Dan Weber’s Op-Ed as seen on The Federalist
Before they try to change every Americans’ constitutional rights forever, perhaps these eager young men and women might want to learn something from their elders.
On March 24, student activists will gather in Washington, DC and other cities across the country as part of March for Our Lives, organized in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with the mission to “end the epidemic of mass shootings.” Their enthusiasm is admirable. But their trivial knowledge of firearms and the Second Amendment is not. Before they try to change every Americans’ constitutional rights forever, perhaps these eager young men and women might want to learn something from their elders on these matters.
I represent an older generation of Americans who grew up in a time when many people still lived on farms. Unlike this generation, which seems determined to denigrate the roles of men and fathers, many of us had dads who taught their sons and daughters the proper use of shotguns and rifles, and how to shoot. Even my suburban high school in New York had a gun range and a junior Rod & Gun club. We were all expected to learn how to shoot a firearm. After the Second World War and Korea and amidst the threat of Soviet totalitarianism, we were taught to defend our families, ourselves, and our country. Liberty, self-armament, patriotism, and citizenship were inextricably bound.
The right to keep and bear arms has become even more crucial to those of us heading into our sunset years. The elderly are especially vulnerable to violent crime and, as a result, the number of senior citizens carrying firearms is on the rise. Nearly 23,000 people over 65 took basic firearm training courses from NRA-certified instructors in 2015, four times the number five years earlier. Since 2010, seniors’ demand for firearms training climbed 400 percent.
These are realities of life that the vast majority of the young people clamoring for gun control do not appear to grasp.
In fact, given their many media appearances, it’s clear that student activists are largely unfamiliar with the mechanics of firearms. Most believe the “AR” in “AR-15” stands for “assault rifle.” (It actually stands for ArmaLite, the manufacturer who designed the gun in 1956.) Moreover, few know the simple difference between a round and a clip. These aren’t trivial matters. They have already vastly impacted public policy.
American ‘Gun Culture’ Is In One Sense A Total Myth
Millennials also ought to grapple with the fact that American “gun culture” — in the sense that everyone is walking around with a firearm or has one at home — is a myth. Just about 3 percent of the population owns half of the civilian guns in this country. That’s the lowest rate of gun ownership since the late 1970s. Indeed, three decades ago, half of all American households had a gun, while just around one-third did in 2010. Yet gun violence has become more and more of a problem, despite fewer and fewer people possessing firearms.
Even more worrying, student activists don’t get the moraldimension of the Second Amendment, a failure of education that will likely devastate our democracy.
The right to keep and bear arms is about self-defense, of course. But it’s more than that, which should be obvious, because the overwhelming majority of guns in this country will never — thank goodness — be used in act of self-defense. It’s about responsibility, and lack of ownership (not only of firearms, but of anything) breeds irresponsibility. And it’s young Americans who especially would benefit from getting to know a right that’s primarily about obligation, obligation to oneself as well as to one’s neighbors.
As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demonstrated in his bestselling and aptly-titled 2017 book, “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis,” our country’s coming-of-age rituals (graduating from school, leaving home, starting a family, buying a home, etc.), are now being delayed or omitted entirely. In that vein a new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security shows that 66 percent of millennials have nothing saved for retirement. And according to testimony by General Robert B. Neller, the 37th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, less than 30 percent of young men and women are qualified to join the military.
These recent revelations are indicative of a broader and extremely alarming trend. And yet those born between the early 1980s and the mid 1990s constantly complain that they’re unfairly accused of being selfish and short-sighted.
Alas, millennials pass off personal responsibility to government and demand a greater amount of care through social welfare. And they still can’t figure out why older Americans can’t take them seriously as fully-formed adults. It’s not entirely their fault though. With the pervasive influence of progressivism, they are indoctrinated in school to believe there’s very little, if anything, to be learned from the past. Each generation is wiser than the previous one. So history is merely a saga of bigotry, racism, hatred, misogyny, and xenophobia. That by extension means that those who lived before us are not be trusted, as they are products of an enlightened era.
Indeed, to previous generations, “respect your elders” meant appreciating that those who have been on this planet longer than you have probably know things that you don’t. To millennials, however, the saying seems to mean little more than “be nice” to your parents and, especially, your grandparents, as in don’t scream at them when they ask you for the fifteenth time how to send a text message. If millennials were willing to accept that they could learn something from their grandparents, they would learn a lot about firearms, about which they claim to care passionately.
At least in the short term, there’s little chance we’ll be able to convince millennials of the virtues of the Second Amendment. Their generation floats. It has few roots. Its members are more likely to rent property, to regularly switch jobs, and to move from city to city. A greater appreciation of our nation’s history and founding principles will require a significant cultural shift. But there’s still reason to try to move the needle, for it’s our duty as citizens.
