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Gun control posts

Looking back over the Scratching Post blog, I see that I’ve had a few gun-politics posts over the past few weeks. For those who, like me, quickly get fed up with politics, let me explain a little bit about what I’m doing on this blog and why I’m doing it.

When I started writing Cornered Cat the website back in 2002, I stayed completely away from any mention whatsoever of gun politics. There are, after all, a million different places online where you can easily find politics of any flavor you like — but at the time, there were almost no websites about training and concealed carry written specifically for women.*

These days, I still don’t much enjoy writing about gun politics, and there are still lots of places where you can find information about what’s going on on the political front. I’m still excited about teaching women how to defend themselves and I’m still not interested in fawning over a bunch of dishonest old people wearing crocodile grins and business suits.

But.

After much soul-searching, I’ve come to this: Cornered Cat is about women learning how to defend themselves. Period, full stop.

Sometimes that means I must mention the political scene, because when a law is passed that makes it harder for women to defend themselves, that hurts all of us. This doesn’t just apply to “you can’t own this type of gun anymore” laws, either. It also applies to laws that affect your legal situation before or after you shoot, and to laws that tell you where you can or can’t carry. All of these laws have a very strong impact on your ability to protect yourself, and that means you need to know about them. (That’s one reason I’m a huge supporter of the work being done by the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, by the way. The legal education they provide is truly stunning, and so is the security of knowing they have your financial back after a shooting.)

Most of my readers are fairly new to concealed carry and self-defense. Not everyone new to the gun community realizes this, but our ability to exercise our basic human rights related to firearms has been expanding in recent years. That’s the good news. The bad news is that those rights were really, really hard-won, and they still hang by a thread in some areas. They aren’t a sure thing, and they can vanish overnight if we as gun owners don’t stick together to protect each other.

Even at the federal level, we are literally one bad court case or one bad law away from having no realistic access to modern tools for self-defense. This isn’t hyperbole; it is the plain and unadulterated truth. If no one tells our new people this, if no one educates them about what is happening and why it matters, people new to the firearms community will be blindsided by that bad law or bad court case. And in a lot of ways, that’s what the anti-gun side is doing right now: they are hoping that the huge wave of new shooters stays ignorant of what’s happening or why it matters until it’s too late to stop it.

So as much as I’d like to, I cannot simply ignore the precarious political situation right now. As Massad Ayoob pointed out on his own blog, “One of our regular blog commentators said recently that he wished I’d get off politics and back to talking about guns. I hear ya, Doc, but the thing of it is…there ain’t much more important ‘about guns’ than the right to acquire, own, and keep them.”

So that’s the scoop. Moving forward, in keeping with my basic mission, I intend for my blog posts to focus on education, not rants and not even calls to action. You can get that stuff anywhere! So I will always keep my main focus on teaching you how to carry and how to protect yourself with the guns you already own. But when appropriate, I will also help you understand how to protect the guns you own to protect yourself. Why? Because that, too, is part of being prepared to protect yourself.

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* There were, of course, lots of sites with pictures of half-nekkid grrrls with their fingers on the trigger and muzzles pointed in stupidly inappropriate directions, but that’s a different thing. Also, although in the past few years there’s been a huge explosion of fun blogs that support women who shoot, there still are not many serious sites about firearms training for women, and almost none written by someone qualified to write them.

5 Responses to Gun control posts

  1. kalaryn says:

    I appreciate any and all input that you have and I agree our rights are apart of our protection. There are probably a lot of new shooters who probably wouldn’t even thing to look up new laws.

    Do you have a section of recommended political sites that you support? If not, it might not be a bad idea because new people may not know where to look or which ones might be more geared towards them.

    • larryarnold says:

      My first suggestion would be to look up your state shooting association. (Mine is Texas State Rifle Association, at https://www.tsra.com/.) Lurk around their website and see if you feel welcome. Look for programs, like womens programs, you might be interested in.

