Every time there is a shooting, liberals react defensively and push more gun control. Without fail, their misleading, dramatic rhetoric has the opposite effect in real life: More people purchase firearms.
If history repeats itself, the two shootings last week—but especially San Bernardino—will again produce a surge in National Rifle Association (NRA) memberships and gun purchases. This time, the extraordinary efforts of liberal media to discourage gun ownership could mainly serve to make guns seem even more necessary to several distinct groups of people.
If liberal gun control rhetoric is foreplay, consider the likely forthcoming response of many to stop hesitating and become intimate with their right to bear arms.
Second Amendment Zealots
In the wake of the Sandy Hook (Newtown, Connecticut) shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 children, NRA membership surged by 100,000 in just eight weeks. In the six months following that and the Boston bombing, gun ownership skyrocketed. One-tenth of the NRA’s members joined in that time period, making 5 million members total, a record at the time.
The Washington Post reported in July, “Gun control is still going nowhere in Congress. And in fact, with every major mass shooting in America, gun-rights supporters seem to be digging in even further — and bringing the rest of America along with them.”
In his speech Sunday night, President Obama called for a gun purchase ban on people the no-fly list. The first group his rhetoric will motivate is far-right conservatives who are zealous for their Second Amendment rights. Many of them already own guns, possess concealed-carry permits, and have taken classes on gun safety. Case in point:
(Molon Labe is, roughly, a Greek phrase that translates “come and take.” It’s widely used among Second Amendment diehards.)
Friends, colleagues, and folks on Twitter this week have been either considering purchasing a second gun, or doing what we did. I read The New York Times editorial calling for a gun ban, looked at my husband and said, “It’s time.” We both grew up with guns in our homes, are experienced in using them, and are simply concerned about home security. It’s just a matter of making an informed purchase; we are already lifetime members of the NRA.
Second Amendment Believers
These people generally believe in their Second Amendment rights, but don’t own a gun and aren’t seen as “fanatical.” This is a really important sect of people whom heated gun-control rhetoric will lead to gravitate more towards their right to bear arms. They are the most crucial crowd for conservatives and libertarians to pressure to embrace their Second Amendment rights more fully.
Conversely, liberals will continue to press these people to reconsider gun control. Not because it’s dangerous for people to own guns, mind you, but because liberals know that the more people own guns, the more would no sooner rather see their right to bear arms stripped than they would their cell phone taken from them.
This demographic exists. According to a 2014 Pew Research study on guns, from January 2013 to December 2014, the percentage of Republicans who want to protect the right to own guns increased from 70 percent to 77 percent, and the percentage who wanted to control ownership decreased from 27 percent to 22 percent.
For example, this weekend, a friend went to a gun shop and noticed an older woman shopping who clearly did not know anything about guns. She told the gun store employee that she was buying the gun because the current political situation made her nervous, and Obama’s rhetoric even more so. The employee warned her that handguns are extremely dangerous if you don’t know how to use them properly, and advised her not to buy one, but to take classes and go to the range before getting one of her own.
This is wise advice. It’s also wise this elderly woman decided to take the next step in self-protection. I hope she attends classes.
Second Amendment Wafflers
As loudly as this current debate is raging, it’ll likely reach the ear of people who understand the Second Amendment but don’t necessarily embrace it as their own. They are literally and metaphorically gun-shy.
They hope the state will protect them. They think the state will protect them. But over the last few years, they have noticed a different reality. (Your state can’t even facilitate a smooth process at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Why would you leave your family’s protection solely up to them?)
In the same Pew poll, the percentage of Independents who thought the right to own guns should be protected went from 49 percent to 56 percent, and the percentage who thought gun control was a good idea decreased from 47 percent to 42 percent. The biggest jump was actually among moderate Democrats, favoring gun rights increasing from 25 percent to 37 percent and wanting to diminish them decreasing from 70 percent to 61 percent.
A friend of mine who lives in Montana teaches an NRA basic pistol course. His class is required for a concealed carry permit. Ever since the attacks in Paris, he said, “Lifelong Democrats with no gun experience want me to help them out. [They are] all in a rush for a concealed permit. I’ve never seen anything like it. Men, women, democrat students, conservatives, ‘old blue dog Democrats.’” What’s the most encouraging is they don’t just want to purchase a gun, they want to know how to use it.
These people will see something on the news, Twitter, or during coffee with a friend that will help them realize: Guns aren’t the problem. People are the problem. Guns aren’t the problem. Hateful ideology is the problem.
Guns are a tool for protection; guns are a right; guns are a gift to use wisely and responsibly when necessary to protect the ones you love. Many women fit in this group: 45 percent want to protect the right to own guns and 54 percent support gun ownership. I hope they, and the rest of this group—especially those who like to buck the mainstream narrative—will be more open to guns, because they finally realize the right to bear arms is so essential. Sometimes it takes a threat of losing a right to really appreciate and embrace it.
More Guns, Less Crime
Why do gun sales increase after a crisis, especially when the media and progressives are arguing for the opposite? According to Pew, “nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) say gun ownership does more to protect people from becoming victims of crime, while 38% say it does more to endanger personal safety.”
Three out of five felons polled say they won’t mess with a person whom they believe to be armed. From a global perspective, we have some of the highest gun ownership rates and the lowest homicide rates, when compared to other countries.
The Second Amendment is a fundamental, unique, and essential right Americans have and should embrace, not just in the wake of tragedy but all the time. Especially women. Become acquainted with your local range, take classes, inform yourself about gun safety, and then take responsibility for your family’s safety.
That’s sexy; that’s inspirational; that’s an American right. Don’t let liberal rhetoric about gun control sway you against the facts and against your right: Join your comrades in arms.