The gun lobby and its supporters have the ultimate faith and interpretation of the Second Amendment. When you look deep, and by deep I mean very deep, into the seemingly total devotion and dedication these people have for gun it begins to get scary beyond pale. It becomes a religion to these people. Follow with me on this for a minute. You have your lazy day gun owners, who like guns and occasionally go out to the range or on their property and plink around shooting cans or paper bullseyes. They rarely if ever go hunting and for the most part own a small gun or two usually a shot gun and a small bore rifle. These folks are not unlike your lazy day church goers. Occasionally going to church. Just like these church types when you ask them they will admit to being gun owners but don’t practice it all the time. Then, we have the next level. You have the folks who like guns and go to the range or out shooting occasionally but every once in a while they go hunting with friends. They own a few guns. Typically a shot gun and a hand gun and a hunting rifle. They will readily identify themselves as gun owners and believe in the Second Amendment but don’t think guns are that big a deal. After that group we have the small time collectors. These guys, (usually guys) like to collect guns when they can afford it and will occasionally shoot one or two of them but for them it is about the collection. They can tell you the history of every gun they own and how they came to be and when they were last used in what war or conflict. They have a moderate to small collection and guns are not all of their collection. They have other weapons, like knives and swords but for the most part aren’t that worried about the NRA, the gun lobby and gun control.
So far the above mentioned individual groups are for the most part harmless. They are not the one who are prone to accidental shootings and are conscious of their weapons at all time. They don’t become immune to the violence associated with them and don’t attempt to push their point of view on others. They aren’t typically worried that the evil liberals will take their guns and don’t care if others like or dislike guns. Which brings us to the start of the next set of groups.
First, you have the avid sportsman who regularly hunts. He hunts with a rifle and may own several as well as a hand gun or two and a shot gun or two. He goes hunting usually twice or more a year and his sole goal is for sport and the meat from the kill. Sometimes he hunts deer, sometimes its fowl or even pig but always for the meat. He is a mainstream member of the NRA and while he is concerned about gun control he isn’t as adamant about it as some of the others. Second, we have what looks like the avid hunter but is much more intense about it. He owns multiple hunting weapons and is frequently wanting to try newer and better weapons and accessories. His weapons include more than just guns however, he typically also bow hunts for fun. He likes to occasionally stalk his prey but he is not above sitting in a deer stand for hours. When it comes to gun control he is totally against any form of gun control but specifically anything that impedes hunting. He has multiple hand guns but doesn’t have a concealed carry license and typically only carries a hand gun in his truck or car if he is traveling. Since their focus is typically sport and hunting they are not as apt to jump straight to the emotional response in a debate about gun control. They are paid members of the NRA but gun control legislation is not a major worry for them. Finally, we come to the most vocal of the groups. Now in all honesty they have characteristics of all the others in different concentrations but for them guns are a focus. Sure, they might hunt for sport or trade weapons but for them guns are not about their practical uses. For this group guns are a means to protect themselves from the worse enemy they can think of. “Tyranny!”. No matter what topic starts the discussion, it could be taxes or road repair, anything that have government involved in some way, they will always come back to guns and “having to defend freedom.” When questioned they will refer to the United States Constitution as if it was the bible itself. Some will even go far as to suggest that the Constitution was guided by God depending on how deep they are into the religion.
This second group from the avid sportsman to the evangelical gun guys is the group that can not be reasoned with. You can not use logic. You can not explain to them how the law works and how interpretations in the law differ. They will only use statistics when it supports their claims and viewpoints but when it doesn’t they deny the statistics even when it is the same ones they have used from the same sources. They refuse to believe scientific, peer viewed reports and end up resorting to straw man arguments and ad hominum attacks. They are quick to anger and will very quickly raise their voice in defense.
I can say all of this because it has happened. It has happened to me and others. No matter how much you wish to engage them in well thought out, reasoned debate on the subject of gun control they are absolute in their faith that gun control is illegal, unconstitutional and will lead to the down fall of this country. They are certain that if you are not with them then you are against them, not matter how much you explain otherwise. Mixed in all of this angst is founder worship and admiration that goes beyond what a rational person should or would have. Reverence that would typically be found in a religion. Ultimately however, it all comes down to one single factor.
The reason why the gun lobby can not and will not be reasoned with is FEAR! Pure and simple fear. It is an amalgamation of the fear of the known and the unknown. Gun control is fear. It is their worst/best nightmare coming true. To them the world is filled with criminals, sycophants and a evil government that is out to get them at every turn. In their mind they can only be saved by a gun. They only way they can feel safe is with a gun. Not just one, but many. They are consumed by this fear that at any moment someone is coming for them. It is important to realize that I am not talking about paranoia in the common sense. I am talking about a way of life that they for what ever reason have created for themselves that reflect this fear. No amount of logic or reason or debate will convince them otherwise. For them, all that is, is an attempt to lull them into a false sense of security or a means to make it easier for the evil elements to succeed. For this group there is little to no hope for compromise. To them, it would mean compromising a principle and that is an anathema to their world.
The question, “What do we do then, if this is indeed the case?” has no answer. I can say this however, that until we can answer that question… children will still die.