      Second, check if they have a political action committee. (Like TSRA-PAC, at http://www.tsrapac.com/.) Here’s where you’ll find most of the political information. They probably will have a place to sign up for email alerts. When you’re ready, sign up.

      Note: State rifle associations, and the NRA, are really two organizations. One will be organized as a not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of promoting shooting. Donations to them will be tax-deductable, and they are prohibited from doing most things political.

      The other will be organized as a political action organization. Donations are not tax deductable, and they exist for lobbying.

      Organizations that fail to keep the two completely separate financially will attract unpleasant visits from the IRS. (Unless they have friends in high places, like some gun-control groups.)

      I note the above because there are lots of folks who think paying dues to the NRA provides funding for NRA lobbying. Nope. The two are separate.

    • Kalaryn,

      Larry gave you some good advice.

      I suggest joining SAF (Second Amendment Foundation). SAF does an amazing job fighting for our rights in the courts. They are very strictly non-political and focused only on protecting 2nd Amendment rights. That means they’re doing work that all gun owners can get behind, no matter what other political beliefs they hold. They don’t endorse political candidates and don’t generally get involved in elections. Instead, they work through the court system to clarify and expand freedom that way.

      The NRA has two wings: NRA proper, and NRA-ILA (National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Acion). The NRA proper provides all sorts of member services, but doesn’t do political stuff. (No, really!) The NRA-ILA does lobbying and other things of that nature. It also provides very handy position papers and statements about what’s happening in the law-passing world.

      At this point, I should issue the standard disclaimers: “I don’t agree with everything these organizations blah blah blah.” Consider the disclaimers issued. ;) I’m definitely not a fan of the fundraising style that always screams “THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!” whether or not it is actually falling. I think that style has hurt us (badly!) with the current foorah, because many people who might otherwise take a serious warning seriously have a hard time getting past the idea, “These guys always scream like that, so it’s not serious.”

      There’s also the perception in a lot of circles that the NRA supports only Republicans. This is emphatically Not. True. NRA can and does support anyone who votes pro-rights, or who promises to do so. Unfortunately (and this is a true and serious problem) when one party consistently has a plank in their party platform that is anti-rights, it becomes very difficult to find people of that party who will pledge to remain pro-rights.

      Here’s one current (and bitter, bitter, bitter) example of how that dynamic works: Harry Reid. NRA took a lot of grief from its base over supporting Reid in various elections. Even though Reid had always been good to gun owners, the old guard base didn’t much care for him on other issues. But NRA stood firm, endorsed him, and supported his candidacies.

      Harry Reid is among the leaders of the political charge to destroy gun rights this session.

      He’s doing that because he has to, in order to stay in the good graces of his party – the party that put him in office. When push comes to shove, this particular human right gets forced to sit at the back of that party’s bus. (Note for my Dem friends: if you voted for this man, please contact him and ask him to hold the line on gun issues. He needs to be reminded that you’re out there!)

      Anyway, I’ve strayed from my point, which was that if you want timely information about what’s happening on the political front:

      Support SAF.

      Support NRA and (especially) NRA-ILA.

      Take a look through the blogs on the right side of your screen. Many of them have a political emphasis and several do a good job of keeping their readers aware of what’s going on. I’ll try to pull together a more specific list this week if I can.

      • larryarnold says:

        Agreed.

        Whatever anyone thinks of the NRA-ILA, the “real” NRA is the one oganization doing the most to protect gun rights. Not by lobbying or filing lawsuits, but by fielding tens of thousands of instructors who teach millions of people to shoot.

        The anti-gun folks hate the NRA because they believe that members of Congress are afraid of a few people in an office in Virginia. I believe that the pro-gun members of Congress (and over half of each house is NRA-rated A or A+) are there because they and their constituents agree with the NRA.

        And most of those pro-gun constituents were influenced directly or indirectly by decades of those NRA instructors.

  2. Smart, articulate women like you need to speak up and help the rest find their voice. We can’t let other do it all for us.

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