We have our priorities. First, we have to keep guns away from children if we have guns in our home. Next, the adults with a gun in their home need to know how to handle firearms safely, and hopefully, effectively. What should come next?
Talking about politics and guns seems to slip off our priority list, and that carries a danger of its own. Carrying a firearm for your safety is a very rational choice … but there is a “but.” Unless you’re careful, you are also at risk of malicious prosecution for infringing one of our many gun laws. When is it time to talk about gun politics with new students and existing firearms owners?
This topic came to mind when politics leaked over into the gun discussion with a group of black friends. They wanted to keep our discussion of firearms separate from a larger discussion of partisan politics. I respect their point of view. Unfortunately, we can’t ignore politics because there are some very partisan politicians who want us disarmed. Let’s talk about guns and gun politics…and leave the rest of politics for a later date.
Our odds of being the victim of a violent crime are between one-in-two and one-in-three during our lifetime. That means our family has better than even odds of being victimized. The risk level isn’t the same for everyone. A single mom living in the poor part of a deep blue city and working nights faces a much higher risk than average. As a firearms instructor, or as a friend, we need to talk about these differences.
We also have 23 thousand firearms regulations. That means it is impossible for us to know and follow all of them. Twenty-three thousand regulations…and the anti-rights politicians say that gun owners need vastly more regulations in order to “keep all of us safe.” The politicians are seldom questioned by the news media as to how these regulations work.
In fact, this existing ocean of anti-gun regulations have no measurable effect on crime. Criminals violate our gun laws with near impunity. In contrast, gun owners have been sentenced for the possession of a single prohibited bullet. It gets crazier than that, and we need to talk about it.
You can be sentenced to life in prison for printing a plastic gun part at home. That same gun part was completely legal a few weeks ago. No politician would ever claim that criminals will obey laws like this and register these recently regulated gun parts. We already know that prohibition doesn’t stop criminals. Criminals will continue to ignore these new gun regulations just like they ignored the old laws against felons having a gun, against assault and against robbery. Those political facts should matter to every legal gun owner. We need to tell them.
Some bigoted politicians hate guns and hate the law-abiding citizens who own them. I have to tell my students about this. It is my professional duty as a firearms instructor. It is my moral duty as an advocate for civil rights. The easy road is to hide from politics and pretend it will go away. It won’t.