Democrats have created a false narrative on guns, and Republicans have been suckered into buying it.
But first, the good news. It looks like Trump is going to hold off on putting forward any “gun package” for another week or so. That gives us time to head this nonsense off before serious damage is done. If the wobbly R’s don’t stop and change direction right now, it’s going to cost them – all of us – dearly in 2020.
The most likely sucker moves the Republicans would make is to accept some kind of “Universal Background Check,” a “red flag” gun confiscation measure, or maybe even both. A ban on standard capacity magazines, is less likely, and a 1994-style “assault weapon” ban is unlikely to get any serious traction, but never underestimate Republicans’ capacity for self-destruction. If enough Republicans vote in favor of any of these to allow passage, it will hurt Republicans much harder than Democrats.
Proponents are using recent mass murders as the impetus for pushing these proposals, but none of them would have made a difference in those or likely future atrocities. “Expanded” or “Universal” background checks certainly won’t. Almost all of the mass murderers who have used firearms over the past 30 years, have passed background checks. Some of those were due to failures in the system, but most had clean records. In some cases, those clean records were thanks to “diversion” policies intended to avoid harming a young person’s future prospects. The few who didn’t legally purchase their firearms with a background check, either stole the guns they used, had someone else illegally buy them, or acquired them in some other, already illegal way. Another layer of laws isn’t going to prevent any of those kinds of acquisitions.
“Red flag” laws or “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” assume that a troubled individual who might harm himself or others will no longer be a danger if guns are removed, but leave easy access to car keys, gasoline, knives, and possibly other guns. The orders are issued ex parte, meaning no opposing view is offered. Too many Republicans, notably Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsay Graham, have stumbled into the red flag trap assuming that the laws can be drafted with safeguards sufficient to keep them from being misused. Experience at the state level says different, and more importantly, there are already laws on the books providing for supervised treatment for people who can’t or won’t seek treatment for themselves.
The bottom line: Prohibitions of cosmetic features did not work in 1994, and are going nowhere in 2019. So called “Universal Background Checks” can never block a mass murder. Red flag laws are both too much and too little – too much in the sense that they are guaranteed to be misused and abused, and too little in the sense that by focusing only on guns, they leave someone who is truly troubled, possibly without guns, but also without help.
The Republican attempts to offer a “reasonable compromise” by repackaging the anti-rights Democrats’ snake oil as “Gun Control Lite” will only hurt Republicans. It is an attempt to appease people who will never vote for them, by alienating one of the most important segments of their constituency. The gun community of 2019 will not stand for it. As my late father Neal Knox used to say, no matter how much tartar sauce you pour on rotten fish, it’s still rotten.
Republicans need positive strategies to attack the issue – genuine strategies, as opposed to the slow-motion surrender too many Republicans have offered over the past few years. Here are some suggestions:
Once they start down the gun control path, Democrats can be safely relied on to self-destruct, if you just give them time and space, and don’t interfere.
First, Democrats will almost always overreach, offering proposals that are repugnant to the vast majority of Americans, such as Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s declaration; “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Republicans stepping in and trying to soften these Democrat proposals into “something that can pass,” is just stupid.
Second, Democrats can be counted on to kill any bill that does not give them the level of government control that they always build into their proposals. The only amendments Republicans should ever offer, should be “poison pill” provisions that seem reasonable to most people, but which they know Democrats will reject.
Of the 4 basic proposals, Democrats know that a gun ban is a non-starter, so they’re just blowing smoke with that one. Likewise, magazine bans should also be dead in the water, but Republicans have allowed those to get more traction. The murderer at Parkland used 10-round magazines. The murderer at Sandy Hook used higher-capacity mags, but swapped them out several times before they were empty (what’s known as “tactical reloads,” a trick learned from video games). This is probably going to be used by Democrats as a trading chip. They know they don’t have a likely chance of passing it, so they’ll offer to take it off the table as a “compromise.”
That leaves “universal background checks” (UBC) and “red flag” laws.
The stated objective is to “keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.” But one of the core features of UBC proposals that is rarely talked about is the requirement for paperwork on the buyers, the sellers, and the guns. If the objective is just to prevent acquisition by prohibited persons, why are Democrats so insistent on creating a paper trail?
