Dumb Arguments About Guns is a series devoted to examining the (il)logic of the modern debate over gun rights, gun laws, gun ownership and gun possession. The purpose of the series is to help people focus their arguments and avoid falling into the many pitfalls of the gun debate in this country. In the interest of full disclosure, my own position is that current gun laws are far too permissive. I favor greater restrictions (but not elimination) on the types of guns private citizens should be allowed to own, carry and use.Previous Diaries in this Series:
I ask that people remain polite and on topic in the comments of this diary. Please ignore overly dickish and/or excessively repetitive comments, we can only be derailed if we let ourselves get derailed.
Dumb Arguments about Guns 2: Bad Comparisons
Dumb Arguments About Guns 1: The 2nd Amendement
In the third part of this series I would like to address a problem in the gun debate here at Daily Kos, not in the wider debate in the country. Its a problem particular to us, but since I am writing here on Daily Kos, and my readership (what little there is) are members of Daily Kos, I am gonna run with it.
Over the last few days, if not months, there have been calls to have Daily Kos ban the group RKBA (Right to Keep and Bear Arms). For the record, I have argued that they should be allowed to stay here, but I actively oppose the goals of at least the most absolutist of that group. To be clear, there are many opinions in RKBA as to the degree of gun control they are willing to accept or advocate--from positions not too far from my own to what I consider batshit crazy. Similarly, there are members who are widely respected, widely liked and widely considered to be among the most diplomatic and kind at Daily Kos. Some others are dicks. I have no interest in naming names, engaging in a debate about anything I have said in this paragraph--just letting you know where I stand before the real point of this diary in the next paragraph.
For those who wish to ban RKBA, I think you all need to recognize that the RKBA group doesn't matter. RKBA consists of about 90 members (most of whom don't really participate in the group that much) within a single progressive website with upwards of 600,000 users. That means that RKBA members make up about 0.015% of the registered users at this site. If we say that there are about 5,000 active members of this site, and by my estimate only about 10-15 active RKBA members, we are talking about somewhere between 0.2% and 0.3% of the active members of Daily Kos.
Can they be noisy? Yes. Can they be dicks? Yes. Can they be wonderful members of Daily Kos loved by almost all? Yes. Can they provide some useful info on guns, gun laws and gun use? Yes, I have had to sharpen and correct some of my arguments about guns do to their challenges. But seriously, if we can't handle the arguments from a small number of the absolutists members of RKBA, how the hell are we gonna defeat the NRA? We can ban RKBA here on Daily Kos, we cannot ban the NRA from the United States.
So, if I can make a suggestion. Stop worrying about RKBA and start worrying about the NRA--cause the NRA has been among the most effective, smart and powerful lobbies in the history of the United States. Getting new gun restrictions is going to be staggeringly difficult. You thought health care was hard--gun restrictions are gonna be harder. Worrying about RKBA while the NRA is planning their counterattack is like worrying about a gnat while a bear is charging you.
There are plenty of other arguments about civility, big tents and listening that can be said of RKBA. Some of those make sense to me, others less so. But none change the simple fact that RKBA doesn't matter. Think of RKBA as a test...if you can't jump over a matchbox, perhaps you shouldn't try to climb Mount Everest.