Reply To: Are we an easy target for anti-airgun regulation?
Hey Mobilmail, I tried to follow the link in your post to read the bill but the state website doesn’t list it anymore. Hope the committee did not kill it.
Along the lines of the educational points you lay out , If I had to talk to a skeptical legislator I think I’d talk up your point 2 above the others because I think its easy for a lawmaker to understand: “Nobody is committing mass murder in schools with airguns. That’s because even the most powerful airguns are about the most useless tool a deranged person bent on causing harm could choose.” As you state: “Imagine the criminal saying, wait about 10 minutes, I need to pump my rifle up” I might add to that conversation: “Our state has allowed legal wildlife harvest and target competitions with muzzeloading firearms and bows, both of which are exponentially more lethal that the airguns our critics are so concerned about. Please ask youself, when is the last time someone slaughtered school children with a muzzleloader or bow? There is a reason we don’t need to severely regulate muzzleloaders and bows. Same goes for airguns.”
You are correct that animal abusers, vandals, unsupervised kids, and the criminal rocket scientists who use look-alike and replica airguns to commit (not) armed-robberies are our hobby’s worst enemies. For this reason airgunners should be willing to “work with” legislators. For instance, supporting beefed up sanctions for under-age purchase, unsupervised underage possession, or misuse allows legislators to notch a “win” on the issue while doing no actual harm to responsible participants in the hobby.
As I stated before, I don’t think the “from my cold dead hands” posture is particularly effective in the case of “guns” that are not considered constitutionally protected “arms”. On the other hand, NRA-freindly legislators and pro-gun voters are a natural constituency that should be brought to bear. However I think that in certain unfriendly jurisdictions, the presence of an NRA state director or organizer giving testimony on an airgun bill would inflame more than educate. It would also be a magnet for headline-making protestors. NRA is powerful in the US Congress and many state houses, but get down to the city council and county commissioner level in less gun-friendly jurisdictions and its gasoline and matches time for opponents eager to hand the organization a defeat.