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Old March 7, 2013, 01:41 PM   #1
DieHard06
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An interesting interview with a gun-loving Democrat.

Here is an article that I read today that is an interview of Dan Baum, a left-leaning author of a new book called Gun Guys: A Road Trip. He leans left in his politics, but has loved guns since he was a child.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/...VQ-vg.facebook

I found the interview to be interesting. While I disagree with his assessment of the NRA, I understand why he would feel that way.

I also liked how he talked about not really fitting in with both crowds. I will say, I joined this forum when I was only 22. I was just getting into guns for the first time. I have always been a conservative in my politics without much exposure to those on the opposite political spectrum, well, at least without much open discussion with someone of the opposite point of view. Getting into guns changed all of that as I met others who shared my interest in guns while disagreeing in other areas.

Back when I joined we still had the infamous political discussion forum. While I understand why it was closed, I very much enjoyed the discussion, and being challenged by those who considered themselves left-leaning in other areas of politics besides guns.

Anyway, all this to say, thank you to those on these boards that are probably in the minority politically, but still contribute courteously to the discussions. My horizons have definitely been broadened since buying my first gun.

I would be interested to hear other opinions on this article.

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Old March 7, 2013, 02:12 PM   #2
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Diehard, thanks for posting a link to this article. It's a great reminder that it's a mistake to make assumptions about a person's opinion on gun rights based on his general political stance.

And as one of those folks in that group of left-leaning gun owners, I really appreciate your openness to conversation. It's exactly what we need, especially now.

For another piece in the same vein, check out this blog post.
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Old March 7, 2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Interesting article.

Although I myself lean more towards the right side of the political spectrum, I still find it distasteful how many gun enthusiasts view anybody from the center or left with outright disdain. While we may have significant disagreements on many issues it does not mean we cannot work together to preserve the right to keep and bear arms. It OUGHT to be a right that crosses the political spectrum, much as the freedom of speech and religion is generally held as sacrosanct (except by a few wingnuts on both sides).

Part of the problem is what the author of the article points out- the Democratic Party has lately had their leadership firmly in the anti-RKBA camp. However, the only way this will change is by lending support to those pro-RKBA Democrats where possible.

I think gun enthusiasts are finally realizing that "Republican" does not mean they are friends of our rights. Now we have to realize that "Democrat" does not necessarily mean they are enemies of the RKBA.
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Old March 7, 2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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Now we have to realize that "Democrat" does not necessarily mean they are enemies of the RKBA.
I don't care what letter is next to your name. I care about who you voted for (locally, state, nationally). As an example, anyone who voted for certain candidates/incumbents based on what they didn't do during their first term is no friend of the RKBA movement.
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Old March 7, 2013, 03:59 PM   #5
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The article points out a very valuable thing I haven't really seen very often.

The biggest RKBA and gun-enthusiasts are the middle class. The average, Joe-Blow, 9-5, blue collar americans.
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Old March 7, 2013, 04:09 PM   #6
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All 3, very good. Thanks for sharing.
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Old March 7, 2013, 04:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Big Bird PhD
The article points out a very valuable thing I haven't really seen very often.

The biggest RKBA and gun-enthusiasts are the middle class. The average, Joe-Blow, 9-5, blue collar americans.
I saw that assumption, but I'm just not sure if that's true. Maybe it is, but it's the traditional stereotype too. While there sure are a bunch of that demographic who are into guns, I know just as many white collar "professional" types who are every bit as enthusiastic (and the fact is, NFA items are hard to afford unless you're at least upper middle class).

I wonder if that wasn't a reflection of the author's bias more than it is an accurate description of reality.
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Old March 7, 2013, 05:33 PM   #8
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His last sentence pretty well sums up why there is such a divide and why so many of us on The Right view those on The Left with suspicion.
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Old March 7, 2013, 05:36 PM   #9
Dr Big Bird PhD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technosavant
I saw that assumption, but I'm just not sure if that's true. Maybe it is, but it's the traditional stereotype too. While there sure are a bunch of that demographic who are into guns, I know just as many white collar "professional" types who are every bit as enthusiastic (and the fact is, NFA items are hard to afford unless you're at least upper middle class).

I wonder if that wasn't a reflection of the author's bias more than it is an accurate description of reality.
Completely agree, but in the article I interpreted this assumption in a different manner. Rather the article was calling out the traditional Democrats for "being for the average working man" when it comes to free speech, unions, etc., but when it comes to the guns that those exact same people love, they look down their noses at them and assume everyone should "afford" the pleasantries of security.
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Old March 7, 2013, 05:51 PM   #10
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Re: An interesting interview with a gun-loving Democrat.

