Skip to comments.Who are the real gunowners?
Posted on 08/17/2004 4:00:03 AM PDT by Siamese Princess
Firearms users often get an undeserving negative portrayal in the popular press and films. It's time for the real story to be told. A new book and a DVD provide some much-needed balance
By James A. Swan, Ph.D. Author "In Defense of Hunting"
A lawyer by training, John Grisham has penned some of the most popular thriller novels of recent years, most of which have become successful feature films.
Many of Grisham's stories involve courtroom drama and the legal battles. In "Runaway Jury," 12 jurors who have been investigated, manipulated and harassed by lawyers and consultants trying to secure a verdict must render a decision in a precedent-setting lawsuit against a giant tobacco company.
Juror No. 2, with the help of a beautiful woman on the outside, aims to make sure that the plaintiff wins big and the bad guys are hit hard.
When Hollywood buys rights to a novel, the screen adaptation can have significant changes. In Robin Cook's novel "Outbreak," for example, the bad guys try to put HMOs out of business by releasing flesh-eating bacteria. When "Outbreak" was adapted for the big screen, the military became the bad guy, breeding a killer bug for a weapon that got out of control and nearly devastated the nation.
When "Runaway Jury" was adapted into a feature film starring John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, and Rachel Weisz, the "bad guys" on trial were changed to a firearms manufacturer and a gun store that sold assault weapons.
Could such a scenario happen? Yes, but why change the story to make the gun industry the target? It would be nice to know.
The late actor Robert Stack was right on target when he said, "You meet the nicest people at a shooting range."
But the general public doesn't know that because many people have never touched a real gun, let alone shot one or been to a range. And as John Lott Jr. points out in his most important book "The Bias Against Guns," the media have a heavy negative bias against gun owners and firearms manufacturers.
People need to understand who gun owners and manufacturers really are in order to make reasonable decisions about gun issues and see through the anti-gun hysteria.
The sporting media portray firearms in a positive light, but, let's face it, the general public seldom sees or reads the outdoor press. The non-shooting, non-gun-owning public needs to be told the real story about guns, gun owners and gun manufacturers.
I am glad to call attention to a new book and a DVD about firearms and their owners that can help reach the general public in ways that previously have not been possible.
In "Shooters: Myths and Realities of America's Gun Culture," (Oxford University Press; $29.95) anthropologist Abigail A. Kohn uses ethnographic research with recreational shooters to shed light on America's gun culture.
Kohn paints accurate portrayals of those who she interviews and demonstrates that the core values of gun owners are freedom, independence, individualism and equality.
The book is well-written and can be easily grasped by the average reader, yet it is meticulously documented to satisfy the questioning academic.
Perhaps the only shortcoming is the small size of her sample; Kohn interviewed in-depth only 37 people not a representative sample but she does a good job of using these people to create a foundation to discuss considerable additional research on guns and their users.
To Kohn's credit, she admits she was not a shooter when she began her research and she expected to find people fitting the popular negative stereotypes. However, when she met so many friendly, safe and sane people as you tend to find at shooting ranges, she was transformed.
Kohn has not only has written a much-needed study about who firearms owners really are, she has ended up becoming a cowboy-action shooter herself.
This is a thoughtful book that will shoot down false demonizing stereotypes of the "gun culture" and help gun owners better understand how to change their image.
Her final chapter, offering advice for both gun owners and anti-gun activists offers some good advice for both sides on how to shed light on firearms laws and policy rather than just heat.
Targeting the UN
The United Nations has been actively pursuing the international control of small arms, including firearms, for more than a decade, and numerous governments around the world are seeking to regulate or ban firearms ownership and use.
Academics and scholars who understand the positive values of firearms have seldom been represented in the popular press or given easy access to the UN, adding to the problem of making reasonable policy.
In May 2003, the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities sought to fill this vacuum by hosting an international firearms scholars' symposium dubbed "The Legal, Economic and Human Rights Implications of Civilian Firearms Ownership and Regulation." The program was held at the Tower Of London in England, surrounded by one of the great arms collections of the world.
There were some eight hours of presentations with speakers who included Simon Fraser University professor Gary Mauser, Independence Institute attorney and author David Kopel, Imperial War Museum curator David Penn, Robert Glock of Glock Arms Co., constitutional attorney and author Don Kates, author and attorney Stephen P. Halbrook, Skidmore College professor and author Mary Stange and yours truly, who still has a research academic appointment as a psychologist.
Forgive me for promoting my own work, but my production company, Snow Goose Productions, has distilled the WFSA program into the new 56-minute DVD "A Question of Balance."
Hosted by Guy Wilson, former director of the Royal Armouries, the DVD features numerous graphics, video footage and photos from around the world as speakers address such topics as gun registration and why it doesn't work; Switzerland's national obsession with shooting; and what the firearms industry is doing to try to help control illegal sales.
It also includes a special 13-minute overview of major topics covered so decision-makers cannot say that they didn't have time to watch the whole program.
"A Question of Balance" is being distributed to UN governments and non-government organizations alike in hopes of stimulating responsible firearms policy discussions.
Individual copies cost $16.95 , including shipping and handling (California residents add 7.5 percent tax) and are available from Snow Goose Productions, P.O. Box 2460, Mill Valley, CA 94942.
James Swan who has appeared in more than a dozen feature films, including "Murder in the First" and "Star Trek: First Contact," as well as the television series "Nash Bridges," "Midnight Caller" and "Modern Marvels" is the author of the book "In Defense of Hunting." Click here to purchase a copy.
