The Knox Report
From the Firearms Coalition
Is the sky really falling?
By Jeff Knox
(November 11, 2008) Two years ago I wrote a couple of articles describing the composition of the Congress after the mid-term elections and explaining that I didn’t expect to see the new Democrat majority making any kind of serious run at gun rights. I caught a lot of flak for those predictions. A few people publicly declared me to be naïve, misguided, or just too stupid to understand the “nature of politics,” which they described as an adversarial system of winners reaping rewards and exacting revenge by pillaging their enemies and ramming through their radical agendas. According to my critics, the “supposedly pro-gun Democrats” would jump when Nancy Pelosi cracked her whip and that said whip cracking would commence at any moment. They said that “assault weapons”, .50 caliber rifles, and private sales at gun shows – the “gun show loophole” – would all be history within a year and that if I couldn’t see all of this writing on the wall, I was much too myopic to be a professional gun rights activist, and so on.
Some might have noticed the fact that none of those things has come to pass. As both brother Chris and I have said, the Democrats remember 1994 and are loath to jeopardize their majorities chasing what has clearly become a failed social policy. The usual suspects put forward their standard fare of anti-rights legislation and it all languished in committees, never to be seriously debated nor brought to vote. The Tiahrt Amendment was reauthorized against the strenuous objections of Mike Bloomberg and Sarah Brady, a NICS “improvement” bill passed only because NRA supported it, and a last-minute D.C. relief bill was allowed to pass out of the House (with the understanding that it would die in the Senate) so Democrats could claim they had voted pro-rights before the election. Even a major firearms-related tragedy – the Virginia Tech massacre – generated no serious moves toward new restrictions.
I don’t bring these things up just to brag about our past prognostication skills or lucky guesses. I bring them up to back up our current predictions and explain the basis of those predictions: All of the dire predictions about sweeping new gun control legislation being rammed through in the first hundred days of an Obama administration are probably overblown. Probably. Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid will give lip service to gun control, but we don’t think they will push a gun control agenda in the next two years.
That doesn’t mean we can all relax and turn our attention to other things. Anti-gun bills will be filed and they will again languish in committees. Some true believers like Chuck Schumer might try to slip a hook into some “must pass” bill, but such tricks can be spotted and stopped with vigilance and rapid response from the gun lobby – meaning you. It’s up to you to keep in touch with elected officials, respond quickly to any threat, and make sure that our “friends” don’t start cutting deals for fear of something worse that might be shoved down our throats. As long as GunVoters stay on top of the politicians, it is unlikely that there will be any major assaults on the Second Amendment in the next two years.
Of course a high profile atrocity might put a gun bill on a fast track or McCain or another prominent Republican might take the lead on a gun show bill, providing cover for the Democrat leadership. Still, a loud and persistent cry from GunVoters can bring such measures to a screeching halt. Just one stalwart in the Senate can derail any such legislation; it is unlikely that anti-rights forces could muster the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
Republican leaders must hear loud and clear from GunVoters that anything less than an Alamo-like resistance to even “mild” gun restrictions puts them at serious risk in the next election cycle. Fair or not, the gun rights movement is quicker to punish perceived Republican betrayals than they are to vent their wrath on Democrats following their party line. Conversely, if Republicans work hard to block any and all encroachments on gun rights their efforts will focus the power of GunVoters squarely on the Democrats.
The next four years are going to be a bumpy ride, but if we hang on tight and don’t give an inch, we could come out the other side in good shape and with momentum going our way. That only works if we are vigilant though; so buckle up, stay alert, get on our e-mail list, and hold off on the run for the hills. This old Constitution has seen harder times and kept working – never perfectly, but better than anything else that’s ever come along.
Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes is hereby granted provided this credit is included. Text is available at www.FirearmsCoalition.org. To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108.
©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates