“Many gun owners are hesitant to express support for stricter gun control measures” – NPR

Hmm, I wonder why? I am certain NPR, the fair, balanced, and unbiased network that published this

on their official accounts will find educated, articulate, enlightened modern gun owners who can speak clearly on their concerns for this piece.

AUBREY: Well, let me tell you about two gun owners, in particular. They’re neighbors, Richard Small and Gerardo Marquez. They both live on small ranches south of San Antonio, not far from Uvalde. They have a lot in common. They’re both in their 60s, both retired school teachers and administrators. And both told me they grew up with guns. Here’s Small and then Marquez.

Oh yay… Fudds.

They found two boomers, not Millennials or Zoomers (who are statistically more pro-gun and more likely to own modern firearms) to ask about why they are concerned about speaking out in favor of firearm legislation. Could it be that, like on many other topics, the younger gun owners who buy the modern firearms are blaming the older generations for screwing things up in this first place? Could it be that their ill-informed opinions on old our outdated modes of thinking are just not nuanced enough for meaningful participation in a modern discussion?

Nah, I’m sure it’s just the extreme NRA, who we will be reminded over and over again supported the National Firearms Act back in the day. They supported other unsuccessful legislative actions to curb the violent impulses of man too, because they were assured there was a limit and they wanted to be ‘reasonable’ and not cast in the light they were then cast in anyway.

It’s nice you found two elder BoomerFudds in Texas who hold the most sympathetic viewpoint towards gun control gun that gun owners tend to in order to represent all gun owner concerns everywhere.

RICHARD SMALL: I have a rifle that I use with my grandson for plinking. They call it plinking, you know, shooting at a steel target.

Okay, so Small is a super casual.

GERARDO MARQUEZ: We duck hunt, turkey hunt. So that’s what it is for me. We’re both in a country where people regularly shoot.

Another casual, but this one hunts. Did he hear Biden’s Kevlar wearing deer line?

Yep, bonafides established as gun owners so they can speak for everyone.

AUBREY: Guns are just part of their everyday lives. They go to gun shows. They read hunting magazines. They’re both very upset about the spate of mass shootings.

Can we stop with this false expertise game? Just because someone tangentially participates in something does not qualify someone to speak on its nuances and cause and effect. I wouldn’t trust these two to talk about vehicle safety designs and protocols either or roadway designs or safe traffic flow. I would trust my father to have an intelligent conversation on those topics, but in just a mild difference between himself and these two gentlemen of the same rough age he happens to be a traffic safety engineer. I would probably take great stock in these two’s opinions on teaching, since they are retired teachers. But even there, I would have to temper that with how long they have been retired and how recent their experiences in the classroom are. Additionally, where did they teach and what was the culture like there must also be considered. I would still however value their opinions in their field, they are likely much better informed by experience than mine on that topic.

AUBREY: And they’re troubled, they say, by the easy access to assault-style rifles. And they want change, they say.

Ah, classic 2nd Amendment buttism. They can likely not articulate why their firearms are different than the scary ones accurately.

SMALL: I had an epiphany of, I’m done. I don’t need it. It’s a bad, deadly combination in the wrong hands. (Small turned in his AR.)

You can choose not to need something. You can choose to give it up. These are your choices. These are your opinions. We are not required to give them any weight in our decisions or opinions and we would be unwise to do so if they are ill-informed opinions. One wonders if Small believed he, at 60+, was the wrong hands? What if his other firearms fall into the wrong hands, what makes them safer?

MARQUEZ: It’s so obvious that we need to do something. The last two shootings, the one in Buffalo, the one here in Uvalde – 18-year-olds. I mean, golly, when are we going to wake up?

Why are you assuming we’re asleep, Mr. Marquez? Why are you assuming that security professionals and those educated on the topics of violence haven’t been trying? They have been. Vast resources were poured into school security programs, and that trend is being repeated again in places like Michigan and Ohio, but then schools didn’t change… because security wasn’t trendy. It wasn’t fashionable to harden the school. It was damaging to egos and psychies to admit that the only thing truly protecting our children in schools was how good the buildings, and people in them, are at keeping people out and the goodwill of society. We’ve spent decades, decades where those at ages 60, 70, and 80 years of age were the adults and in charge, eroding our good will.

AUBREY: Marquez is a Democrat. Small is a Republican.

Ah, ye olde bi-partisan coverage too. More false expertise plays by assuming these two again speak for all gun owners on both sides.

They both still own multiple guns.

Cool. I own multiple books. Multiple lawn mowers too. Even multiple cats. I am not a publication house resource, a landscaping expert, or a veterinarian.

But both support stricter background checks, more licensing requirements and red flag laws.

Ask them how those work. I’ll wait.

That is, basically, taking guns away from people who are deemed dangerous by the courts.

They’ve never gotten that wrong before.

