One of my favorite things to do at SHOT Show 2016 is to catch up with friends, and the people I look up to. Well, I’m not sure if I know firearms and self-defense expert Massad Ayoob well enough to call him a friend (interviewer Jon Hodoway certainly does), but I definitely admire Mas. His positive impact on the firearms community cannot be overstated. And every time he speaks I learn something new.
Jon got the opportunity to ask Mas several timely and important questions on where the gun-grabbers are making progress to restrict Second Amendment rights, on the ramifications of universal background checks and on the best way to vet presidential candidates.
“The big change we’re seeing recently is the attack moving to the state level, the grassroots level,” noted Mas, while responding to Jon’s first question. “The other side knows that’s where we have been most successful at getting our rights back, pretty much the same way they were taken away from us one piece at a time.”
“They’re pushing now at the state level for the universal background checks, and the reason they’re finding that so sailable is they can say that it’s simple, common sense, you should have a background check and know who you’re selling a gun to,” continued Mas.
Public support for background checks remains high, and Everytown for Gun Safety, among other gun-control organizations, have had success pushing universal background check legislation, recently in Washington and Oregon.
“Nine-hundred ninety-nine out of 1000 voters are just going to hear background check, and think that makes sense to me, and not realize that the way these laws are written, you lend your rifle to your brother to go deer hunting for the weekend and the two of you have just become criminals,” said Mas.
Mas gave one startling example of how universal background checks can backfire when it comes to helping individuals with suicidal ideations.
“One of the things that the universal background check is going to prevent is programs like the one in New Hampshire, implemented by the New Hampshire Firearms Safety Council, which is essentially public service announcements that say, ‘If you have a friend who is depressed, expressing self-destruction ideations, offer to keep his guns for awhile until he’s feeling better.’ That would not be possible.”
Mas’s point is that one is going to be reluctant to give a friend his guns if he has to go through a background check, thus publicly admitting he is struggling with mental health issues.
As far as knowing how to tell a pro-Constitution candidate versus one who is simply paying lip-service to the constituency, Mas had a very insightful remark.
“People like us in the pro-gun movement are seen as one-issue voters and supposedly that’s a sign of shallow intellect,” said Mas. “I call it litmus test voters. None of us can be experts on everything from oil shale to global warming to crime control. But every one of us is familiar with at least one major issue and that’s our test to see whether that candidate triggers our bullshit alert.”
Mas goes on to say that if one is being disingenuous on one issue, chances are one is being disingenuous on other issues as well. Makes sense, right? If a candidate doesn’t respect the right to keep and bear arms, then that candidate doesn’t respect our other Constitutional rights.
Big thanks to Mas for taking the time to talk with us at SHOT Show 2016. It’s always a pleasure. You can check out our interview from last year’s SHOT Show.