New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- If there is one issue that tends to cause the most divisions amongst Second Amendment supporters, it is disagreement over the tactics and strategy used to defend our right to keep and bear arms. The NRA takes one approach, GOA takes another, we see still others from the Firearms Policy Coalition, Second Amendment Foundation, and the pro-Second Amendment groups at the state level.
Why is this? Because while Second Amendment supporters generally are in agreement about the ideal situation they’d like to see regarding our rights, there is often a fight over what is actually achievable at a given point in time. One group might want to push for sweeping changes, while another would prefer a more incremental approach. They may even disagree on what the priority should be – one group may want to roll back oppressive legislation on carrying guns, another would ask lawmakers to address the threat of financial blacklisting.
Take, for instance, the Gun Control Act of 1968. The problem was, at the time, with the relatively recent assassinations of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by a pair of evil individuals, something was going to pass. President Lyndon Baines Johnson was pushing for a licensing and registration scheme.
We’ve seen in places like England and Australia how licensing and registration became the building blocks for confiscation. That was obvious also to many back then, including the NRA, which had opposed restrictive legislation, albeit on a more ad hoc basis than it did after the Revolt in Cincinnati. What happened was the NRA used its relationships on Capitol Hill to make sure that the licensing and registration didn’t pass.
When Franklin Orth said that the 1968 law was something sportsmen could live with, it was not because they liked seeing restrictions imposed on them for misdeeds they had nothing to do with. It was because it was far less onerous than what LBJ wanted to inflict upon them. And LBJ was very unhappy about the fact he didn’t get licensing and registration.
Ideally, whatever laws had been passed would not have placed any limits on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. But the ideal was not achievable. What can be achieved over the medium term? A great reduction in the controls, leaving in place laws that punish the misuse of Second Amendment rights.
Similarly, many would argue that the ideal situation for carrying firearms for personal protection is constitutional carry in all 50 states. In terms of carrying firearms for personal protection, we’ve gotten much closer to that ideal than we were years ago. It’s been a process of slicing away at the infringements, piece by piece, but the progress is undeniable.
Similarly, most Second Amendment supporters don’t think a constitutional right should be subject to things like getting a license, going through a background check, or some arbitrary waiting period. However, the present situation is far from it. But what can we realistically expect to achieve in this regard?
Here is the hard truth for some: Until January of 2021, there isn’t much that can be done to address the licensing schemes of states like New Jersey, California, and New York. On that day there may be pro-Second Amendment majorities in the House and Senate that could introduce legislation to have NICS override those schemes, to hopefully be signed by a re-elected President Trump. Yeah, NICS is not a good option, but such a change would have made a huge difference to someone like Carol Bowne, and many others who have their Second Amendment rights impacted by the clearly unconstitutional licensing schemes.
Even if we get the ideal laws and court ruling, Second Amendment supports may have to address new threats. These will come from not from politicians, but from corporate boardrooms and cubicles in Silicon Valley. Those will require new strategies and tactics.
Second Amendment supporters face a balancing act. We must try to achieve the ultimate objective, one that creates the ideal situation with regards to our Second Amendment right. At the same time, we need to be realistic, and get what we can in the climate we have today. This is not compromising or being a “Fudd,” it’s about getting the best possible result we can today, while striving for a better tomorrow.
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.