Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake,” so Napoleon reportedly said.
The Democrats are following that advice in the latest iteration of the gun control debate. Meanwhile, the “Stupid Party” as Republican Senator Alan Simpson dubbed the GOP during his time in the Senate, appears determined to live up to that moniker.
The Republicans are helping the Democrats minimize a major blunder, while simultaneously cutting their own party and candidates off at the knees.
First, let me be clear: we at The Firearms Coalition recognize that more must be done to protect school children and to “harden” “soft targets,” and we are happy to discuss real solutions to real problems. But we will not hesitate to point out the flaws and voice our strong opposition to “solutions” that encroach on the rights of responsible Americans, especially when the “solutions” don’t work. The fact is, none of the gun control laws proposed so far – magazine limits, bans on cosmetic features, so-called “universal” background checks, so-called “red-flag” laws, etc. – would have any positive impact on mass murders, or violent crime, while seriously infringing the right to keep and bear arms.
So why are they being pushed as “solutions?”
Unfortunately, what should be a discussion of practical measures to help protect innocents has, as it always does, devolved into political gamesmanship. That’s what we’ll be discussing in this column. As my late father, Neal Knox often repeated, “The gun issue is primarily political – for both sides.” While RINO Republicans often swear fealty to the Second Amendment, the fact is only a precious few stalwarts actually understand and believe it. The rest just repeat a campaign mantra and are easily spooked. Meanwhile, the Democrats have made the issue a major plank in their agenda, and they are quick to use any tragedy or atrocity to advance that agenda.
Republicans have a difficult time learning from history. Local, state and federal elections have shown time and again that gun control is a losing issue in all but the most committed, mostly urban, Democratic districts. The only way gun control wins in close races is when massive amounts of gun control money and propaganda is dumped into the campaigns, or – and this one’s the key here – when GunVoters are sidelined by Republicans voting in favor of gun control – including gun control “lite.”
Weak Republicans About to Fumble Victory
Republicans are poised to win sweeping gains in Congress this November, thanks to Democrats allowing the crazy left-wing of the party to take control of policy. The results have been disastrous, with rampant inflation, stalling markets, the Afghanistan debacle and collapsing foreign policy, and insistence that our schools teach our children that White people are inherently evil or racist and that there’s no such thing as boys and girls…
The Republican landslide should be a slam-dunk. But never underestimate the ability of Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
In the Democrat-controlled House, 5 Republicans joined with Democrats in support of raising the minimum age for purchasing a semi-auto rifle from 18 to 21 (no word on similarly raising the voting age or the age for serving in the military) and requiring “safe storage” of firearms in the home, along with other provisions, including a ban on bump stocks, which garnered support from an additional 8 House Republicans. All of those Republicans have given their Democratic opponents an unnecessary advantage in the coming election and reinforced the notion that the two parties are just different sides of the same coin – a common excuse used by some “conservatives” to excuse their own lack of participation in the process.
In the Senate, a group of Republicans has come out in support of a “framework for ‘commonsense’ gun safety legislation,” as most outlets reported the announcement, and now Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was announced his support for the “framework.”
At this point, the only thing being discussed is this “framework,” a set of broad concepts that a group of Republicans has hammered out with a group of their Democratic colleagues. Most have quickly hedged their support for gun control with assurances that their final support or opposition will depend on the actual language once it is introduced. For many GunVoters, the damage has already been done.
What GunVoters hear, is that Republicans have been busy negotiating their rights away.
Even if Democrats get greedy and craft legislation that most of the negotiating Republicans can’t support, there will still be a handful of Republican senators like Toomey (R-PA), Collins (R-ME), and Romney (R-UT), who are likely to support the final bill, regardless of what sort of unconstitutional measures it contains. But the critical thing that Republican leaders like McConnell (R-KY), Cornyn (R-TX), and Graham (R-SC) don’t seem to understand, is that GunVoters don’t always wait for the final result before making a decision. They hold a grudge, and they are quicker and more active at responding to perceived back-stabbing than they are at responding to direct enemy action. They also have a tendency to blame the whole party for the actions of a few wayward party members. And there’s little that the NRA or other rights groups can say or do to prevent the backlash.
Perhaps McConnell, Cornyn, & Graham believe they’re playing a brilliant game of 4D chess, letting Republican Senators look wise, reasonable, and responsive in the wake of horrific atrocities, when the plan all along is just to create a smokescreen before rejecting the final legislation!? Or perhaps the actual truth is they really are stupid enough to believe that just a little gun control won’t really hurt their party at the polls. Either way, it’s unclear exactly where they think they’ll win votes with this strategy. There aren’t many Republican voters clamoring for more gun control laws, and Democrats who seek more gun control laws, are not going to shift to support some Republicans because they caved on the Second Amendment.
Do they really think that winning a few Independent voters will offset the loss of support from a large block of their activist base? If so, then they’re definitely drinking from the wrong pitcher of Kool-Aid.
In the end, regardless of how restrictive the legislation ends up being, or how many Republicans end up supporting it, the Democrats and the media will blame Republicans for not passing something much stronger, and pro-rights Republican voters will feel betrayed by their “leaders.” Fundamental rights are not something that anyone should be negotiating about, whether seriously, or as a political ploy. If they are serious, they should not be running under a party banner that claims to support gun rights. If it is a ploy, it’s duplicitous and is guaranteed to hurt them in the long run.
Republican leaders need to stand up for individual rights and call out Democrats for their disingenuous use of tragedies to push legislation that very obviously wouldn’t have had any impact on those tragedies. The recent murderers, like almost all mass murderers of the past 20-plus years who used guns, bought their guns from licensed dealers, passed background checks, and weren’t referred by friends, family, police, or coworkers for any sort of mental health concerns.
One of the most telling positions of the Democrats is their opposition to amendments to red flag legislation, which would require mental health treatment for people who are “flagged,” along with taking away their guns. The fact is, for the gun control extremists, it’s all only about restricting guns, not about treating sick people or preventing tragedies.
McConnell and company had the opportunity to expose the Democrats’ shell game but instead fell into the trap of negotiating against the interests of their own base. They may be able to salvage the mess if they can get their caucus to loudly and unequivocally reject the final legislation the Democrats offer, and refuse to work toward any sort of “compromise.”
Rights can’t be negotiated, and there’s no room to compromise on them. You’d think Republicans would have figured this out by now, but as the old saying goes, there’s no fixing stupid.
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 with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.