This will trigger some comments

by Pete Talbot

I wish this organization all the luck. It’s going to need it.

Montanans Against Gun Violence is going public. Here’s an excerpt from guest columns that are appearing in newspapers around the state:

Annually some 30,000 Americans die from all forms of gun violence—from homicides, suicides, or accidental deaths. In Montana, domestic violence, alcohol-related violence, suicides, and accidental deaths–especially of minors, lead the list of causes.

Respected Missoula progressive Robert McKelvey heads this group, but this is not radical gun control he’s advocating. Using the recent SCOTUS Second Amendment decisions as a springboard, the column quotes (surprise) Justice Scalia:

“the right to keep and bear arms is not ‘a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever and for whatsoever purpose’.”

Scalia then proceeded to list a wide range of local or state gun-ownership and gun-carry regulatory measures that remain lawful and appropriate.

Gun rights are the most controversial issue in Montana, to my way of thinking. And considering that Montana’s three members of Congress are leading the charge to expand access to guns and ammo — particularly our two senators, although our congressman is no piker — this is an extremely tough row to hoe.

Let’s face it, Gary (Bazookas for Babies) Marbut and his Montana Shooting Sports Association is one of the more successful lobbyists at our state legislature. Legislators roll over like trained poodles when Gary introduces a bill.

Then take a look at the comments when the Missoulian ran the column, with one-out-of-twenty in support of McKelvey’s organization. This from Missoula, although it also includes comments from the Bitterroot, Sanders County and other outlying areas. Enough said.

We’ll see if Montanans Against Gun Violence gets any traction in this state. It’s up against a rabid constituency. Again, good luck.


  1. Big Swede

    Please Dennis McDonald, come out in support of this group.

  2. bonkrood

    My (at the time) roommate’s ex-boyfriend came to my house with a gun in the middle of the night. Any country/state/municipality that allows that specific crazy bastard access to arms has shit VERY WRONG.

  3. Most people here in the home of the brave are actually the biggest pussies on the face of the planet, afraid of getting on a plane, afraid of dark-skinned foreigners, afraid to go into a parking lot alone at night. They elect politicians who play on that fear and drum up imaginary demons to scare them even more. It’s really weird to live among pussies.

    So year, right, lock and load them, and wait to see if they actually start shooting at shadows, many of whom will be real people.

    • Big Swede

      When it comes to fear of guns you’re living in pussy central.

    • I’d be interested someday in viewing the whole of the collected false impressions of one “Big Swede.” You got nuthin’.

    • petetalbot

      I thought my post was provocative and then Mark T calls everybody pussies.

      Bad terminology, Mark, and I disagree. Especially here in Montana, where most people are responsible with guns and …

      … I don’t know how to even dignify your statement.

      I like the idea of of communities being able to have some control over guns. In Montana, it will be negligable, which is fine.

      • Mark T

        We live in a culture of fear Pete, and owning a gun to defend yourself against nothing is a sign of fear. We’re not threatened by anyone or anything. We dream about monsters with beards. Our archetypes giving us nightmares are black, Hispanic, Islamic. Pussies, my man. Pussies.

        People here cannot comprehend British police enforcing the law without guns. They think households without guns are in some kind of danger. Want some danger? Late night, montana, drunks with guns. All over the place.

        • Well, people with beards are usually hiding something. As are those with mustaches. Best to shoot first and ask questions later. (I’m obviously kidding…mostly.)

  4. ayn rand

    Not an original idea, but worth exploring. How about getting ” respected Missoula progessive Robert McKelvey”‘s home address. We might be able to find a neighbor that will post a yard sign signifying the fact that” Respected Missoula progressive Robert McKelvey” dosen’t have any fire arms in his home.

  5. Pete, you were concerned that I wouldn’t like this post? Tsk tsk on you!

    What’s lost on the rabidly fearful is that there are many freedoms in this country, and the 2nd only guarantees one of them. And if that right is so paramount, why isn’t it first? Because more important by far is the freedom of speech. I support McKelvey’s organization, even though I;m a gun owner, because he and his likeminded have the right to voice their concerns to their elected officials. That’s kinda how it’s supposed to work.

    In truth, most people favor some form of weapons control. Most of the people who contribute to the NRA don’t want their neighbors to have hand grenades. Gary Marbut would be screaming his head off for the authorities to ‘control this insanity!’if the neighbor’s teenaged son pulled into the driveway in a M1A1 Abrams and parked it with the gun turret pointed at Gary’s panic bunker. As Scalia noted, the overwhelming majority of people favor some kind of rational “arms” control, and their legislators have the duty to offer them that.

    Now, in the world of rightwing internet tough guys, you’re likely to encounter the ones who really believe that little Bobby should be able to pick up a LAW rocket at the local mil surplus store. Those people would be the fringe, and kinda crazy. They’re not the problem. The problem are the organizations that validate the crazy, the NRA, The MSSA, FOX news … They really want people convinced that any control of arms is the same as universal control of arms. That’s stupid, laughable and obviously untrue on it’s face. What they have going for them is a fairly sound slippery slope argument. IF the government can take your white phosphorus hand grenades, then what’s stopping them from taking your 30.06? Huh? HUH? ANSWER ME YOU LIBERAL!!!11!!

