John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Guns, Venus, Mars

Posted on January 10, 2013

The gun debate is like one big game of miscommunication.

Gun-owners are from Mars.  Gun-haters are from Venus.

For many gun-owners, hunting is not the main thing.

Defending yourself is the main thing.

Democrats like to make a big deal about how hunters don’t necessarily need more than 10 rounds to kill a deer.  That’s their main explanation as to why they want to ban assault weapons.  You don’t need an assault weapon to take out a deer.

But sometimes, in the minds of many gun owners, you need an assault weapon to defend yourself against bad guys.

And sometimes those bad guys are criminals.  Sometimes, they are terrorists.  Sometimes they are communist Chinese.  And sometimes, they are from the government.

That is how many gun owners think.

And under the Constitution, American gun ownership is a protected right, for precisely that reason.

There are a lot of gun owners out there.  And they tend to vote at a higher rate than non-gun-owners.

I don’t own a gun.  My dad owned a World-War II vintage Japanese rife (he got it from his dad, I think), but the firing pin wasn’t part of it.  And I think that if I did have a gun, my son would probably find it and would probably try to use it, and since my son is 6 and a half, that wouldn’t be a good thing.

Gun ownership tends to run in the family.   If your father and mother owned a gun, it is far more likely that you will own a gun.  I would say that people who live in the countryside are more likely to have guns than people who live in the city, but I am not sure if that is true.  There are plenty of people who own guns in big cities.  The problem is that many of these people acquired those guns illegally.

Police chiefs and Big City Mayors are the most forceful when arguing about a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, mostly because they have to deal with the carnage every day.

There are all kinds of people who distrust the government.

We all know about the survivalists in rural America.  These are the kinds of folks who build bomb shelters, horde gold, stockpile water, and pretty much wait for the Mayan calendar prediction to finally come true.   They don’t trust the government and they want their assault weapons to defend themselves when the government collapses, which they believe will happen inevitably.

There are people who live in the cities who don’t trust the government.    They live in hard-pressed areas where the police are sometimes more an enemy than a friend.   And they distrust many of their neighbors, who on occasion can be very violent.

There are people who live in small towns who have to deal with fundamentally corrupt or fundamentally racist governments.   They don’t trust the local mayor or the local sheriff, and they will be damned if they have to disarm in the face of that corruption.

And there are people who live in rural America, where the cops are not readily accessible.  Sometimes when you live by yourself, your only protection is a gun.

I am not saying that I agree with what these folks believe.   I don’t have a deep distrust of the government, although I don’t completely trust it either.  And I have made the calculation that I have more to fear from a gun accident than from a criminal.

But the Founding Fathers actually agreed more with the gun-owners than they do with me.  They actually had a very deep distrust of a strong federal government and they actually deal with fundamentally corrupt local government officials.    That is why they put the Second Amendment in there.

We can’t repeal the Second Amendment.  We don’t the votes.

What we can do is pass laws that say that certifiably crazy people shouldn’t have access to guns and that convicted criminals don’t have a right to own guns.    And we can pass laws to make it harder for crazy criminals to get weapons.

This isn’t about hunting.  This is about being hunted.  And a lot of people want to own guns so that they won’t be hunted down by bad guys.