In reality, the paper trail – registration by another name – is the real goal. The very rare instances of a prohibited person acquiring a firearm, without a background check, through an otherwise legal private transaction and then using that gun in the commission of a violent crime, does not begin to justify the massive bureaucratic structure required for the UBC proposals.
Just as the lack of background checks on private transfers has been painted as a “loophole,” even though it was a negotiated compromise in passage of the Brady Act, so too will the lack of a computerized registry of guns and gun owners be characterized as a loophole in the future. Anti-rights zealots want the records to exist so they can complain about the records not being readily accessible and usable to track down “gun traffickers” and sources of “crime guns.”
If you doubt this is the real objective, just offer up an amendment that removes any of the paperwork requirements, particularly the paperwork retention requirements, and listen to the Democrats howl about it. Likewise, a Republican amendment to UBC proposals, that would exempt persons who can present a valid photo ID and carry license, would almost certainly be considered a poison pill by Democrat sponsors, resulting in them killing their own bill. Either of those, like any other Republican participation in this farce, should only be used as last-ditch, blocking attempts, to peel away votes, not serious proposals to try and pass.
Gun control laws don’t work. They never accomplish their stated goals, and certainly don’t prevent or mitigate the type of mass murders that have fueled the current push. They are neither good policy nor good political strategy. It is foolish for Republicans to ever play in the Democrats sandbox. This never results in anything other than the Republicans being covered in dirt and cat poop.
The best thing for Republicans to do in the wake of horrors as happened in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton is to be thoughtful, compassionate, and conservative in their reaction. Focus on the Constitution and the restrictions of the Bill of Rights. Listen, and let the Democrats run with their outrageous schemes. Opponents of individual rights want to use crises as opportunities to stampede the herd over a cliff. It is conservatives’ job to be calm and rational in a crisis, and in so doing, highlight the panic and hysteria of their opponents.
The nation is at a tipping point. Gun control is a key issue and impacts an important voting constituency. Compromising on gun control gains Republicans nothing, and could cost them everything.
A couple of mentally defective losers decide they want to be famous as killers, and Republican politicians are once again responding by shooting themselves – and their party – in the foot. If they don’t get themselves under control in a hurry, they are going to do irreparable damage to their chances in 2020.
President Trump is offering suggestions on how to pass gun control laws and particularly pushing deadly “red flag” laws. Republicans in the House and Senate are pledging to vote for various gun control laws if they are brought to a vote. Governor Ducey in Arizona has revived his “pre-crime disarmament,” STOP bill that helped kill the political aspirations of several promising Republicans in 2018, and the list goes on.
Your action is needed now. Republicans, from Trump on down, need to hear from you immediately. They need to hear from you in email, phone calls, on their social media accounts, and at any live events during their August recess.
Don’t wait. Contact them now. Remind them that only foolish politicians react to events, based on emotion and their immediate perception of public sentiment. Tell them that they should be sticking to the principles that brought them to the party. Appeasing people who aren’t ever going to vote for them, regardless of what they do – short of switching parties – is just dumb.
Alienating a large segment of their base, that was going to vote for them, and work for their campaigns, and bring their families along, is even dumber.
Gun control laws didn’t stop lunatics before, and they won’t stop lunatics in the future. Criminalizing private sales and transfers of firearms was a bad idea last week and last year, and it’s still a bad idea.
Taking guns away from someone because someone else said they were crazy and dangerous – rather than taking the crazy dangerous person away from all potentially harmful objects and getting them some professional help – was a dangerous, unconstitutional idea last week and last year, and it’s still a dangerous, unconstitutional idea.
Banning scary-looking firearms that are safely owned by millions of Americans and which function the same as guns that have been readily available for 100 years, didn’t work between 1994 and 2004, and it won’t work in the future – and those millions of American gun owners aren’t going to put up with attempts to take them away.
Mass shootings and mass murders are terrible tragedies that make all sane people sad, angry, and frustrated. Passing unconstitutional laws that won’t and can’t prevent such tragedies, is no sort of rational response.
Contact your elected servants today. Reach out to them via every means at your disposal, and let them know that you and your family recognize that they are under extreme pressure to “do something,” but that pushing gun control laws – expanded background checks, “red flag” laws, “assault weapons” bans, or any other infringement on the right to arms – will cost them and their party your votes. Remind them that many GunVoters were already suspicious of Republicans, but we’re going to support the party as a blocking move against anti-rights Democrats, but Republicans rushing to gun control will kill that tenuous arrangement, resulting in many GunVoters foregoing the elections, and seriously hurting Republican chances.