EXONERATIONS. The Registry recorded 161 exonerations in 2021. YEARS LOST TO WRONGFUL IMPRISONMENT. In 2021, exonerees lost an average of 11.5 years to wrongful imprisonment for crimes they did not commit — 1,849 years in total for 161 exonerations.

Oh, nevermind.

Marquez says he’s long been in favor of more gun control. The recent tragedies add to the urgency, he says. But neither of them has spoken up so publicly about their views until now.

Maybe because it still, even in the age of social media (maybe especially in this age), is unwise to comment on topics you know little about and expect to be taken more seriously than what an ignoramus should be taken.

AUBREY: Well, one reason is that as a longtime member of the NRA – the National Rifle Association – Small says he’s been around a lot of people who he says have fallen for the gun lobby’s propaganda.

This gun lobby?

How about other lobby’s propaganda?

Lobbyists’ own propaganda?

SMALL: They’ve almost become so defensive and paranoid that government wants to seize their weapons.

They do.

And they’re so indoctrinated with that concept.

Yep. So far fetched.

The government won’t murder you and take your guns over the rumor of you doing something illegal, they promise.

I mean, we’ve got people, these guys – I’m so embarrassed, you know? They’re walking around with these ARs, you know, flamboyantly, you know, downtown, protesting.

I think they’re goofy too, but that is there right. I support that right even if I believe they could spend their time better. The VA rally was a sight to behold.

And, you know – and I’m just like, this has gotten out of hand, you know? It’s so crazy.

You believe it has gotten out of hand. That’s your opinion. An opinion of an old Fudd who helped vote in and set the conditions that these largely younger and better informed folks are now protesting. But sure, it has gotten out of hand when the protests have been far more peaceful than comparative examples of ‘mostly peaceful’ events.

AUBREY: And Small told me, from the outside, it may seem like these people represent the majority of gun owners. They certainly are the most vocal and getting the most attention.

Because that works. The future is now.

FADEL: So he thinks more gun owners are like him, share his views?

AUBREY: Yeah. He’s starting to think that he might be part of a silent majority of gun owners who want what he Marquez call commonsense gun law reform. Here’s Marquez.

Seems suspiciously Fudd-y.

MARQUEZ: I think the majority of gun owners would like for an 18-year-old not to have an AR.

I disagree.

We’ll hand them an AR, put them in a tank, and send him or her to war but they can’t defend themselves at home with that same basic individual weapon? Our generation has followed the trend of the previous ones and our service rifle became the popular one. Weird.

AUBREY: And Small says he’d like to see a new movement of people in the middle instead of an agenda driven by minority or what he would call the extreme within the NRA.

Why? We let every other angry opinion block minority drive the narrative. Why not guns? You realize there is a massive group of gun owners who think the NRA is too soft, right? Too dated and out of touch with the younger modern firearm owner.

SMALL: I’m hoping that gun owners, you know, sensible people are going to rise up and just – you know what, guys? Enough is enough.

Why do you assume that’s not what is happening when they won’t budge on gun control?

FADEL: So is there any evidence that the views of these two neighbors are actually reflective of most gun owners?

AUBREY: Well, of course, there’s a range of views. But, yeah, there is some evidence. I spoke to Dr. Michael Siegel. He’s a public health researcher at Tufts University. He’s published research based on surveys of thousands of gun owners.

I would love to see where the survey landed on the scale of gun control studies. Did it make it the cut for relevant data? Or is it like most survey data and can be structured so that the ignorant answer how you would prefer them to without trying too hard?

Let’s see.

MICHAEL SIEGEL: You know, our study found that the overwhelming majority of gun owners are just like him,

Ignorant, got it.

that they support these types of basic laws that aim, simply, to keep guns out of the hands of people who are high risk for violence.

Again, ask them how they work. Make them explain it. They cannot.

But they’re afraid to speak out publicly.

AUBREY: His study was published in 2020. After a mass shooting like Buffalo or Uvalde, support for gun control tends to go up.

Oh? An emotive response to a culturally shocking act of extreme violence? People tend to connect with things that are touted as cures for the bad thing, whether they are or not? Shocking. You know how many people got rich on bullshit during COVID because people were afraid? But we wouldn’t do that with guns right?

But he thinks the voices of gun owners who support tougher laws are still not being heard.

Because they shouldn’t be heard beyond the point that there idea is a bad one. That’s it. That’s the end of considering an opinion. You said it. It’s a terrible idea. It won’t work. Here is why. The end.

FADEL: So what does he think the reason is for that?

Clearly not their ignorance on the topics relevant to the discussion.

AUBREY: Well, they’re kind of stuck in the middle.

No, they are stuck outside having valuable input.

They reject the gun lobby’s positions.


But when they look at the other side, they’re also leery of gun control advocates who say things like, get rid of all guns.

