That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Reading year after year of The American Rifleman, this well-known passage from the Tanakh ring ever so true.
50+ years ago, an August 1961 editorial reacts to legislative threats to “one of the basic individual liberties of the American way of life” – “the right of reputable citizens to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes.” It encourages laws that regulate persons not firearms. It maintains that laws will not prevent criminal from getting guns.
It argues that gun accidents will not be prevented by laws; to the contrary, gun safety education is essential to reducing such accidents and the National Rifle Association is the leading organization providing such education (then, as now).
Almost 50 years ago, in November 1967, another editorial reacts to propaganda campaigns waged by the media against gun ownership, and argues that various anti-gun extremists are behind the effort “to destroy what we know and treasure as the American way of life.”
Common elements with today’s situation:
-Well-financed anti-gun campaign (pre-Bloomberg): “These vocal, argumentative, well-financed campaigners wish to deprive some 50,000,000 Americans, a group larger than any minority element and composed of all elements, of a civil right older than the United States and prized by free men everywhere.”
-Ignorance of guns: “The people who are most against guns are the people who understand them least.”
-Comparing civilian firearms deaths to war deaths (though without contemporary infographics): “One of the anti-gun spokesmen’s prize statistics, true or false, is that 750,000 Americans have been killed at home with guns in this century, more than in all the nation’s wars.”
-Comparing firearms deaths to car deaths: “the car fatality rate went up last year 4 times as much as the gun homicide rate. What are these intense humanitarians doing about car deaths?”
These small finds as I work my way through the past 100 years of The American Rifleman continue to reinforce to me that the increasingly hard line political stance of the National Rifle Association in defense of gun rights has developed symbiotically with the increasingly hard line political stance against guns by its opponents.