So I applaud the student activists for getting off the couch, putting down their iPhones, and getting involved in the public square. But if saving lives as well as our democracy is genuinely their aim, their time would be better spent more effectively reading a civics textbook or sitting down with their grandparents for an afternoon.
From - The Federalist - by Dan Weber
While I agree with your article I disagree with calling people idiots and the general negative wording towards millennials. Education and conversation helping them to reach conclusions thru thought provoking dialogue. They can make decisions based on facts. They are simply responding to what they have been taught in schools and the media.
Obviously the Second Amendment was intended for the purpose solely of self-preservation. With British troops being quartered in the homes by Royal decree I guess that’s why the ‘hoopla” of militias. But in fact, the dangers remain the same today where deadly force is appropriate when self-preservation is jeopardized. In fact originally the First Amendment could only be defended by Declaring Independence from Britain through our War of Independence. Liberals making ultimatums, and virtually censure opposition only thereby incriminating themselves by being guilty of the crime against humanity as their imaginary oppressors TOTALITARIANISM. Guns contrary to liberal insinuation do not symbolize clout in any way. A healthy bi-partisanship can be sustained through dialogue and consultation not as otherwise indicated thru ultimatums and censure. That is totalitarian.
Why dosen’t AMAC allow us the opportunity to go back and edit overlooked mistakes for a given time period like 30 minuets or so?
I think most of this protesting against guns is perpetrated by antigun liberals from teachers to professors to politicos and the mainstream corporate media. Much false information is disseminated.
The young minds of mush snowflakes should look at their own local authorities that opt for cash handouts for adopting the Promise Act by the Former Obama Administration. That agenda advocated that offenses by youth of minorities be overlooked and not documented. That is how the Parkland shooter was able to obtain an AR-15. In addition of authorities ignoring the many flags raised the guardians where too lenient in preventing the shooter from getting his guns. But authorities did ignor their pleas that the shooter get mental treatment and be institutionalized until confirmed cured.
Still the mental health people would probably but him on some kind of psycho drug regime that most likely would exasperate the problem. How many former shooters have been under that treatment and have relapse into derangement by stopping their prescription taking? I think there is too much reliance on the benefit claims that psycho drugs are the cure.
Why should millennials respect their elders? It all begins with the dumbing down of America and it starts and ends with the public school system. This unified agenda is turning out ignorance at epidemic proportions from grade school to college with extreme left ideals.
Schools and families used to instill, respect, honor, loyalty and patriotism along with an education for which skills needed to make a living were afforded. No more, our republic is turning into a democratic mob of whiners who understand nothing of our Constitution, heritage and our rights, let alone the sacrifices that got us here.
We so called elders have a wealth of knowledge, experience and resources, but
the progressive left has had at least 50 years or more to reprogram society.
No one is more heart broken and saddened by all of the mass shootings that have been occuring in our great nation than I. But after analyzing all of the different steps taken to try to reduce these horrific incidents such as reducing the exposure of gun violence to kids in TV, media and games, by enacting ever more restrictive gun control laws (not one of which has prevented a single gun related crime!), the establishment of “gun free zones” and the cry for more involuntary committing of all of the “crazy” people to mental health institutions, almost no one has pointed to the demonstrated to drive every mass shooting (non-radical Isamic related) beginning with Columbine. That cause is the use of prescribed psychiatric/anti-derpressant drugs. Each perpetrator of a mass shooting never once showed any violent traits or tendancies until they were required to take these drugs!! It has also been revealed that that Eli-Lily, the manufacturer of Prozac, hid the fact that people on the drug were 12 time more likely to commit suicide that people using other similar drugs. It is also a fact that 20 percent of the American population is currently being prescribed these types of drugs!!!
So where does the fault lie? I believe that the pharaceutical companies and the FDA, which must approve a drug for human use, are both accountable in that the companies can hide information they don’t want anyone to know about side effects not only from patients, but from the FDA just so they can get their new drug approved. There has never been any penalties for a drug manufacturer after a new drug has been approved, even when hidden information has been revealed, which is the responsibility of theFDA. I will state here that if we truly want to put an end to these horrific events, an honest, open, in depth investigation into the new drug approval procedure needs to take place as soon as possible and the results published and reported by not just medical journals, but the main stream media. Then, there should be criminal charges for those who withheld or hid information that would have resulted in the failure of a new drug to be approved.
