As a spokesman for Gun Owners of America, I frequently hear the same questions over and over again.
One of the more common queries is this: "Considering all the evidence that gun control has failed, why doesn't the Brady Bunch realize the error of their ways?"
It's a good question. After all, the evidence that gun control laws have done nothing to curb crime is astounding.
Cities like Washington, DC and Chicago duke it out every year for the dubious "honor" of being the nation's Murder Capital.
Both cities have draconian gun bans. Both cities have made it difficult to defend oneself with a firearm. And yet, both cities still find it impossible to keep bad guys from carrying firearms.
Gun rights supporters have long maintained that laws restricting access to firearms will never stop thugs and outlaws from getting guns. But gun banners still cling -- with religious fervor -- to their belief that a gun-free U.S.A. will result in a utopia.
The anti-gun editors at The Washington Post recently lampooned Virginia's "macho-fest" with guns. Virginia's gun laws are comparatively lax, and because of a recent change in state law, many northern Virginia residents are now carrying guns openly.
Incredulously, the Post editors say that area residents should beware of traveling in Virginia and opt for Maryland or DC, where they will supposedly be safer. "Residents just have to hope that they don't rub a [Virginia] gun-toter the wrong way," the Post claims.
These guys just don't get it. The FBI crime reports show that Maryland's murder rate is nearly 100 percent higher than Virginia's, and DC's rate is a whopping 772 percent higher!
Have the Post editors ever considered that one of the reasons Maryland and DC are more dangerous is because authorities there make it more difficult for good people to defend themselves?
Any sane person would rather travel in Virginia, even though guns are everywhere. Some might even say that the Old Dominion State is safer BECAUSE there are guns everywhere.
So why is it that liberal gun grabbers just don't get it?
It all comes down to their worldview which assumes that government works best when it takes care of us from cradle to grave. A worldview that assumes an all-encompassing Nanny State should provide for all of our needs, including our need for protection.
They cling to this view zealously, and when the evidence suggests it’s not working, they insist more controls are needed.
Former President Bill Clinton is a case in point. In 2000, he argued that we need tougher gun restrictions at the federal level because criminals go to states with "weaker laws" (such as Virginia) to buy firearms and then return to states with "tougher laws" (such as Maryland) to commit crimes.
But that begs the question: why don't those criminals want to commit their crimes in states like Virginia, if that’s where they are getting their guns? Could it be that they like to commit their crimes where their victims can't shoot back at them?
Hey, they may be criminals, but they're not stupid!
Speaking of stupidity, it seems the greatest idiocy is found in those who refuse to admit they are wrong, even when the evidence runs contrary to their beliefs. But thankfully, there are a few honest gun banners who have admitted the error of their ways.
Consider state representative Ron Silver of Florida, who was the leading opponent against the passage of his state's concealed carry law in 1987. He had bought the line, propagated by the Brady Bunch, that the Sunshine State was going to become the "GUNshine State" if citizens started carrying guns.
It was a cute jingle, but these fears never materialized. Now that more than 800,000 Florida residents have carried concealed firearms in the ensuing years, the FBI reports once again show the reality: Florida residents are much safer today than they were before the law was enacted.
The state's murder rate has dropped 52% and residents actually have a greater chance of bein+g attacked by an alligator, than they do by a concealed carry holder.
To his credit, Rep. Silver admitted he was wrong about the law and said he is "happy" to see the projected horror stories never materialized.
An honest politician? Maybe there's hope after all.
Erich Pratt is the Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America.