Leave It To MSNBC.com To Use Veterans Day As Opportunity To Blast Civilian Gun Owners

Posted on Thu 11/12/2015 by

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Ken Shepherd02By Ken Shepherd ~

Conservatives revere the Bill of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment, and highly respect those who have worn the uniform of this nation. So naturally MSNBC found Veterans Day a perfect opportunity to troll by giving a pro-gun control Army veteran a platform to insist “It’s time for vets to speak up about gun safety.”

veteransdaygunsafetymsnbc720Retired Army officer Chris Marvin, “a supporter of Everytown for Gun Safety” obliged with an MSNBC.com article arguing that a serviceman/woman’s oath to protect the country from enemies foreign and domestic all but requires that they speak out for greater restrictions on gun rights of civilians (emphases mine):

Every member of the United States military swears an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. For most service members, that oath doesn’t expire when they take off their uniforms and become veterans. Army veteran Christopher Mintz demonstrated as much last month when he charged—unarmed—toward a gunman at an Oregon community college. However, Mintz’s laudable actions overshadowed the story of a different veteran also on campus that day.

John Parker, an Air Force veteran, was in another location on the Umpqua campus when he learned of the active shooter. Parker was carrying a concealed firearm but chose to not engage the shooter. Parker later explained that “not knowing where SWAT was on their response time, they wouldn’t know who we were, and if we had our guns ready to shoot, they’d think we were the bad guys.”

Parker exercised the common sense of a trained military veteran and responsible gun owner. Without knowledge of the tactical environment, he held his post. Parker was a good guy with a gun; Mintz was a good guy without a gun. Both veterans made decisions that likely saved lives.

The discipline Parker exercised didn’t come part and parcel with being a gun owner. Rather, Parker did the right thing because of his military training. Like every member of the military, Parker was trained on how to properly carry, clear, disassemble, clean, reassemble, load, aim, discharge, and safely store any firearm for which he was accountable. Because of his tactical training, Parker knew that, oftentimes, proper use of a firearm means not shooting.

The military asks this much of anyone allowed to possess a firearm, because firearms are lethal. Firearms have the ability to take life, and in the military we take that seriously. Unfortunately, many of our lawmakers don’t, and it’s time that veterans step forward and have our voices heard on the matter.

I too swore an oath to defend this country. Now, I am asking my fellow veterans help protect our citizens against firearm-related fatalities and injuries. Veterans – especially those who are gun owners – must speak up. Veterans must speak as voters, advocates, safety trainers, and examples of responsible gun owners. When it comes to firearms, people trust us because we’ve been trained extensively on how to use a lethal weapon responsibly.

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All veterans should support basic criminal background checks for all gun purchases – in stores, online, and at gun shows. Veterans should demand laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers. And veterans should ask for legal requirements for the safe storage of all guns.
In the military, weapons do not get lost or stolen. Losing track of your weapon in an unthinkable scenario with consequences to match. As veterans, we need to tell lawmakers to make sure all that gun owners maintain accountability or face consequences for lost guns.

More Americans have been killed by firearms in the last half century than all fatalities in all of our country’s wars, combined. If veterans are not holding all gun owners to some of the basic gun safety standards that we learned in the military, then we are failing to uphold our oath. Many of us fought for our country overseas; now veterans have a chance to speak up and start fighting to save lives here at home.

Of course, Mr. Marvin is more than welcome to teach civilian gun owners proper gun safety, and I’m sure political disagreements aside, the vast majority of conservative gun owners would welcome such training from veterans like him. What’s more, his point about tactical awareness in a live-shooter scenario is a legitimate point for discussion about the wisdom of engaging an active shooter even if you are armed.

That said, Marvin seems to have little concern for the constitutional implications of his policy recommendations, including and especially requiring civilian owners to always have their personal firearms under lock and key in the home. While it’s wise to keep your guns locked up out of reach of children, to require as much under force of law requires home owners to place themselves in greater risk of harm by virtue of their being unable to quickly retrieve their gun(s) in event of a burglary or home invasion. What’s more, there are obvious 4th Amendment search-and-seizure concerns with empowering government to enforce these safeguarding provisions by inspections, whether random/surprise or pre-scheduled.

Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters.

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