Nice article, but there is one point on school shootings that I would like to see developed by those better able than me, and this point seems to be missed by most. The protesters (allegedly acting on their own) are protesting guns. I saw more than one sign held high saying “choose me not guns”, kids walking around with targets on their backs, and so forth. No one seems to be looking at who is doing the shooting. In every case as I recall, the mass school shootings are perpetrated by one of their own, which makes the shooter a product of the liberal manifesto that has been crammed into the school curriculum over the last several generations. Cause and effect … could school shootings be a direct result of the pabulum fed to the last several generations and the liberal agenda that have held them hostage in the public school setting? No, we can’t all be winners; no, everyone can’t me mainstreamed; and no, the special interest of a few does not make the rights and minds of the many wrong. It is time to focus on the malfeasant, not the tools that were used, and segregate from society that piece of evil, and whatever made it so in the first place.
A very well written Op- Ed such that you brought up many facts that some people haven’t given much thought too, if any at all. Reading it through it brought back to mind many facts that are so often forgotten or neglected for consideration in this debate. What would be the common opinion or position if these facts and related stories were mentioned or taught in our schools today. And I don’t need to hear from anybody that they are taught in our schools in this time of ultra liberal, anticonservative belief systems. We have a severe shortage of respect regarding opposing thoughts whenever conservative beliefs are in opposition to liberalism. Reading this Op-Ed restores my faith that there are people who do care about the decline of sound and respectable opinions of our citizens, mainly Elders, that are being destroyed by the opposing “Millennials”.
Here we have a bunch of IMMATURE High school Brats, trying to tell 18 to 20 year old Adults who Fight in our Military,, WHO IS MATURE??? These little turds need to go back to school and shut the heck up… The adults are in charge, not you little TIDE POD EATERS….. Gun Free Zones are what is killing people,,, I would have been beaten down in the street if not for having a CCW on my person. Just letting the thug know I was armed saved my life. COWARD BROWARD DEPUTIES ARE NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU IDIOT TIDE POD EATERS….
The 2nd amendment protected our rights when there was respect for the law. But now if the libs don’t like a law,, they say the law “is broken”. Then they disobey it, as they are ignoring immigration laws ,, which are not broken,, they just need respect and obedience. See their disrespect ( and ignorance) for freedom of speech ,, 1st amendment,, on campuses. Dangerous times.
Well said Dan. The 2nd Amendment is a fundamental aspect of being an American, and is as important as free speech, religious choice of worship, freedom to travel about and live in the community of your preference, and enjoy the security of a society protected by the rule of law. Those countries without the American ‘gun culture’ are monarchies and totalitarian collectives and though there may not be guns among the general population, only with the police and army, there are gangs who operate in swarms of hundreds armed with blunt and edged weapons and as we have seen in Africa, up to millions have been killed by such means.
We need to quit listening to these 17 and 18 year old punks who don’t know their rear ends from holes in the ground. I damn sure am not going to surrender my constitutional rights to morons who can’t even spell “constitution,” much less articulate the rights it contains. I would love for some of these half-wits to come to my home and try to take my firearms.
Well Mr. Weber, twice again you have called the U.S. a Democracy. We have a “mixed” form. Were we a pure Democracy, we would be already lost, with no further need to resist the “majority.” They would be in control. All that would be left to do would be to beg or whine.
I totally agree. Our form of government is a Republic and should be treated and spoken of as such. Our children are being taught it is a Democracy and they should all be Democrats and act as the liberals act. This is misleading and dangerously incorrect.
Good comment Ivan. I see this democracy thing going on all the time. I’m no fan of weber, and he certainly doesn’t speak for me. You’d think being an over educated sob he would know the difference between a democracy and a republic.
Although this article, and many like it, are right on point, they really are missing the big picture. When I was in High School, we had loaded guns, many times in a window gun rack, in unlocked cars, yet no mas shootings. We had the highest educated students in all topics in the world, we had very, very few pregnant teens and I didn’t know one student that didn’t graduate and move out on their own. First off, anyone still living off mom and dad’s teat in their twenties, doesn’t have much to say about anything! However, if they were really concerned about the world they have been handed, they should organize and bring down (sue) the source of pretty much all their ills – Washington DC!!!! After all, I could go on, but just one fact should have everyone in a tizzy. 98% of ALL MASS SHOOTINGS Happen in “GUN FREE ZONES”!!!! Hey kids, want to save lives and have a better way of life? Go after those that put a target on YOUR BACK by creating Gun Free Zones, the same ones that have Dumbed down your education and is ultimately responsible for you being in severe debt with student loans and Never being able to get a job, let alone one you went to college for. Yep, it is those traitors in Washington and guess what, NOT THE CONSTITUTION or the rest of us hard working slobs trying to survive our oppressive Government!!!!! Gee, I bet if you have this conversation with Mom and Dad, and your Grandparents, you would find something you all totally agree on – NOW GO GET EM!!! You know, the ones really responsible for your outrage about guns!!!
And against all the PC police thinking,,, What was the Majority Color and Ethnicity OF KIDS BACK THEN???? Don’t think that hasn’t affected the situation….
