This isn’t about knives, so if you want to ‘turn away’, I totally understand. This is a personal issue that’s been bothering me for a long bit and I just needed to unload.
Just to give you a little background, while Minnesota tends to vote Democrat, the NW corner of the state and over into North Dakota tends to be made up of some pretty conservative folks (including the Dem’s) when it comes to personal rights as well as states rights. A few years back when Fargo experienced a flood of biblical proportions, FEMA came in and tried to take charge. FEMA told the mayor of Fargo to start evacuating the city in spite of the cities incredible effort to prepare for the worst. While plans were ready to be executed within hours, the mayor basically told the feds to go pound sand and stand down. No evacuation order was given and the dikes held, no problem. So that gives you an idea of the type of people that populate this area. Cool, level headed folks that can take care of their own problems without much (if any) government intervention.
As an avid shooter and ‘retired’ hunter, I’ve been following all of the discussion and news stories regarding potential changes in the gun laws as well as the incredible increase in the number of background checks for purchases and so on. While the whole situation surrounding the shooting was unbelievably tragic, the reaction, while anticipated, has been frustrating. Rather than letting cooler heads prevail, the immediate, irrational cry was for more laws. We don’t need to try and figure out why or how this happened, we just need to pass some more laws.
Attending the gunshow over the past weekend, I got a real good glimpse at the reaction locally. What a show!!! With the primary focus on collectible firearms, hunting and reloading, there were only a few knife vendors in attendance this time. Attendance was up over 30% from last year on the opening day and Sunday had to be nearly as big. I haven’t seen people open their wallets like that in a looooong time. In fact, probably since 1994. A fair amount of the buying was done based on concerns that in the not too distant future the ability to own or purchase firearms might be severly restricted.
In talking to a large number of people, both men and women, it’s kind of like the culmination of numerous issues resulting in something of a perfect storm. We’ve watched economies on the verge of collapse around the world, one of the most mean spirited elections in years was finally over in November. We just witnessed an ugly battle in congress over taxes, another battle is coming over spending, our economy is struggling, ALL of our taxes have gone up, survivalist TV shows are growing in popularity and now we’re about to see the first draft of what appears to be one of the strictest new gun laws we’ve seen in years. People are sincerely worried and in some cases, flat out scared of what’s happening.
During the show I chatted with a couple of guys regarding knives and knife laws. We all had a good chuckle over the fact that the federal switchblade law is, for the most part ignored…in our part of the country. But not so funny is the fact that just a couple of years ago an attempt was made to classify a number of assisted opening knives (as done in Australia) to fall under the switchblade law. Thanks to the American Knife & Tool Industries efforts, it didn’t happen. All of us were pretty tuned into the fact that no matter how water downed future legislation affecting either knives or guns might ultimately be, it’s the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent.
I guess it’s kind of like alcohol. I don’t drink but I sure don’t hold it against anyone that drinks responsibly. Even though we had over 200 kids killed by drunk drivers in 2010, I’m smart enough to realize you don’t ban cars or alcohol. Statistics claim 11 teen deaths each day in texting while driving accidents. I doubt we can ban cell phones. Life is full of hazards and we can’t live in a bubble. What we can do is take a rational approach to addressing these problems. And on that point, it just amazes me the number of people that have vilified the NRA in this whole debate when the NRA is the largest promoter of safe and responsible gun handling for kids and adults. If their safety program were a part of every kids education we could drop the accidental shooting incidence even lower. A smart politician (hmmmm…look up oxymoron in the dictionary) would be trying to subsidize the program with free government dollars!
I’ve also had email exchanges with a couple of good customers in the UK and Australia pre and post election, discussing what’s going on and my Australian friend warned me on two points. Guns and knives. Australia doesn’t have a second amendment like we do and when they passed the most recent law, they took away virtually all guns capable of being fired rapidly, which included semi automatic and PUMP shotguns depending on the type of “license” you possess. The same thing happened with knives. My understanding is that in New South Wales it’s illegal to carry a knife ‘without reason’ and the burden of proof falls on the ‘violator’.
This goes way beyond any party affiliation. Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Socialist, Libertarian…take your pick, I sincerely believe there are lawmakers with the philosophy that no matter how heinous a law they may have passed, to hell with the consequences, it’s the fact it was written with good intentions that matter. As the saying goes, ‘…the road to hell is paved with good intentions..‘