Road Trip: A renewed view of the Second Amendment

Recently I had the great opportunity to take a road trip with my wife to southern Nevada. Being a freshly-renewed permitted carrier of a concealed weapon from Missouri, my wife and I planned the trip to have as little encumbrances to our CCW privileges as possible. So the route we planned took us south to Oklahoma City, west through the Texas “panhandle” and New Mexico and Arizona before turning north to the Las Vegas metro. Our stop in Kingman, AZ, gave us the chance to secure our firearms in a fire-proof lock box before hitting US-93 north. Nevada was the only State on that route that does not recognize my permit.

Driving through the rural southwest countryside gives you a renewed sense on the Second Amendment and what it’s really about, especially when you’re talking about a countryside that is much more sparse than what I’ve ever seen before, or at least recall ever seeing.

To give you an idea, New Mexico is 36th in the list of States by population, just two below Kansas, but 5th by square mileage. Missouri is 18th by population, 21st by area. Kansas is 15th by area. And in Kansas much of that population is gathered around three points: Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita. Kind of like in Nebraska (just below New Mexico by population) where you have Omaha, Lincoln, and everywhere else.

Out in the rural areas, a firearm could literally mean the difference between keeping what you have or potentially losing some of your livelihood, if not our life.

Living in the city, it is quite easy to see how arguments for gun control can be considered. Everyone is relatively densely packed. Even in Kansas City, I can see how many could argue for gun control. Missouri has some of the loosest gun laws in the country, but Kansas City and St Louis make Missouri look bad in terms of violent crime. But consider Iowa, which has gun laws pretty close to Missouri, but some of the lowest violent crime rates in the country.

But again, that’s living in a metro. When you try to take the problems of living in metropolitan areas and act like those problems exist everywhere, resistance to that concept should not be unsurprising. But at the same time, the sense of independence among those living in rural parts of the country will feed into the resistance. You walk onto a cattle ranch in rural New Mexico (or rural anywhere, for that matter) and try to tell the owner and his/her family how they must live their lives, you’re not going to be met kindly.

One of the interesting paradoxes that plagues the firearms discussion is how major firearms incidents feed gun sales. Many on the gun control left have used this trend as a springboard for the argument that the NRA feeds on mass shootings worse than the gun control proponents. That’s not the case. Instead to see what is going on, look at another mass shooting: Charleston, SC.

After the Charleston incident, guns were attacked, but interestingly so was the flag for the Army of Northern Virginia — wrongly called the “Confederate flag”. Calls for banning it sounded off from all parts of the country. And paradoxically, this actually spurred on sales for items bearing the flag’s design. Why? It comes down to one simple concept: the people buying the stuff didn’t want to be told they couldn’t have it.

After Sandy Hook, many of those who bought firearms were first-time buyers. After Sandy Hook, there were massive calls for gun laws and gun bans. As I pointed out on this blog and elsewhere, many on the gun control left were also calling for blood — public executions of gun owners, bombing the NRA headquarters, beheading Wayne LaPierre and NRA executives, and so on. In response, guns were bought up by the truckload, and shelves cleared of ammunition. I called it “gun control without legislation“. And again, many were first-time buyers, people who previously had not considered buying a firearm, simply because they did not want to be told by anyone else that they could not own one.

So driving through the countryside gives you a renewed sense of the libertarian idea. And why in New Mexico, Gary Johnson was very popular. It’s amazing how kindly people respond to you when you stop trying to tell them how to live their lives. Isn’t about time we start doing the same with regard to firearms? Or are we going to be constantly of the idea that adults must always be treated like big children?