Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vintage Jeff Cooper Still Works

One of the things I like to pick up at flea markets and the like are old magazines, particularly gun rags. Cleaning out my son's new bedroom this week, I found some oldies and goodies.
This is Jeff Cooper's "Open Letter: To a Legislative Hoplophobe" from Guns and Ammo, November 1971.

To A Legislative Hoplophobe*

I shoot. Shooting is my hobby, my principal recreation--my "life style." since childhood I have owned, used, and loved fine guns; and I am well into middle age. My shooting skill was fostered by my country, in high school R.O.T.C., and I have used it in her defense in two wars. I ordinarily practice marksmanship each week, weather and business permitting. I also pay my taxes, obey the law, vote, own my home, and send my children through college (where, incidentally, they hold themselves above pot, polemics, and promiscuity). I cause no riots and march in no demonstrations, and I ask only that you, sir, get off my back.

My guns are as much a part of me as my arms or legs. To disarm me would be as to confine me to a wheelchair. You may think this freakish, but there are a couple of million "freaks" like me in the United States. You may assert that the innocent must often be sacrificed to the public good, but you cannot demonstrate how the public good can be served by my oppression. An individual man is individually responsible for his own transgressions, so let us by all means punish the transgressor, not someone whom you feel, in your total lack of understanding, may conceivably become a transgressor. Get after the criminal, sir, but get off MY back!

Do not try to extenuate by arguing that registration is not confiscation, or that only long guns are "sporting," or that we sportsmen should keep our prizes impounded in some armory, or by any such similar casuistry. We both know what you mean. You just don't like guns. Very well. I don't like you. But let us nevertheless try to live together in dignity and decorum, respecting each other's individuality if nothing else. At such time as I commit a crime, or even have an accident, with one of my personal weapons, you are welcome to my head on a platter. But until that happens, sir, GET OFF MY BACK!

*HOPLOPHOBE. One afflicted with hoplophobia.

Could that man write, or what?


Matt G said...

You're damned straight he could.

I regret that I missed the chance to meet him.

SpeakerTweaker said...

I second Matt on that one. I'm still reading his "Commentaries." Good stuff.

They must have had two caskets at his funeral. One for him, and the other for his cojones.