America's war on guns
Eight days after the massacre of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary, where each child was shot with a Bushmaster .223, The Nation's Gun Show, the biggest east of the Mississippi, opened.
“A line already snaked around the building shortly after the three-day event began at 3 p.m., and the parking lot was jammed” at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., wrote Justin Jouvenal of The Washington Post. And this is the story across America since Sandy Hook.
The weapon most in demand at Chantilly? The AR-15 black rifle, a version of which was used to slaughter the innocents in Newtown.
Yet for weeks after Sandy Hook, journalists and politicians, who were making the case for a new assault-weapons ban, dominated the airwaves. Those calling for reinstatement of the ban, in effect from 1994 to 2004, had the national audience almost entirely to themselves.
But given record gun sales after December and in 2012 — there were 16.8 million calls to the FBI for background checks for gun purchases last year — the elites have lost the argument with the audience that counts.
The reflexive response of the gun controllers is to blame this on that malevolent force, the gun lobby, at whose apex is the NRA. But those crowds going to gun shows in droves are not there because the NRA issued some order.
Today, we Americans are a far more heavily armed people than half a century ago. Forty-seven percent of adult males own a firearm. There are 270 million rifles, shotguns and pistols in private hands.
Are they for hunting? Not according to the Financial Times.
“The number of hunters fell from 16.6 million in 1975 to 12.5 million in 2006, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.” That number will continue to shrink as America's suburbs further encroach on rural areas, limiting hunting grounds and reducing game.
The number of rifles like the AR-15 in private hands has probably tripled since the assault weapons ban expired. The NRA's David Keene estimates the number now at above 3 million.
Who owns these weapons?
Half are owned by veterans and cops. Writes Keene: “Nearly 90 percent of those who own an AR-15 use it for recreational target shooting; 51 percent of AR owners are members of shooting clubs and visit the range regularly; the typical AR owner is not a crazed teenage psychopath but a 35-plus-year-old, married and has some college education.”
These figures suggest that a successful effort to restrict the sale and transfer of “assault rifles” will, as did Prohibition, drive the market underground, create lawbreakers out of folks who are law-abiding and send the AR-15 price further skyward.
Many gun controllers not only do not understand what motivates those who disagree with them, they do not like them, reflexively calling them “gun nuts,” a reaction as foolish as it is arrogant and bigoted.
Given the loosening of gun laws at the state level in recent years, the gun controllers no longer have the numbers to impose their will on folks who have a love for, or feel a need for, guns.
Many Americans accept that in the last analysis, it is a man's duty to be the defender and protector of his wife and children.
Human nature will ultimately triumph over ideology.
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Gorman: DiNucci perfect fit for Pine-Richland
- Steelers defense takes aim at Ravens QB Flacco
- Penguins GM Rutherford: Malkin’s play belies fact he missed training camp
- Evaporating cap on Pa. gasoline taxes to offset drops at pump
- Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation
- High school football roundup: No. 13 Riverside upsets Beth-Center in 1st round
- Attorney General Kane injured in auto accident
- Health insurers’ move towardd ‘high-value’ care providers may reduce choice
- Steelers notebook: Ravens enter short-handed at tight end
- Electric cars plug into solar power
- Pittsburgh-area stocks triumph over a volatile October