AMAC In The Media / Politics

Millennials, Respect Your Elders — And Our Passion For The Second Amendment

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Dan Weber’s Op-Ed as seen on The Federalist

Before they try to change every Americans’ constitutional rights forever, perhaps these eager young men and women might want to learn something from their elders.

On March 24, student activists will gather in Washington, DC and other cities across the country as part of March for Our Lives, organized in response to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with the mission to “end the epidemic of mass shootings.” Their enthusiasm is admirable. But their trivial knowledge of firearms and the Second Amendment is not. Before they try to change every Americans’ constitutional rights forever, perhaps these eager young men and women might want to learn something from their elders on these matters.

I represent an older generation of Americans who grew up in a time when many people still lived on farms. Unlike this generation, which seems determined to denigrate the roles of men and fathers, many of us had dads who taught their sons and daughters the proper use of shotguns and rifles, and how to shoot. Even my suburban high school in New York had a gun range and a junior Rod & Gun club. We were all expected to learn how to shoot a firearm. After the Second World War and Korea and amidst the threat of Soviet totalitarianism, we were taught to defend our families, ourselves, and our country. Liberty, self-armament, patriotism, and citizenship were inextricably bound.

The right to keep and bear arms has become even more crucial to those of us heading into our sunset years. The elderly are especially vulnerable to violent crime and, as a result, the number of senior citizens carrying firearms is on the rise. Nearly 23,000 people over 65 took basic firearm training courses from NRA-certified instructors in 2015, four times the number five years earlier. Since 2010, seniors’ demand for firearms training climbed 400 percent.

These are realities of life that the vast majority of the young people clamoring for gun control do not appear to grasp.

In fact, given their many media appearances, it’s clear that student activists are largely unfamiliar with the mechanics of firearms. Most believe the “AR” in “AR-15” stands for “assault rifle.” (It actually stands for ArmaLite, the manufacturer who designed the gun in 1956.) Moreover, few know the simple difference between a round and a clip. These aren’t trivial matters. They have already vastly impacted public policy.

American ‘Gun Culture’ Is In One Sense A Total Myth

Millennials also ought to grapple with the fact that American “gun culture” — in the sense that everyone is walking around with a firearm or has one at home — is a myth. Just about 3 percent of the population owns half of the civilian guns in this country. That’s the lowest rate of gun ownership since the late 1970s. Indeed, three decades ago, half of all American households had a gun, while just around one-third did in 2010. Yet gun violence has become more and more of a problem, despite fewer and fewer people possessing firearms.

Even more worrying, student activists don’t get the moraldimension of the Second Amendment, a failure of education that will likely devastate our democracy.

The right to keep and bear arms is about self-defense, of course. But it’s more than that, which should be obvious, because the overwhelming majority of guns in this country will never — thank goodness — be used in act of self-defense. It’s about responsibility, and lack of ownership (not only of firearms, but of anything) breeds irresponsibility. And it’s young Americans who especially would benefit from getting to know a right that’s primarily about obligation, obligation to oneself as well as to one’s neighbors.

As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demonstrated in his bestselling and aptly-titled 2017 book, “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis,” our country’s coming-of-age rituals (graduating from school, leaving home, starting a family, buying a home, etc.), are now being delayed or omitted entirely. In that vein a new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security shows that 66 percent of millennials have nothing saved for retirement. And according to testimony by General Robert B. Neller, the 37th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, less than 30 percent of young men and women are qualified to join the military.

These recent revelations are indicative of a broader and extremely alarming trend. And yet those born between the early 1980s and the mid 1990s constantly complain that they’re unfairly accused of being selfish and short-sighted.

Alas, millennials pass off personal responsibility to government and demand a greater amount of care through social welfare. And they still can’t figure out why older Americans can’t take them seriously as fully-formed adults. It’s not entirely their fault though. With the pervasive influence of progressivism, they are indoctrinated in school to believe there’s very little, if anything, to be learned from the past. Each generation is wiser than the previous one. So history is merely a saga of bigotry, racism, hatred, misogyny, and xenophobia. That by extension means that those who lived before us are not be trusted, as they are products of an enlightened era.

Indeed, to previous generations, “respect your elders” meant appreciating that those who have been on this planet longer than you have probably know things that you don’t. To millennials, however, the saying seems to mean little more than “be nice” to your parents and, especially, your grandparents, as in don’t scream at them when they ask you for the fifteenth time how to send a text message. If millennials were willing to accept that they could learn something from their grandparents, they would learn a lot about firearms, about which they claim to care passionately.

