Well, good for him! I doubt very much whether he's bothering anyone with those dusty old pea-shooters. And if they've got sentimental value to him, well, what's it to me? Right?
Of course, when you're a member of Congress, those antiques can be your meal ticket, since you can take 'em out and wave 'em around once every couple of years, and—if you're willing to say the right magic words—convert 'em into NRA endorsements and cold, hard cash.
And the crowd loves it!
But let's face it. The NRA's real constituency is gun manufacturers. And the people who made Barrow's guns have been dead and buried for decades. It doesn't appear that anyone's sold Barrow a firearm since Jesus was in short pants. So he's not doing them any favors with the gun ownership.
No, where Barrow is useful is in holding the door open for them to push more weapons out. And that he has to do by voting to safeguard the manufacture of some very, very different weapons than the ones he's got in his commercial.
Now, I don't know if you've run into the same thing I have out there in the wide world of gun discussion, but maybe you're familiar with the kind of people who get all huffy and indignant when you inaccurately label things "guns" when they're really "firearms." (Why they sell them at "gun shops," I'm still not sure. But of course, it seems like nobody really wants to press a point with any of these folks, if you know what I mean.) And God help you if you try to talk policy after incorrectly identifying a "magazine" as a "clip!" You'll quickly find yourself deemed unqualified to participate in our grand "national conversation."
And yet, here we find Good Ol' John Barrow, a gun man from way back apparently (and yes, he says "guns"), a-frettin' that somebody might be a-comin' for to take his guns away. And he's not havin' any of that! "These are my guns now—and ain’t nobody gonna take ‘em away.” Only thing is, even most elitist liberal weenie gun wimps know the difference between the kinds of firearms some say they want to clamp down on, and the hoary old specimens Barrow is seen fingering. Why hell, son! Those ol' girls ain't even semi-automatic!
But if you're willing to wave a couple ancient guns around and say the magic words—especially while holding a seat in Congress, that is—you're considered a member of the club and I guess it just doesn't matter if you don't get the terms quite right. As long as you keep letting them back up the Brink's truck and load it up with suckers' cash every time they hit the panic button, they'll keep cutting checks.
Point is, though, that Barrow is cashing in on the line-blurring paranoia that is the NRA's stock in trade, and now is really a lousy time to be making common cause with those guys. Especially if all you've really got an interest in is a couple of sentimental old antiques, and mass marketing sliding stock AR-15s and 100 round magazines is the farthest thing from your mind.
In truth, they're no more interested in you and your old guns than you are in what they're selling. At least, not in what they're really selling. It's time to throw the firearms industry association and their cash overboard, and find ways to make common cause with people who like guns, but ain't crazy.