Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times “How Do We Stop The Parade of Gun Deaths?” . . .
I’m sympathetic to the aim [banning assault weapons], but also wary. I’m not sure it’s possible to get any gun legislation through Congress right now, and certainly not a ban on assault weapons. It’s also true that while liberals loved the assault weapons ban for the 10 years it was in effect, there is no strong evidence that it saved lives — but it did turn the AR-15 into a conservative icon, so that today there appear to be more AR and AK rifles in private hands than in the United States military.
“. . . it did turn the AR-15 into a conservative icon . . . “ Indeed.
Kristof goes on to propose a tactical shift away from “assault weapons” to a “ghost gun” ban. Yet, it doesn’t seem to occur to him that the consequence of that may be, as with ARs and AKs, to result in more ghost guns in private hands. The unmarked “ghost gun” would seem to make an equally good “conservative icon” as the popular AR-15. And with an 80% lower receiver, you get two for the price of one.
Napoleon counseled, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” It’s hard to resist the opportunity. We’ve seen this rodeo before. First, the excessive taxation of NFA artifacts. The ban on mail-order guns. The attempt to ban handguns. The Hughes Amendment. Assault Weapons bans. “Large capacity” magazine bans.
As soon as one infringement proves futile in the futile quest to end “gun violence” once-and-for-all, attention shifts to the next “weapon of choice.” Even many our beloved Fudds are beginning to wonder whether the tiger will eat their double-barrels last.
The gun-banners’ real mistake is continuously trying to take too great a bite out of the apple at any one time. They have given up their game of small, incremental steps (NFA’34, GCA`68, Hughes Amendment, etc.) and now they seem to be throwing everything at once into the legislative sausage maker.
Congress is currently considering universal/enhanced background checks; closing the “Charleston Loophole,” licensing requirements, liability insurance mandates, an assault weapons bans, mandated mental health examinations, permit-to-purchase requirements, waiting periods, and, yes, banning those “ghost guns.”
All are portrayed as “common-sense” steps and some might seem so…until you start to dig into the details and ask which of the infamous deaths that contributed to Kristof’s parade of gun deaths would likely have been prevented had any one of these proposals been in effect. Had they all been in effect, would they have made any difference at all?
Finally, how do legislators plan to enforce so massive a gun-control agenda on 100 million well-armed American voters? That would seem to be the most important question for politicians to consider.
The gun-control advocates shouldn’t be so puzzled by the difficulty they are have in getting their “common sense” plans into a bill on the President’s desk. All it takes to stop a bill’s progress is for one or two Congresscritters to consider sweeping gun control’s impact on their party’s control of Congress. Bill Clinton — perhaps the most astute politician of our age — figured that out…the hard way.
It seems as though the gun controllers’ strategy is to harass the members of America’s gun culture in the hopes that its members will eventually tire and give in. They have failed to glimpse Kristof’s insight that their earlier efforts only managed to turn “the AR-15 into a conservative icon.”
Each individual gun control proposal they promote irritates a few sub-segments of the gun culture. The more proposals in any one legislative session, the more sub-segments are affected…what we now call “diversity and inclusion.”
Together with all the additional issues brought to the public consciousness in 2020 (economic and assembly impacts of COVID, immigration, riots, arson, defunding the police, election integrity, the rise of China) the Democrat Party seems to have left no sub-segment of the conservative population untouched. Or unharassed.
Meanwhile, we now have 20 constitutional carry states with more to follow, and gun sales are at two million per month despite shortages of inventory of both guns and ammunition. More than eight million first-time buyers joined the ranks of gun owners last year.
Will continuing to harass gun-owners really work electorally? Will this voting block be successfully intimidated? Or will it turn out in droves at the polls and express its wrath?
It’s hard to say what the magic formula is for creating an overwhelming public outcry. What, exactly was it about the in-custody death of George Floyd that seemed to trigger the summer of 2020’s discontent? Why didn’t the siege of the Federal Court House in Portland incite a counter-reaction? It’s very difficult to reconcile the calculus behind those two incidents. Perhaps it’s a mistake to try to pin the turn public sentiment on any specific incident.
It might be the symbology of a single tactical error — however minuscule — that coalesces public sentiment on a host of concerns. Something such as the blurry infra-red film of two young girls – ages 3 and 5 – dropping from a 14 foot border fence.
This image triggered our awareness of the terrifying journey so many children are experiencing to realize a better future here in the land of white supremacy and institutionalized racism. Might such an event also turn into a conservative icon?