One might think that after years of practice, the gun prohibition lobby would understand that worn out platitudes and broad brush wish lists packaged as a canned response to some new violent outrage no longer get any serious traction with the public.
Possibly some small credit might go to this writer’s most recent collaboration with longtime co-author Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation. The book, Shooting Blanks: Facts Don’t Matter to the Gun Ban Crowd, has been enjoying good reader reviews.
Pick any gun ban group from the Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center down to Washington Ceasefire and its colleagues south of the Columbia River at Ceasefire Oregon, and they all consistently, and predictably, make the same mistake. Headline a crime, and their “solution” is to institute the same laundry list of non-starters that they’ve been trotting out for years.
In response, the public reacts with a collective yawn.
Perhaps no better example of this “failure to communicate,” as the late, great character actor Strother Martin defined it with such evil intent in Cool Hand Luke a generation ago, can be found than a weekend piece in the Chicago Sun Times. There, perennial anti-gunner Jesse Jackson joined with a Sikh leader to call for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” in response to the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that took several lives.
There’s just one little problem with Jackson’s effort: the gunman used a 9mm pistol, not an “assault weapon” or even a semiautomatic rifle that just looked like an assault weapon. The same pattern followed the Cafe Racer shooting in Seattle, committed with a handgun, not a rifle.
Offer up any high-profile shooting, from Florida to Washington, and no matter what the circumstances, the gun ban lobby will call for:
- Renewing the ban on so-called “assault weapons”
- Closing the so-called “gun show loophole”
- Requiring background checks on all firearms transactions
They may add a few items that they would also like to see, including limits on the number of firearms one can own, limiting the number of guns one can purchase in a month, mandating how guns are stored, restricting who can receive a concealed carry license, and empowering police to arbitrarily prevent someone from owning or buying a gun.
Gun control used to be popular 40 years ago. Over time, something remarkable happened. A majority of Americans wised up. They figured out that requiring background checks at gun shows would not have prevented mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., or on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, Fort Hood, Tex., or at Seattle’s Jewish Federation offices, Seattle’s Cafe Racer, or at a mall in Tucson because the shooters did not buy their guns at gun shows.
In all of those cases, the shooters bought their guns at retail and cleared background checks.
Another worn out angle gun grabbers like is the argument that guns are a menace to the public health. It is almost as thread worn an argument as “it’s for the children,” which has justified everything from safe gun storage initiatives to teacher strikes.
The Richmond, Va. Times Dispatch had it right Sunday in an opinion that noted, “When big-government liberals can’t think up a legitimate reason to control other people’s private behavior, they resort to a fallback: public health.” The newspaper overlooked name-calling, but that’s another discussion for a different day.
The newspaper pegged it by noting, “Public health also appeals to gun-control advocates, who see it as a handy way to skirt that pesky Second Amendment.”
Yes, that rotten old Second Amendment. Writing Sunday in the Nashua, N.H. Telegraph, columnist Joe Konopka noted a leading local gun prohibitionist’s whine that the public attitude about guns has become “increasingly permissive” while she sneered at “the accepted interpretation of the Second Amendment” as protective of an individual civil right.
Gun banners are living in denial. Twice in recent history the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the right to keep and bear arms is for individuals, not some collectivist right reserved to the states. They cannot get over being no longer able to misrepresent the Second Amendment or a 1939 Supreme Court ruling on a sawed-off shotgun case.
As for attitudes about guns being more permissive, evidently gun banners haven’t tried to buy a firearm lately and endured background checks, perhaps a local licensing requirement, perhaps a delay from the FBI’s National Instant Check system or any number of other bureaucratic roadblocks designed to discourage individual gun ownership.
The bottom line to the gun prohibition lobby’s dilemma might be found with the receptionist at a Seattle radio station. This writer recently joined KIRO’s Bill Radke and Washington Ceasefire President Dan Byrne for a lively discussion about guns and civil rights following the Aurora movie shooting. Byrne is an affable guy from back east, with some ideas about firearms ownership that – outside of California – do not enjoy much popularity west of the Mississippi. Just say he’s on the wrong side of the river.
On the way out of the building, the 20-something receptionist, who had apparently been listening to the taping, remarked that she “really appreciated” someone sticking up for gun ownership. She said people should be able to defend themselves.
As the door closed behind us, I told Byrne, “There you go. That’s what you’re up against.”
After explaining and detailing some of this state’s gun laws – I wrote a book about these laws, and Byrne acknowledged that there were some things he hadn’t understood – he asked what he could do for me.
The response was the most tactful I could muster: “Leave us alone.”
Shooting Blanks: Facts Don’t Matter to the Gun Ban Crowd
Washington State Gun Rights and Responsibilities
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Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
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