Call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Find your Senators and representatives at www.Senate.gov and www.House.gov, and send them messages, then find their local office numbers and call those. Find them on Facebook and Twitter, and link them to this article. Finally, share this article on all social media and with all of your friends who value their rights.
The U.S. doesn’t have a gun problem. The U.S. has a crazy problem. Gun laws won’t fix that.
The first round of Democratic Presidential Debates is over, and the first casualty has been listed. Gun control zealot, Rep. Eric “Nuke’em if they won’t turn them in” Swalwell, dropped out shortly after the first debate.
The second round is on the way, as the large – and growing – field of candidates continues to jockey for position. During the first debates, the candidates made it pretty clear that even the most “moderate” of their number, are seeking support from the far-left, socialist/communist, anti-rights element of the Democratic base.
This makes sense because this is the most vocal and vindictive segment of the party, credited, in large degree, with abandoning Hillary Clinton, resulting in Donald Trump’s victory. It’s not all just political gamesmanship though. A couple of these candidates may be just pandering to the hard-left, while actually holding positions that are more moderate, but it appears that the majority has committed to “progressive” policy positions like free healthcare for illegal immigrants, decriminalization of “undocumented border crossing,” and taxpayer funding of student loan payoffs and healthcare costs.
And while these positions might be unpopular among the majority of GunVoters, they are, of course, not the issues that are most important to us.
What really matters to Second Amendment advocates is their positions on the right to arms, and the lengths to which they are willing to go to advance those positions.
While not all of the candidates in the debates got a chance to express themselves on Second Amendment matters, those that did, were frankly frightening, and the others took no opportunity to offer any push-back on the radical ideas that were put forward. All of the candidates have publicly embraced the basic gun control planks of the Democratic Party platform: banning “assault weapons,” criminalizing private firearm transfers, and confiscating guns based on unsubstantiated claims of a family member, angry ex, or feuding neighbor. Most have called for even more extreme measures, and it’s pretty clear that, if elected, any would immediately sign any gun control bill that might make its way through Congress.
Several, like Sen. Kamala Harris, have declared their intention to use executive orders, if Congress fails to give them the gun control they want.
In the debates, Joe Biden, the current Democratic Party’s version of a “moderate,” was representative of the entire field when he declared that the “enemy” is the firearms industry. Biden, who has in the past pointed to his expensive Italian, over-and-under shotgun as proof that he supports the Second Amendment, sponsored a ban on “assault weapons” during his time in the U.S. Senate, and as Barack Obama’s VP, was the administration’s point-man on gun control. During the debates Biden agreed with others that there should be a mandatory government “buy back” of scary semi-auto rifles, then suggested that it should be illegal to sell any gun in the United States that isn’t equipped with mythical “smart gun” technology, to prevent it being used by anyone not authorized to do so.
In classic Biden style, “Uncle Joe” said; “No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure could pull that trigger.” (Can your biometric measure pull a trigger Joe?)
While Biden might be an expert of sorts on “biometrics,” he’s got no clue about guns or economics. But ignorance of the basics never stopped a gun control zealot before, so why should we expect logic and fact-based rationality to guide them now? Even a conservative estimate for “buying back” the 16 million or more “assault-style rifles” currently in circulation places the cost at around 10 billion dollars, and that’s just paying for the guns, not the cost of administering or executing the plan, not to mention the cost in human lives lost or destroyed in the process as formerly law-abiding gun owners are turned into outlaws at the stroke of a pin. If you think it can’t happen, consider that fewer than a thousand semi-automatic rifles have been turned in by somewhat compliant Kiwis in New Zealand.
As to “smart guns,” you first, Joe. Order your Secret Service security detail to only carry “smart guns.” After they have proven their efficacy, move on to mandating “smart guns” for all police and licensed security personnel, Hollywood bodyguards, and such. Maybe after that, we’ll consider a thoughtful discussion about bringing them into the public market as a serious option.
The other candidates who got a chance to talk about gun control, seemed to be competing for the title of “Most Anti-Rights,” though none could top Swalwell’s past threat to nuke non-compliant gun owners. Now that he’s out of the race though, the others will no doubt continue pushing his idiotic ideas.
