Why I don't trust anti-gun people.

I know it's a lot of reading. If you're not concerned about pro or anti gun laws, don't read it. If you are then it is pertinent...

I know it's a lot of reading. If you're not concerned about pro or anti gun laws, don't read it. If you are then it is pertinent and well worth the read.

Along with bombs and bombers, guns seem to be all the media wants to
talk about these days.
Death is sexy to our miscreant media, especially
when people are killed on purpose. And when that happens, it’s all the
newspapers and news stations will print and broadcast, in turn making
these events appear worse than they are in reality.

To understand this, one need only look at the difference in coverage
between the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, which killed at least 14
confirmed people and injured 200 more at the time of writing this,
versus the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, which only killed
three and injured a hundred others. Texas was on TV for a day, tops,
while we’re still hearing about Boston and will for many weeks to come.

Where the media really didn’t care too much about the Texas incident,
once a kid was killed at a race, the Boston bombing is now a foil for
everything from gun control to immigration in the wake of Sandy Hook,
with both sides of the political spectrum using it against the other.
What about Texas, you ask? Nothing but crickets chirping from the
mainstream media at the moment. Recent studies have shown that people
who consume large amounts of mass media often feel more insecure, are
less informed, or can’t distinguish between news and what passes as
news, what with all the opinion you’ll find in news today.

But when it comes to something as deadly serious as guns and crime,
Americans can’t afford the media hyperbole, misinformation and

We have a lot of liberal columnists working for the Daily. As a
conservative, I’m fine with that; they’re the ones who apply for the
job, and conservatives usually don’t. Free market, baby, deal with it.
But many of our liberal columnists are my friends, with whom I have
spent time outside of work, too. And they, along with everyone else it
seems, have an opinion about guns, as you can see by glancing through
the last few weeks of the Daily’s Opinion section.

It’s been an eye-opening experience for me. As assistant opinion editor
and friend, my columnists are important to me both professionally and
personally. It’s all the more clear to me now after doing this job that
people often opine a whole lot about stuff they don’t have any personal
experience with or expertise on. Like guns.

Every time a gun issue comes up in conversation around Daily people or
during a Daily editorial board meeting, opinion editor Michael Belding
almost always tells me, “you should write a column about that!” I
hesitate in doing so and have so far resisted the urge mostly; I wrote
three gun-related columns back in 2011 and early 2012, and that was
enough to brand me the “gun guy” by some folks who use such terms as

The desire of others for me to write gun columns is reasonable, though,
and I understand it. I’m as much of a “gun expert” as you’re likely to
find around here, so having me write about guns in the paper is
perfectly rational. I won’t bore you with my “gun resume,” but suffice
it to say that prior to coming to Iowa State in 2011, I made a living
with firearms in one way or another for several years of my life, and
have a few pieces of paper laying around that say I know a bit about
them, too.

Today, however, I’m going to break my silence on the gun issue and speak
out once more — and for the last time. This is my final column for the
Iowa State Daily.

No experience necessary

In the gun debate, I’ve discovered that one cannot be expert enough
about guns. Indeed, when it comes to the gun issue, opinion rules. There
doesn’t seem to be any opportunity for any genuine, honest debate on
guns, and even liberals would agree with that. I’ve often wondered about
this over the years. Is it because my side of the debate is actually
loony? I don’t think so; at least, I think I’m pretty normal. Sure,
we’ve got some oddballs we all wish would go away, just like any group

But all the pro-gun people I know are normal people too — people so
normal that nobody knows they’re gun people until they’re told. In fact,
there are so many gun owners that if we are all crazy like some
suggest, the daily crime rate in America would look more like our crime
rate for the entire decade combined, and CNN would actually have
something to report on other than the latest gossip.

That is to say, there’s a hundred million of us, owning a few hundred
million guns combined, and we contribute to society peacefully every
day. Many of us even literally protect society for a living, or used to.

I’ve come to realize after the Sandy Hook shooting that the reason we
can’t have a rational gun debate is because the anti-gun side
pre-supposes that their pro-gun opponents must first accept that guns
are bad in order to have a discussion about guns in the first place.
Before we even start the conversation, we’re the bad guys and we have to
admit it. Without accepting that guns are bad and supplicating
themselves to the anti-gunner, the pro-gunner can’t get a word in
edgewise, and is quickly reduced to being called a murderer, or a low,
immoral and horrible human being.

