Remember Dick Metcalf? He's the Guns & Ammo editor who got fired for wtiting a column saying that guns could be regulated without anybody's Second Amendment rights being violated. He has an interesting observation on "why we can't talk about guns":
Metcalf said it seems logical that if we can require people to get training before the operate a car, we can require them to get training before operating a firearm.
Metcalf noted that the NRA claims 5 million members. "I think that's inflated, but even if you take them at their word, around 80 million Americans own firearms. To say that it represents the firearm-owning public [is inaccurate]. The NRA is one of the most effective lobbying organizations that the United States has ever produced."
To what extent is the gun debate actually about guns? Brownstein asked, citing that only 28 percent of people in urban areas live in a home with a gun, but 59 percent in rural areas do. White people are twice as likely as black people to live in a home with a gun. Evangelical Christians are much more likely to own guns than are secular people.
"We know that gun ownership tracks a lot of other cultural divides that shape the partisan and ideological standoff in America," Brownstein said. "Is all the passion about guns a broader statement about who defines what America values?"
"I think it's an unbridgeable gap, because neither side will trust the other. I'm afraid I'm not optimistic in the aftermath of what happened to me."
That sounds about right to me. On the surface, the debate is all about guns, but dig into it a little and you find a great cultural divide. And everybody on each side sees everybody on the other side as a-won't-face-reality, won't-budge-an-inch idiot. And see previous post on "jerkitude." Everybody in this debate thinks everybody else is a jerk.
Metcalf's main deal seems to be a requirement for training to get certified, which I've said before here doesn't strike me as extreme. He remains properly skeptical of universl background checks, is a strong advocate for concealed carry and thinks gun-free zones are insane. His approach seems reasonable enough to me that we should want to keep him on our side (to keep us honest, if nothing else) rather than kicking him to ther curb and giving the other side something to sneer and gloat about.
Or am I being a jerk?