The reason is simple: As viscerally satisfying as saying, “Second Amendment, screw you” to the anti-Second Amendment extremists is, it will simply backfire, and help Bloomberg by turning a bunch of freaked-out soccer moms into activists for their agenda with the assistance of the media. All because we’re not keeping in mind how we come across to our fellow Americans.
Folks, if the freaked-out soccer moms believe we don’t have any interest in stopping these shootings, we will lose our rights as they vote for Bloomberg-approved anti-Second Amendment extremists at all levels of government. But once the emotional fury dies down, we can convince them to at a minimum, leave us alone.
That being said, getting through an emotional fury that anti-Second Amendment extremists are trying to exploit as they successfully have in Australia, New Zealand, England, and Canada requires strategy and tactics. And like all good strategists, we need to have backup plans and fallback options to limit the damage if we lose this round.
Pointing this out is not treason to the Second Amendment, nor is it being a “Fudd.” It’s common sense. It’s dealing with the world the way it is.
Here’s what happens if the likes of Swalwell get the power to make America like New Zealand and Australia: We not only lose our rights and see a “ban and buyback” happen, but we lose our ability to even make the argument AND the courts won’t save us because they will have been packed with anti-Second Amendment judges.
In 1999, post-Columbine, the same situation was faced, and Second Amendment supporters beat back assaults on our rights at the federal level. The NRA played a big role in that. But we must remember that Columbine was a major event. It drew media coverage, and it marked the beginnings of a shift. Anti-Second Amendment groups began to tap into the fears of suburban moms.
In the wake of the shooting, Bill Clinton proposed an expansive series of infringements on our rights. It wasn’t just effectively eliminating gun shows, it included a rationing scheme, a magazine ban, raising the age for even possessing a handgun to 21, and other unjust punishments that were to be inflicted upon millions of Americans who had never carried out anything illegal involving a firearm, and who were just as horrified at the mass shooting.
Ideally, there would be no restrictions, but the NRA knew that just killing the bill could cause problems for pro-Second Amendment lawmakers in suburban districts. Clinton was tapping into the soccer moms – and so were anti-Second Amendment groups. The Million Mom March was forming, giving them a nascent grassroots capability to go with their waves of support from the media and Hollywood.
So, the NRA came up with an alternative that had a 24-hour wait if the National Instant Check System didn’t clear a transaction. This served two purposes: One, it enabled pro-Second Amendment lawmakers facing tough fights to honestly say they had voted for background checks at gun shows, and improving the odds that the House would stay in the hands of pro-Second Amendment leaders. Two, it would be far less damaging if it actually passed. After the Senate passed a bad gun show bill, the fight turned to the House. Prior to the voting, Second Amendment supporters got a boost from an ABC interview Bill did, where he admitted he felt that “people ought to have to register guns like they register their cars” to Charlie Gibson – and America.
Well, in the fight for the House, the gun show bill came up. We’ll use anti-Second Amendment extremist Jerrold Nadler to illustrate how the short-term fight was won. The House put up Clinton’s preferred version, which was shot down. The NRA’s 24-hour version passed. Then what happened was a stroke of good luck: Nadler and other anti-Second Amendment extremists killed the entire bill in conjunction with Second Amendment supporters from very safe districts.
The short-term fight was won, decisively. That enabled a pivot to a counter-offensive over the long term. This included a push for enforcement of existing laws (Project Exile was a big one). As the emotional fury died down, people became more receptive to the facts. But it also enabled some hard counter-punching, like the harsh and accurate comments Wayne LaPierre made about Clinton.
The anti-Second Amendment extremists let the mask slip further. Al Gore called for licensing gun owners, as Cory Booker does now. Senator Jack Reed introduced legislation to place handguns under the 1934 National Firearms Act. As a result of good strategy and tactics, George W. Bush would win the closest presidential election in history, with Second Amendment supporters making the difference.
The same approach can be successful here. Ted Cruz has already done a lot of the groundwork to make it work. If we are really lucky, this version gets killed when anti-Second Amendment Nancy Pelosi refuses to bring it up for a vote or if Charles Schumer leads a filibuster. Once the bill dies, and emotions cool, we can then lay out the facts.
This will require very successful outreach to local media. Part of laying out the facts could even include the state of civil commitment laws that are already on the books, so do the research to lay those facts out. Maybe work with your local lawmakers to see if there can’t be some improvements. But it will also involve hitting back hard when that opening presents itself.
The post-Columbine battle is something Second Amendment supporters should remember. The hard and smart fighting in the 19 months after that secured a president who appointed two of the five justices that formed the Heller and McDonald majorities. Similarly smart strategy and tactics could secure the re-election of a president with two pro-Second Amendment Supreme Court justices, and add more to the court. Second Amendment supporters need to fight hard and smart to save their rights.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.