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An Astronaut Reaching For The Stars … And Grasping At Straws

An Astronaut Reaching For The Stars … And Grasping At Straws

Photo credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for MTV

Gun grabber Mark Kelly is an astronaut, as the mainstream media so sympathetic to his efforts loves to remind us each time they run a story about him. I get it. It’s cool that he’s been in space four times, but it doesn’t mean he’s right in his crusade to strip his fellow Americans of their essential freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It doesn’t make it OK that he works relentlessly every day to render me and other good people defenseless against the evil that he sadly knows all too well exists in the world.

Being one of NASA’s select few does not give him license to constantly mislead the public. At every press opportunity, he touts his “strong support for the Second Amendment” and desire to “protect responsible gun ownership” while working to kill every policy that makes the right to keep and bear arms stronger and conditions for gun owners better.

He claims that his anti-gun organization is nothing more than an effort to “keep guns out of the wrong hands,” but this is pure deceit unless he believes every American citizen not affiliated with law enforcement or the military has a pair of the “wrong hands.”

Kelly knows as much about guns as I do about piloting the space shuttle. My lack of knowledge usually keeps me from trying to tell people how to fly into space and back, but his lack of knowledge seemingly encourages him to try to dictate all kinds of things to gun owners, for example, his advocacy of congressionally imposed magazine limitations. He evidently thinks he knows exactly how many rounds of ammunition people “need” to survive their fight against well-armed criminal thugs who kick their front door down in the middle of the night.

As someone who is trained in the use of firearms for self-defense, I would be the first to tell the shuttle jockey that none of the countless citizens who are alive today because they own firearms ever thought “I have way too much ammunition available to me right now” in the middle of their fight for survival. There is not much in a world of 6 billion people that hasn’t happened at least once, but this is one.

Another example of Kelly’s “strong support for the Second Amendment” is his opposition to federal legislation that makes it easier for law-abiding gun owners to obtain suppressors. These devices unquestionably make muzzle noise less harmful, but Kelly likes to tell gun owners to stop complaining and just wear ear plugs. He apparently doesn’t think it’s strange that firearms are the only items in our society that the government mandates be as loud and damaging to our precious hearing as possible. In contrast, other noise-emitting objects, like cars, motorcycles and lawn equipment, are required by law to be muffled.

If that wasn’t enough, Kelly’s most recent scheme to convince self-defense-minded gun owners he’s looking out for them is to oppose Congress’s efforts to pass national Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which would require states to honor concealed handgun licenses issued by other states in the same way they honor driver licenses. He apparently believes that the 16 million license holders in the country who live peaceful, responsible, law-abiding lives day-to-day will turn into murderous lunatics once they slip across a state line somewhere. (Don’t worry if you’re confused. You should be.)

As part of his effort, he wrote an article for The Washington Post last week that tries to paint those of us who regularly carry concealed handguns for our defense as “dangerous.”

Being one of NASA’s select few does not give him license to constantly mislead the public.His example detailed the brave and tactically perfect behavior of the armed citizen who responded when a madman opened fire on Kelly’s wife and those who attended her constituent event in a Safeway parking lot in Tucson. Joe Zamudio was shopping in a nearby drugstore at the time of the shooting, but ran toward the sound of gunfire because he believed he might be able to use his legally owned, concealed handgun to save lives like so many before him had.

As he ran, he kept his handgun concealed but at the ready in order to ensure he was not mistaken for the shooter by others in the area. As he arrived on scene, he saw a man with a gun and ordered him to drop it. He never fired at the man because he did not pose an imminent threat. Zamudio later discovered that the man had just helped to disarm the killer. No military or law enforcement veteran could have possibly acted more appropriately under the chaotic circumstances. Perfection cannot be improved upon.

But because of this victimless case of mistaken identity, and because his wife was injured by a criminal—a class of individual who by definition does not abide by the laws—we obviously need more laws that would prevent armed citizens like Zamudio and the other good Samaritan from helping in the future.

Reading this account of Citizen Joe’s actions shortly after that terrible day in 2011 made me beam with pride for having been a part of the years-long process making the Arizona concealed-carry law one of the better of its kind anywhere in the country. That Kelly uses the identical brilliant account as a reason to deny the millions of “Joe Zamudios” in our country the same ability to try to make a difference when evil knocks, regardless of where they happen to be traveling in America, is mindboggling. Any reasonable person who gives this argument even a couple seconds’ consideration will see it as proof of how desperate the gun control crowd gets when it tries to paint the great concealed-carry experiment in America as a failure—when it has so empirically proven to be anything but.

They’re desperate because they fear armed citizens more than anything—but they can’t reasonably explain why. They can’t run with “it’s just scary,” so they have to reach far beyond the bounds of reason. Kelly might have even pulled a few muscles on this one.

As I’ve said many times before, the concealed-carry experiment that NRA began so long ago is arguably the greatest and most successful social experiment in our country’s history. The Chicken Littles were wrong, and those of us who trust good people were right. Those who go to the trouble to legally carry concealed handguns have proven to be the most law-abiding subset of our population that exists, including those who wear the badge, and it’s not even a close call.

There is a reason no state has made an effort to repeal its carry law. Kelly’s piece illustrates how silly an effort like this would be if it were tried. A study of the 600,000 concealed handgun license holders in Texas in 2012 showed just how law-abiding this population has proven to be. In that year, only 140 were convicted of misdemeanors or felonies, most not involving firearms.

This is a population equivalent to cities like Washington D.C., Baltimore, Detroit, Boston and Las Vegas. These places have courts that convict 140 offenders in an hour or two in any given day. If the 600,000 licensed citizens in Texas in 2012 made up one very big city, it would be the safest large city in the world, period. The jails and prisons would have to be converted to schools and hospitals.

License holders have earned the respect and trust of everyone through the decades. That some still try to lie and distort the record to keep them from being able to defend themselves and their loved ones is shameful. We live at a time when we need more armed first responders not fewer. Some like Kelly will never get this. Those in his chosen profession are supposed to be rational and driven by logic in every action they take, big or small. I guess there really are exceptions to every rule.

Darren LaSorte lobbied with NRA-ILA for nearly 14 years and now lives and works in Dallas. His passions are shooting, hunting and self-defense training.