You might think that’s hyperbole too, but I’ve experienced it personally
from people I considered friends until recently. And every day I see it
on TV or in the newspapers, from Piers Morgan to the Des Moines
Register’s own Donald Kaul, who among others have actually said people
like me are stupid, crazy or should be killed ourselves. YouTube is full
of examples, and any Google search will result in example after example
of gun-owning Americans being lampooned, ridiculed and demonized by the
media and citizens somewhere.

Hell, it’s even gotten so bad that a little kid was expelled from school
recently for biting a Pop Tart into the vague shape of a handgun during
lunch break (it looked more like Idaho to me).

Liberals always make the common plea, “We need to get some experts to
solve this problem!” for any public policy issue that comes along, which
is a good thing. But when it comes to the gun issue, gun expertise is
completely irrelevant to the anti-gunner — people who probably have
never fired a gun or even touched one in real life, and whose only
experience with guns is what they’ve seen in movies or read about in
bastions of (un)balanced, hyper-liberal journalism, like Mother Jones.
That a pro-gun person might actually know a lot about their hobby or
profession doesn’t stand up against the histrionic cries of the

How can we “gun people” honestly be expected to come to the table with
anti-gunners when anti-gunners are willfully stupid about guns, and
openly hate, despise and ridicule those of us who own them? There must
first be respect and trust — even just a little — before there can be
even the beginnings of legitimate discussion of the issue.

Death by a thousand cuts

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gunners always talk
about 90 percent of Americans supporting this gun control measure, or 65
percent supporting that one, as if a majority opinion is what truly
matters in America. We don’t trust anti-gun people because you think
America is a democracy, when it’s actually a constitutional federal
republic. In the American system, the rights of a single individual are
what matters and are what our system is designed to protect. The
emotional mob does not rule in America.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they keep saying they
“respect the Second Amendment” and go on about how they respect the
hunting traditions of America. We don’t trust you because you have to be
a complete idiot to think the Second Amendment is about hunting. I wish
people weren’t so stupid that I have to say this: The Second Amendment
is about checking government tyranny. Period. End of story. The founders
probably couldn’t have cared less about hunting since, you know, they
just got done with that little tiff with England called the
Revolutionary War right before they wrote that “little book” called the

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they lie to us. President
Obama directly says he won’t tamper with guns or the Second Amendment,
then turns around and pushes Congress to do just that. We don’t trust
anti-gunners because they appoint one of the most lying and rabidly (and
moronically) anti-gun people in America, Vice President Biden, to head
up a “task force” to “solve” the so-called “gun problem,” who in turn
talks with anti-gun special interest groups instead of us to complete
his task.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they tell us they don’t
want to ban guns, only enact what they call “common sense gun laws.” But
like a magician using misdirection, they tell everyone else they want
to ban every gun everywhere. While some are busy trying to placate us
with lies, another anti-gunner somewhere submits a gun ban proposal —
proposals that often would automatically make us felons for possession.
Felons, for no good reason. And you anti-gunners can roll up your
grandfather clauses and stuff them where the sun don’t shine. If it
ain’t good enough for our grandchildren in 60 years, it ain’t good
enough for us right now.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they make horrifying
predictions about how there will be blood in the streets, gunfights on
every street corner and America will become the Wild West again if
citizens are allowed to carry concealed firearms. We don’t trust
anti-gun people because we know that despite the millions of Americans
who have carry permits, those who carry guns commit crimes at a much
lower rate than people who don’t. We know because we know ourselves and
we’re not criminals. We know because concealed carry is now legal nearly
everywhere, and guess what? Violent crime continues to go down. What a

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they say gun control is
about crime control. Anti-gunners claim that ending crime and “saving
children” is why they want to ban so-called “assault weapons.” Yet our
very own government says that assault weapons are used in less than two
percent of all gun crimes and Department of Justice studies say the last
assault weapons ban had little or no effect on crime. Other studies
suggest gun control may even make crime worse (one need only look to
high crime rates in places where there’s a lot of gun control to see the
possible connection).

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because when it comes to their
“We need gun control to save the children” argument, many of us can’t
understand how an anti-gun liberal can simultaneously be in favor of
abortion. Because you know, a ban on abortion would save a child every
single time. I’m personally not rabidly against abortion, but the
discongruence makes less sense still when the reason abortions are legal
is to protect a woman’s individual rights. That’s great, but does the
individual rights argument sound familiar? Anti-gunners think that for
some bizarre reason, the founding fathers happened to stick a collective
right smack dab at the top of a list of individual rights, though.
Yeah, because that makes sense.