    Okay, I will. The people. These jerkoffs who value their guns supposedly on behalf of the people, continue to forget that the government is the voice of the people. All of their wussy caterwauling about defending rights is just so much telling everyone else that we must be subservient to their rights. That’s where that whole “rational” part comes into play, something that the lunatic right fringe will never grasp. As you indicate, Pete, McKelvey’s efforts will likely go no where. But it really isn’t because of the Buy-A-Bomb fringe. It’s because the same people who don’t want you to have the right to buy-a-bomb also don’t want personal firearms taken away. The overwhelming majority of Americans favor rational arms control. To mangle an anecdote about Churchill, we’ve already established what we are. Now we’re just haggling over … price.

  6. Peter

    I once saw a sig line that read “the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms” is a much better name for a convenience store than a government agency.

    I found it amusing.

  7. Big Swede

    What the hell, throw another log on.

    FIREARMS REFRESHER COURSE

    1. “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not. “Thomas Jefferson”
    2. “Those who trade liberty for security have neither.” ~ John Adams
    3. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
    4. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
    5. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.
    6. Gun control is not about guns; it’s about control.
    7. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.
    8. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety.
    9. You don’t shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
    10. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
    11. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
    12. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.
    13. The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.
    14. What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ do you NOT understand?
    15. Guns have only two enemies; rust and politicians.
    16. When you remove the people’s right to bear arms, you create slaves.
    17. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

    • Lizard

      so, swede, what do you think about the police state? do you believe that the 2nd amendment is important so that the citizenry can arm themselves against the totalitarian clamp down of the fascist corporate state? or is your hard-on for gun ownership a politically expedient way for you to stick it to the wimpy peacenik liberals?

    • Pretty original stuff there, Swede. Up all night?

      I’ve never owned a gun, would willingly put a sign on my lawn to that effect because … Swede … there just isn’t very much danger. We’re safe!

      You’re scared. Why? Who threatened you? Who needs to be belly shot? What is wrong with you guys? You’re not living on the prairie, the grizzlies and wolves are gone (and the sheep are safe!) and you’re running around like someone is out to get you.

      Calm down. You’re safe. Always have been.

      • Big Swede

        I am living on the prairie.

        Cougar took two of our colts last spring.

        • Good for the cat! I like to see a cougar with a full rich coat that has been well-fed, and a colt or two in the diet is a good source of protein. Those beasts have to work hard for food – the fact that you present it to them so easily does not mean that you get to kill them. It only means that you should raise a few more colts so that more survive.

          This attitude that ranchers have that the whole of the wild has to stop being wild so they can have their colts and sheep is hubris. Screw that. I cheer for the cougar.

          • Big Swede

            You and about 10M Californians.

            • Good god. The “Californians Card” is as bad as the Hitler argument, which I’m surprised to see you avoid Swede.

              Also, saying that you need a gun for a cougar is a decent point… if you had killed the cougar. But you didn’t. Cause it’s a smart(er) animal. So, really, you just have the gun in the hopes that some night during a commercial break you see the cougar and have time to shoot it (I imagine this will include getting the gun, then the ammo, loading, going to the barn… 15 minutes?). Or, more likely, you have the gun because it makes you feel safe. And there is nothing wrong with that if you’re willing to own up to the fact that you’re irrationally afraid of existence and therefore are armed. But you’re not, because you’re dishonest.

          • BY the way, Swede, my comment was gratuitous snark. I love animals just like you probably do, and I know you probably had some attachment to the colt that was killed by the cougar. We who support wolf and grizzly reintroduction are not cold-hearted muthas.

            But for future generations, some of our lands must remain wild, and wild animals must be free to roam. At the human/wild interface, there are going to be problems. The loss of some domestic animals is a smaller price to pay than the loss of wildness an wild animals.

            Anyway, that’s the rub, why we argue.

  8. not really that crazy about guns myself. i own an old double barrel 12 gauge which sits in the closet most of the time except during bird season, but i do believe the principles of the second amendment are sound and worth defending.

  9. klemz

    Full disclosure: gun owner.

    I like to hunt, shoot on public lands and keep my friends with kids from bringing them to my house. Once parents know there’s a gun on site (even locked up), they keep the screaming diaperloaders away, and that’s just fine with me.

    Full disclosure: Anti-family.

    I also don’t think it’s productive to assume the motives of even handgun owners. I once lived on the South Side of Chicago where firearms were banned up until a few weeks ago. Never felt like I needed a gun. If I had one at my house, I would not have felt justified in carrying it on the street (same block as Obama, so the secret service might have shot me during the campaign). Why get a gun when moving back to the safer urban areas of the intermountain west? Because I’m a responsible person and I want one. Mind your beeswax.

