I’ve debating gun control for a long time. For the sake of my relationships with friends and family, I backed off after Sandy Hook. Rather than aggressively arguing any and all pro-gun control subjects, I settled for pointing out anti-gun propaganda put out by the disarmament faction. I try to maintain a neutral and informed voice, avoiding confrontation tone as much as possible.
I did this in an effort to mend the chasm. I wanted to find common ground. I wanted to win people over to our side by showing logic, compassion, and fair-mindedness. Hell, I wrote several posts on this blog pleading for the people of the gun to consider our culture, along with its symbols and images. I really wanted to believe that all we had was a failure to communicate.
I’m over it.
There are three words frequently used by gun-control advocates that boil my blood:
“It’s a start.”
We can go back and forth hammering out details of a real compromise, and they will close with those words, “It’s a start.”
I will lurk on their message boards and see one of them advocate for some obscene overreach, and yet someone else will still chime in with, “Well..it’s a start.”
It’s a Start…to What End?
To any gun control advocates that happen to find this post because it gets shared with you, and I sincerely hope it does: This is why we, the people of the gun, appear so obstinate to any new restrictions. To us, “It’s a start” has been muttered after every major gun control law since 1934. Every time the phrase leaves your lips, it is as if you have no recollection of what you’ve already taken away.
In fact, it seems to be the party line, right out of the Gun Control Messaging Playbook. I can’t count the number of times some gun control advocate has told me that guns are practically unregulated. When it happens, I can’t help but stare at them in shock, trying to figure out if they actually believe what they are saying, are that ignorant, or they are just trying to get a rise out of me. It’s probably all three. After Las Vegas, I had a practicing lawyer friend on Facebook advocate for a law that prohibited felons from owning firearms “as a start.” When I pointed out to him that it was already federal law, and provided the relevant US Code references, he deleted his post.
Whenever “It’s a start” is said, it always means that there is more to be done.
This is why we don’t trust you.
With your staunch cries to “Do something,” all the while being totally ignorant of what has already been done, the logical conclusion of “It’s a start” is the complete elimination of private firearms ownership.
For now, I’ll avoid analyzing the mental gymnastics that must be required for the same group of people to advocate that the government “protector class” be given a monopoly on the tools of violence, yet on the other hand, can’t help but call that same group a bunch of racist, power-tripping, jack-booted thugs.
The bumpfire stock discussion, and suppressors for that matter, is a distraction. It’s chum thrown out for the media sharks and social media mavens to circle around. It’s meant to whip the base into a frenzy of hating the intransigent NRA, and silly gun owners who want “weapons of war.”
. . .
On a side note, as someone who was actually responsible for launching nuclear weapons on presidential order and is very familiar with what those effects would look like, uttering the words “Weapon of Mass Destruction” in the context of an AR-15 makes you look like a blithering fool. I just thought you should know that.
. . .
Back on topic.
For all the talk of only wanting “sensible gun safety,” I’ve never seen a law that the disarmament crowd didn’t like. There has never been a gun control law that was just a bridge too far. The only limitation has been political expediency. Since the public doesn’t generally agree with wholesale banning of firearms, the disarmament advocates are forced to do it one inch at a time. This time it’s bumpfire stocks. Next time it’s high-capacity magazines (whatever the hell that means). After that it will be aftermarket triggers. And then auto-loading weapons. Then it will be sniper rifles. So on and so on…
“That will never happen!,” they say, “You’re just being paranoid!”
It will happen. It has happened. This is exactly the pattern that has played out in gun-control havens like California, New York, New Jersey, and even some newly-blue states like Colorado.
Every news event, every tragedy, is taken as an opportunity to take one more inch. All the while ignoring what has already been done.
Compromise…You’re Doing it Wrong
Gun control fans, do you know how we know you’re full of it when it comes to “common sense” gun reforms? It’s because you have no concept of what compromise is supposed to be. In all the debates I’ve had for over a decade, and there are a lot of them, do you know how many gun control advocates actually understood compromise?
I always make it a point to ask, “If we agree to this, what do we get in return?” Sometimes the answer is a simple blank stare. At best, it’s been, “You get to feel better about making the country safer!” At worst, it’s been, “You get to keep what you have.”
At no point, in any debate I’ve ever had, has the gun control advocate been willing to roll back some other regulation. Even the ones that have proven ineffective at anything they were designed to do other than inconvenience gun owners.
Compromise is not an armed robbery where the victim is told, “You’re money or your life” and gets no other say in the matter. Compromise means both sides get something they want, but not everything.
Look at the stink over suppressors. If they were serious, the gun control crowd could have offered up passing the SHARE act in exchange for supporting a ban on full auto NFA “workarounds.” But they did not, and they will not. Just as the people of the gun refuse to give up one more inch of what they have left, the gun controllers will not give up inch of what they have gained. Pretending that they haven’t gained anything is just disingenuous.
The End Goal
Gun control fans, do you know why people like me continue to use statistics about cars, alcohol, knives, medical malpractice, and all the other ways people can die when discussing gun control?
It’s because we are under the mistaken impression that the conversation is about saving lives. Most of us sincerely want to find ways to reduce death and suffering. To us, it makes sense to put resources and attention where they would have the largest impact. This is why we separate suicides from homicides. Even more, it’s why we separate run-of-the-mill gangland homicide from black-swan events like Las Vegas. Each of these has different root causes, with different courses of action, and we want to help fix it where we can while respecting our natural rights to self defense.
Out mistake, really. We didn’t realize that you were really just wanting to get rid of guns. Got it. Check. Not one more inch.
If you really wanted to solve the problem with deaths, we would all be considering wider sociocultural solutions rather than just focusing on the hardware. But that’s not the discussion. Instead, you try to enact sweeping bans of things that would make no difference to 99% of the total death count per year. If you can’t get that, then you try to enact little regulations and delays that do nothing except annoy the people who are desperately trying to stay within the law and were not inclined to commit violence anyway. The people you are trying to stop? They don’t follow the laws anyway, and if they ever get caught, the firearms charge for your new pet law is the first to get tossed out during a plea deal.
I used to sincerely try and find a good compromise position that worked for everyone. I’ve even taken a lot of flak for my ideas in the past. I’ve been accused of not being a “pure enough” 2A supporter because I was willing to talk.
Well, I’m not anymore. The other day, I was listening to NPR on the way home from work. What I heard summed up it up pretty well for me:
You can only try and make us feel so guilty for being white, male, straight, cisgendered(?), liberty-minded, gun owners before we say, “Well…screw it.”
In the end, the truth is this: you are losing.
The country is embracing more and more individual liberty, from gay marriage to recreational drug use. This isn’t about conservative and liberal values, it’s about a cultural shift towards individual freedom. You don’t get to pick and choose what those freedoms are just because you don’t like them.
People feel something in the air, even if they don’t put words to it. There is a sense that something is wrong. There is a very real sense that the very institutions designed to protect us are failing. We see the 24 hours news from places like Puerto Rico, and we can’t help but wonder, “What if I was in that situation? How would I protect my family?
People are waking up, and your message is getting weak.