Truth, treason and the empire of lies

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they are purposely
misleading to rile the emotions of the ignorant. We don’t trust
anti-gunners because they say more than 30,000 people are killed each
year by guns — a fact that is technically true, but the key piece of
information withheld is that only a minor fraction of that number is
murder; the majority is suicides and accidents. We don’t trust
anti-gunners because we know accidents and suicides don’t count in the
crime rate, but they’re held against us as if they do.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because suicide is the only
human-inflicted leading cause of death in America, and that violent
crime has been on the decline for decades. We also know that 10 people
die daily in drownings, 87 people die daily by poisoning, more than
20,000 adults die from falls each year, someone dies in a fire every 169
minutes, nearly 31,000 people are killed in car accidents annually and
almost 2,000 are stabbed to death. People even kill each other with
hammers. Yet fewer than 14,000 people are killed by guns of any kind
each year.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because not only is the violent
crime rate approaching historic lows, but mass shootings are on the
decline too. We don’t trust anti-gun people because they fail to
recognize that mass shootings happen where guns are already banned —
ridiculous “gun-free zones” which attract homicidal maniacs to
perpetrate their mass shootings.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because school shootings have
been happening forever, but despite them being on the decline, the media
inflates the issue until the perception is that they’re a bigger
problem than they really are. We don’t trust anti-gunners because
they’re busy riling up the emotions of the ignorant, who in turn direct
their ire upon us, demonizing us because we object to the overreaction
and focus on the wrong things, like the mentally ill people committing
the crimes.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they look down on us for
defending the Second Amendment as vigorously as they defend the First
Amendment — a fight we too would stand side-by-side with them on
otherwise. We don’t trust anti-gunners because someone defending the
First Amendment is considered a hero, but a someone defending the Second
Amendment is figured down with murderers and other lowlifes. Where the
First Amendment has its very own day and week, both near-holy national
celebrations beyond reproach, anti-gunners would use the First Amendment
to ridicule any equivalent event for the Second Amendment, like they
did for a recent local attempt at the University of Iowa.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gun people put us
down with dismissals like “just another dumb redneck with a gun.” We are
told all over the Internet that we deserve to be in prison for being
awful, heartless people; baby-killers and supporters of domestic
terrorism, even. We don’t trust anti-gun people because even our own
president says people like me are “bitter” and “cling to our guns and
religion.” One need only go to any online comments section of any recent
gun article in any of the major newspapers to see all this for

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they seek to punish us
for crimes we didn’t commit. We don’t trust anti-gunners because we know
that the 100 million of us are peaceful, law-abiding citizens who love
this country and our society as much as the next liberal. Yet when one
previously convicted felon murders someone with a stolen gun five days
after his release from prison, or things like the Newtown shooting
happen, guns are blamed — and therefore lawful gun owners too, as there
is guilt by association, apparently.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because when things like the
Boston Marathon bombing happen, everyone correctly blames the bomber,
not the bomb. Nobody is calling for bomb control because killing people
with bombs is already illegal — just like killing people with guns is
illegal too.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they’re fine with guns
protecting the money in our banks, our politicians and our celebrities,
but they’re against us using guns to protect ourselves, our families, or
even our children in schools. Legislative trolls like Dianne Feinstein
cry havoc about me protecting my life, while standing comfortably behind
armed guards —and the .38 Special revolver she got a California carry
permit for. We don’t trust anti-gunners because they tell us our lives
aren’t important, or at least are less important than the life of some
celebrity like Snooki, who can have all the armed guards her bank
account can afford.

