Yesterday’s post about about how I got into this issue was getting a bit long, but I did want to touch on the importance of a healthy shooting culture. It’s occurred to me that if I had been raised in New Jersey, while I rather doubt I would have had the personality and upbringing to be in favor of gun control, it’s doubtful I would be involved in shooting or in the gun rights issue in the same way I am now.
The first step in any gun control campaign has to first involve destroying the hunting and shooting culture that exists in that state. New Jersey started on that path in 1968, when it became one of the only states in the nation to require gun owners to be licensed. By the 90s, New Jersey’s shooting community was on life support, and ripe for attack. Under Florio you got the scary semi-auto ban. Under Whitman, who first called for it, and finally McGreevy, New Jersey banned the sale of all guns that aren’t “smart” gun once the AG determines that a gun is “smart” enough. Police, of course, are exempt. Now, under Corzine, they want to ban .50 calibers with a law so broad it’ll cover a lot of muzzle loaders. How many shooting ranges are left in NJ now vs. 1968? How many gun shops?
Today it’s shooting culture is near death. New Jersey can’t really be brought back. Sure, there are still plenty of people there who like to shoot, but the state has done everything it can to drive those people out, and make them give up their sport. New Jersey even regulates air guns as if they were firearms. It is very difficult to bring new people into shooting in New Jersey, and the climate over there makes ownership rather risky. The inevitable result is slow decline.
I got into the issue because I had exposure to lawful firearms use as a child. I had exposure to gun shows. I could shoot cans off my Uncle’s deck without fear of being arrested by the police. Hell, we used to shoot cans in front of the state trooper who liked to sit in the church parking lot across the street looking for speeders. I was brought back into the shooting community by a friend who grew up shooting. Culture is important.
We must politically oppose measures which are designed merely to destroy the shooting community. Attacking gun shops, gun ranges, gun shows, and politically weak elements of the shooting community (think .50 cal shooters) are not designed to prevent crime. Anyone who cares to fact check for 10 minutes on google can figure that out. They are designed to chip away at the shooting culture, and eliminate it. Once they do that, gun control becomes easy. Just look at New Jersey.