A Round refers to a bullet that is projected off a cartridge when fired, a magazine is what holds the ammunition in the firearm. A clip is a clip, that holds thing together, I suppose it could hold 8 30-06 cartridges together that goes in an M 1 Rifle. That’s about the only firearm I can think of off hand that uses a clip.
Thumbs up Hubert Hill, and “clips” were also spring backed strips that held 5 or 10 cartridges by the rim to be thumb pressed down into a magazine, like the Mauser /Springfield rifles (5 shots) or handguns like the Mauser C96 (10) and Styer M1912 (8) used in the World Wars. They are still available today with an additional adapter tab to load M16/AR15 magazines but are favored mostly by the military.
A round is the ENTIRE bullet and cartridge,, You even mentioned that fact in your explanation… A bullet is the projectile part of the round. The cartridge is the casing holding the powder charge of the round, with the bullet attached to it.
We are mere Earthlings. Very limited intelligence. We pay extra for pants with frayed holes in them.
Too many parents aren’t watching how much of history isn’t taught and how much Nanny State is. This and the money from the usual suspects that drives these types of “grass roots”(ha) movements is going to change this country at a speed which has not been seen before. It’s high time that there were regular marches by the people who realize that this is a country where we could have freedoms again, where we could turn the tide of the “free speech zones”(free if you say what we allow) and anti independence thinking. I can only hope that the speed at which the new generations are dumbed down about freedom can be curbed. The next generation to come out of the schools will be further along the one world order thinking than the current ones. These are troubling times.
It appears that your comment was censored by AMAC, which does NOT appear to favor free speech. The fact that your comment was disabled leads me to believe that I probably agree with you.
But,,, you don’t know what he said.
“Just about 3 percent of the population owns half of the civilian guns in this country.”
Over 136 MILLION firearms were produced in the US just between 1985 and 2015, and that doesn’t include imports.
If you think that 3% of the people own half the guns, think again.
Gun ownership is drastically underreported.
For the past 20 years, ANY survey in which I’ve been asked about gun ownership, I’ve either said NO, or declined to give an answer at all.
The vast majority of people I know, do the same, while nearly everyone I know owns at least one gun.
Exactly right. I would guess that gun ownership in the United States exceeds 50 % of American households.
Me too, and every one else I know too. Only a pure fool would say he owns any firearms. not only that but anyone who has any common sense at all can easily make a firearm, even fully automatic, they are extremely, simple to make in his garage and ammo too,without any special tools or chemicals for that matter. So yes they are grossly under reported.
David, in addition to the commercial guns manufactured and imported for the last 40 years or so how about all the war trophy guns imported by duffel bags by our grandfathers, fathers, and older brothers from the wars of the 20th Century ? Growing up I can remember that just about everyone’s dad and uncles served or were related to someone who did and had at least one, sometimes more, and these are still to be seen in retail stores, shows, and online sites. FDR, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Tojo, and all the other players in history each ordered many millions for their soldiers.
The Soros Empire has once again conspired against the Second Amendment by combining it’s economic resources with it’s organizational ingenuity. Soros, with his like-minded conspirators works his magic on the young and ill-informed who are eager to respond to an emotionally-charged school shooting. The fools who will be marching and chanting and acting before the cameras, are not the same thoughtful and informed revolutionaries of colonial America. They aren’t pragmatic students of history. They only serve a larger purpose for Soros and his New World Government ambitions. The anti-gun propaganda will be reported with tears and emotion and anger, with the usual mainstream media cheering them on.
Soros is a power-hungry enemy of freedom and Christianity. He knows what many Americans have never learned, ie……..an unarmed citizenry is as powerless as cattle in a stockyard awaiting the butcher’s knife.
Well considering that the March 24th rallies have been very carefully organized and paid for by the likes of Bloomberg and various Soros front organizations to push the Democrat anti-gun agenda, you’re kind of off the mark in claiming “student activists” are somehow responsible for putting together a nationwide day of protest against the 2nd Amendment. Those so-called “student activists” are simply convenient “useful idiots”, who will be bussed to various locations for maximum media coverage. The transportation also provided and financed by Bloomberg and various Soros front groups.
These so-called “student activists” will simply parrot the carefully prepared slogans and talking points the real organizers of this protest will have prepared for them. All while carrying very professionally made signs, again provided by the real event organizers, and cheering or booing on command, as the mainstream media covers the event non-stop and claims it is time to adopt the Democrat’s gun control policies without delay. It is called a staged media event designed to use emotional pleas to sway the gullible portion of the public, that actually believes a few teenagers could organize and finance a highly complex logistical nationwide event, all on their own, only a month after the Parkland shooting. In short, it will be a glorified pep rally to get the Democrat voter base all fired up ahead of the 2018 elections.