I used to respect conservative democrats but don't any longer. Why? Because they add to the numbers of total democrats in legislatures. Then they affect leadership positions in a positive way for their party. They cause committees all the way up to top leadership positions to be controlled by democrats instead of republicans. They need to switch sides. Same thing for pro-life democrats. Come on over.
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Old March 7, 2013, 07:54 PM   #11
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Not to be too political but increasing group polarization just will lead to more extreme nuts yelling at each other and the middle of sensible folks tuning out. Well known effect.

There are antigun conservatives and pro-choice conservatives. Should they become Democrats?

We don't need litmus tests but a significant overlap in the middle, such that sensible governmental business gets done.

Making government a battle between litmus test extremists is not going to help anyone. We need folks who are independent of litmus tests. Be progun and prochoice. Be antigun and antichoice. Vote based on your reason and morality and not on some tribal loyalty.
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Old March 7, 2013, 08:00 PM   #12
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Re: An interesting interview with a gun-loving Democrat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer View Post

There are antigun conservatives and pro-choice conservatives. Should they become Democrats?
Yes.
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Old March 7, 2013, 08:03 PM   #13
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Yes.
So you'd rather have more democrats on committees and in positions of power, rather than have an anti-gun or pro-choice Republican? Isn't that what you were just complaining about in your previous post?
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Old March 7, 2013, 08:58 PM   #14
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Interesting article.

Although I myself lean more towards the right side of the political spectrum, I still find it distasteful how many gun enthusiasts view anybody from the center or left with outright disdain. While we may have significant disagreements on many issues it does not mean we cannot work together to preserve the right to keep and bear arms. It OUGHT to be a right that crosses the political spectrum, much as the freedom of speech and religion is generally held as sacrosanct (except by a few wingnuts on both sides).

Part of the problem is what the author of the article points out- the Democratic Party has lately had their leadership firmly in the anti-RKBA camp. However, the only way this will change is by lending support to those pro-RKBA Democrats where possible.

I think gun enthusiasts are finally realizing that "Republican" does not mean they are friends of our rights. Now we have to realize that "Democrat" does not necessarily mean they are enemies of the RKBA.
agreed 100%. this is part of the reason why I struggle on traditional gun forums. the term 'liberal' or 'democrat' is bandied about like a common slur and it does nothing but alienate those of us that aren't firmly entrenched in conservative politics. I'm not ashamed to admit that I tend to vote as a social liberal, ie. pro gay marriage, pro choice, I support unions and fair wages (even though I don't belong to a union), etc, etc. BUT, I also support the 2nd Amendment. The hardest part for me is that I don't vote on single issues, so the 2nd Amendment often takes a back seat to other issues.

I relate to this article because I have difficulty relating to both sides sometimes. I have relatives that are conservative and we have good natured talks about guns all the time, but we never discuss politics. on the other hand, I work with and am friends with a lot of liberals and they consistently throw anti-gun remarks in my face, so I tend to keep quiet about it for fear of being harrassed and labeled a gun nut by virtue of being a gun owner. however, I do know several gun toting liberals who would side with me in the gun debate. the one thing i've noticed about anti-gun liberals is that not a single one of them has handled a gun in their life, but I have a feeling that if they were to shoot a gun at a range they'd have fun and would change their minds. the problem is that they, just like people on the Right, have knee-jerk reactions when it comes to guns. its very divisive and gets people very emotional. this is why I have such negative views of the NRA, well, because they don't speak to gun owners like myself. I wish things were different but I don't see that happening anytime soon
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Old March 7, 2013, 09:46 PM   #15
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Re: An interesting interview with a gun-loving Democrat.

ScottRiqui, they need to be intellectually honest. This whole modern notion of being so progressive and nuanced that you can just pick and choose your beliefs. I don't get it. Either you have a world view or you don't. Then again, I'm far more intolerant than most.

Won't apologize for what I believe and I know very clearly the politicians and party I support. When I was younger I liked the idea of a conservative democrat as it represented such a free thinking individual. Unfortunately these types typically are conservative on the issues they must be then line up with the party radicals on the rest.