    Duganz, You’ve obviously never lived in California. I tend to think the range attitude is justified.

  10. Moorcat

    I own many guns and not one of them because I am “afraid”. I own guns that are specifically for hunting. I own guns for self protection when I am hiking in backcountry (and I practice with them so that I can use them if I need to), I own guns that are specifically for marksmanship (I LOVE to put holes in paper) and I own a few that – in the event that the shit hits the fan – I can use to protect myself and my family. Mostly, I own guns because they are a second source of income (I gunsmith) and BECAUSE I CAN. Trying to say that people own guns because they are “afraid” is a stupid generalization and a gross oversimplification worthy of Mark T.

    I get that you are not a gun enthusiest. That is certainly your choice. I am.. that is my choice. I have the right, I have the inclination and I have the brains to do it safely. Now, according to the Supreme Court, that right is guarenteed. Coolio. Please do not try to impose your views of gun ownership on me.

    Moorcat

    • I hike and camp in bear country without guns! It is kind of scary at night when you hear noises outside, but I don’t need no stinkin’ gun. We hike during the day through blueberry patches in the Missions, where a bear could be on the other side of any bush. It’s titillating. Don’t need no stinkin’ gun.

      Ed Abbey wrote once about wilderness – it is dangerous. It is supposed to be dangerous. You should risk your safety when going there. Occasionally someone gets killed or badly hurt. We lose a boy scout now and then.

      Face danger with your wits and brains. If danger wins, you die. That’s courage.

      • nice comment mark. i edited out the personal attack. i think it stands well this way. what do you think?

        • Fair enough. Truthfully, I was responding to some harsh words from him somewhere else. He and his brother share certain genes.

          • the truth is mark, i inadvertently overstepped my bounds and performed the sentence-endectomy on pete’s post.

            hadn’t had my first cup of coffee yet.
            hope you don’t mind pete.

            it wasn’t a very scathing personal attack as personal attacks go but i hate to see useful threads disintegrate into personal attacks so i did it.

            thanks for understanding, mark.

            i sometimes wish someone would do some “editing” of my stuff occasionally. a calm reasoned objective look before hitting the submit key never hurts.

        • In truth, pbear, Mark’s whole comment is little more that personal attack, albeit one that won’t offend delicate sensibilities. I’ll be the first to admit that Moorcat invited it by claiming “I am not afraid … LEAVE MY GUNS ALONE!” That is, in truth, buying into the narrative of fear, that someone wants to take guns away.

          But Mark cherry picks one reason that Moorcat has a gun, and then goes on to claim “You don’t *NEED* that gun, and aha, I am braver than you! The Brave man would be as I”.

          There’s two arguments there, both of which come into play anytime gun control gets discussed. Both arguments are directly personal and accusatory, and remain as useless as the day is long.

          1) ‘You gun owners don’t *NEED* your guns.’ Too bad. No one else gets to decide what another needs as long as it’s legal, and firearms are. Shut up and get over it.

          2) ‘You are a lesser person because you have guns.’ Now Mark is extremely good about taking rigid moral stances without ever defending the foundations of what moral code he’s using. But when it comes to gun ownership, the gun control advocates seem to use that same unfounded moral code at will, which leaves the vast majority of rational gun owners looking at those folks like they’ve lost their marbles, while scratching our heads and saying “WTF?” There is no foundation for that claim, and it’s false on its face. It is nothing more than a personal insult in a rather goofy attempt to keep gun owners from asserting their obvious rights. What it does effectively do is alienate the level headed gun owners, and drive more people into the hungry maw of the NRA.

      • Mark, it’s our wits and brains that gave us firearms and the ability to use them in the first place. It’s our learning, practice and skills which allow us to use them effectively. As Alston Chase argues, man is not apart from nature, and there is no ‘natural law’ which demands our disadvantage to it any more than there is a higher law giving us dominion over the Earth.

  11. those who know me, know that i am not in favor of stricter gun laws, but i have never lost a loved one to a weapon so in the interest of fairness i present testimony from one who is in favor:

    by the way-december 8, 2010 will be the 30th anniversary of john’s murder.

  12. need never determines a right.

    humans do not actually need freedom to live. but we desire it. that is enough in my view to make it a universal right.

    it is not my or anyone else’s business to tell someone that they cannot have what they desire unless someone else is harmed by that desire.

    • to expand- mark chapman lost his freedom and any ability to own a gun by killing john lennon.

      the sad thing is, he will be up for parole again this august 12th. that is a failure of our judicial system. in not punishing those who use guns criminally with stricter sentences, we send the wrong message to those who advocate for stricter gun laws.

      i don’t believe that strict gun laws for law-abiding citizens prevent anything. but i am in favor of much stricter penalties for criminals who use them. i find that responsible advocates for the second amendment also usually favor much stricter sentences for criminal behavior as well.




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