A Gun is a Farm Tool

I don’t feel like I could be any farther left politically without falling off the political spectrum, at least, at times, but much about this story has me baffled. It’s not just that I’m now imagining Campfield and Ford, armed and dangerous, but it honestly never occurred to me that any politician, especially in a state full of farmers, could somehow not know that a gun is a farm tool. Regardless of how you feel about guns or about hunting or whatever, sitting around debating about whether a farmer should be allowed to have a gun, and whether he should have to have special training to shoot at a snake?!

I’m sorry. Like I said, I’m a died in the wool lefty and I find this painfully embarrassing.

Are we going to debate whether a farmer should be able to have a tractor? After all, they could be very dangerous if someone got drunk and drove it through campus. Or fertilizer? Need I mention the Oklahoma City bombing? What about augers? You know how many old farmers I grew up with who were missing hands or fingers because of augers? And yet, they are still on farms.

I don’t own a gun. I think I’d even be nervous about having one in my house.

But it would strike me as weird if I went to a farmer’s house and there wasn’t at least one shotgun. Like I said, it’s a farm tool.

And using a gun to shoot a snake? Not only is that not weird, I’ve seen at least two different stories in the Commercial-Appeal about flood victims carrying shotguns to shoot snakes when the gun owners have to be on their flooded property. So, it’s weird that Memphis Democrats wouldn’t get the importance of that task. Do they not read their own paper? Skip the stories about the defining current event in their city?

Again, I’m not a gun expert, but I think the whole point of shot was that you were shooting something–like a bird or a snake or a deer–that moves quickly and may not be exactly where you aim by the time the load gets to it. So a wide spray of metal makes it more likely that something will hit it.

I don’t know. I don’t feel like some great second amendment absolutist and I don’t believe anything in the Constitution is off-limits for discussion, but it’s embarrassing to me, as a Democrat, when Democrats talk like there’s no good reason for a farmer to have a gun. It’s like saying there’s no reason for a police officer or a soldier to have a gun. A shotgun is part of the standard equipment of a farmer.

Sure, I guess not every farmer has one, but it seems like that kind of basic misunderstanding of who uses a gun in their jobs and for what and how is one reason that gun nuts never trust Democrats to have a legitimate discussion about guns–prominent Dems sound like they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

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18 thoughts on “A Gun is a Farm Tool

  1. As a sort-of farmer with livestock I need a gun for the times I’m either butchering or have an animal in distress that needs to end right now.

    Most of the time I don’t worry about the snakes, though I did poke a small rat snake off the porch rafters this morning. I think he was after the wren’s babies….

  2. For many farmers, the big danger is packs of wild dogs. A friend’s father who lives north of Clarksville carries a shotgun and a handgun to protect himself and his livestock from these dogs.

  3. As far as snakes go, hoes are a pretty good weapon and don’t require you to have quite as good aim.

    But if you live somewhere where you’ve got javelinas, wild dogs, or coyotes…yeah. You’re gonna need that rifle.

    On the other hand, yesterday I saw that the NRA in my state was lobbying to prohibit pediatricians from asking parents whether they had a gun in the house and how it was stored. Because dead kids are not as big a concern as bad gun-industry PR.

  4. That’s very weird. My country has strong gun-control laws but farmers are not only allowed to own guns, they (police and military don’t own their own guns) are the only gun-owners exempted from paying for a licence. Everyone else pays, and has to either have a special licence (e.g. armed security guard) or belong to a gun club, with appropriate training.

  5. Pingback: SayUncle » Rural and urban

  6. I saw that the NRA in my state was lobbying to prohibit pediatricians from asking parents whether they had a gun in the house and how it was stored. Because dead kids are not as big a concern as bad gun-industry PR.

    I’d actually rather not have my physician be a tool of the state for investigation into my home for anything. Most physicians don’t relish that role either. I’d slant this issue a different way….the NRA is helping to protect both patient privacy rights and doctor-patient confidentiality.

    Spin another way…suppose there were a sort of government in charge who was against all forms of sex except missionary style for procreation. How would you feel if the government was requiring your doctor to ask if you had any lube in the house?

    I mean, sure, vaginal sex requires lube too. There are several reasons to need lube. But the government sees having lube as a sign of dangerous behaviour so they ask physicians to monitor it. Creepy? Yep.

    Just like asking a pediatirician to monitor gun ownership.

  7. Lots of places, especially more in the south, farmers and ranchers keep a rifle handy for wild pigs; as noted in the story the damn things are almost taking over areas and cause a huge amount of damage.

