I’m done. I am officially done arguing and “debating” with Gun Zealots both here on my site and on my Facebook page, and I am here to absolve the entire nation from having to worry or fret about what a small but extremely vocal minority of gun owners thinks and says and threatens to do over gun control measures. But first, let me be sure to define what a Gun Zealot is, so as not to offend someone who is most assuredly not a Gun Zealot.
Perhaps it’s easiest to sum up what a Gun Zealot is not:
- Someone who has a vintage gun collection. I like antique stuff too, and while those guns can still kill, I’m not worried about a collector dumping a blunderbuss or a musket on the open market.
- Someone who owns a rifle for hunting, whether for sport or sustenance. I understand the need to hunt, and as long as you follow your state’s gun and hunting laws, we’re cool.
- Someone who owns a sensible gun or two for home protection. I myself don’t want a gun in my house. I believe the studies about how much more likely you are to be hurt by your own gun, or for your loved one to be shot with it. But I’m not a “gun grabber,” so if you’re all about safety and protection, own that gun.
- Someone who is among the 85% of people polled by Pew recently that favor the kinds of sensible gun control measures the President is sure to be recommending to Congress (he may have already, I’m writing this on the morning of his announcement)
I am convinced, after reading a piece by Juan Williams of all people, posted on Fox News’ website of all places, that most gun owners do not fall into the category of a Gun Zealot. In his rather wonderfully written and pointed piece, Williams eviscerates those on the right who are planning to impeach the president, withhold funding needed to implement the new proposals The White House just released, and the arguments that Obama has no legal precedent. Williams points to LBJ, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all using the executive privilege afforded the president in Article II of the Constitution specifically to legislate guns. Note that there’s a Republican on that list, Gun Zealots.
Williams rightly pointed to hardcore conservative Justice Anton “Maybe the People Should Be Allowed To Own Rocket Launchers” Scalia’s opinion in Heller that the Second Amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Williams’ piece gave me the insight I need into the conservative world. Now, I know that Williams is Fox News’ go to ethnic liberal, but let’s face it, he’s had plenty of right-wing rhetoric and talking points escape his mouth before. But the fact is that the very same Pew Poll I mentioned earlier was also cited by Williams in his piece, and it demonstrates the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans, and therefore the overwhelming majority of gun owners are rather sensible people looking for sensible solutions and are not Gun Zealots.
So who are these Gun Zealots? Gun Zealots are the people I’ve come in contact with on various platforms here on the World Wide Intertubes that call me a “Gun Grabber.” They tell me I’m out to take everyone’s guns, even though you won’t find a single sentence in a single piece I’ve written where I call for the total disarmament of the populace. They tell me I’m not allowed to participate in the public discourse over gun legislation because I’m not a gun owner, and I still call AR-15s “assault rifles.” They’re the ones you see posting memes of Hitler and Obama side-by-side grinning while they disarm their countries. Gun Zealots are the ones who argue about total disarmament even when the discussion at hand is merely whether we can write new or revise the current gun legislation to ratchet up security for everyone. They’re the ones that scream at you that gun control laws and assault rifle bans don’t work, despite the fact that Japan has just about outright banned guns altogether and their gun violence statistics are embarrassingly low compared to ours.
Gun Zealots are the ones who look at the Pew Poll, and don’t understand. Gun Zealots are the ones who refuse to inject reality into the discussion of guns, and instead scream about everything from Hitler to Lincoln to Thomas Jefferson and beyond, but never actually answering the question of “Why do you need a weapon like the AR-15 for anything other than hunting human beings?” Gun Zealots are the ones poisoning the conversation before it gets going, spouting NRA talking points and never actually acknowledging the frightening level to which guns have become so goddamned ubiquitous, and cling to a sycophantic and historically inaccurate view of the Constitution to remain ensconced in the bubble that is their very existence.
In other words, they’re the Tea Party of gun owners.
And so it is with the knowledge that Gun Zealots represent a very small minority of not just gun owners, but of the American People, that I hereby give you this “Gun Zealot Emancipation Proclamation.” But unlike Lincoln’s most important document that he ever composed, I am freeing the majority from the minority:
Whereas, on the sixteenth day of January, in the year of someone’s Lord two thousand and thirteen, a proclamation was issued by some writer/comedian on a political “blog,” containing, among other things, the following:
“As of this date, going forward in perpetuity, given the overwhelming majority’s attitude towards sensible gun restrictions, I am no longer going to engage in debate or discourse with anyone who is among the very small but recalcitrant and vocal minority, known as Gun Zealots over the aforementioned sensible gun restrictions. And I am also hereby absolving the rest of the nation from their duty to involve any of their fellow Americans who fall into that descriptor – Gun Zealots – as well.
I vow to start this new era first and foremost on my website as well as on the accompanying Facebook page. Anyone who engages in belligerent, talking-point fueled nonsense as means of distracting from actual discourse will be banned, on sight and without prejudice. If you can argue against gun control without telling me I’m not allowed to participate, I’m or that I’m a Marxist-Leftist-Socialist-Pussy-Asshole-Douchebag simply because I share the opinion of the overwhelming majority, you are welcome to enjoy a vigorous and spirited debate. But if you are here to malign me or anyone else who is trying to discuss in a civil manner the problems facing this country in terms of gun violence and what some possible solutions are to fix them, you are not welcome here, ever again.
As firm a believer as I am in the First Amendment, and as firmly as I believe that the powers contained in that most sacred of legislative prose give the rest of the document it’s power, I will not tell you that you cannot spout your nonsense at all. It’s just not welcome here, in my forum, or any forum I conduct. And I hereby absolve any and all other Americans in the same situation of their responsibility to engage with Gun Zealots. It’s time for those who would prefer that mass murders be carried out from time to time instead of even talking about gun control measures to slink back among themselves and see if they have the requisite votes from stopping the rest of the country from moving forward, not to a total disarmament but to a restoration of common sense and societal responsibility. I do not aim to excise either the First or Second Amendment rights from Gun Zealots, but I, and no one else is under any legal or moral obligation to entertain the bleating and gnashing of teeth of the Gun Zealot. They are not out for discourse. They are out to arm our nation against each other.
When and if this small group of hyperbolic and histrionic Americans decides to stop resisting all attempts at dialogue, and can promise to not derail every discussion with hissy-fits and absurd claims that no gun laws ever work, when they are ready to stop insisting that every regulation is equal to prohibition, when they fucking grow up and stop pretending as if guns are benign implements of peace except only in the hands of the wicked, when they realize that the Second Amendment promises them to never have their guns ripped away by Federal authorities, and when they see that their fellow Americans who do wish to engage in dialogue and discussion are not the enemy, but instead someone with a desire to find ways to keep more innocents from being slaughtered, this proclamation will be null and void. They will be welcome back with open arms.
Until that day, I hereby emancipate the sane and rational majority from the tyranny of the small but extremely vocal minority. We can fear not, friends. There is not a violent uprising coming. President Obama does not have the legal authority to steal everyone’s guns. And he has no intention of doing that, and I promise you all that he will not, ever. And so it is with that recognition of the reality of the situation that I proclaim us all free from the chains that bind our society and keep us from finding common ground, and prevent us from at least trying, which is all we really want to do anyway.”
By The Writer/Comedian: James Schlarmann