Why Gun Bans Affect Hunters

After the Newtown tragedy, the topic of gun control has once again reared its ugly head. However, I talk to many hunters who feel that any new gun ban won't affect them. If you believe this, you are wrong. Any gun ban will eventually affect hunters. Maybe not Feinstein's current proposed ban, or the next one, or the one 10 years from now, but sooner or later you, your guns, and your hunting lifestyle will certainly be affected.

Disagree? Show me one country that has implemented "common sense" gun laws and then just stopped. You can't, because it doesn't happen. The way this works is one law at a time, piling law upon law until the goal is reached.  Hunters and gun owners are fond of saying, "They will never come take my guns." And they are right, they will never just come "take your guns." But they will pass laws until some point, 50 years down the road, gun ownership has become too costly, too cumbersome, and too much of an intrusion into life that your grandchildren will simply choose not to own them. At that point, hunting will also disappear for the masses.

I have been fortunate enough to hunt the world, and everywhere I go is in far worse shape than we are when it comes to firearm ownership, for one simple reason: Their hunters compromised. Compromise turned into confiscation in New Zealand. Compromise became gun laws so onerous in England that the vast majority of its citizens have never seen a real gun. In sporting destinations such as Africa, the wait to buy a hunting rifle takes upwards of a year, and you can only own about four rifles — that is, if you have a legitimate reason to own one at all. All of this trampling of rights started with "common sense" gun legislation in the name of curbing violence, but it is no surprise that crime has remained largely unaffected or is worse than it was before.

If you need further evidence of how this game is played, take a look at smoking. If you would have told any American in the 1950s that someday smoking wouldn't be allowed indoors, on planes, in restaurants, in bars and that even going outside to smoke would not be acceptable — please step 150 yards away from the door, sir — they would have hacked/laughed you out of the room. Any such law proposed 50 years ago would have been quickly run out of Congress in a hail of blue smoke. But one step at a time, one compromise at a time, this is exactly what has transpired. I'm not saying that we should repeal all smoking laws; it simply serves as an example of how much things can change when the game is played an inch at a time.

Right now, it is black guns — and, yes, it is black guns by their very look, nothing more, nothing less — that are being demonized. You may not own one, you may think that there is no sporting purpose for one (an issue I would disagree with, but that is not the point), and you may believe that 30-round magazines don't have a place in the woods, but what about when they limit guns to 10 rounds? You are kidding yourself if you think they will stop there. As New York lawmakers just demonstrated, they won't quit — 10 rounds are too many for New Yorkers, and they are now limited to seven. What about when they go to five, or two, or none at all?

Allow more gun laws to pass and it will be your semi-auto shotgun, your 10/22, and even your super-accurate bolt-action hunting — or should I say, "sniper" — rifle next. Trust me, they are not just after black guns, they are after all guns, and they won't rest until they get them.

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