At least in the short term, there’s little chance we’ll be able to convince millennials of the virtues of the Second Amendment. Their generation floats. It has few roots. Its members are more likely to rent property, to regularly switch jobs, and to move from city to city. A greater appreciation of our nation’s history and founding principles will require a significant cultural shift. But there’s still reason to try to move the needle, for it’s our duty as citizens.

So I applaud the student activists for getting off the couch, putting down their iPhones, and getting involved in the public square. But if saving lives as well as our democracy is genuinely their aim, their time would be better spent more effectively reading a civics textbook or sitting down with their grandparents for an afternoon.

Dan Weber is president of AMAC (@MatureAmericans), the 1.3 million-member Association of Mature American Citizens.

From - The Federalist - by Dan Weber

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2 years ago

Well considering that the March 24th rallies have been very carefully organized and paid for by the likes of Bloomberg and various Soros front organizations to push the Democrat anti-gun agenda, you’re kind of off the mark in claiming “student activists” are somehow responsible for putting together a nationwide day of protest against the 2nd Amendment. Those so-called “student activists” are simply convenient “useful idiots”, who will be bussed to various locations for maximum media coverage. The transportation also provided and financed by Bloomberg and various Soros front groups. These so-called “student activists” will simply parrot the carefully prepared slogans… Read more »

Brian B
2 years ago

The Soros Empire has once again conspired against the Second Amendment by combining it’s economic resources with it’s organizational ingenuity. Soros, with his like-minded conspirators works his magic on the young and ill-informed who are eager to respond to an emotionally-charged school shooting. The fools who will be marching and chanting and acting before the cameras, are not the same thoughtful and informed revolutionaries of colonial America. They aren’t pragmatic students of history. They only serve a larger purpose for Soros and his New World Government ambitions. The anti-gun propaganda will be reported with tears and emotion and anger, with… Read more »

2 years ago

“Just about 3 percent of the population owns half of the civilian guns in this country.” Over 136 MILLION firearms were produced in the US just between 1985 and 2015, and that doesn’t include imports. If you think that 3% of the people own half the guns, think again. Gun ownership is drastically underreported. For the past 20 years, ANY survey in which I’ve been asked about gun ownership, I’ve either said NO, or declined to give an answer at all. The vast majority of people I know, do the same, while nearly everyone I know owns at least one… Read more »

2 years ago

Too many parents aren’t watching how much of history isn’t taught and how much Nanny State is. This and the money from the usual suspects that drives these types of “grass roots”(ha) movements is going to change this country at a speed which has not been seen before. It’s high time that there were regular marches by the people who realize that this is a country where we could have freedoms again, where we could turn the tide of the “free speech zones”(free if you say what we allow) and anti independence thinking. I can only hope that the speed… Read more »

2 years ago

Although this article, and many like it, are right on point, they really are missing the big picture. When I was in High School, we had loaded guns, many times in a window gun rack, in unlocked cars, yet no mas shootings. We had the highest educated students in all topics in the world, we had very, very few pregnant teens and I didn’t know one student that didn’t graduate and move out on their own. First off, anyone still living off mom and dad’s teat in their twenties, doesn’t have much to say about anything! However, if they were… Read more »

Ivan Berry
2 years ago

Well Mr. Weber, twice again you have called the U.S. a Democracy. We have a “mixed” form. Were we a pure Democracy, we would be already lost, with no further need to resist the “majority.” They would be in control. All that would be left to do would be to beg or whine.

David Stovall
2 years ago

The 2nd amendment protected our rights when there was respect for the law. But now if the libs don’t like a law,, they say the law “is broken”. Then they disobey it, as they are ignoring immigration laws ,, which are not broken,, they just need respect and obedience. See their disrespect ( and ignorance) for freedom of speech ,, 1st amendment,, on campuses. Dangerous times.

Hubert Hill
2 years ago

A Round refers to a bullet that is projected off a cartridge when fired, a magazine is what holds the ammunition in the firearm. A clip is a clip, that holds thing together, I suppose it could hold 8 30-06 cartridges together that goes in an M 1 Rifle. That’s about the only firearm I can think of off hand that uses a clip.

