Guns: Responsibility and Projection

Recently, I came across this curious article from another blogger bemoaning how “easy” it is to legally carry a handgun: http://msmagazine.com/blog/2013/06/12/my-month-with-a-gun-week-one/comment-page-1/#comment-129268

Before even discussing her recent gun purchase, the author begins her sensationalist posting by sharing that she has spent the last two years boycotting Starbucks because the chain refused to cave when pressured by a misguided minority to ban open carrying in their stores. Immediately after this almost childish aside, she goes further to explain that she is a board member of the Brady Campaign and that she has written a book on “gun violence” which, based on reviews, seems filled with the sort of emotional vitriol that gun control advocates so often turn to in debate. Of course, I should have stopped reading at this point, but curiosity got the best of me and like a true masochist, I chose to finish the article.

As I read on, I came to understand why we gun owners have such difficulty discussing firearms and gun laws with these sorts of individuals as well as why we find ourselves baited into some truly ridiculous debates with these people. She starts out by highlighting how easy it was to get her license to carry a handgun. Unfortunately, she fails to share her state of residence, but based on recent license backlogs, it is highly unlikely that she simply walked in with cash and walked out with a license as she would have readers believe. Currently, many states are running several months behind on issuing handgun licenses.

Next, she criticizes the gun store employee for selling her the firearm even though she claims to have shown clear signs of having no prior experience with guns. While it is true that people who choose to purchase firearms should be well versed in their safe handling, it was her own responsibility to seek out this sort of training. She could just as easily kill or maim herself or someone else with a chainsaw purchased from Home Depot, but she isn’t complaining about how the hardware chain will sell such weapons of mass tree felling to inexperienced lumberjacks. Nor is she bemoaning the fact that the pool store that sold and installed her neighbors’ pool did so without ensuring that the entire family had taken swim lessons. No, instead Ms. Yewman refuses to accept responsibility for her safety and the wellbeing of those around her and blames the store employee instead.

At this point, the article gets even more outrageous. After wrongfully proclaiming that the Glock has no external safety (I am pretty sure the Glock’s Safe Action trigger is external to the gun), she goes further to describe the terror she felt upon discovering that the magazine had been inserted into the gun. Once again, the author is unwilling to accept the responsibility that comes with owning a firearm. She then describes how she was too overcome with fear to remove the magazine and that the first thoughts that ran through her mind were accidentally firing the gun and injuring her son or blowing up her car. Though film certainly has brought several new gun owners into the fold, it is sad to see how mislead Ms. Yewman has been by material she has seen in cinemas and on television. To set the record straight, even if she walked out and intentionally shot her gas tank, it is highly unlikely that an “earth-shaking explosion” would ensue.

Towards the end of the article, the author seems somewhat insulted that the police officer suggested she take a class and she says that he “thought she was an idiot”. In that regard he is correct. Anyone who fails to take the necessary steps to educate themselves on the safe usage of any potentially dangerous tool is not only a complete idiot, but also extremely reckless. Just because she did not have to take a class to exercise her constitutionally-protected right does not mean that she is not responsible for the potentially deadly consequences that may result from her negligence. This is why the overwhelming majority of legal carry licensees practice and train extensively with their firearms and are far more responsible individuals than the author.

As she closes her piece, Ms. Yewman cannot help herself but once again attack responsible gun owners who disagree with her views. Unsurprisingly, she acts as though she was the victim when she chose to protest and debate against legal gun owners that had gathered in support of Starbucks’ stance on open carry. What sort of craziness makes Ms. Yewman think she is right and anyone who disagrees with her is wrong? This is the same type of person who cries for a “debate on guns” but then refuses to listen to anyone but herself. But of course, conservatives are the only self-righteous people in this country, right? Why isn’t Ms. Yewman out protesting in front of her local Walmart because they too allow open carry?

We often hear about projecting fear onto objects or others as a defense mechanism. Based on the article, Ms. Yewman seems guilty of this very sort of projection. Understandably, she does not trust herself to responsibly handle a firearm. However, this fear becomes unhealthy when she assumes that others who choose to carry are equally unfit.

This article is but one small example of why the discussion surrounding gun rights can be so frustrating for sensible gun owners. Though gun owners sometimes fail to effectively explain their position, far too often we are met with emotional or unreasonable responses from people who, like Ms. Yewman, are willfully ignorant of not only gun laws and statistics, but also the basic functioning of a firearm.

 

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