I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s one that only us in the liberal media know.

Truth be told, I’ve had a change of heart lately on some matters.

It’s like Paul on the road to Damascus.

Or Strom Thurmond during his switch from the Democratic Party to the Dixiecrats.

Or Anne Heche when she jumped from one team to the other team to Celestia’s team.

But most of all, it’s like that time I finally gave up drinking for good — a.k.a. Sunday morning — and then had a Bloody Mary to make the pain go away (also Sunday morning).

See, I’ve changed my mind about gun control. I’ve seen the error of my ways. In fact, I just downloaded an application for a concealed weapons permit and I’ve begun filling it out. Hopefully, that doesn’t frighten you? But if it does — well, you can take it up with the corpse of James Madison and the slave-slapping hand of Thomas Jefferson.

So, what happened?

Well, I read an article on gun control at the Atlantic. The gist of it is this: there seems to be a strong correlation between the number of concealed weapons permits and a decrease in crime.

Here’s what the Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg had to say:

It is an unexamined assumption on the part of gun-control activists that the possession of a firearm by a law-abiding person will almost axiomatically cause that person to fire it at another human being in a moment of stress. Dave Kopel, the research director of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute, in Denver, posits that opposition to gun ownership is ideological, not rational. “I use gay marriage as an analogue,” he said. “Some people say they are against gay marriage because they think it leads to worse outcomes for kids. Now, let’s say in 2020 all the social-science evidence has it that the kids of gay families turn out fine. Some people will still say they’re against it, not for reasons of social science, but for reasons of faith. That’s what you have here in the gun issue.”

There is no proof to support the idea that concealed-carry permit holders create more violence in society than would otherwise occur; they may, in fact, reduce it. According to Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and the author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, permit holders in the U.S. commit crimes at a rate lower than that of the general population. “We don’t see much bloodshed from concealed-carry permit holders, because they are law-abiding people,” Winkler said. “That’s not to say that permit holders don’t commit crimes, but they do so at a lower rate than the general population. People who seek to obtain permits are likely to be people who respect the law.” According to John Lott, an economist and a gun-rights advocate who maintains that gun ownership by law-abiding citizens helps curtail crime, the crime rate among concealed-carry permit holders is lower than the crime rate among police officers.

Today, the number of concealed-carry permits is the highest it’s ever been, at 8 million, and the homicide rate is the lowest it’s been in four decades—less than half what it was 20 years ago.

Goldberg also has some pretty reasonable suggestions for how to deal with our late gun-massacre unpleasantness that should appeal to both the NRA and the Brady Bill crowd:

A balanced approach to gun control in the United States would require the warring sides to agree on several contentious issues. Conservative gun-rights advocates should acknowledge that if more states had stringent universal background checks—or if a federal law put these in place—more guns would be kept out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally unstable. They should also acknowledge that requiring background checks on buyers at gun shows would not represent a threat to the Constitution. “The NRA position on this is a fiction,” says Dan Gross, the head of the Brady Campaign. “Universal background checks are not an infringement on our Second Amendment rights. This is black-helicopter stuff.” Gross believes that closing the gun-show loophole would be both extremely effective and a politically moderate and achievable goal. The gun lobby must also agree that concealed-carry permits should be granted only to people who pass rigorous criminal checks, as well as thorough training-and-safety courses.

Anti-gun advocates, meanwhile, should acknowledge that gun-control legislation is not the only answer to gun violence. Responsible gun ownership is also an answer. An enormous number of Americans believe this to be the case, and gun-control advocates do themselves no favors when they demonize gun owners, and advocates of armed self-defense, as backwoods barbarians. Liberals sometimes make the mistake of anthropomorphizing guns, ascribing to them moral characteristics they do not possess. Guns can be used to do evil, but guns can also be used to do good. Twelve years ago, in the aftermath of Matthew Shepard’s murder, Jonathan Rauch launched a national movement when he wrote an article for Salon arguing that gay people should arm themselves against violent bigots. Pink Pistol clubs sprang up across America, in which gays and lesbians learn to use firearms in self-defense. Other vulnerable groups have also taken to the idea of concealed carry: in Texas, African American women represent the largest percentage increase of concealed-carry permit seekers since 2000.

I know. Impressive. Like the scales are falling from your eyes right now, aren’t they.

So, please understand that what I’m about to tell you is something that I, as a member of the liberal media, have sworn to keep secret: Obama is coming for your guns. All of them. From that AR-15 in your doomsday bunker to that .22 squirrel shooter in your closet. And for those of you that don’t like it, well, that’s what the FEMA coffins are for.

Of course, I expect you to keep this between you and me. If my higher ups in the liberal media find out, I might like get a spanking or something — and frankly, I haven’t opened my 50 Shades of Grey playset yet.

That said, handguns and concealed weapons aren’t really the problem. Neither are hunting rifles or shotguns. The problem here is that we’re in the grips of a national sickness, one which has affected nearly every single man and woman of voting age. It’s the persistent belief that half the population is out to get us. Even worse, the government is behind the whole thing. Oddly enough, this latter statement applies to both sides of the paranoid coin.

I’m not quite sure when this sickness first set in. Maybe it was during the days after 9/11 or the Vietnam and Civil Rights eras, or maybe it has been here since the first settler murdered the first Native American or the first slave trader enslaved the first African. It doesn’t matter. The fear is rampant these days.

You, me, and everyone you know — we’re all the enemies of somebody. For some people, it’s George Soros. Others Glenn Beck. For me, it’s the sideboob-wardrobe malfunction editor at the Huffington Post. Regardless of who it is for you, there is somebody. And so, when you couple these feelings of self-important paranoia with — oh, let’s say severe mental illness — you get mass shootings, which, unlike cases of gun violence, are very much on the rise.

Frankly, the time has come for all of this shit to stop. Yes, we need to do more for the mentally ill, and, yes, we need to institute some changes to our nation’s gun laws — Goldberg’s suggestions are a good place to start — but all of us need to start trusting each other again. And if we can’t do that, then perhaps we can begin to trust the motivations of our fellow Americans — that they too want to do what is right and good however misguided their actions may be. They don’t serve Soros or Satan or Rush Limbaugh or Ted Fucking Nugent. They believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They believe in the American Dream.

Unfortunately, far too many of us refuse to wake up from the American Nightmare.

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