USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- As the Biden administration and the new, Democratic-controlled Congress settle into their respective roles, discussions about gun control laws are shifting from theory to reality, and GunVoters need to be aware and prepared, and they need to keep holding the feet of their elected servants to the fire on these issues.
As I have said previously, it’s very likely that President Biden will use Executive Orders to limit and restrict firearms and firearm accessories in various ways, but it’s likely that he’ll wait until he gets his attorney general pick in place first.
That pick is Judge Merrick Garland. Republicans and supposed “pro-gun” Democrats, should strongly oppose his confirmation, if for no other reason than Garland’s disingenuous and evasive answers during Senate hearings regarding his thoughts on possible gun control laws and their enforcement.
On the legislative front, we’ve all heard about the outrageous, blatantly unconstitutional gun control proposals put forward by Rep. Shiela Jackson Lee (D-TX), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), and others.
These proposals call for bans on certain types of guns, certain sizes of magazines, registration of guns and gun owners, and other draconian measures. Their proposals are the same warmed-over hash of gun control and prior restraint we’ve seen from that side for most of the past century. They generate a lot of noise and tend to capture a lot of attention, but the reality is that they have very little chance of being passed out of the US Senate. Democrats hold a majority based solely on Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote. These bills will require more than a simple majority for passage, though, so while they serve as good reminders of what Democrats would pass if they could get away with it, they don’t pose an immediate threat.
The most significant threats are those few that are seen as less extreme, such as HR 8, banning private firearm transfers, and HR 1446, extending the NICS delay period from 3 to 10 business days. Both of these bills are holding hearings as this column goes to press. HR 8 has 232 cosponsors, which includes the entirety of the Democratic contingent in the House, along with 5 Republicans. HR 1446 currently has 91 cosponsors, all Democrats.
There’s also a dangerous “Red Flag” proposal, which would help fund state efforts to institute Extreme Risk Protection Orders, confiscating firearms from people with nothing more than a pretense at due process.
The current version of this dangerous proposal was introduced by nominal Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. It currently has only 3 cosponsors – 1 Republican, 1 Democrat, and 1 Independent.
These bills are not just direct threats to gun owner rights, they also constitute a serious threat to Republican hopes of ever regaining majorities in the House and Senate.
The simple fact is that votes have consequences, and GunVoters are much more effective at destroying backstabbing Republicans than they are at knocking off anti-rights Democrats. Since the Democratic Party has declared itself to be the party of infringement, GunVoters’ only hope is to limit their power by electing Republicans, but when Republicans join Democrats in attacking our rights, it hurts not only the politicians involved, it hurts the whole party. It is this trend of Republican politicians supporting gun control laws, which has effectively neutered the power of the Gun Lobby in recent elections.
By alienating GunVoters, Republicans have undermined one of their strongest base constituencies, and that loss is not balanced by any sort of gains from some other contingent.
People who care enough about gun control to allow it to be a dominant factor in their voting choices, almost universally lean conservative. There just aren’t a bunch of voters in the political “center” who are swayed favorably by gun control votes, but there are many people in that category who are swayed negatively, and many more people on the political “right” who are willing and eager to work in support of pro-rights politicians, but who will actively campaign against any politician they consider to be a back-stabber, betraying their constitutional obligations. Over the past 40 years or more, Democrats have forced pro-rights politicians from their ranks, establishing their party as committed to gun control, while Republicans have generally embraced a pro-rights position. The split hasn’t been clean though. In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Democrats made an effort to expand their “tent” and welcome pro-rights politicians into their ranks. The effort imploded with serious in-fighting fueled by the failure of gun control initiatives. Then Mike Bloomberg showed up with piles of cash for the Democratic Party and politicians willing to support his anti-rights agenda. This financial incentive was supplemented by a series of high-profile massacres – none of which would have been prevented or mitigated by any of the proposals offered in response – and by 2010 the purge and re-alignment of the Democratic Party was solidly established. While there are still one or two nominally pro-rights Democrats in Congress, they can’t be counted on to oppose so-called “modest” proposals.
It’s up to you to keep the pressure on the pro-rights Democrats, and especially on the foolish and unprincipled Republicans.
They need to understand how angry you would be if they were to cave on any gun control proposal, no matter how “reasonable” it is portrayed. They need to understand that these proposals will not “save lives,” and they will do nothing to “keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.” These proposals will harm innocent gun owners. That harm can range from unnecessary delays and inconvenience to disarmament and getting people killed. My late father, Neal Knox, warned us of the danger of accepting seemingly “reasonable” restrictions nearly 25 years ago in a column that my brother Chris collected into book form as Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War. You can read the column, “The Danger of Being ‘Reasonable’” on our website. The specific issues on the table have changed, but the strategy remains: The forces of disarmament will tempt gun owners and squishy politicians with the promise of an end to the constant wrangling over gun control if we would just be “reasonable” and accept some simple “commonsense” measure. That’s a lie.
The most dangerous measures are the bills that some foolish politicians think are innocuous, or which they think they can “fix” to be “palatable” to GunVoters. A large portion of our community has wised up over the past few years. Politicians need to clearly understand that no gun control is “palatable,” and we won’t stand for them playing games with our rights.
Making a bad bill somewhat less bad is just bad politics anyway. It won’t win any votes from either side. The gun control supporters will hate them for watering down the legislation, while the GunVoters will hate them for compromising on rights. And the people in the middle won’t care enough either way for that particular vote to make a difference to them.
Contact your elected servants, especially your Republican senators, and let them know that you strongly oppose any additional restrictions on firearm rights. Also reach out to the less radical Democrats, especially those who claim to support the Second Amendment – even with a “but”– and make sure they understand that any vote in support of any type of gun control legislation, will have you campaigning hard against them in their next election.
One of the things to point out to these elected servants is the fact that none of these proposals could ever be effective at preventing criminal acts, accidents, or self-harm, but they all create easily ignored obstacles to regular people just trying to go about their lives unmolested by the government. That’s a recipe for making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding Americans. What gun control advocates call “loopholes,” are typically carefully worked-out compromises that were agreed to back when the current gun laws were passed. They’re not flaws, they’re featured, and they were retained for specific reasons.
GunVoters have not been a reliable voting bloc for a number of years, thanks to Republican betrayals and Democratic double-speak, but we can be a formidable voting force once again. That starts with you drawing a line in the sand and saying “Not one more inch,” then holding the politicians accountable for their actions come election time.
Democrats are working hard to guarantee that they lose their House and Senate majorities in 2022, and the only thing that will prevent that is for Republicans to join them in their anti-constitutional stupidity.
Call your senators and representatives at 202-224-3121 and let them know that you won’t abide by any vote for gun control, no matter how “reasonable” they think it might be.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs, and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.