Robert Dickens
2 years ago

Nice article, but there is one point on school shootings that I would like to see developed by those better able than me, and this point seems to be missed by most. The protesters (allegedly acting on their own) are protesting guns. I saw more than one sign held high saying “choose me not guns”, kids walking around with targets on their backs, and so forth. No one seems to be looking at who is doing the shooting. In every case as I recall, the mass school shootings are perpetrated by one of their own, which makes the shooter a… Read more »

2 years ago

A very well written Op- Ed such that you brought up many facts that some people haven’t given much thought too, if any at all. Reading it through it brought back to mind many facts that are so often forgotten or neglected for consideration in this debate. What would be the common opinion or position if these facts and related stories were mentioned or taught in our schools today. And I don’t need to hear from anybody that they are taught in our schools in this time of ultra liberal, anticonservative belief systems. We have a severe shortage of respect… Read more »

2 years ago

Well said Dan. The 2nd Amendment is a fundamental aspect of being an American, and is as important as free speech, religious choice of worship, freedom to travel about and live in the community of your preference, and enjoy the security of a society protected by the rule of law. Those countries without the American ‘gun culture’ are monarchies and totalitarian collectives and though there may not be guns among the general population, only with the police and army, there are gangs who operate in swarms of hundreds armed with blunt and edged weapons and as we have seen in… Read more »

2 years ago

We need to quit listening to these 17 and 18 year old punks who don’t know their rear ends from holes in the ground. I damn sure am not going to surrender my constitutional rights to morons who can’t even spell “constitution,” much less articulate the rights it contains. I would love for some of these half-wits to come to my home and try to take my firearms.

Wayne Osenga
2 years ago

No one is more heart broken and saddened by all of the mass shootings that have been occuring in our great nation than I. But after analyzing all of the different steps taken to try to reduce these horrific incidents such as reducing the exposure of gun violence to kids in TV, media and games, by enacting ever more restrictive gun control laws (not one of which has prevented a single gun related crime!), the establishment of “gun free zones” and the cry for more involuntary committing of all of the “crazy” people to mental health institutions, almost no one… Read more »

2 years ago

Here we have a bunch of IMMATURE High school Brats, trying to tell 18 to 20 year old Adults who Fight in our Military,, WHO IS MATURE??? These little turds need to go back to school and shut the heck up… The adults are in charge, not you little TIDE POD EATERS….. Gun Free Zones are what is killing people,,, I would have been beaten down in the street if not for having a CCW on my person. Just letting the thug know I was armed saved my life. COWARD BROWARD DEPUTIES ARE NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU IDIOT TIDE… Read more »

1 year ago

While I agree with your article I disagree with calling people idiots and the general negative wording towards millennials. Education and conversation helping them to reach conclusions thru thought provoking dialogue. They can make decisions based on facts. They are simply responding to what they have been taught in schools and the media.

2 years ago

Obviously the Second Amendment was intended for the purpose solely of self-preservation. With British troops being quartered in the homes by Royal decree I guess that’s why the ‘hoopla” of militias. But in fact, the dangers remain the same today where deadly force is appropriate when self-preservation is jeopardized. In fact originally the First Amendment could only be defended by Declaring Independence from Britain through our War of Independence. Liberals making ultimatums, and virtually censure opposition only thereby incriminating themselves by being guilty of the crime against humanity as their imaginary oppressors TOTALITARIANISM. Guns contrary to liberal insinuation do not… Read more »

2 years ago

Why dosen’t AMAC allow us the opportunity to go back and edit overlooked mistakes for a given time period like 30 minuets or so?

2 years ago

I think most of this protesting against guns is perpetrated by antigun liberals from teachers to professors to politicos and the mainstream corporate media. Much false information is disseminated. The young minds of mush snowflakes should look at their own local authorities that opt for cash handouts for adopting the Promise Act by the Former Obama Administration. That agenda advocated that offenses by youth of minorities be overlooked and not documented. That is how the Parkland shooter was able to obtain an AR-15. In addition of authorities ignoring the many flags raised the guardians where too lenient in preventing the… Read more »

2 years ago

Why should millennials respect their elders? It all begins with the dumbing down of America and it starts and ends with the public school system. This unified agenda is turning out ignorance at epidemic proportions from grade school to college with extreme left ideals. Schools and families used to instill, respect, honor, loyalty and patriotism along with an education for which skills needed to make a living were afforded. No more, our republic is turning into a democratic mob of whiners who understand nothing of our Constitution, heritage and our rights, let alone the sacrifices that got us here. We… Read more »

2 years ago


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