The Common Good
April 2013

The Real Reason Americans Love Guns

by Ed Spivey Jr. | April 2013

I felt the same way. When I was 9.

THE DAY BEFORE President Obama's second inauguration (campaign code name: "Neener, neener, neener!"), Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell sent an email to constituents with a message somewhat lacking in a spirit of new beginnings: "The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out assault on the Second Amendment. They're coming for your guns."

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This is disturbing. I don't have any guns, but I'm looking for places to hide them. And without guns, how will I protect my family from the coming assault? Can I hold off federal agents by flinging small appliances at them? Those I've got. In fact, I just got a new hand mixer. It's black and sleek, like the helicopters that will soon be circling over our homes. (Helicopter tip: Make sure the rotor blades have completely stopped before licking off the icing.)

Under Obama's new proposals, I'll probably have to register my appliances, or at least submit to a background check before I buy another one. Although I've heard you can avoid that if you get them at private appliance shows.

This latest attention to gun control prompted National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre to take the stage and, looking directly into the eyes of the American people, vehemently deny that he is French. Additionally, he helpfully pointed out that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Or was it the other way around? To be honest I'm not sure what he said, because I got distracted by the wild look in his eyes, and the bits of saliva that gather in the corners of his mouth whenever he talks about guns. This guy really likes guns.

What I would ask Mr. "LaPierre" [giggle]—while keeping both hands out where he could see them—is this: How do you stop a good guy with a gun who's having a bad day? Or what if he's really depressed or angry at his boss for not allowing him to wear camouflage clothing to staff meetings?

Granted, the Supreme Court, in its finite wisdom, ruled we have a right to have firearms to defend ourselves. But as it turns out, what we're defending ourselves against is—in the order of statistical probability—ourselves, our family members, and coworkers wearing camouflage clothing at staff meetings.

Let's be honest, your average American has a gun for only one reason: He wants to be a cowboy. I understand this. I wanted to be a cowboy, too. When I was 9. Back then, the future loomed with untold dangers that only a cowboy with his beloved horse and trusty six-gun could manage. But nowadays, most of us don't have horses (they can be dangerous), so instead we want assault rifles with high-capacity magazines. (Poignant aside: I've always considered Sojourners to be a high-capacity magazine. Just sayin'.)

And in the NRA, these gun owners have found their ultimate enabler. A few minutes on its website is enough to make you want to go out and shoot something. And if you buy the right accessories from the NRA's online catalog, there's no stopping you:

  • With the Steer Clear Vehicle Holster mount you can keep your gun handy to quickly resolve intersection disputes that otherwise would require time-consuming cursing out car windows. The Under the Desk Holster version is equally effective in settling office squabbles, quickly.
     
  • Start your kids out right with an NRA camo-colored Marshmallow Shooter. Later, you can move them up to an NRA Air Soft Gun, a precise replica of a .44 Magnum pistol that, if brandished for fun on, say, Capitol Hill, will elicit the legendary sense of humor for which Secret Service agents are known. They'll get a kick out of it.
     
  •  Not to mention the Flashbang Women's Holster, which attaches easily to the center of most bras, giving the wearer an intimidating bulge that says "don't mess with me ... because I have three breasts."

Oh there's much, much more, including an NRA Camo Zippo Lighter which can be used to set fire to the neighbor's Gandhi yard sign, which he bought as a poster from Sojourners' online store. (Buy in bulk, in case you need to keep replacing them.)

Ed Spivey Jr. is art director of Sojourners.

Image: Ken Davis

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