By intolerant I'm talking about not be OK with people/views/political parties that are bent on the destruction of my freedoms. All of my freedoms. The gun crowd needs to look at the bigger picture. Not just guns.
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:27 PM   #16
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Either you have a world view or you don't.
Worldviews are not necessarily black or white. There is indeed a bunch of overlap and picking and choosing based on what particular hangups a person has. It isn't as simple as pro-freedom and anti-freedom. There's way more shades of gray in there.

You might have your idea as to what party everybody "belongs" in, but the fact is that is just your opinion and it does not reflect the current political reality. There's Democrats who are more conservative than some Republicans. There's some Republicans who are more liberal than some Democrats. Rather than force a realignment so you can check a box for a given political party, we need to do our homework and support candidates based on how well they as individuals align to our own beliefs. Sure, that may mean supporting a candidate who may not support a leadership you like; that's going to go both ways. For those conservative Democrats voting for Pelosi there's also Republicans voting for Boehner (who is himself not all that conservative). But when the chips are down the politician has to answer to his or her constituents, not to the leadership. It is that elected-elector relationship that matters... we need to know for whom we are voting and not just expect they'll conform to some preconceived notion based on their party affiliation.
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:32 PM   #17
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We need a third party... added right smack in the middle.
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Old March 8, 2013, 01:15 PM   #18
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Everyone is refusing to state the obvious here. Most Democrats ARE NOT anti-gun, but their constituents are. I would venture guess that almost ALL OF THE DEMS IN OFFICE are gun owners. Someone mentioned dishonesty. That's a crucial component of politics in the world at large. Some politicians mean well, some don't.

The Gun Culture 2.0 has been talked about at length over the past year or so and I firmly believe in it. I believe in freedom, I believe in gun ownership, and I do not believe in the two party system. I am of mixed race, a musician, live in Chicago, and am heavily tattooed. I am the new gun culture. My friends who look like me are the new gun culture. We'd also rather die than have someone like Mitt Romney as president. Before I get flamed, you need to read up on your facts. My brother worked for a software company owned by Bain Capital and my friend still does. He and his ilk are not good people. If you can't believe that, you are living under a rock and have no clue what you're talking about.

I'm sick of this Democrat/Republican dialogue. They are not here to pander to you or me anyway. We need to stick together and fight THEM, NOT EACHOTHER. Most of us aren't millionaires, so quit sucking up to them.
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Old March 8, 2013, 03:47 PM   #19
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As I said, I don't care what your party affiliation is.

Just don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

If you voted for the current president, for any reason whatsoever, you are not a friend of the RKBA movement. You might say, "Well, guns aren't my most important issue." That's fine, but you still voted for the most anti-gun president in history. Look at his state legislature voting record. Look at his Senate voting record. Look at things he said in college, and as a law professor. One gem, "I don't believe that people should be able to own guns." really sums up his beliefs on the issue.

Those that said he wouldn't use a second term to go after guns? Well, you were absolutely right. He started it during his first term!

If guns aren't your #1 issue...that's fine with me. I'm happy we all have the right to believe what we want, and vote on the issues that are important to us. But if your vote goes to take away gun rights, you are no friend of the 2nd Amendment, and RKBA.

For instance, I know 2 or 3 Dems who voted for Romney, based solely on the gun issue. They saw the writing on the wall. They felt like they voted for the devil, but they realized they'd rather vote for the devil and still be able to have the RKBA, than have someone more in line with them ideologically, but lose what could pretty easily be argued as one of the, or even the most important part of the Constitution.

Again, bottom line, your party affiliation means nothing to me. How you vote, and how those votes end up affecting RKBA means everything.
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Old March 8, 2013, 03:53 PM   #20
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The nub of the debate is how you balance the various attacks on liberty that come out of the various candidates.

It is a matter of personal choice. We cannot demand purity on one set of liberties as being the correct choice for a person. That is up to that person.

Is there more to be said? We've had a good thread but I don't want it to go into a spitting match on how you are a bad person if you value one liberty set more than another.
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Old March 8, 2013, 04:23 PM   #21
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We need a third party... added right smack in the middle.
IMO... not exactly. The problem is that politics doesn't actually run along a single left to right spectrum. Somebody can be a strong fiscal conservative but still be a social liberal. But if you only have this single line to graph people on.... they don't fit.

I've always considered myself a small "l" libertarian. I don't always agree with the big "L" Libertarian Party but I do support that ideological view. Libertarians support maximum personal freedom and smaller and less powerful governments. I have little or no faith that the current Libertarian Party is going to swell in ranks and take over one of the top two positions. In practice, most people with strongly libertarian ideological views end up voting Republican. Unless they become so dismayed by the social conservatives that they don't vote or go third party.

