Gun Politics Heading into 2018

Let’s start this off with a fact about American politics: There are no laurels, and we who support gun rights do not get to rest.
Let’s start this off with a fact about American politics: There are no laurels, and we who support gun rights do not get to rest.

Fayetteville, AR –-( Let’s start this off with a fact about American politics: There are no laurels, and we who support gun rights do not get to rest. Gun laws and the free exercise of the relevant rights have ebbed and flowed over the course of our history, and while those motions used to take a long time to work themselves out, in recent decades, we’ve seen the passage and then sunset of the federal ban on “assault weapons,” the growth in the number of states that respect the right to carry, and the increase in violations in a handful of states.

Recognizing, then, that things can change rapidly, there are two approaches that we need to take in the promotion of gun ownership and carry nationwide. The first of these involves gains that can be made in the short term, while the second looks farther into the future.

One example of an immediate gain that we could make is national carry license reciprocity. House Bill 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, has passed and been sent on to the Senate, having taken most of the year to get that far. Should we be grateful? Given the number of Republicans who have run on the promise of protecting gun rights, I have to ask what has taken so long. Honoring nationwide the licenses that states issue is an obvious move. The bill to remove suppressors from the restrictions in the National Firearms Act of 1934 got stalled after the Las Vegas shooting, even though the one had nothing to do with the other. On the other hand, attempts to ban bump stocks and “assault weapons” are also languishing, fitting in with the general pattern of getting paid to do not much.

I’m not going to blame Congress here. Employees generally do what they’re asked to do, and when they’re allowed to drift without consequence, that’s not their fault. Their bosses are to blame. In the case of our elected representatives, that puts the responsibility on each one of us. Admittedly, there are times when doing nothing is the best choice, but when we’re talking about rights, defending their free exercise is always important. We all must tell the politicians whose jobs we can affect that unless they support gun rights, we’ll hire someone else. The Roman senator Cato is said to have finished every speech, regardless of the topic, with Carthago delenda est (Carthage must be destroyed), and whether that is legend or fact, it’s a good policy.

Drum home the message again and again until those who wish to lead get things right.

In other words, as the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines. But as I suggested above, the metaphorical sun of Congress and the White House at least theoretically being in the control of a pro-gun party will not last forever. What we need to do is build more support for gun rights across the political spectrum. Does that sound impossible? It shouldn’t. Yes, gun rights are a plank of the right-wing platform, but according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, independents and Democrats also have people on our side. The numbers may not seem convincing—seventy-nine percent of Republicans, but forty-seven percent of independents and only twenty percent among Democrats—but if we dismiss Americans in the middle and on the left, myself included in the latter, we lose an opportunity to win. Adding up the supporters of gun rights produces a solid majority of voters, and that’s what we need if such rights are to survive the political winds.

Treating gun rights as a tribal matter—we value them; they oppose them—guarantees a continual erosion of those rights. Ralph Northam’s win in the Virginia gubernatorial election isn’t so surprising, given the state’s balancing between left and right, but the race in Alabama in which Doug Jones scored an upset victory is telling. The elections of 2018 may very well result in a flip of both houses of Congress. If Trump’s low approval rating remains where it is or gets worse, 2020 offers an excellent chance for the Democratic Party. Unless we can make connections along the whole spectrum, we are going to lose someday.

Can that be done? Some people will never change. Their positions are frozen. But among many Americans, the idea of basic rights is a shared value, regardless of party, and that is the point of entry. We may disagree about tax policy, foreign relations, and healthcare, but we can work together on the idea that each of us gets to make decisions about our own lives. That cooperation, rather than exclusive confrontation, is what will keep rights safe.

About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc

  • 26 thoughts on “Gun Politics Heading into 2018

    1. the election in Alabama was won because they allowed felons, still in prison to vote. maybe in 2020 the Democrats will make it legal to have the north Koren people vote,too. when are we going to stop the left insanity?

    2. I disagree about the election in Alabama, the republican candidate was smeared in the news as being a pervert and had so much national air time that it would have taken a miracle for him to win the senate seat.
      The republicans need to get their act together and pass some meaningful legislation if they want to expand their hold on both houses of congress.

    3. How about we make it harder for the leftist voters to cast ballots against us?

      How about we stop allowing them to import leftists voters via an open border/mass immigration system that rewards the most incompetent, backwards morons from coming here?

      How about we restore freedom in education as for them not to brain wash our kids against their nation, culture, rights, race, forebears?

