It had been quite a while since I’d walked into a gun shop. Salem’s Guncrafters had moved since my last visit, but the atmosphere was the same as I remembered: macho, quiet, organized, and, yes, deadly.
It’s hard not to think of death when you’re surrounded with handguns, rifles, and shotguns of every description. Plus bullets, cleaning kits, and all sorts of gunnish accessories.
I like the feel of a gun shop. I own several guns. And I’m a progressive.
There, I’ve admitted it.
To the gun shop owner, the “it” I should be embarrassed about is my progressive leaning, for before I finished my business I heard him make a liberal-bashing comment that led me to think he wasn’t a card-carrying member of the Democratic party.
Yet I suspect that most progressives would feel that gun ownership is the unsavory aspect of my admission, though Air America’s Ed Schultz wouldn’t be among them. He often talks about his love of hunting and red meat.
Politically (though not karmically) Ed is on the right track. I don’t think that gun policy should be high on the progressive agenda. Or probably, anywhere on it. I’m in favor of controlling assault weapons and other guns that aren’t designed for hunting or personal defense. But otherwise people should be able to freely buy and own guns.
So long as the gun owner gets his or her firearm legally and has been trained in how to use it. I took a NRA course in the early 90s that taught me a lot about handgun safety, proper shooting procedures, and personal self-defense. Yes, the National Rifle Association does do some good things—along with their other right-wing nuttiness.
Given the Democratic Party’s quest to be competitive in all fifty states, red as well as blue, it isn’t a good sign that the Gun Toting Liberals group only has a handful of members (the first guy listed is a Brian from Oregon, but he isn’t me).
I’m a gentle vegetarian progressive gun owner who believes that it’s a crazy world out there, and you’ve got to be prepared to deal with it.
Yes, it would be best to talk down a crazed meth addict whose intentions for you or a family member aren’t pretty. However, if talking doesn’t work, having a Smith & Wesson .38 Special in one hand and a phone with “911” in the speed dial in the other makes a lot of sense.
I went to Guncrafters to buy the S&W. I needed a replacement for a more complicated Sigma .380 that I no longer felt comfortable with. When you aren’t a regular shooter, it’s best to own a gun that is as simple as possible. A basic revolver fills the bill.
The Gun Toting Liberals have some good advice for progressives (or anybody) who is thinking of making the jump into gun ownership. “So, you think you want to buy a gun” and “Okay, I got the Roscoe. Now what?” are both well-written and informative.
(As should be obvious, “Roscoe” is slang for gun, something I didn’t know before.)