A dangerous servant and fearful master

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they completely ignore
the fact that true conservatism is about, in part, the preservation of
traditions and long-standing principles. We don’t trust anti-gunners
because the American Revolution was kicked off by an attempt at gun
control when the British marched to Concord to seize the colonists’
muskets and powder. Since the shot heard ‘round the world was fired on
Lexington Green, the possession of a firearm has been the mark and
symbol of a citizen, distinguishing them from a subject of a monarchy or
tyrannical government. We don’t trust anti-gunners because they prefer
the post-modern world where anything means anything, and they therefore
don’t understand the power of or need for the preservation of traditions
— or at least, ones of which they don’t personally approve.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because in a single breath they
tell us that the Second Amendment is irrelevant today and should be
repealed because semi-automatic weapons didn’t exist when the Bill of
Rights was written, then turn around and say the First Amendment
protects radio, television, movies, video games, the Internet, domain
names, Facebook and Twitter. Carrying liberal logic on the Second
Amendment through to the First Amendment, it would only cover the town
crier, and hand-operated printing presses producing only books and
newspapers, and nothing else. Even anything written with a No. 2 pencil
or ballpoint pen would not be included. And those of you belonging to
religions that formed after the 1790s? You’re screwed under liberal
logic, too.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because, while liberals seek to
expand government regulation and services — things that may not be bad
or ill-intended on their own — they simultaneously try to curtail the
Second Amendment. We don’t trust anti-gun people for this reason because
history shows us that every genocide and democide is preceded by
expansion of government power and gun control. We don’t trust
anti-gunners because here in America, gun control is rooted in slavery
and racism, with some of America’s modern anti-gun laws being direct
copies of former Nazi laws that banned gun possession for Jews, blacks,
gays and other “undesirables.”

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gunners tell us that
the police and military are the only people who should have guns (which
is a joke in itself), and that we need to give up our own guns and
trust the government. We don’t trust anti-gunners because we know that
hundreds of millions of people have been killed by their own governments
in the last century, and not a single law seeking to ban the government
from possessing guns has ever been submitted. Yet when but a few
thousand people are killed by civilian criminals, tens of millions of
American citizens like myself who did not commit any crimes at all are
subjected to gun restrictions and personal persecution at the hands of
emotional anti-gun bigots.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gunners insult us
for our opposition to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives (aka the “ATF”). We don’t trust anti-gunners because we know
the ATF is hardly a law enforcement agency but is really a glorified tax
collection agency that has abused, ruined the lives of, or murdered
dozens of innocent gun owners through overzealous enforcement of
gun-related tax and paperwork regulations. Just ask Louis Katona, Patty
and Paul Mueller, John Lawmaster, Tuscon Police Lt. Mike Lara or any of
the dozens of other victims of criminal ATF agents. Where was the ACLU
for all that? And it doesn’t help that President Obama tried to appoint
known anti-gunner Andrew Traver to be the ATF director. Check out the
ATF’s “Good Ol’ Boys Roundup,” “Project Gunrunner” scandal and their
loss of department guns for a little F-Troop entertainment sometime,

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they always bemoan the
NRA, claiming the NRA is the source of all their anti-gun legislation
problems. We don’t trust anti-gunners because it never occurs to them
that perhaps it’s not the NRA per se that has the power, but the
millions of members that belong to it, and the millions more Americans
who otherwise support it and its mission. The NRA is probably the
largest private organization in America; maybe that has something to do
with its influence...? We also don’t trust anti-gunners because they’re
too ignorant to understand that the NRA only represents a minority of us

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because while they were crying
about the victims of 9/11 or Aurora or Sandy Hook, and thanking God they
weren’t there, I and many other gun people like me were crying because
we weren’t there, and asked God why we couldn’t have been. Many of us
wish we were on one of the 9/11 airplanes, and not because we have a
death wish but because we have a life wish. Because when we sit in
silence and the world’s distractions fall away, the thought creeps in:
Could I have made a difference?

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because I and many of us are what
they call “sheepdogs” and we’re proud of that. Yet anti-gunners make
fun of us, calling us “cowboys” and “wannabes” for it. Wanting to save
lives and being willing to sacrifice one’s own to do it used to be
considered a virtue in this country. Anti-gunners think they have the
moral outrage, but the moral outrage is ours. I have never expressed any
of these feelings openly to anyone because they are private and deeply
personal. Screw you for demeaning us and motivating me to speak them.

Do unto others

No, anti-gunners, we don’t trust you. And you’ve given us no reason to,
either. We gun owners obey the law each and every day, same as you. We
defend your nation, protect your communities, teach your children, take
care of you when you’re sick, defend you when you go to court or
prosecute those who do you wrong. We cook and serve your food, haul and
deliver your goods, construct your homes, unclog your sewers, make your
electricity, and build or fix your cars.