      How about we restore freedom of and from association, as to protect ourselves against being dragged down by the lowest common denominators? Oh that would require some forward thinking and ditching the idea of “we are all equal, everyone really values the same things, and “being a “racist” is the worst possible thing, ever”…

      1. So you believe we are NOT all equal? Do us all a favor and leave the USA pronto; we don’t need that kind of (non) thinking.

        1. @CK, Oh no! I think that millions of illegal aliens and dead people should be able to participate equally in our system of voting, and impact the destiny of the United States.

          1. Are you high? Did you ever go to college? Are you really stupid enough to believe that the only truth comes from a draft dodging coward?
            Why don’t don’t you trolls shut up and let the educated people do the thinking. Punk.

            1. @David Gosselin, My apologies, a poor attempt at satire on my part. As to the rest: No. Yes, three degrees worth. No.
              As to the troll and punk part, I am sure that I would not qualify. Again my apologies.
              Sierra 7 Bravo 06, out.

            2. @ W. Bill boy, you sure rattled his cage. He must be an uptight newbee who doesn’t know the regulars here or the relaxed conversations with respect for each other. I know, I was attacked several weeks ago but I was not as gracious as you were.
              How is the new rifle, I’m sure you have found the time to try it out.

            3. @Tcat, I did not mean to. I guess that I should have taken that “Writing Comedy” class, when I had a chance.

        2. didjya READ that last sentence? Yes, we are all of equal VALUE, but how we each deal with life’s issues cam make a HUGE difference in our individual situatios. HE is railing against the idea that everyone should live equally, have the same stufff, ideas, preferences, proclivitis, abilities, wealth…… that os a stinking socialist nightmare, and we want none of it.

          Here is one excellent place to start: how about we mandate treating ALL lives equal, beginning from the time each child’s Mum is aware she HAS a child growing inside her? These same bleeding heart libruls that insist on doing away with our nation’s boundaries and letting anyone in unchallenged and unexamined are the ones who maintain that children in the womb are “worth less” to some than to others.. what did that child do to deserve death? And who gave final authority over the life of that child to the Mother with no due process? Equal worth is equal worth, in EVEY situation. Or its not equal worth. All er nuthin’

        3. Clark,
          People are NOT all equal, they are born with equal opportunity. What they do with that is up to them. Some could read an excellent book, such as Henry. Others could be trolls, such as you. Henry is right about allowing trash into the country rather than using the vetting systems we’ve always used. If you choose to destroy the country in the name of civility you are committing treason. That is a crime the Constitution has a remedy for.

        4. No, we are NOT all “equal” in any way… except one. “Equal” under the application of Law. That – and that ONLY – is how citizens must be treated.

          NOT “equal” in physical traits (height, weight, eye/skin color, shoe size, etc) nor in mental acuity, nor in financial income, nor in work ethic, nor any other way. Past the fact that the Law applies to all citizens, and all citizens must receive fair treatment in court, there is nothing else involved in that term “equal,” regardless of how much you Liberal mental giants WANT there to be more to it.

          You are attempting to change this Constitutional Republic into a Socialist Regime… which makes you – by any definition or interpretation – a domestic enemy of this country. YOU (Liberals) are the prime example of the non-thinking idiots who need to leave America.

          1. JoeUStupid: I am NOT a liberal. Citizens of the USA ARE EQUAL under the law, period, end of story. Next flight to Canada departs in 10 minutes; you won’t be missed.

            1. LOL !! Your (numerous) posts prove that you are indeed a Liberal. Especially the places where you argue just for the hell of it…

              If you consider the (yelled) term “Citizens… ARE EQUAL under the law” to be some kind of rebuttal argument to disprove the statement that “the Law applies to all citizens, and all citizens must receive fair treatment in court,” you have far too large a psychological problem for anyone to argue with you any more.

              But, little boy. don’t go away mad… just go away.

            2. Clark, Joe produces food for the nation. What do you produce… opinions? Weigh that balance, when deciding who should go to Canada!

            3. JoeUStupid: I won’t get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man. And don’t worry; I am not going away. You, however, need to blow away and save yourself from further self inflicted embarrassment.

        5. Stuper dud … does not believe we are all created equal either. You notice he always speaks in condescending terms . He should take his own advice and not let the door hit him where the good lord split him!

            1. @stuper dud …Perfect example, Conceited liberal socialist proof positive pot calling kettle black . Including getting off mommys teat grow up and get out of her basement .

            2. @super dud … apparently ammoland didn’t like my reply to you . Suffice to say you first do the exact same thing as all liberal socialist do. “I am not a liberal ” Then you do exactly what all liberals do, which is do exactly what they accuse someone of. You are so grade school , have fun doing what you do but I have no more time for you .

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