    And that’s exactly the problem: lots of Democrats either don’t have a damned clue, or do and don’t care: they hate the idea of anyone not a minion of government having arms.

  8. B, I think you are probably one of the more effective gun rights advocates out there actually.

    I generally consider myself to be fairly supportive of the right to bear arms, though I don’t have or want a gun myself (and, while I don’t think the 2nd amendment is some outright ban on even the slightest regulation regarding gun ownership, I’d probably be on the side of the gun owners more often than not if I were voting on a specific issue), but I ALMOST ALWAYS end up arguing against the gun rights advocates because they ALMOST ALWAYS approach the discussion one of two ways; either “Anybody who doesn’t own a gun is going to have themselves and their families brutally killed,” or “if we all owned guns, the world would be a violence-free utopia” which are both such patently stupid ideas that I can’t help but object to them.

    If they’d drop the extreme rhetoric and simply point out some common sense things like you do, they’d probably find it’d wouldn’t be near as hard of a battle as they’re making it.

  9. Sam, I’m sure that’s what’s going on, but that’s why I brought up the flood and the fact that urban Memphins are shooting snakes. If you’re going to pander, know your audience.

    Coble, I don’t think those doctors are required to tell anyone if people have guns, just nag and try to make people feel bad about it.

  10. Dolphin, I have yet to hear those two from anyone; what I do hear is “You don’t like guns? Fine, then don’t buy one; just LEAVE US ALONE about ours.”

  11. Browse around here Firebrand, there’s at least a couple good gun debates that have happened. And i’m glad to hear you say what you did, but it’s the first time I have ever heard it

  12. I think the point with the doctors is to actually have them address the child safety issue in terms of talking to the parents about making sure the guns are locked up, just like medicines and cleaning products should be out of reach of children (although I note that doctors aren’t required to ask about those). But not having children, I haven’t seen how that actually plays out in practice.

  13. I do have a kid. I’ve talked to many pediatricians (large practices, you see whoever’s available) in New York and TN. Not one has ever asked me or my husband if we own a gun.

    Emjaybee, which state is it that was trying to bar this question, anyway?

  14. …I think the point with the doctors is to actually have them address the child safety issue in terms of talking to the parents about making sure the guns are locked up…

    In this case, the NRA is pursuing an injunction because a pediatricians’ group was actively proselytizing against gun ownership, period, asking its members to tell parents to get rid of their guns in the name of child safety. This is a response to a direct threat; it isn’t as if the NRA lawyers just woke up one day and said “hey, let’s pick a state and tell its doctors they can’t ask about guns”.

    I still think it’s pretty stupid, mind you. I don’t need my government to hold my hand in telling a doctor to mind his own damned business.

  15. I typically fall on the anti-gun side of the debate, but this is eminently reasonable. I see absolutely no reason to bar farmers from having guns or from shooting snakes with them or whatever.

    It’s just that the gun debate for me is represented by people like my Tea Party friend who lobbies for concealed carry on my college campus and the repeal of the ban on automatic weapons. His reason he needs an automatic weapon? So he and his militia friends can revolt against the government if need be. So with hard-core right wing militia nuts representing gun ownership to a lot of people, I can see how anti-gun people can go a little overboard.

    That said, this is simply ridiculous…of course a gun is a farm tool.

  16. …my Tea Party friend who lobbies for concealed carry on my college campus and the repeal of the ban on automatic weapons. His reason he needs an automatic weapon? So he and his militia friends can revolt against the government if need be.

    Note that the campus carry movement seeks only to stop barring carry by permitted adults who already carry everywhere else. The anti-gun side has tried to frame it as “giving guns to drunken frat boys”, but it’s really just removing pointless laws that tell people “sure, you just carried your gun in the movie theater, in the supermarket, and to your little cousin’s party at Chuck-E-Cheese, but at the magic line where the campus begins you’ll have to lock it in the car BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BE TRUSTED!”

    As for insurrectionists… Can you really not imagine anything that would make you resist government by force? Our nation was founded in large part on violent resistance to a handful of economically trivial taxes, for goodness sake. Revolutions are a terrible thing, but they’re more terrible when you aren’t prepared for them. Since full-auto guns aren’t really the magic death-hoses they’re made out to be, and the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment specifically protects ownership of military weapons, is it really so unreasonable to oppose restrictions on the primary rifle carried by our military and national guard?

    Gun rights arguments are easy to oversimplify until they sound stupid and extreme, but when you look at how important the right can be, and how spectacularly useless gun control has been at saving lives, an “absolutist” approach isn’t at all unreasonable. This is an enumerated Constitutional right we’re talking about, after all.

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