U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “We are two advocates, activists and leaders from opposite sides of the ‘gun debate’ who have come together because we both believe we are at a make-or-break moment,” a co-authored “Open Letter” on AmmoLand Shooting Sports News declared Friday. “Suffice it to say, there is plenty that we disagree on, but for anyone with the genuine goal of reducing the number of preventable gun deaths in our nation, we believe we have an opportunity for real impact that has not existed in years and, if we are not able to seize it, it is likely to have negative repercussions for years to come.”
The writers are trainer Rob Pincus and citizen disarmament careerist Dan Gross, formerly president of the Brady Campaign. Numerous responses, articles, and comments posted on sites frequented by the “gun community” show most aren’t buying what they’re selling.
It’s because of so many responses, and because of a problematic personal history with Pincus that I initially put off writing my own analysis. First, I like to find insights that others aren’t talking about or emphasizing, and second, this shouldn’t be about personal squabbles, nor even about differences of opinion – it should be about evaluating verifiable statements to see which position most closely approximates the truth. With that in mind, some friends whose opinions I respect asked me to weigh in on this and I have no good reason to refuse them.
This isn’t going to be a line-by-line “fisking,” but I am going to try and address some claims Pincus and Gross make and document why what they’re saying just ain’t so. That, and maybe come up with a few relevant recollections and side trips along the way.
First, I challenge the notion of “opposite sides of the gun debate” as a valid concept. There is truth and there is falsehood, and the latter should never be credited with equal weight or value. That and there’s another point they miss throughout, a saying I first heard decades ago that I have always found both simple and profound:
It’s not about guns. It’s about freedom.
And that’s not up for debate.
Next is their contention that they have the answer to “preventable gun deaths,” followed up by talking about “meaningful change” that relies on a coming together Kumbaya melding of the “interests of the American people,” as if those interests are shared throughout the Republic.
“[W]e must first change the entire conversation, from one defined by politics,” they urge. Remember that line. I’ll come back to it.
“It is about advocates, leaders, and the media considering, far more than they have in the past, the narrative they are helping to create,” they declare. “It is about those who really care about impact, changing that narrative from one that is too often divisive and counterproductive to one that genuinely unites the American public and provides the foundation that is necessary for real, lasting, and fundamental change.”
“This is not just a matter of deciding whether to call it ‘gun control,’ ‘gun violence prevention,’ ‘responsible gun ownership’ or ‘gun safety,’” they argue. No, it’s not. Some of us argue it should be called “citizen disarmament” and “totalitarianism.”
The minds behind citizen disarmament don’t care about any of their touchy-feely horse****. Those who mean to rule don’t believe the lies they feed to useful idiots ignorant enough to believe that defenselessness makes everybody safer. They want Americans disarmed because it is the ultimate impediment to a “monopoly of violence.” As for the media, how many more examples must we see of lies of commission, lies of omission, universal talking point narratives, smears, outright fabrications, journalistic incompetence, and malpractice to grok what the major newspapers, networks, and social media platforms are about?
“Together, we can cut the number of gun-involved deaths in our country in half and make all of us safer, just by keeping guns from the people we all agree should not have them (i.e., people who are a danger to themselves or others),” Pincus and Gross promise. It’s a hollow one. They can do no such thing. And further, it ignores the reality that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian, as evidenced by the three largest mass murders in this country being committed without guns.
That and Baltimore. Does anybody think street criminals are going to play?
“For gun control advocates, it demonstrates an authentic respect for rights, and a compelling context for the most impactful proposed solutions, a context which creates a more powerful whole greater than the sum of its parts,” they fantasize, recalling for me nothing so much as Gary Coleman demanding “What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”
“For gun rights advocates, it provides reassurance and tangible demonstration that no one is seeking to take rights away from responsible gun owners,” they soothe us.
Does everybody remember Fletcher from The Outlaw Josey Wales? And of course, the gun-grabbers are talking about taking your guns. That’s why they’re gun-grabbers!
That was the long-range goal of the organization Gross headed for years, as admitted by its founder, Nelson “Pete” Shields in 1976, back when it was still called Handgun Control, Inc.:
“We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily — given the political realities — going to be very modest. . . . [W]e’ll have to start working again to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen the next law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. . . . The first problem is to slow down the number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition-except for the military, police, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors-totally illegal.”
But we’re to believe Gross is now a kinder, gentler confiscator, even though the “plenty that we disagree on” part is left (deliberately) undefined. News flash: You can’t “respect the Second Amendment” and then endorse infringements. Among other things, that’s called having a big “but.”
