Photo courtesy Howard Communications
In a recent opinion article, William McGurn, a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, tells us he just got a permit, in New Jersey, for a gun. He then asks what so many first-time buyers are asking this year: “Do other Americans buying guns for the first time find it as grating as I do to learn that we need government permission to exercise a constitutional right?”
Honest questions like this, asked often enough and by enough people, can change the system.
We’ve written a lot here about the nearly five million (and counting) new gun owners in America this year, and about how this trend might influence the electorate in this presidential election. But experiences such as McGurn’s are also pulling threads on a big lie often told by gun-control groups and the politicians that support them: They tell us American freedom is to blame for the illegal actions of a small, but dangerous, criminal class.
The politicians who want more gun control then use this lie as a rationale to attempt to convince the public that the way to reduce violent crime is, therefore, to massively restrict our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
In too many cases, a comfortable and relatively safe populace has fallen for this dishonesty without realizing—in good times anyway—that what these groups and politicians really want is power over them that is not constrained by the peoples’ individual rights.
But now, in these uncertain times (to put it mildly), people are looking for the security their freedom promises; they are especially interested in getting their hands on freedom’s tool—yes, guns.
When, in their search for individual safety, they run into an uncaring bureaucracy, they are inevitably jarred awake by the realization that their freedom has been unduly encumbered by an oppressive state. McGurn has clearly had this now-common realization.
McGurn then had another realization that goes against mainstream-media narratives. He said, “[O]ur family’s decision to buy a gun has introduced us to the side of the NRA more Americans see: the education side. The NRA has courses, online and in person, for almost everything. The NRA instructor my wife and I engaged, Billy De Almedia, was firm, professional and patient.
“It’s not just the instruction that impresses. It’s the sheer Americanness of a private organization established to support a constitutional right in all its manifestations, from defending the Second Amendment legally and philosophically to instilling in newbies such as myself the respect for guns necessary to keep and use them safely. Not to mention a taste of the satisfaction that comes from mastering a new discipline.”
After his deep dive into the New Jersey bureaucracy, and a happy exposure to all the NRA has to offer, McGurn said, “Surely if the government were to assume the functions the NRA provides, the experience would be akin to going to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. In America, by contrast, the ethos emphasizes private initiative and responsibility. In our new interactions with gun owners, gun instructors and owners of gun ranges, my wife and I have found them unfailingly eager to help and to answer even the dumbest questions.”
He also notes that these new gun owners—people who now have hands-on experience with this right—might impact the coming election: “In Pennsylvania alone, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reckons there are 276,648 first-time gun owners this year. To put this in perspective, in 2016 Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,292 votes.”
Like so many in states such as New York, New Jersey and California, he found out that even though he is a good citizen who can easily pass a background check, he still had to beg and pay fees to utilize this basic constitutional right. These kinds of interactions with the state change people.
If you are interested in finding an NRA Certified Instructor, or if you know someone who is seeking the same, go to NRAInstructors.org.