Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Anti-gun people scare me

Posted on Jan. 20, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

Richard Leib

Guns!

How’s that for an attention-getting opening? All it takes is one word. Guns.

The debate of the day has switched from the nation’s pending fiscal ruin to gun control. Passions are aflame. I thought I’d take a shot (oops — bad metaphor) at offering some thoughts. I have no delusion that I will change any partisan’s mind on the subject, but maybe I can offer a couple of useful clarifications.

Changing one’s mind is not the best figure of speech, anyway. Changing one’s heart would be better. Where the heart leads, the mind will follow. Passions, beliefs, and feelings are the stars of this debate.

A recent discussion with my pal “Cowboy” was an example. He and I agree on most stuff and we even agree, in principle, on most gun stuff. But as we talked, Cowboy’s passion arose.

Words can be powerful, and labels often pack a punch. When I mentioned the “gun show loophole,” Cowboy said, “There is no gun show loophole. That’s a phrase gun-grabbers use because they want to shut down gun shows.” And I realize that he has a point.

Goods sold at gun shows by dealer exhibitors are processed just like they would be at a gun store. Paperwork is filled out. Background checks are facilitated. “Gun show loophole” is a misnomer.

The so-called loophole is that an individual can sell a gun to another individual residing in the same state the same as they can sell anything else. It would more properly be called a person-to-person exemption.

But the sight of all those guns being displayed at gun shows is horrible to someone who passionately opposes guns and so misinformation in the form of activist labeling has been created.

The term “assault weapon” is another leap of labeling logic. A butter knife is an assault weapon if it is so employed. Last week a rock was being sold on e-bay as “a caveman assault weapon.” The last time I looked, the bidding was up to $5,100. Someone made some money with a clever gimmick.

The rock idea was somebody’s marketing idea. And so was calling an AR-15 an assault weapon.

The army has a service rifle called an M-16. Some of the features of this weapon, like automatic firing capability, were deleted to make it legal for civilian ownership. Then it was called an assault weapon for macho marketing purposes. And it became a popular item for guys and gals who like that kind of stuff.

Is there a practical use for it? Probably not. But one could say the same thing about a Corvette. Or for that matter, about the quirky little car that I drive. But responsibly used, they’re fun.

Some people like the sound and the taut steering of a sports car. Some people like to go to a range and blast away, making noise, and putting holes in targets.

There are things that can be done to diminish violence, but they seem to be lost in the mania about guns.

The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., recently published a map showing which homes had legal guns and which ones didn’t in their community. Except for some editorial venting, what was their point?

Did the Journal want to show thieves where they could go to steal a gun? Or were they trying to show thieves where home invasion might be less hazardous because the homeowners didn’t have guns?

In an ironic twist, there is a new anti-gun video game by Gizmo01942 that enables a player to virtually blow the head off the president of the NRA. What can I say?

On Wednesday the president announced his ideas to calm our nation’s violence. Perhaps he might start by talking to the people who are playing Gizmo01942’s game. Anti-gun people are starting to scare me.

Former Elkhart furniture store owner Richard Leib has served on planning committees in several industries. An avid auto fan, he raced in the 1972 coast-to-coast Cannonball Run. He has written on a wide range of subjects.