Monday, December 31, 2012

Germany Compiles First Nationwide Gun Register - (Since 1919 anyway)

In the news today, I saw this headline: Germany Compiles First Nationwide Gun Register.  Considering the report comes from Germany, the reporter is either ignorant of his own country's history or is willfully misleading the reader.  The Weimar Republic and, to be fair, the Allied powers in WWI thought it would be a good idea to disarm the German populace.

Quoting from Chicago Law professor Bernard E. Harcourt's 2004 paper entitled, "Hitler and Gun Registration",
[quote]But even before the Treaty [of Versailles] was signed, the German parliament of the Weimar Republic enacted legislation prohibiting gun possession: on January 13, 1919, the Reichstag enacted legislation requiring the surrender of all guns to the government. This law, as well as the August 7, 1920, Law on the Disarmament of the People passed in light of the Versailles Treaty, remained in effect until 1928, when the German parliament enacted the Law on Firearms and Ammunition (April 12, 1928)—a law which relaxed gun restrictions and put into effect a strict firearm licensing scheme.[/quote]
Of course, it should be noted that the 1928 law and its successors relaxed restrictions on gun ownership, but only for those deemed deserving by the state.  Isn't that always how it goes?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Gun Culture

NBC sports announcer Bob Costas continues to rail against the "gun culture" in the United States in the wake of the Jovan Belcher incident last weekend where an apparently otherwise normal (by NFL standards) player decided to murder his girlfriend and then kill himself.

On MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Costas stated,
"[The gun culture] demonstrates itself in the Wild West, Dirty Harry mentality of people who actually believe that if a number of people were armed in the theater in Aurora, they would have been able to take down this nut-job in body armor and military-style artillery."

As someone who grew up around firearms, I have lots of fond memories that involve firearms.  I remember getting my first BB gun and shooting it in the backyard with my dad.  I remember buying my first .22 from a family friend (with my dad's permission) with money that I had earned.  I have given and received firearms as gifts for special occasions.  I have introduced new people (including my kids) to firearms.  I have put meat on my family's table with a firearm.  I have picked up a firearm when someone was pounding on my door at 2AM in a less-desireable section of town.  At no point in any of this did I hurt anyone.  This is my gun culture.

When people are new to firearms, or they have questions about a particular firearm or getting their carry license, most people in the gun community will bend over backward to help them out.  It is not uncommon to be at a range and have someone offer to let someone else shoot their gun if they've asked a question of expressed interest in it.  That is my gun culture.

Back to Costas's comments, I do not carry because I harbor some Walter Mitty-esque fantasy of being a hero.  I carry a gun for the same reason I have a fire extenguisher in my house: duty.  I have a duty to my family to take care of them.  That includes getting them home safely.  I don't know if I could have stopped the Aurora shooter (who was NOT wearing body armor, and whose "military-style artillery" functions no differently than President Teddy Roosevelt's Remington Model 8), but I know that if I were trapped in that theater, I'd rather have a gun than not have one.

My gun culture is one of responsibility and self-reliance.  What is the matter with that?

For further reading/viewing on this subject, I recommend Katie Pavlich's article here and/or Mr. ColionNoir's video here.

USDA Chief: Rural America becoming less relevant

Tom Vilsack, the head of the USDA, had some salient comments on rural communities' influence in US politics today, as reported here.