The election held in Virginia this past Tuesday, to find the state a new governor, was a highly publicized affair that effectively put the Tea Party on trial, and at the end of the day, they were found guilty; barely. But that isn’t the only big news to come out of this election. The Capitol City Project reports that a gun store in the battleground state was giving out free 30-round AR-15 magazines as a ‘reward’ for voting.
The gun store – Quantico Tactical located in Woodbridge – sent out an email blast to its newsletter subscribers; its subject line reading:
Free Election Day PMAGS at Our Woodbridge, VA Store
According to the email all one had to do was provide a valid Virginia voter’s ID or active-duty military ID, in person, and they would receive the magazine at no cost. Now, it would be so easy to label this as some kind of ultra-right-wing gun-nut giveaway or a form of electioneering on the part of Quantico Tactical, but it wouldn’t be correct to do so.
You’ll notice that the gun store doesn’t ask for information on who you voted for or proof of voting. Instead, they just requested proof that you could vote. Granted, we could talk about voter ID laws and how they’re unconstitutional in every conceivable way all day long. Fortunately, that isn’t the point.
Those crying foul over this on the basis that it rewards voting in a certain direction – namely, to the right – are leaping to conclusions. According to a post on the store’s Facebook page:
…the idea is to reward people who voted.
Sure, as previously said there is no requirement for proof-of-vote in order to get the mag, but the idea is solid. You want people to get out and let their voices be heard and so you offer them something of a reward. One could argue that the knowledge that a person contributed to society should be reward enough for voting, but this is America. We are an entitlement-based society.
The problem is that the label in question, “entitled,” is being attached to the wrong group of people. It truly shouldn’t come as any surprise that it takes a little coaxing to get some Americans to vote in this country. Some people feel entitled to a present for doing their civic duty, because of the “lesser of two evils” mindset that has overtaken a fairly sizable portion of the American populace. (In the case of Romney vs. Obama the mindset was certainly justifiable.)
In addition, it’s not like they’re telling folks that only those who voted for Ken Cuccinelli get the free mag. Said JJ Johnson of Reality Survival in Woodbridge:
It’s also a great way to support the Second Amendment and…just encourage people to get involved in the voting process and the democratic process to make a change…for the better.
Okay, so maybe it can be taken that the customers themselves do lean to the right a bit. Big. Freaking. Deal.
On the flip side, The Daily Dot reports that Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) has joined New York Assembly members Brian Kavanaugh (D-Manhattan) and Michelle Schimel (D-Nassau County) in calling for Instagram to institute a “no-gun” policy. Turns out that gun owners and gun stores are using the ever-popular social media platform to sell weapons. Senator Markey actually penned a letter to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on the matter. Said Markey:
We need a clear picture of how gun sales are conducted and transacted through Instagram in order to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands and off our streets.
As The Daily Dot reported back in October, there is no federal law in regard to firearm sales over the Internet – including social media. This causes a rather scary problem to arise. There is little-to-no doubt that those selling their firearms over Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram are not conducting background checks. What’s more; they probably don’t care. (In their defense, when I sold my father’s old collection of Playboy magazines, I didn’t check to see if it was a child who bought them. Just kidding. I didn’t do that. Yet.)
Even still, if you hop over to Instagram and do a search for “#gunsforsale” you’ll find a great number of results; around 1,500 or so.
Now these two stories put the two sides of the true gun issue on display. Not pro- and anti-2nd Amendment. Nope. This is the good side and the bad side of firearm enthusiasts.
Small government Conservatives will cry that putting a limit on Internet-based gun sales is 2nd Amendment-infringing. Those people are terribly wrong. One could easily use the Internet as a black hole of gun control legislation to get around regulations on firearm registration and sales. As previously stated, firearms being sold by everyday gun owners on the internet could end up in the hands of a minor or even an ex-convict who isn’t allowed to own guns in the first place. What the hell does the seller care? They probably need that money for an ATV or something. As such, they don’t have time to track who their buyers are.
That being said, not all gun owners or 2nd Amendment enthusiasts are insane. That’s a stereotype that isn’t supported at The Liberal Conservative. After all, a certain author here on Liberal America – who you may or may not be but definitely are reading right now – voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and that silly fella’ is pro-gun. Far from a fringe lunatic one could and should say. (Although, in fairness, the lunatic part is pending further review.)
See, in Virginia you’ll find a gun store called Quantico Tactical who is only using people’s enthusiasm for firearms to ensure they vote. On the internet, you’ll find at least, a large sampling of careless gun sellers who can easily put a weapon in the hands of somebody who really shouldn’t have it for a multitude of reasons. Being a fan or enthusiast doesn’t make you evil or even automatically a member of the Tea Party, and standing up for safety-based regulations doesn’t make you a bleeding heart Liberal who wants to rule you with an iron fist. This is a message to both sides of the gun issue:
The only absolute in the world is that there are no other absolutes. Firearms and firearm sales are not black and white issues. There are shades of gray all over those debates. What is certain is the law as it stands now. There are no federal regulations on Internet firearm sales, but there should be.?That’s the beauty of our democratic republic: it’s adaptable. If the far-right, conservative 2nd Amendment-supporters are the good, Constitutional people they claim to be, then they’ll support such regulations; and, if the far-left, liberal anti-gun protestors are the good, Constitutional people they claim to be, then they’ll support the reasonable implementation of the 2nd Amendment into our society.
Edited by SS