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It’s time for sensible gun owners to speak up

The bump stock uses the recoil of the semiautomatic rifle to let the finger "bump" the trigger, making it different from a fully automatic machine gun, which are illegal for most civilians to own. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

I keep trying to get away from talking about guns. And then some story pulls me back in.

Today it was a column by Danny Westneat in The Seattle Times.

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Westneat offers a well-written piece that echos some things I’ve thought for a long time. The silent majority of responsible gun owners can and should change this narrative. They are uniquely positioned to do so; change things from within the movement.

Westneat includes a link to a promotional video on bump stocks. I followed the link and it provides a crystal clear window into the mindset of the “no restrictions at all” faction of the gun lobby.

This is a promotional video for some aftermarket parts that will quickly modify a semi-automatic weapon to one that can fire up to 800 rounds per minute. Admittedly, I haven’t done a deep dive on the particulars of what’s available in the gun aftermarket. But this is relevant because the shooter in Las Vegas had outfitted his weapons with bump stocks.

It’s the point of view surrounding this promo that jumped out to me. There is swelling music and a big voice wrapping this product in the patriotism and wisdom of the founding fathers. Meanwhile, the company’s man quickly swaps out the parts and then shoots 800 rounds a minute into the night in dramatic slow motion.

Throughout the ad, a resonant narrator speaks:

“They knew their signatures on that Declaration of Independence told everybody that they were willing to die for it … by daring to put on parchment what our founding fathers felt deep in their hearts. The long silent soul of liberty rose up from a commoner’s dreams to become every man’s birthright.”

The promotional video swells with a choir over the blaze of the gun muzzle in slow motion. Bullet casings fly up and out of the rapidly-firing weapon.

“Your presence here, now, today is an act of reverence of all man’s works that meet the heavens; none shines brighter than our Constitution. I think of Jefferson, and Payne, Adams, Madison, Mason, Franklin, I think they are looking down, right now, at us. I think they understand what we are trying to do. What we strive to do.”

Really? The founding fathers would be looking down with pride on this near-perfect killing machine? I guess that’s one way to look at it.

That’s not how I envision it. I think the founding fathers would be shocked and appalled at the violence in the country they helped to found. I truly believe they would say, “That’s not what we meant. How were we suppose to know that a bump stock would one day be invented?”

So I will join the chorus of what Danny Westneat wrote today. Responsible gun owners, where are you? Rise up. If you are an NRA member and are shocked and appalled by the senseless gun violence, this is your time. If you’ve finally had enough, you are the ones that can change things. It has to be you. Because no one is listening to the other side anymore.

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