So any of the serious ones. That is the only serious argument to be heard is prohibition, which would be impossible to work, but it is the only serious counter-position to the 2nd Amendment. There is no middle ground except that occupied by the uninformed, the ignorant, or the wishfully naive.

Or, you know, they don’t want to be seen as part of the problem just because they own a firearm, Dr. Siegel says.

Oh, they don’t like being told that they want dead kids because they support the 2nd Amendment. Despite their background as school teachers they’re still going to be lumped into a group by an extreme vocal minority of opposed opinionated groups based on a single characteristic? Maybe that’s why the ‘Gun Lobby’ is so ‘extreme’ in their stance on regulations.

SIEGEL: It alienates them because they feel like they’re being blamed.

No, they are being blamed. It isn’t a feeling. Anti-gunners, anti-NRA, anti-gun lobby, anti-2A groups all blame all gun owners with the rare exception of those they can use as political leverage for a moment to try and push their agenda. Like Marquez and Small here.

And so we really need gun owners to be part of the solution. And to do that, we have to respect gun culture. We have to respect the fact that they have a legitimate reason for owning a gun. We don’t have to agree with it, but we have to respect it.

That sounds wonderful. Mutual respect over a point of disagreement. Validating my viewpoint, even while disagreeing with it. What about AR owners? What about the ‘All gun laws are an infringement!’ types?

AUBREY: And he says that will help elevate the voices of gun owners who support gun control.

Oh, nevermind.

FADEL: So he’s arguing that gun control advocates would make progress if they embrace gun owners.

But only the nice ones, right? Only the ‘good’ gun owners as picked out by people who do not support or validate the need to own a firearm. I’m sure that’ll work out fairly.

AUBREY: That’s basically it. I mean, the views of Richard Small and Gerardo Marquez fit with the research.

Neat. Please validate the research based upon their understanding of the topics involved.

Gun owners believe in the right to own weapons. But they see plenty of room for compromise and lots of common ground.

If the common ground is great actual safety, yes. The problem is, and that no one on the anti side is willing to entertain, nobody will hear a solution that doesn’t fit within their worldview. Gun owners are tired of it. Security experts are tired of it. Gun owners are tired of being the forever-scapegoat for the criminally deranged and unspeakably evil.

Compromise? On what? What is the compromise? What are you willing to give gun owners back? All gun owners, not just the ones you agree with because they have a surface level understanding of any of the topics involved, at best.

And if recent tragedies motivated more to speak out, Dr. Siegel says he thinks it would make a big difference.

SIEGEL: I think it’s a game changer. I think that when gun owners are willing to come out and express their support for these laws, that’s when things will really start to change.

Change. Not improve. Just change.

AUBREY: I mean, it’s a lot of people. About a third of adults in the U.S. own a gun.

FADEL: Any evidence to show public opinion on gun control is shifting overall, even as legislation is stuck?

AUBREY: Well, a recent poll from Ipsos finds two-thirds of Americans believe there should be at least moderate regulations or restrictions on gun ownership.

Yay! Vague wording wins another poll saying what you want it to! Amazing! Now, ask them what ‘moderate regulations’ means, and be specific. Once again, I bet they cannot articulate it in a way that makes sense for a public policy. I also bet they say a lot of things that are already the law.

And though there is a partisan difference, 53% of Republicans agree with moderate to strong regulations.

Again, a vague ‘moderate to strong’ means literally nothing unless you can articulate that into policy.

I spoke to Chris Jackson of Ipsos about their results.

CHRIS JACKSON: We found that even among Republicans, we saw a majority, 78%, said that they would be more likely to support a candidate who supports passing background checks and red flag laws for all new gun purchases.

How many remotely understand what that process would look like, how it would be enforced, or would the expected compliance rates or resultant outcomes would be? Do they realize that both of these policies will overwhelming result in minority, especially black, criminal prosecutions going up? Did they even think about that? Did that make it into your poll?

Or did you, as is usual in polls, just use language favorable to your result and let people fill in the blanks in their own heads on what ‘moderate’ or ‘background check’ or ‘red flag’ means? Did you give any examples of positive and negative use cases for any of these? Did you point out background checks inherent limitations or that both 18 year old recent killers, the racist and the baby killer, passed theirs?

Are we addressing actual failure points or using buzzwords to garner the support we want to see. Polls are terrible for policy, great for general opinion and feelings.

AUBREY: And researchers say if polls continue to show that most Americans, including many gun owners, support new gun control measures, it would be harder for politicians to say they’re representing the interests of their people by voting against them.

But those numbers will decline again, they always do once cool heads prevail again. If you have to rely on emotion and stats manipulation to get your policy to pass, it sucks. If your policy easy work arounds, it sucks. And if you keep supporting these positions and relying on the objectively ignorant to support these positions, you suck. You are the problem.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.