To learn more about Swan, visit his Web site.
As the bumper sticker states: "An armed society is a polite society."
However true that mythical and correct era was, it is also true that the population of the country was half what it is today. Our ability to wield long arms was in direct correlation to putting food on the table on a daily basis and not in an outdoor recreational pursuit.
A Kimber "Eclipse Target II" 1911A1 .45cal ACP for daily carry - Glock 32/ .357 SIG for back-up - and a Remy 870 Synthetic Tactical 12ga, for home/ business intruders.
Of course, a higher percentage of the population hunted, though not just rural folks -- at the outbreak of WWII, my father lived in urban Elizabeth, NJ, and hunted in the wilds of West Orange, NJ, after which he volunteered for a government-paid hunting trip to Europe to hunt more dangerous prey -- they shot back!
Gun control is people control. Even such things as sword and bow and arrow control was people control, as well. Tyrants will seek to disarm the population so they cannot resist. In the past, in some societies, royalty and the aristocracy were permitted to bear arms but not the ordinary citizenry, for the same reason. I think that the Orientals developed martial arts because they were legally prohibited from bearing arms -- someone please correct me if I am wrong.
YOU might think that gun ownership is only an "outdoor recreational pursuit" but that only reflects on your ignorance of your duties as a citizen of these United States of America - or of any society a person chooses to belong to.
You are charged with contributing to the society, If you don't, you do not deserve the benefits of that society.
The greatest thing a person can do as a contribution to society is to NOT BE A BURDEN to the society by NOT being a beggar, a thief, or a total fool that cannot defend himself from a mad rabbit.
A S&W .40 with JPF ammo, an Ithaca 37 12 guage, and an AR-15 with plenty of SS-109 if all hell breaks loose.
Gun control is 5 shots in the #10 circle at 25 yards.
You should see what's in my new double door Cannon gunsafe: 2 Class III AR-15s (full-auto and silencers), Beowulf .50cal, and my AR-10, soon to be joined by a Barrett M82A1 .50cal BMG. There's also just over 40,000 rounds for all the weapons, hi-cap mags etc etc.
I'm with you CJ: ready.
I intend to buy this book.
However, like "More Guns, Less Crime", this book will probably not reach those individuals who really should read it - the anit-gunners and young children. It will be deliberately blocked by the media and the major booksellers - Barnes and Noble and Borders.
Too bad there isn't some way to distribute free copies to Junior High School Kids before they are brainwashed by the NEA.
I think the changes in National Attitude towards firearms arise from several separate sources.
Today, most people live in urban or suburban areas, not rural areas. Most suburbanites originated in the cities. In cities there are few opportunites to enjoy the shooting sports - no hunting grounds, few shooting ranges. In addition there are myriads of rules and regulations attempting to prevent gun ownership. Hence, the average city dweller, and so the average American, has come to associate guns with police, criminals, and soldiers.
In addition, the drug "industry" is centered in urban minority communities, making urban minorities the largest percentage of the population adversely impacted by the abuse of firearms. And these particular groups have grown in political power over the years and view elimination of gun ownership as one of their major political goals.
Then there is the NEA and its state clones. These people are determined to teach a revisionist version of history to young people. This view of history presents Europeans, and particularly European males, as the bogyemen of history, along with everything which permitted them to dominate the world, including firearms, They are aided in this effort by their compatriots in the colleges and universities.
Then there are the modern revisionist "Christian" churches which have veered from their original goals of offering salvation to selling left-wing, politically correct propaganda their priomary function. Concern for the afterlife has assumed a distant second place to creating a utopianist world state in their agandas. Their collective anti-gun messages and actual finacial support of anti-gun groups is part of this effort.
The new immigrants come from countries in which gun ownership is associated with the military and criminals and their is no tradition of an armed populace enforcing their will on the government - as was the case in early America.
Then there is the entertainment industry. Watching the average Hollywood menu, one gets the impression that America is seething with auotmatic-weapon-toting lunatics constantly blowing away cops and civlians, or far-right fanatics armed with high-powered weaponry. Adding to this perspective is the notorious anti-gun, left-wing bias of the media prostitutes who engage in presenting this kind of entertainment.
Finally, their is an active conspiracy on the part of the far left mainstream news media to filter out or totally block the publication of ANY news item which presents a firearm employed in a useful law-abiding manner, while at the same time, priting on a national level each and every incident involving the misuse of firearms.
Until the conservatives succeed in regaining control of at least ONE maintream national newspaper which presents a true account of the Second Amendment issue to citizens, the continued erosion of gun rights is guarenteed, regardless of how many accurate and well-meaing books like this one are published, which will only reach those who already with their authors.
Haven't gone the full auto route...yet. I've got an M-14 in semi.
Once you try it or 3-round burst, you'll love it. Got to get 40-round mags, though, as the ammo goes quickly. I have 10 x 40-rnd mags for each AR-15, and 20-rnd mags for the AR-10. I paid a lot of bucks to get them, and after the AWB sunsets, they'll be worth pennies on the dollar.
I belong to a gun club about an hour's drive away. I would go more often except sometimes I just don't feel like making the long trip. There are few ranges left in northern New Jersey.
Let's hope so. Actually, I bought a 10rd mag for my Sig40 so I wouldn't wear out my 12rders. I weird like that.