This video documents a small portion of the protests on Dec 28 2012 at the National Gun Show held at the Chantilly, VA Expo Center. The main protest was hosted by CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace and MoveOn. The single participant in the simultaneous counter-protest was an armed person calling himself the “San Francisco Liberal with a Gun.”
The piece features a short interview with this individual and footage of activists (I recognized Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK) discussing the spotty enforcement of background checks at gun shows, referencing their work with some of the VA Tech massacre victim’s families and noting incredulously that loaded guns aren’t allowed in the gun show but that people want loaded guns in our elementary schools.
As seen in this piece, “San Francisco Liberal with a Gun” seemed to center his counter protest around two views: 1. The 2nd Amendment is necessary to preserve the 1st Amendment 2. Any definition of an assault weapon is arbitrary, save the ones that are capable of fully automatic fire (machine guns, etc.)
My view: As a responsible gun owner, former hunter and someone trained in gun safety, I can understand the need/desire to have weapons for hunting and if needed, home defense. I feel that I can define an assault weapon, but that the real issue are these large magazines that transform a potential sporting weapon into a tool of mass killing. Preserving the 1st Amendment via the 2nd: In theory, it is probably ok for a government to be a little scared of its people, in reality, any actual bearing or use of guns against agents of the government will ensure that your government will kill you (Ruby Ridge and Waco didn’t end all that well.) I find this topic doesn’t offer any politically easy answers, however, some things do ring true to me.
More guns are not the answer – although they might occasionally be in the right place at the right time to stop the statistically extremely rare psychotic shooting spree, they would likely increase the total body count in other incidental ways due also to their availability during fits of pique, drunken stupidity, falling into the hands of naive playing children, cases of mistaken identity, etc.
An assault rifle ban won’t solve America’s gun violence problem, but it might lower the body count. Although hard to enforce against the current supply of large magazine assault rifles in circulation; it could limit some future deaths due to legally owned weapons falling into the hands of violent psychotic people such as in the case with the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.
Background checks should be mandatory, nationwide, no exemptions – there is no other way to attempt to keep guns out of the hands of psychotics and felons. No doubt it is true that a determined felon will attempt to get guns on the black market but we don’t need to make it easily commercially available to him. There are also stings and other police work focused on black market purchases.
No one needs a 15 – 30 round magazine for hunting or home defense – sorry, you just don’t, these were designed for battlefield combat.
We do need to improve mental health care – it seems to me that we too deeply cut mental health care facilities during the Reagan years and they haven’t recovered since. We see lost windows for prior nonviolent intervention with the VA Tech killer, the Sandy Hook killer, the theater killer and possibly the Fort Bragg killer.
Wishing You and Yours a Peaceful 2013, Rhett Rebold
Please support Story of America with a tax deductible donation.