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Arkansas's gun control "debate"

In past Examiner articles, I have written about Arkansas journalists and their biased slant concerning gun rights issues. Recent columns (here and here) written by prominent Arkansas correspondent Steve Barnes are a glaring example of that ingrained one-sided attitude of the state’s media against self-defense rights.

In the first three paragraphs of one of those commentaries, Mr. Barnes demonized the NRA (calls them a cult), de-legitimized assault rifles, called for gun control at gun shows and showed his desire for the federal government to be involved in private sales of firearms. He even took a swing at the revered Charlton Heston’s quote about “cold dead hands”, calling it a “syndrome”. All of these attacks on legitimate gun owners in Arkansas were made without any opposing viewpoint being put forth, while attempting to disguise the discussion as between men who represent all gun owners in the state.

In his articles, Mr. Barnes attempts to cloak his antagonism toward self-defense rights by quoting one-sided perspectives from both a ‘lunch club’ he belongs to and an email from a friend. The friend said:

“It is not about the guns you own — I will fight for that as long as they are not assault rifles — it is about the guns the crazies don’t own yet. I am all for giving everybody a deer rifle or a scattergun on demand. But who can make a rational argument against a background check on handguns at all points of sale, including gun shows and the Walmart parking lot, and banning sales of guns that have no legitimate sporting purpose?"

Mr. Barnes’s editorial, picked up by papers in cities such as Fort Smith, Mountain Home, Jonesboro and Pine Bluff, reflects the relentless drumbeat for gun control by the major media outlets in Arkansas. The Pine Bluff newspaper’s headline even boomed, “The gun debate goes on”. Steve Barnes’s article, however, was hardly a debate, since a debate usually has two sides giving their positions.

The quoted email goes on to say:

“When the worm eventually turns, and it will; when the pendulum swings it always goes far to the other way and legitimate hunters lose because of the gun nuts. What they will lose is something I believe is truly in our genetic makeup: the right to shoot at passing ducks, a deer slipping by or pulling up on a covey of quail.”

The anti-gun quotes continued:

“Hell, the people who are arming up out of fear ought to embrace the concept of choking off guns on demand to the drug dealers and the thugs.”

Obviously, these quotes are examples of elitism on a grand scale. Steve Barnes is quoting a friend to illustrate that if a citizen owns anything other than a shotgun or a deer rifle, then they are one of the ‘crazies’ (I assume they feel the same way about owning handguns). Clearly, standing up for Second Amendment rights will also get you tagged as a gun nut in the ‘lunch club’, and by supporting the ownership of firearms, the people (in the lunch club’s eyes) promotes arming drug dealers and thugs.

The makeup of Steve Barnes’s lunch club is evident. In the first article, he described his friends as a stockbroker, insurance salesman and middle manager of a federal agency (hardly people who would have to worry about an arrest in Arkansas, if they were pulled over while carrying a handgun in the glove compartment). Obviously, their ultimate reasoning for gun control is maintaining their privilege to hunt, and anybody else’s Second Amendment rights can burn. In neither of Mr. Barnes’s articles were there any mention of a person’s right to self defense or the ‘pesky’ Second Amendment. Also missing from the “debate” was the fact that thousands of deer hunters and shooters in Arkansas do use assault rifles for ‘sporting purposes’ (as I do), although no law or Constitutional decree requires these firearms be a ‘sporting’ firearm.

Mr. Barnes, if you want gun control in Arkansas, please stand up and demand it. Masquerading a ‘good ole boy’ gun control discussion as legitimate gun owning citizens debating Second Amendment issues is deceptive and immoral.

But of course, Steve Barnes, you do belong to that anti-gun “cult” known as the Arkansas media.


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Steve Jones

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