In the entire field of 25 “credible” candidates, only three have ever said anything supportive of the right to arms, all while they were running for, or holding offices in heavily pro-gun jurisdictions. All three of those candidates have publicly repudiated those statements, now that they are seeking higher office. I don’t know which is worse, a politician with a long record of opposition to the right to arms, or one who “used to believe” in the right to arms, but abandoned that position when their political ambitions dictated.
At this point, it is pretty clear that GunVoters will have a choice in 2020 between a Republican who has betrayed us while claiming to support the Second Amendment and might do so again, and a Democrat who has promised to work to criminalize our rights actively. Given the importance of court appointments and the good that has been done in that regard over the past three years, I think GunVoters must choose the “maybe” over the “definitely,” but much more important will be making sure that whoever is in the White House, doesn’t have an anti-rights-dominated, Democrat-controlled House and Senate to work with. That would be a very bad thing for individual rights.
Bloomberg vs Rubio?
By Jeff Knox
(February 4, 2016) I’ve received a number questions about who I like for the 2016 Presidential Elections. Frankly, I’m not anxious to pick a horse. All other issues aside, from a GunVoter perspective, the only Democrat candidate that I would have even considered considering was Jim Webb, and he dropped out of the race months ago – though he has kept the door open for the possibility of an independent run, and possibly as a hedge in case one of Hillary Clinton’s many scandals ever actually catches up with her.
In the expansive Republican field, I have been unimpressed. Donald Trump has been talking an over-the-top conservative game, shoveling out a lot of what the late New York Senator Daniel Moynihan used to call “boob bait for the bubbas.” The fact is, until recently, Trump was a Democrat, and in years past often expressed support for various gun control schemes. In spite of his recent positions on guns, his record moves him way down my list of acceptable candidates. Most of the rest of the field has already been winnowed down, with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio being the only other likely contenders at this point.
I have predicted that Trump’s huge popularity will not translate into actual votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, a prediction that has panned out in Iowa. I think the mainstream Republican base is just as mistrustful of him as I am, and the serious conservatives have always favored Cruz. I expect Cruz’s star to rise through the three contests remaining this month, but as Trump fades, the contest will shift from Trump vs. Cruz to Cruz vs. Rubio. By March 1, when 14 states will assign delegates on “Super Tuesday,” I think we will see Rubio surge. I’m not saying this is what I want to see happen; it’s a prediction, not a statement of preference. As I noted, I’m not picking a horse.
The State of the Gun Industry is ‘Alert’
By Jeff Knox
(January 21, 2016) The annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show is under way in Las Vegas this week, and the massive trade show is experiencing record crowds. The show is not open to the public, but is limited to people in the industry. Even with these restrictions, the SHOT Show attracts more than 1,600 exhibitors and some 64,000 attendees during its 4-day, mid-week run. Most of those attendees are gun dealers, manufacturers, or importers looking to ink deals to buy or sell guns, ammunition, knives, accessories, clothing, or other hunting, shooting, or survival gear, and to see what their competitors are offering.
As my brother Chris and I have walked the aisles of the show for the past two days, examining exhibitors’ wares and talking with them about guns and politics, we’ve found consistent concern about the upcoming Presidential Election. With Hillary Clinton the presumptive candidate for the Democrats, in spite of her many scandals and the ongoing FBI investigation of her illegal handling of classified documents, and Republicans still whittling down their perspective candidates, and suggestions that leadership has cut a deal with Donald Trump, gun guys are justifiably worried about the future.
While Clinton and her avowed Socialist opponent, Bernie Sanders, argue about which of them is more dedicated to the cause of gun control, the Republican candidates are arguing the exact opposite. Front-runner Trump has put out position papers declaring his unyielding support of gun owner rights and opposition to gun control schemes, but, as opponents like Ted Cruz have been quick to point out, only a few years ago, Trump was advocating in favor of various gun control proposals, such as a renewed “assault weapon” ban. Trump supporters counter with challenges to Cruz’s claim of being an “avid” hunter, because he has only had a Texas hunting license off and on for a few of the past several years. And Marco Rubio has been criticized for a vote he cast while in the Florida State Senate, supporting private property rights over an NRA-backed bill to forbid the banning of firearms in locked vehicles in company parking lots.