That didn’t stop Gross from being introduced by Pincus as a featured speaker at 2019’s Rally for the 2nd Amendment in Washington DC. Notice how he again admitted “we don’t agree on everything” without being required to reveal what he meant, and how, sadly, that didn’t dampen the cheers and applause of those who demanded nothing more than meaningless, happy-talk platitudes:
But wait: Did I miss something? Am I being unfair? After all, go to 5:55 of the above video, where Gross promises:
“And just as importantly, the common ground I want to talk about here today represents an opportunity to keep us all safe without – now wait for it – without any involvement of the government.”
And the crowd went wild.
So you tell me how Dan’s and Rob’s goal of “keeping all guns from certain people” can be accomplished without a government mandate.
Remember earlier when I asked you to remember their line about “changing the conversation from one defined by politics”? You tell me how forbidding private sales, what they call “expanded background checks” can be accomplished without that.
It’s almost like they say one thing and intend another.
You tell me why they now want to “expand” a system that no less a source than the National Institute of Justice admits:
“Effectiveness depends on the ability to reduce straw purchasing, requiring gun registration…”
And what does registration enable?
Meanwhile, Democrat mega-apparatchik Rahm Emanuel is getting national press saying the strategy for bans needs to be exactly what Rob and Dan are saying, “keeping all guns from certain people,” meaning those on watchlists, those “Lautenberged” out of their rights, veterans, those whose mental health is questioned – and generally meaning those who have not even been charged with a crime in many cases, let alone convicted of one, and due process be damned. Not satisfied that all the “loopholes” have been closed, the bans “must” then be expanded to include “boyfriends” and “haters,” and the qualifications to petition expanded from family members to include police.
Add to all this the inconvenient (for them) truth that “gun control” simply does not work.
“Would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide?” criminologists Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser asked in the Spring 2007 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. “In 2004, the US National Academy of Sciences … failed to identify any gun control that reduced violent crime, suicides or gun accidents.”
This was “from a review of 153 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some original empirical research. The same conclusion was reached in 2003 by the US Centers for Disease Control….”
For Second Amendment advocates to cede that point is to surrender to the citizen disarmament forces, who will then employ every bit of politically-manipulated “junk science” at their disposal to once more do what got the CDC anti-gun agenda (not gun studies in general, as the lie goes) defunded, when its then-director Mark Rosenberg bragged:
“We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol — cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly — and banned.”
Why give any tactical advantage to those who are intent on disarming us? For that matter, why do the same for them with “background checks”?
If experience has taught us anything, it’s to take the success of the antis at incremental disarmament seriously. They will never be satisfied and they will never go away. Ceding anything just means surrendering to demands for which they have no legitimate claim – these are, after all, supposedly, our unalienable rights that we’re talking about. Any concession will have the same effect as throwing a scrap of meat to a pack of circling jackals in the hopes you’ll then be left alone. That doesn’t happen in nature and it doesn’t happen in politics.
If you give up on any point you then free up their resources to be used against you on their next attack and give them a new beachhead from which to launch it. Again, this is about nothing less than freedom, and that’s about nothing less than your life and the lives of everyone you care about. You don’t surrender that and you make anyone trying to take it away pay dearly, and when necessary, ultimately.
At least that’s what history teaches to anyone who would learn from it.
I could go on but the points are made. If you have the inclination and the time, you can learn about the BIDS System, which would provide background checks without creating a record of who bought what. That’s why the antis would never accept it, because, again, they’re liars about why they want to require them. (And for the record, I offer that not because I believe such prior restraint is Constitutional, but simply to prove that point.)
I could talk about the naïve insanity of looking at what is happening right now and who is behind the disarmament bills and believing that “pro-gun Democrats” are the same as “pro-freedom Democrats.” And yeah, I get that Republicans have their share of backstabbers and poltroons. For now, at least, we can still get most of them to go our way, but if we keep accepting “lesser of two evils” excuses and not making them pay a price, that will change soon enough.
I could also talk about why Rob first came unglued on me, for advocating that gun owners not give their business to an instructor who is a Democrat activist and who supported Hillary Clinton and helped elect the Northam regime in Virginia. I could also talk about why Rob is in denial over what made that Democrat takeover possible, but I’ve done that elsewhere and the point here was to address the “Open Letter,” not to introduce new grievances and/or resurrect old ones.
So, all I have left to say is that endorsing “gun control” and partnering with an anti who won’t disclose what it is he wants to have taken away from gun owners (under the force of government arms) is one hell of a way to “Save the Second.”
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.