6 Reasons Guns Aren’t Like My Gayness
An NRA commentator is claiming gun rights are like gay rights. Put simply, they’re not. Here’s what led to this ridiculous comparison and why these two topics are so very different.
Starbucks recently had to make a little request to customers: that they do not bring firearms into the coffee chain’s stores because, they feel, having to have one eye on the man with the gun while drinking your latte should not be part of the “Starbucks experience.”
Prior to this, the gun lobby had used Starbucks’ uneasy silence regarding gun carrying in store to peddle so-called Starbucks Appreciation Days, where a number of people took pictures of themselves in-store holding their firearms. This reportedly includes a Starkbucks at 34 Church Hill Road, Newtown, Connecticut — not far from where 26 people were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.
To be clear, no employees will force gun carriers to leave; there will be no refusal of service policy beyond what already exists. This is simply a request.
Some gun advocates have said that, while they are disappointed with the policy, they respect Starbucks’ right to deem what is appropriate behavior in its stores. Others have taken it less well.
Most curiously among them is NRA news commentator Colion Noir, who has deemed that Starbucks is “anti-gun,” and that this is the same as being anti-gay because, well, something to do with gayness:
“In the wake of Starbucks coming out of the proverbial anti-gun closet – yes, I said anti-gun – because when you request that I don’t bring my gun with me into your store, that’s an anti-gun stance. Think about it. When you say ‘We’re not pro- or anti-gay but please all gay people – we respectfully ask that you not bring your gayness into the store. I mean, we’ll still serve you, but if you can leave the gayness at the door, we would much appreciate it.’ Now if that’s what they said I highly doubt Tom Ford would go start designing a black Tuscan coffee signature cologne in support of this stance.”
Watch the video below:
Regardless of the wider arguments around gun control, I want to nip this one in the bud right now: my gayness is nothing like your gun carrying. Here’s why:
1) My Gayness Never Accidentally Killed or Injured Someone
Eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj accidentally shot himself in the head in October 2008, after he lost control of a 9 mm Micro Uzi submachine gun at a Massachusetts gun show. His father was filming the incident as it happened.
Broadly speaking, cases like this are rare, but people losing control of their guns or guns accidentally discharging does happen with unfortunate frequency, and people do get hurt.
As recently as January of 2013, at least five people were injured at gun shows, three in North Carolina, one in Indiana and one in Ohio, after guns accidentally “discharged.” Chief among the incidents, a 36-year-old man from Wilmington, North Carolina, whose 12-gauge shotgun went off while he was unfastening the case on a table near the gun show’s entrance. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
We also note that Dick Cheney had another firearm related mishap recently, this time during a hunting competition –fortunately no Texas trial lawyers were harmed this time and only Cheney’s pride was bruised.
My gayness, on the other hand, does not discharge prematurely and the medical consensus is homosexuality is not of itself in anyway harmful.
2) My Gayness Was Never Used to Kill an Unarmed Teenager
The Trayvon Martin case, and the (albeit not invoked) Florida stand your ground law are well traveled news fodder. To say that my gayness has never been used to “stand my ground” and kill someone in murky circumstances barely needs to be said.
In fact, my gayness appears far more likely to be on the other side of gun violence, as the worryingly high hate crime and possible hate crime figures coming out of New York this year might serve to demonstrate.
As a note: my gayness isn’t aggressively proud of its infamy, either. George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder and of manslaughter charges in July, unfortunately appears to be. He even recently took a tour of the factory in which his gun — the one used to kill Martin out of apparent self defense — was made.
3) Lax Background Checks On My Gayness Never Led to the Attempted Assassination of a Congresswoman
The name Gabrielle Giffords is known the world over as the woman who survived the 2011 Tuscon shootings perpetrated by paranoid schizophrenic Jared Lee Loughner who, it later emerged, had sought to specifically kill Giffords.
During the incident Giffords, a then Democratic U.S. lawmaker for Arizona, was shot in the head. While six others died from their injuries, Giffords somehow managed to pull through and, despite a prolonged convalescence and an ongoing recovery, Giffords remains politically active despite condescension that her gun control position is somehow exploiting the tragedy in which she as a victim played a central role.
Giffords, it should be noted, has campaigned for control while at the same time being a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment.
To the best of my knowledge, my gayness has never been used in an assassination attempt, nor has the lobby backing gay rights ever used my mental health to deflect criticism about lax oversight or to fight expanded background checks.
4) My Gayness Has Never Killed 20 School Children
We are all familiar with the chilling events that happened in December 2012 that saw 20-year-old Adam Lanza kill 20 children and six adult staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Despite a massive swell of support for gun control measures, and many of the stricter gun control ideas being uncontroversial among a vast majority of voters, Congress’ latest attempt at changing America’s obviously broken gun access and licensing laws failed.
While worryingly broad gun access goes unchallenged, my gayness, meanwhile, is unprotected under federal law and many state laws, meaning children who identify as LGBT are frequently the victim of emotional and physical abuse, and in 15-year-old Lawrence King’s case: execution in the classroom.
5)My Gayness Can’t Kill 12 People and Injure 70 in a Matter of Minutes
July 20, 2012 saw James Eagan Holmes, dressed in tactical clothing and also using tear gas grenades, kill 20 people and injure 70 others at a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a screening of the Batman film The Dark Night Rises.
In the wake of this tragedy, serious questions were raised as to why members of the general public needed to have access to semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines like those used during the shooting. A ban was considered by Congress only to be jettisoned with the hopes of rallying support for expanded background checks. That of course also failed.
My gayness has nothing to say about this because there simply isn’t an equivalence. The issue speaks for itself. It isn’t anti-gun to question why civilian needs the capacity to injure or kill so many people.
6) My Gayness Never Killed or Maimed People on a Military Base
The Washington Navy yard shooting perpetrated by Aaron Alexis is of course still fresh in people’s minds. The former Navy reservist gunned down 12 people in an attack on one of the US’s biggest navy yards on September 16, 2013. Since then, the picture of a disturbed man who should never have been accepted into the Navy has started to emerge.
There are several other examples of military base shootings, most infamous among them the 2009 case of Nidal Hasan opening fire at Fort Hood and killing 13 people and wounding 32 others.
In terms of gayness, it took decades of work to ensure that people like me could serve openly in the military. Until that time gay soldiers had to live a life under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, quite often meaning that the military would use and then discard them, citing a violation of military rules. Those anti-gay rules harmed soldiers. Gun restrictions prompting gun owners to be responsible harm no one.
Of course this list could go on, noting for instance that four days after the Washington shooting, 13 people were shot at a park in Chicago, among them a 3-year-old boy, but it boils down to this:
There are Constitutional reasons why owning a gun is within the rights of every American citizen. There are also legitimate concerns about the access to, use of and prevalence of fire arms. In fact I would argue, as former congresswoman Giffords has done, that requiring stronger gun control measures is not in fact “anti-gun,” whatever that means. It is, if we want to start making slogans, pro-responsible gun ownership.
Also, just in case the above did not make this clear, being anti-gun or advocating for restricting gun access is not in any way the same as being anti-gay or the harm that anti-gay discrimination causes.
Image credit: Thinkstock.