability and Tranquility. Now they are angry, refusing to take any
Taking liberals to the range and discovering they voted for Obama is like taking a crackhead to rehab and finding out they scored another rock on the way out. It hurts. You begin to wonder what is the point of participating in a futile activity. Should that stop us from trying to advance and gain support for our beliefs? Obama was and is for socialized health care as well. Much more so than gun control. Socialized medicine will radically change my life, probably more than a new assault weapons ban. Socialized medicine will probably drive me into another career outside of nursing. I will never be a government employee again. Should I let patients suffer ignored because of a stupid decision they made in the voting booth? A decision they had a right to make? I don't think so.
This is still the United States, and people have the right to make choices. Whether I believe those choices are intelligent, ignorant, or just woefully misinformed does not matter. I have a right to make my choices, and other people have a right to chose as well. This is the United States. It is not illegal to vote for a worthless inexperienced Socialist. It is a mistake, but it is not illegal. I see no reason why I should not take an Obama supporter to the range enjoy shooting with them. It's illegal to smoke crack, manufacture machineguns, market child pornography, and have consensual sexual relations with a girl under the age of eighteen. I do not willingly and knowingly go shooting with people engaged in those activities. We are talking about a choice in a presidential election. Exercising one's right to vote, no matter how ignorantly, will not be a no-go when it comes to me introducing novices to shooting.
One thing is certain. Gun owners will eventually have their second amendment rights whittled away to a pile of shavings and a splinter if we do not increase our numbers. With concealed carry legislation a growing force in America, and the second amendment being recognized as a fundamental right to self preservation, the cause for gun owners has become universal. It's not about hunting anymore. The second amendment is something that every person but the most profoundly puerile pacifist can appreciate. The key is to get people shooting. Remove the fear of guns. Remove the fear of acting in self defense. Help people understand that self defense is not just a right, it is an imperative. When one's life is threatened, self defense becomes life. As such, political threats to the right to effectively defend oneself are assaults not just on one's way of life, but on one's life itself.
It is readily apparent that more people voted for Obama than Sarah Palin. If we only take Palinites to the range, we will fail. The consequences of failure to preserve the right to effective self defense for ourselves is simply too great. We must increase our numbers, our awareness, and as a result, our political clout in the voting booth. To do that, we must bring Obama supporters into the fold. Whether they remain Obama supporters is inconsequential if they vote as gun owners. They will not vote as gun owners unless they shoot, and are educated as gun owners. The first step to getting a gun grabbing Obama supporter to vote as a gun owner is a trip to the range. I'm still willing to help them make that first step.
I will not allow what I do NOT do to define who I am. What I do not do is a reflection of who I am, not a definition. Who I am is defined by what I do, the action I take. I am a nurse with a gun. I will continue to teach anyone to shoot, regardless of race, gender, religious or political persuasion. I will teach them to shoot so that they may be better equipped to save their own life. What they chose to do with their life and the knowledge and skills I have given to them is their responsibility. Hopefully, along the way I will have planted the seeds in enough people that I will have done my part to preserve all of our rights to self determination.