Today’s gun control push is again using “bad cop/good cop” tactics. After a killing, there are strident calls to round up guns, to name the NRA as a terrorist organization, to abolish the 2nd Amendment, etc. After the televised vigils, truancies cloaked as rallies, arguments around the water cooler and social media rants are allowed to flow out like pus from a festering wound, the politicians come around to talk of “common sense and reasonable” measures. Measures that they have tried again and again to pass for over six years, yet they present them like something new and untried.
You only have to look beyond whatever new name they hang on legislation and read what the bills actually say to find out that it’s always the same things: bans, registration, confiscation, prohibition through excessive taxes and bureaucracy. It’s important to study not just what they are advocating, but how they are presenting it. Are they using facts or only stirring up emotions? Are facts from credible sources or are they talking points that have already been disproved?
You must also examine not only what they are proposing but how do they intend to do it. The relentless calls for universal background checks to restrict private sales never mention how they would enforce this requirement. That is because the goal wasn’t merely for mandatory background checks for private sales, rather for mandatory registration of all firearms, since that is the only mechanism that could realistically be used to enforce such a law. They are again calling for “assault weapon” bans saying that they are not after all guns, only “certain types”, but they alone decide what is defined as certain types, as they have in California:
1986: ban enacted to prohibit specific firearms by make&model
2000: SB23 changed Penal Code to prohibit anything that looks like those, or that they didn’t like the looks of (prohibited features)
2012: SB249 attempted to remove the exemption in the Penal Code for semiautomatic rifles equipped with magazine locks
2013: LIFE Act attempted to prohibit all semiautomatic rifles which have a detachable magazine
2016: the ban is expanded based on 2012 and 2013 bills
So, in less than 30 years the legislature’s goal went from only specific firearms to virtually all semiautomatics.
The gun owners who have supported the ban took comfort that semiautomatics would be gone but bolt action hunting rifles and pump shotguns would always be safe. They’d probably never seen Adam Keigwin’s tweet during the push for the LIFE ACT where he proposed to add them to the ban.
“That’s paranoia”, the objection goes, “how could they do that?” Simply look at Australia’s appearance clause for its existing firearms ban. A rifle, whether semiautomatic or bolt action, can be banned if law enforcement deems that it appears “too military”. The unmentioned problem is that there is no standard given for what is considered “too military”. Banning a firearm because someone doesn’t like the way it looks is frivolous since, by that standard, someone will always find something they don’t like about any given firearm.
“Well,” ban proponents argue, “bans have to be expanded just to counter gun makers who find ways to get around the letter of the law.” Not so. California’s existing ban not only defines what is illegal, but what is *LEGAL*. Then later, the gun control politicians declared that this exemption in the Penal Code, which they wrote and voted into law, is a “loophole”. So gun owners who supported the ban, because they did not want or own the firearms in question and wanted to look “reasonable”, were being rewarded by watching their own guns get banned.
Now, we can’t convince gun-grabbers to actually pay attention to facts nor can we persuade them to pursue reasonable alternatives for the goals of “safety” in which they say they are solely interested. We can, however, convince people who bought into a bad idea from listening to bad excuses that they should reconsider. People are reluctant to change their minds after they’ve pledged support to something that has touched them emotionally, but they just might if they find out that they’d been misled. We must — repeat, MUST — convince other gun owners to examine legislation carefully, since there is no longer an excuse to accept it at face value. These are the people we actually want to address, so presenting our side clearly and respectfully is important to show that we are the ones who have thought things through.
Remember, this is a battle of ideas. Lies that are repeated and go unchallenged become accepted as conventional wisdom. The only way to fight bad ideas is to expose them to the truth.