Monday, June 18, 2018
News Roundup

Brooksville gun rally takes aim at imaginary threats

Brooksville should feel so honored.

For three hours on Saturday, our little town will serve as the state capital for one of the most misguided, destructive movements around — the fight against gun control.

In case you didn't catch the story by the Times' Tony Marrero on Thursday, a Texas activist has scheduled a gun lovers' (the only description that really fits) show of strength called Guns Across America this weekend.

As of Wednesday, rallies had been scheduled for 47 states — most of them in state capitals, some even on capitol building steps.

In Florida, in the interest of cutting down driving time for supporters in the south and central parts of the state, the event will be at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, on the south side of Brooksville.

That's one reason we have the fortune to host this rally — that we've lucked into an event that so perfectly rounds out a weekend in which we celebrate a minor Civil War uprising and barely recognize a national holiday for one of our greatest heroes.

The other reason is that Hernando County has a resident who was willing to help put this deal together, which doesn't surprise me given the number of the "Keep honking, I'm reloading" bumper stickers I see on my nightly drive home.

So I expect a solid contingent of locals will be on hand for the start of the rally at noon — people who think it's necessary, as the organizers say, to "send a positive message of gun ownership" and to counter the media's tendency to "portray gun owners in a negative light."

No, mostly what reporters put in a negative light is mass shootings of innocent people and absurdly lax gun laws that allow unstable people to acquire ridiculously dangerous weapons.

And if writers have criticized some aspects of gun ownership — and, yes, of course some have — it hasn't had much impact.

The most recent Gallup poll shows that even after the massacre in Newtown, Conn., only 38 percent of Americans support stricter gun-control laws.

And for years prior to Newtown, despite all the other horrific incidents of gun violence, that percentage had been steadily dropping.

I see it up close. A lot of my friends — otherwise moderate or liberal folks who a decade ago would have shuddered at the thought — now own guns.

They feel safer, they tell me, even though research shows they almost certainly aren't.

That my friends have these opinions shows that the National Rifle Association has influenced public opinion on this issue far more than mainstream writers, which is a shame.

But that's not the issue, the proliferation of weapons.

Nobody's taking away anybody's guns.

President Obama has proposed banning assault weapons, conducting reasonable background checks and limiting the capacity of ammunitions clips.

I look at the people who like guns — who own them for protection, for hunting, for target practice — and imagine how this legislation will keep them from doing anything with their gun they can do now.

And I can't think of a single thing.

So if you feel compelled to go to the fairgrounds on Saturday, do so. Exercise your First Amendment rights if you really think it's necessary to protect your Second Amendment rights.

Go ahead and listen to people talking about the imaginary threats to the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Go ahead and waste your time.

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