We are everywhere and all around you, and we exist with you peacefully.
You are our friends, neighbors and countrymen, and we are these things
proudly. We mourn with you when radicals crash airplanes into our
buildings, when hurricanes destroy the lives of our people, or when the
criminal and mentally ill kill dozens of our school children. We cheer
with you when USA wins the gold medal, when terrorists like Bin Laden
are brought to justice, or when we land a machine built by American
hands on Mars.

So what more can we do to earn your trust, your love and your acceptance
other than surrender our rights, bow down to you and take your non-stop

Anti-gunners label people like me “gun nuts” even though we're anything
but nutty. Our enjoyment of firearms doesn’t define us; it is but a
single value and right we enjoy and cherish, among many other rights and
values we enjoy and cherish — including the very same ones anti-gunners
do too — like the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights.

No, anti-gunners are absolutely right: There can be no rational debate
on this issue anymore. Anti-gunners don’t understand guns, they don’t
understand crime, they don’t understand American history and traditions,
they don’t understand gun owners and don’t care to understand us, and
they reduce people like me to a debasing label or a number they’ve got
no clue about.

Anti-gunners reject our passions, our traditions, our knowledge, our
experiences, our beliefs, our wisdom, our rights. Anti-gunners reject
our very individuality by reducing us to labels, stereotypes and false
or distorted statistics. Screw you for destroying that individuality and
denying our humanity.

I am proudly one of many: a caring, friendly, loyal and loving human
being. I am an educated and intelligent person, and while I may not be
the best-looking guy, friends tell me I have a great personality (yay?).
Perhaps more importantly though, I am a proud citizen of this country,
and I’d perform any sacrifice for others so that they may not themselves
have to sacrifice.

And unlike most anti-gunners, it seems, I have served my community and
nation in various roles throughout the years — roles that, ironically,
often entailed guns. Where I was once given a uniform and a gun, and
trusted with it to ensure the safety and security of others, I am now a
pariah among many of the very people I sacrificed for. I am sadly one of
many here, too. What a terrible, hurtful insult and betrayal!

An anti-gunner reads a book though, or sees a documentary on TV — or
perhaps worst of all, gets a degree — and suddenly they have the
almighty authority and expertise to tell us how we ought to live our
lives, replying to our objections to their onslaught by throwing
pictures of dead kids in our faces and commanding us to shut up, because
we’re just a bunch of stupid radicals and liberals alone know what’s
best for America.

You anti-gunners out there will lead us down a path you do not want to
go down. Your lack of care and understanding of those who abide by
America’s oldest and deepest-rooted tradition will cause a social rift
in this country of the likes we have never seen in America’s young
history. Your lack of understanding chances causing a civil war — a
civil war that will be far worse, more acrimonious, more prolonged and
more deadly than the last one.

Anti-gunners may think the military could prevent such a thing — an
argument often used against us pro-gunners — but with only a few million
people in the military, and with the United States containing 300
million citizens spread across nearly four million square miles, many of
whom are themselves veterans, well, military occupation of this country
is impossible. It doesn’t help that most street cops (opposed to their
politician bosses) are pro-gun, too. And what happens when the civilian
industries that support the military stop producing the supplies our
military needs?

The rift is already beginning. We must mend fences...Now.

Sleeping dragons and terrible resolve

I do not want to live through a war in my own backyard. I do not want
our children to grow up in such an America, either. So anti-gunners:
Please stop, I beg you. See the writing on the wall before it’s too

Yes, there is a terrible crime problem, and yes, that problem sometimes
involves guns — but it is the perpetrator that is the problem, not the
instrument. Yes, there is a great divide between liberals and
conservatives on the issue of guns. And while I will be the very first
person to criticize the Republican Party on its many and frequent
mistakes, and even stand with my democratic friends in my disfavor of
those things, on the gun issue it is not the conservatives who are
mostly in the wrong this time.

We want the crime and killings to stop as much as you do, so to my
fellow citizens who are anti-gun I say: So long as you deny our
humanity, so long as you malign our dignity, intelligence and wisdom, so
long as you seek to shade us under a cloud of evil that we do not
partake in or support, so long as you tell us that because we own guns
we are terrible people, you will prove yourselves absolutely right in
that we won’t come to the table to talk with you.

And there will be no hope for resolution but through victory by force
initiated by one side or the other, God help us, for we will not plow
for those who didn’t beat their swords into plowshares.

Barry Snell is a senior in history and political science from Muscatine, Iowa.

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Albasun: Why I don't trust anti-gun people.
Why I don't trust anti-gun people.
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