I still think Lee Atwater was right and the Republican Party works best as a "big tent" that includes libertarians and social conservatives. But nobody is well served by denying the fact that there is an inherent tension between the two groups.

I would like to see one of the two strongest parties come out 100% in favor of economic conservatism. Demanding a change to the way government spending just keeps mounting to the sky. Demanding less regulation of job killing regulations. Economic libertarianism if you will. IMO, and only MY opinion, the Republican Party would do much better in national elections if that became what they were known for.

I've taught my children that "tolerance for the views of others" is a very, very important personal belief. It's when the leadership of a party is seen as being intolerant that they lose votes. Americans strongly believe in fairness, in how everybody should get an equal chance. If you start ranting about how group XXX is the problem, even I stop listening to you.

Gregg
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Old March 8, 2013, 10:31 PM   #22
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The desire to carry

Quote:
If you want to carry a gun, you want to justify carrying the gun. You have a better justification if you convince yourself that crime is out of control. So the desire to carry a gun precedes the fear of crime.
I liked the article, thanks for posting it.

People carry guns for various reasons. My dad caught serial killers for the FBI and lead SWAT teams in confrontations with very real bad guys. My desire to carry arose from an unvarnished perspective on what actually happens to those unprepared to protect themselves.

What I liked about the article was the effort to understand a perspective other than one’s own. Caricatures are rarely helpful.

One thing the posts above demonstrate is that a common interest does not equate with a common understanding. Owning and firing guns can be a fun hobby, but the significance of guns lies in determining the outcome of a violent confrontation. As a husband and father, I am determined to resolve such conflicts in the favor of my family. I am determined enough to vote in such a way as to protect that ability.

Last edited by MTGreen; March 8, 2013 at 10:55 PM. Reason: typo
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Old March 9, 2013, 12:22 AM   #23
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Good article, and puts into words pretty much how I view the world. I think of myself as a moderate who leans left on most issues but am a big supporter of gun rights. I don't see being sensible about firearms as being a left or right issue. I also think anyone who enthusiastically supports the 1st amendment like I do would be just as much a supporter of the 2nd amendment. To me they go hand in hand and if everyone should be able to see that, unfortunately they don't always.
He is also correct about when you take a non shooter out to shoot they generally have a great time and become a gun lover. There needs to more of that!
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Old March 10, 2013, 04:12 PM   #24
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The article is excellent, and I think I'll get the book when it comes out.

I was interested in his questioning why liberals are willing to alienate a natural constituency by focusing on gun control measures. But it goes far deeper than that when you realize that almost everything that happens in DC happens for a political reason and almost nothing happens with a sincere interest in advancing American beliefs.

How cynical do you have to be to claim a great love for the victims of mass shootings, but ignore Aurora, Tucson and other incidents that occurred BEFORE the recent presidential election, then bring the hammer down after the election when the Newtown murders happen. Is there anyone who believes Feinstein and her ilk whipped up the gun control laws now before Congress as a result of Newtown? The measures have been written for years, just waiting for the right moment to drag them out. The right moment was post-election Newtown.

I think we'll be lucky to escape this latest round of anti-gun raving in Congress, and if we face another mass murder before Congress votes, I fear even our best friends will be unable to withstand the demands of gun-haters to eliminate firearms. I don't think it can be done, but with the laws proposed as a start, I think they will try.

I'm 67, and I remember this country before politically correct was the order of the day. The nature of our country has profoundly changed and I don't know if people have the will to change it back before it's too late.
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Old March 10, 2013, 07:04 PM   #25
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It's not a matter of blue collar vs white collar...Rep vs Dem and pro-2A vs anti-2A is largely urban vs non-urban America.

One only need to look at:
1) The number of counties in NY signing on against the "Safe" Act, vs the fact that it passed on the support of the population center of NYC;
2) Illinois vs Chicago
3) A map of areas that went for Obama, vs those that did not. He won on the urban centers and the urban centers alone.

While I'm a white collar gun enthusiast, I grew up in a solidly blue collar area where one factory in the largely agricultural county kept the average income above the poverty line. Yet, until the past 10 years, it was unheard of for anyone in a local election to run on a Democratic ticket because elections were ALWAYS decided in the Republican primary -- if you were Democrat, you were guaranteed <20% of the vote.

The 2A battle we are currently fighting is more urban vs rural than Rep vs Dem.
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