So, this past Labor Day weekend I was in Jekyll Island, Georgia, for a wedding. One of my girlfriend’s friends was getting married. On the whole, I hate weddings. They’re expensive, they’re time consuming and the pomp and pageantry of the occasion is just plain nauseating.
However, there are some positives to weddings. Free booze, mainly. (Well, it’s technically not free because of the generous gift you end up giving, at least $100 per plate is the going rate nowadays, I think). And occasionally you meet some pretty cool people.
My girlfriend’s other friend (one who wasn’t getting married) has a husband named Richard, and he was a nice guy. Although she told me about him before, I met him for the first time. He is a former Scottish rugby player who now works in corporate staffing. To be clear, not an American of Scottish descent, but an immigrant from Scotland. We got to talking and inevitably the topic of what-do-you-do-for-a-living came up and I said, “I’m a journalist. I am the news and political editor for GunsAmerica.”
“Hmmm, GunsAmerica, what’s that like?” he asked. I told him about the website, the News and Reviews portion, the retail aspect, I may have even used our tagline, “Where America Buys and Sells Guns,” and his eyes lit up and he said, “Boy, I have something you need to watch.”
He pulled out his iPhone and began playing the video I have embedded above. It’s an Australian comedian, named Jim Jefferies, doing a bit on gun control.
Richard confessed to hating guns and sharing the perspective of Jeffries, who Richard believed, perfectly summed up his feelings on gun and gun control in the routine, which is basically that gun ownership should be heavily restricted and regulated and that many commonly owned and widely popular firearms, like the AR-15, should be outright banned. In short, the U.S. should adopt European style gun laws.
I watched the video and I thought it was pretty entertaining. There were some funny parts. Jeffries is a funny comic and a skilled rhetorician. That said, I clearly disagreed with many of his arguments. And after watching it, I explained to Richard why I felt that most of what Jeffries was saying, although funny, was misguided.
I explained to Richard how the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, Virginia Tech, wasn’t perpetrated with a so-called assault rifle but with two popular handguns; that statistically speaking, rifles of any make or model are used in less than four percent of gun homicides; that there are at least as many defensive gun uses per year (200,000 at the very least) as there are gun-related crimes in this country, meaning good guys protect themselves as often, if not more frequently, with guns than bad guys use guns in criminal acts; that gun homicides are down 49 percent in this country since 1993, meanwhile, concealed carry rights have expanded to all 50 states; that the Second Amendment is a safeguard to the preservation of liberty and that even though a government may have drones and modern military weaponry a well-trained, determined militia armed with rifles can wreak havoc on a technologically superior superpower, case in point, the U.S.’s failures in the war on terror in Iraq but specifically in Afghanistan; that before he makes a definitive judgment on the Second Amendment he should go to the range and shoot some guns (which he acknowledged he hadn’t done), and finally, that overall gun owners are good people and that, given that his wife and him now live in Florida, he should consider getting to know some.
Richard admitted that I made some good points and that perhaps the reason why he felt the way he did was because he grew up in a culture that had a passionate disdain for firearms.
In the end, I don’t know what will become of our meeting or conversation on firearms. Maybe Richard will attempt to learn more about guns, gun ownership and gun owners. Maybe he won’t. But I guess the cool part is that we were at least able to talk about a very divisive and hot-button issue, in a civil and respectful manner, over some beers, at an otherwise banal event. No one got angry. No one got upset. And we both got to share our perspectives. I guess I call that progress.