This feature appears in the July ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
Everywhere we look, gun owners are either being lied about—or being lied to—by politicians, pundits, media talking heads, ignorant actors and arrogant billionaires. On Nov. 8, you can finally do something about it.
My new neighbors from Brooklyn are suspicious of me. They moved out of New York City up to a town with one stoplight and on the first day in their new house they called the police. Not on me, but it could have been me. They called the police because a man who lives half a mile away, across a woodlot to the next road, built his own, private sporting clays course and shoots there on many afternoons. They heard the shots and thought there was some kind of shootout going on.
The officer who showed said, “Welcome to the country.”
He might as well have said, “Welcome to the other half of America.”
Given their New York City perspective, it’s understandable that, for them, hearing gunshots is not a good thing.
They’ve since learned that I hunt and own guns. They have two young daughters who play with my son and they don’t know what to make of me. I seem tame, civilized. I went to a good college and I’m a best-selling author who can talk to them about many things. I’ve worked in Manhattan and have traveled all over the world. My wife teaches at one of those esteemed, liberal colleges they adore. To them, I just don’t add up. I am not supposed to be like this.
The New York Times has portrayed people who own guns, and especially those who hunt, as an uncouth and uncivilized bunch. But here I am speaking with them about literature, the workings of the natural world, my flowerbeds and other normal things.
I told them my next book is on the well-rounded man. I told them how I chased Ernest Hemingway from Paris to Pamplona to discover how a man can fancy African safaris and guns and fishing and bullfights and boxing matches, yet still be in love with Paris café life, fine art and literature. Can’t, and shouldn’t, a man be both a refined man and an able man who knows, among many other things, how to handle and shoot guns? And, shouldn’t a woman, in this day and age, develop these two halves and the skills and open-minded perspective that go with them?
My neighbors were baffled with the whole idea. It was foreign to them. As a gun owner I am supposed to be ignorant, a redneck, maybe even a villain—or at least part of a group of throwbacks to a bygone era who now enable bad guys to get guns.
How The Anti-Gun Fiction Portrays Gun Owners
The New York Times has portrayed people who own guns, and especially those who hunt, as an uncouth and uncivilized bunch.Though I’m still getting to know my new neighbors—and them me—I understand why they see gun owners this way. The Hollywood/“mainstream” media view of gun owners that they are fed a steady diet of is so one-sided, so deplorable and so biased that it is really a form of bigotry. But then, the basis of bigotry is ignorance, so I understand they have things to learn.
This hasn’t been an easy perspective to attain. Years ago I used to get frustrated when such people labeled me—and anyone else who takes their Second Amendment-protected rights into their hands—as a rube, or perhaps even a villain.
This ignorant portrayal of gun owners is so troubling that I’ve walked out of movie theaters and changed the channel when this one-sided plotline appears. Indeed, many of us are sick of hearing this fairytale with gun owners cast as the Big Bad Wolf from relatives or others who don’t choose to own guns.
This treatment by many in the media and Hollywood gives America’s 100 million-plus gun owners good reason to be fed up. We’ve been lied to, lied about, demonized and denigrated for the past seven years. They’ve blamed us when madmen murder children. They’ve blamed us for inner-city gang violence. They’ve said we’re too old to or too simpleminded to protect ourselves with guns. Shannon Watts, head of Moms Demand Action, has even claimed that gun owners never stop criminals. “This has never happened,” said Watts, “data shows [sic] it doesn’t happen.”
We saw President Barack Obama disrespect a rape victim who now carries a gun to protect herself. While live on CNN, Obama told her, “[I]f you look at the statistics, there’s no doubt that there are times where somebody who has a weapon has been able to protect themselves and scare off an intruder or an assailant, but what is more often the case is that they may not have been able to protect themselves, but they end up being the victim of the weapon that they purchased themselves.” Was he telling her she shouldn’t have a chance of stopping another rapist?
We’ve even heard Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton boast that she’ll take on the 5 million freedom-loving members of the NRA on her first day in office. We’ve heard Clinton talk about how she’ll put gun makers out of business by allowing people to sue them for the actions of criminals.
While media and gun-ban politicians like Obama and Clinton launch verbal attacks on law-abiding gun owners on a near-daily basis, the political class heaps even more indignities upon us:
They leave our southern border wide open for criminal Mexican drug gangs to terrorize our cities at will, then blame gun owners for the resulting violent crime sprees.
While claiming to be “tough on crime,” they release violent felons at an alarming rate. In fiscal year 2015, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the request of the Obama Administration, released nearly 90,000 illegal aliens considered to be “criminal threats.” And according to Fox News, at least 124 illegal immigrant criminals released from jails since 2010 have since been charged with at least 135 new murders—crimes that were, again, blamed on you and me as gun owners.The Hollywood/“mainstream” media view of gun owners that they are fed a steady diet of is so one-sided, so deplorable and so biased that it is really a form of bigotry.
They rant and rave about criminals shooting up schools with so-called “automatic” weapons, which are tightly restricted and nearly never used. Then they turn around and propose bans on semi-automatic rifles that are not only the most popular type of rifle in the nation, but are no different, nor more powerful, than most hunting rifles.
