Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shall Not Be Infringed (SNBI)

Making Amends - Armed and Safe

As is often the case for me, I found that my comment to this post grew a bit lengthy. So, for once, I decided to just make it a post of my own. The main thing that got my attention in this post was his reference to the "SNBI extremist" slur that floats around some of the gun blogs. To that, I had this to say.

While I do see the "SNBI" mentality criticized off an on, I really don't see people criticizing the belief that "shall not be infringed" means just that. It was my understanding that SNBI was used to refer to people like the following:
  1. Believes that just yelling "Shall not be infringed", or similar, in debates/conversations about gun rights is an effective tactic to sway those in the middle with no real opinion.
  2. Sees any law pertaining to firearms that infringes in some was as a horrible violation on us, even when it's a law that actually makes things better for us.
  3. Believes there's a realistic chance of having every bad gun law (i.e. virtually all of them) wiped away in one fell swoop, and anything various groups do to improve things that still fall short of that are proof of us "selling out".
Frequently, the issue the people who use the term SNBI really isn't with a lot of what the "SNBIs" believe, but with how they present it. It's also with the fact that many of them don't take a long view of things, because that perspective requires patience. I actually had the misfortune to work the VCDL table (www.vcdl.org) at a gun show with someone that personifies what I think of when people talk about SNBIs. He wasn't a bad person. But he came across as almost beligerent when trying to get people to learn more about what the VCDL does for gun rights in the state. All that did was make people that aren't active in the gun rights community want to stay that way even more. He just had no grasp of the fact that we're trying to sell a product, that product being the concept of self-defense and individual rights.

There are a few things that I think are pretty safe to assume are true. First, gun owners are a minority, and gun owners that really care about gun rights are an even smaller one. Second, until we get more people in the middle to look at firearms the same way they do at a fire extinguisher, power tools, or a spare tire, we won't have much chance at getting the court decisions and laws that we would really like to see.

Personally, I refuse to alter my behavior to accomodate those who fight to take away my rights. But I will alter what I say and do to sway those in the middle towards my point of view. The way I see it, the former is just a pointless compromise, because nothing you will change their goal. But the latter drastically increases my chances of adding more people into our fold.

1 comment:

J.R.Shirley said...


There are extremists in every group. I personally think that the Constitution (by way of the restrictions in Article 1, Section 10), when examined in conjunction with the 2nd Amendment, clearly protects without infringement militia weapons, but NOT instruments of national policy such as warships or long-range missiles.