Is Meghan McCain a Gun Nut?

Is Meghan McCain a Gun Nut?

Posted:
05/14/09

I’ve been wondering this for several days, ever since she began teasing her next Daily Beast column on her Twitter feed. Could Meghan McCain, role model and political Rosetta Stone, actually be “one of them gun nuts?”The short answer is, “Kinda. Not really.” She writes in her column that she really gets a kick out of the Bang-Bang!:

So, yes, the girl who wants to legalize gay marriage and thinks the GOP is out of touch with progressive-minded Republicans is fiercely protective of her Second Amendment rights and finds it empowering, especially as a woman, to fire off a few rounds and get closer and closer to the desired target.

Maybe I should go back and read her dating stories a little more carefully. But seriously, folks, before I get to Meg’s stand on guns, I want to highlight the best part of her story, the thing with which I agree most:

Putting it bluntly, we’ve done a disservice to our violence problems by making the political argument about guns instead of whatever causes people to be violent in the first place. Anger, alcohol, drugs, economic hopelessness, reckless driving-they can all precipitate tragedy. Simply removing guns from the equation does not solve the larger problem. Worse, it gives the wrong impression about what can and should be done to help those who are troubled. The real solution to preventing gun violence is not taking away the tools, but tackling its causes: poverty, inadequate health care, mental illness, joblessness, inadequate housing, and poor education. Desperate people will make anything a weapon. We need to eliminate desperation, not guns.

I couldn’t hope to improve on that.I think Meghan identifies the key problem with the debate over gun rights:

Sadly, what should be a simple freedom has been obscured by our nation’s gun culture. Yes, there are people as fanatical about guns as others are about fashion, entertainment, music, or any other obsession. And sometimes they are portrayed unfavorably in the pop-culture world. Now, I know a small portion of them probably deserve some ridicule. But no more than any other “out-of-control” celebrity with another exploitative story. With guns, everything becomes polarized.

This is undeniably true, but it works both ways. Although she’s only sort of kidding, Meghan points out the reverse of the “Nugent Factor”:

In the days after my dad lost the election, my brothers and I went to shoot rounds at the local shooting range. Partly because-as anyone who knows how to use a rifle and can do so safely understands-doing so is hugely stress-relieving, and partly because, we half-joked, it might mark the beginning of the end of our Second Amendment rights under the Obama administration.

Sure, there are some people on the fringes who support an outright ban on gun ownership, but President Obama is not one of them. In the gun control debate, however, you have a false choice. The NRA opposes even common-sense gun laws, and would doubtless repeal all gun laws if they could. Check out their website.Now, I understand Meg’s, and others’, attraction to guns. I was a pretty handy target shooter back in the day, and who doesn’t love a good shoot-’em-up flick? Her vision of trained, responsible gun owners is perfectly in line with what most people, on either side, support. I scoured the NRA website, though, and I couldn’t find the section that describes their support for laws ensuring training and responsibility in gun ownership.I did see a section where they oppose Washington, DC’s right to democratically remove handguns from their own neighborhoods, or close the gun show loophole, or track guns used in crimes in any way. Unfortunately, there’s no Sensible Rifle Association for rational gun owners to join, not one with massive funding from gun manufacturers at its disposal, anyway. So where else is a responsible gun owner to go?I would urge Meg to watch, or re-watch, Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine.” He’s actually a member of the NRA, and has pretty moderate views on gun control. It is the NRA that is at the fringe, but they’re the only game in town.Conversely, her fellow Daily Beast contributor, Max Blumenthal, recently showcased the stereotype that Meg speaks out against. Perhaps it is time for reasonable people like Meghan to take back the gun culture.// Tommy on: Daily Dose:

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