The gun economy

For Your Consideration

Alan CheahJanuary 31, 2013 

My last two Sierra Star columns, "In the wake of Sandy Hook" (Jan. 3) and "Thirty rounds," (Jan. 17) have garnered much attention. Last week alone, the Star published three opposition responses by J.R. Froelich, Richard Seiling and Steve Hall. That's wonderful for democracy and perhaps a record for the Sierra Star.

However, I have to wonder how well they read my pieces and what they comprehended. In their rebuttals, they made suppositions and claims that were clearly refuted in my two articles. What's the point of having a discussion if there is no point and counter point. It's like having two people stating their positions and walking away.

Perhaps my column "Thirty rounds" can serve as a model. It was in response to Seiling's guest commentary "The Second Amendment." Notice that I didn't just go on a rant. Every one of Richard's contentions was repeated then a cogent explanation of my disagreement followed. Is that so hard?

Here's an example: "Just what part of "shall not be infringed" does Mr. Cheah not understand?" -- J.R. Froelich. I thought that was put to bed when I referenced the 2008 Supreme Court Heller ruling that said, "... Like most rights, the Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose ...." Maybe J.R. doesn't understand that the Supreme Court is saying limiting guns is not an act of infringement.

Again in his commentary, "The right to keep and bear children," Richard cites the Second Amendment as though he knows better how to interpret it than the Supreme Court. Just what part of "...The Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever..." do Froelich and Seiling not understand?

I might add that wrapping oneself in the flag, patriotism, and the Founding Fathers clearly shows that one's argument cannot stand on its own merits. Perhaps that is why words like treason, socialist, collectivist, and "freedom-denying" found its way into the articles by Froelich and Seiling.

So let's talk about the gun economy. The gun and ammunition industry is a $6 billion business -- "America's Gun Economy, By the Numbers," TIME, Dec 18. 2012. Would there even be a debate about reasonable legislation on banning assault weapons; limiting high capacity clips; having a national back-ground check law; and having a national database on ammunition purchases, if this business wasn't so profitable?

In 2011 gun rights lobbyist spent $4.2 million while gun control groups spent $240,000. That is a 17:1 ratio. In 2012 the NRA spent $14 million to defeat President Obama. Given who the profiteers are, who would you be more inclined to believe is genuinely concerned about saving the lives children and adults?

Despite constant reassurances, many still believe the government is going to take away all their guns. Who do you think is fueling that myth? That's right, the profiteers. The firearms industry through the NRA, trade groups, pundits, politicians and bloggers perpetuate this unfounded fear to stop any common sense legislation.

History has shown common sense legislation like the 1994 assault weapons ban did not result in anyone's guns taken away. They also promote the false notion that a nation of gun owners can stop the government from overstepping its bounds. To give this idea credence is not only naïve but discredits, disregards and disrespects the Founding Fathers.

In their wisdom, Founding Fathers gave us a government structure which would never allow the subjugation of its people. It is called the Constitution and decentralized power (the three branches of government). Were this to fail, it is already too late. It would be absurd to think that Glocks and AR-15's would stop the world's most powerful military and they know it. So why push the agenda of more guns, bigger guns and more bullets. Isn't it obvious? More profit.

To believe that if everyone had guns we would be safer is to believe that it was safer in the era of the Wild West when everyone had guns.

The NRA, firearm manufacturers, and dealers, are the money and muscle behind the framing of the gun debate. No one is taking your guns away but they frame it as such.

Why? Stop legislation. They say the solution to gun crime is more guns. Why? Sell more guns. Follow the money.

Watch my TV debate with lawyer and gun dealer Ron Sawl at, 20130110 ep 199.

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