Why do I have to live my life in the scope of your rifle?
Dear NRA friend,
I am writing you to ask you to leave your gun at home. I am not asking you to give up what it takes to protect your home, or to hunt, I am asking you to leave guns out of our public spaces.
I understand that you may not trust me. When I speak against gun violence I usually receive personal threats. One man wrote last year saying if I came to take his gun, he would fire two warning shots- one to my chest and one to my head. But I am not trying to take his or your guns. I am trying to have a conversation with you. I am asking you to voluntarily discern between what actually makes you safer, and what threatens us all.
I scarcely recognize my nation any more. How can we be the “home of the brave” if we let fear make our most important decisions? I am not trying to take anything from you. I am trying to speak to you as a fellow citizen. If I had to choose between being your victim or your assassin, I would chose the former, because I refuse to lose my humanity just to save my life. I do not understand the fear that grips your soul and shuts down your heart.
I am asking you to join me in seeking out some middle ground where we can both feel safe. I do not want to take your guns. Neither do I want to live my life in the scope of your rifle.
Your fellow citizen
I have never pointed any of my weapons at another human being. I sincerely hope I never need to. I assure you…you are NOT “in the scope of my rifle”.
Thank you Gary. I hope it was clear I was not speaking about people hunting or protecting their homes. I live in a state that allows concealed weapons. It is possible we will go the way of Florida and pass “stand your ground” type laws. Would you agree that getting machine guns and concealed weapons out of public venues would not deter the gun rights you are defending? As I said in the blog, I’m looking for middle ground on this issue. I believe the NRA is making a serious mistake when it takes almost any effort to curb gun violence as a direct assault on the kind of rights I hear you defending. Have I understood you?
Yes I did in fact appreciate the tone of your piece in general. Indeed compromise on this issue is very hard to come by as feelings tend to run very deep. I am in fact not an NRA member and do not always agree with their positions. I do of course agree with their primary charter. I do support a ban on assault weapons. But it is your characterization of those with a concealed carry permit that bothered me. (I have a lifetime permit to carry though I almost never do) It is the reference to us having you in our “rifle scopes” that does not sound like a sincere effort at compromise. In fact…responsible gun owners will never have you in their sights unless you are attempting to do them bodily harm. Yeah…there are idiots with guns…but they are the exception not the rule. This statement of yours was a stereotype that is both false and quite combative in its tone.
If you don’t favor assault weapons, and don’t carry concealed weapons into public places then we are not in disagreement.
Mostly. Though I do want the right to carry a concealed weapon if I feel the situation warrants it.
Gary,I think we would be identified on the opposite of the issue of gun control, but I have little doubt that, if we were both lawmakers, we could work together to craft laws that met each of our concerns. You have demonstrated the civil discourse we need to use in issues like this. Thank you for writing.
Indeed, I believe we could.