Monday, February 16, 2009

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Didn’t mean to alarm you with that title, but you’ll see where I am going with this…. As a community of firearms owners, we represent a significant population of voters and citizens with a voice – provided we get active and show a willingness to stand up and be heard. Having said that, I think it is also important that we understand what the real issues are so that we can choose the appropriate battles to fight. We may not necessarily all agree on exactly the same things or agree on the proper solution for all of the issues. But I think that we can agree that we are all gun owners, and that firearms ownership is a right that we value and feel strongly about. Some of us are extremely passionate about defending gun ownership rights, while others are casual participants in shooting activities with other issues that they are far more passionate about. Some own guns only for hunting or sport shooting; some own guns only for self defense. Some own guns for all of the above reasons. Regardless of the reasons for owning guns, we need to be prepared to defend our heritage and our rights, or lose them for good.

There has been a lot of information flying around the Internet and elsewhere lately about various moves afoot to institute more gun control measures. Since the new administration took office, there have been all sorts of speculation about what they would do, and what they were already starting to do, with regard to gun control measures. Some of this news has been factual, and some has been outright unfounded rumor. For example, some folks had the Blair Holt Act (H.R. 45), the heavily restrictive and oppressive firearms control act, as being completely folded in to the recently passed stimulus package bill. Yet others had reported that there was a bill that would dictate that people over 60 years of age would be barred from firearm ownership. Some stated that H.R. 45 as mentioned above had already passed into law in yet other Internet discussion forum stories.

The reason for this is simple: We are human. We are living in a pretty uncertain and historical time right now. People who casually took their firearms ownership rights for granted are finally waking up and becoming aware of the issues that affect them. However, people’s imaginations tend to run wild at times like these, and speculation soon becomes reality to the person whose worst fears are playing tricks on them. This isn’t to diminish the validity or reality of people’s concerns. Sometimes these worries do in fact turn into reality. The key is to be aware and focused, do research, and take action.

There is that little voice inside me personally, for example, that is saying that those who wish to implement extreme gun control measures are reveling in the fact that we are chasing rumors and are being distracted from tackling the real issues. You know the old saying: “United we stand, divided we fall…”

Why chasing rumors is bad: It divides us – plain and simple! Since we do have the opportunity to be a strong and united voice, it is wise to use that voice to speak factually and unemotionally when we contact our representation. If we are chasing phantom stories, we are being divided and scattered, and distracted from being that united front against issues that we want to solve. It does no good whatsoever to contact our representatives to tell them to support or not to support proposed legislation that does not even exist. As I mentioned, doing research and knowing the facts are key to taking action.

What to do: Stay informed! The National Rifle Association has an excellent web site – the NRA Institute for Legislative action (, which gives daily updates on emerging gun related news. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners ( and the Colorado State Shooting Association (, just to name a few are also keeping on top of gun related (or even remotely gun related) issues. Our challenge is to separate the wheat from the chafe, and discern what is credible reporting versus rumor and speculation. Fortunately, we have these larger, single-issue organizations that have time to look into these issues and present us with the facts. Visit these sites daily and find out what is going on. The articles posted at these places will give you a good place to start your own research.

What else to do: Get active! Once you have made up your mind how you feel about proposed legislation, tell your representation how you feel. Many times your representation has no clue what you want. Without direction, they will do whatever they feel is appropriate. Of course, many people are rightfully feeling that their representation will do whatever they want anyway. The key is to keep constant pressure on them. If enough people contact these elected servants of ours and let them know how they feel, those in office will finally get the feeling that their jobs are on the line unless they heed the people’s wishes.

Wrapping it all up: There is a saying that goes something like this: “…in order for evil to triumph, all that is required is for good men to do nothing…” Without over-emotionalizing the issues that face us as citizens and gun owners, I think that saying illustrates why we are in the situation we are in right now. The reason why we are facing such uphill battles is because too many people have said too little for too long.

Stay informed, stay aware, and get active. Our heritage and our rights as gun owners depend on it.