They proudly proclaim that they, as Clinton puts it, want to “change the gun culture,” without uttering a word about the culture of criminal violence normal Americans are forced to worry about each day.
They secretly continually lump suicides in with criminal homicides to create a number nearly three times higher than actual “gun” murders in order to create more sensationalism and urgency in the media. While any suicide is indeed an unspeakable tragedy that we would never suggest should be minimized or belittled, it’s hardly the fault of law-abiding gun owners.
They constantly hatch plans to disarm the very people who need guns the most for self-protection—from black freedmen during the Reconstruction era, to low-income Americans with bans on so-called “Saturday Night Specials,” to disabled VA and Social Security recipients affected by recent Obama administration proposals, to those who have no choice but to live in public housing (see our story on Harvey Lembo in the Feb. 2016 issue of America’s 1st Freedom).
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has even found a way to further take the blame for violent crime off of violent criminals. In a recent release, the DOJ actually renamed convicted felons as “justice-involved individuals”!
Through it all, the negative portrayal of America’s law-abiding gun owners in the media continues, and it’s not by accident. A recent article in Hollywood’s publication Variety is a telling example.
The article detailed how anti-gun groups, such as Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, are colluding with Hollywood to make sure that TV shows and movies stick to the anti-gun script people like my new neighbors think is the true story.
The article reported:
If the mainstream media would do some honest investigative reporting on the gun issue they’d find there are actually two wildly different gun cultures in America …“Actress Julianne Moore had often retweeted calls for improved gun measures, but last year, frustrated that after ‘every major tragedy, I kept thinking there would be change, and there wasn’t,’ she approached Everytown about taking an active role. The result was the formation of the Creative Council, which now numbers more than 100 entertainment figures committed to the struggle to end gun violence.”
Like many, the article mentions the “struggle to end gun violence” but never questions the motive or means it is pushing as a solution. Instead, it makes the assumption that if you oppose the gun control measures they back then you’re a villain in the story.
The same article in Variety reported that in the latest season of the Netflix show “House of Cards,” the show’s first-lady character, Claire Underwood, pushed for new gun laws with the help of a group called “Families for Gun Reform.” Never heard of them? That’s because the group is made up, but if you go to familiesforgunreform.com you’ll be redirected to Everytown’s anti-gun website. This wasn’t a coincidence. Variety reported that Bloomberg’s Everytown worked with the show’s writers “to make sure they got it right,” according to the organization’s president, John Feinblatt.
In another example, the CBS’ show “The Good Wife” aired an episode in which they argue that a gun-store owner should be found liable for a person’s death after a criminal illegally bought a gun. The Brady Campaign said, “Sunday night’s episode told the all too common story of a parent fighting for justice in the court after a straw purchase at a gun dealer led to the shooting death of his daughter.” In a press release, the Brady Campaign also said, “The star of ‘The Good Wife,’ Julianna Margulies also fights gun violence off-camera, as an advocate for the Brady Campaign and gun violence prevention.”
This isn’t a case of Hollywood meeting reality; this is a case of Hollywood, with the help of anti-gun groups, attempting to shape reality with gun owners cast as the villains.
My new neighbors are just two examples of people who have been told that gun owners are dangerous, uneducated and perhaps unhinged types who, if they don’t commit crimes themselves, at least enable those who do.
Channeling Your Anger
It’s OK to be mad: Given the treatment gun owners have received under the Obama administration, which would be magnified under a future Clinton administration, who would blame you?
You can and should be disillusioned by the political class in government—mad that they lie to and about us; irritated that they try to take things away from us by executive order; fed up that, despite the protection afforded by the Second Amendment, they still try to tell us what guns we can and cannot own.
If the mainstream media would do some honest investigative reporting on the gun issue they’d find there are actually two wildly different gun cultures in America: the big, robust, freedom-loving, gun-rights culture that upholds the responsible use of guns for hunting, sport and self-defense, and the criminal culture that thrives in spite of, or even because of, government attempts at restricting gun rights. The mainstream media won’t do this, even though it has been proven over and over again that law-abiding gun owners and gun dealers are clearly allies in the fight to disarm and stop criminals.
So if you think you are mad now—and if you’re not, you probably should be—think how angry you’ll be after suffering four or eight years of assaults by President Hillary Clinton and her hand-picked Cabinet of gun-ban cronies.
In the 2016 election, there is far more at stake than ever before. And now is no time to take a break from diligently protecting our right to keep and bear arms. If NRA members, America’s other law-abiding gun owners and freedom lovers of all kinds choose to sit this one out—for whatever reason—we could lose far more than just the presidency.
Should Clinton win and those who opposed the Second Amendment recapture the majority in the U.S. Senate, it’s a clear path to pack the Supreme Court with Clinton’s hand-picked allies that could trash the Heller and McDonald decisions and, ultimately, our very right to keep and bear arms. And if the U.S. House of Representatives were also to be seized by anti-gun activists, there would be no end to the barrage of gun-ban schemes that can make their way through Congress, be approved by the president and rubber-stamped by the highest court in the land.
Don’t just get mad—do something about it. It might just be our last chance.