I have watched
the gun control movement become a major voice against gun ownership
over the last 40 years. What has most impressed me is this: this
movement has been unsuccessful in disarming Americans. The demand
for guns keeps rising.
I have known
the leaders of the gun ownership movement. Larry Pratt is the head
of the lobbying group, Gun Owners of America. He has held that position
for as long as the organization has existed. It began in 1975. The
founder of the organization, H. L. "Bill" Richardson,
was a state senator in California. I do not recall when I first
met him, but it was probably sometime around 1967. I met Pratt no
later than 1969, and it may have been earlier. I have watched Gun
Owners of America grow into a major sounding board for those who
want to preserve Second Amendment freedoms. There are a number of
lobbying organizations that promote gun ownership, but Gun Owners
of America is generally regarded as hard-core. It does not recommend
making political deals with those who would control legal access
murderers are almost always on prescription
mood-altering drugs. The mainstream media rarely mention this.
Every time that there is an incident where the latest drug-crazed
shooter kills a number of people, there is a strong push by the
gun control movement to get all guns banned. In contrast, every
time some elderly lady shoots an intruder who had invaded her home,
there is a brief story about this in the local newspaper. I have
known for over 40 years that reporting in the major media is skewed
in favor of the gun control movement.
In the years
that I have known Richardson and Pratt, I have watched the gun control
movement attempt to ban access to firearms, and in virtually all
cases, it has failed. Guns are as plentiful today at gun shows as
they were 40 years ago. We see billboards promoting gun shows in
small towns across the South. I do not know if they have comparable
sized shows outside of the South, but in the South, they are well
There is more
registration than was required 40 years ago, but there has been
no concerted effort to move from gun registration to gun confiscation.
With computerization, the possibility exists, but the manpower required
to enforce such a ban of weapons would be astronomical.
Some laws are
inherently unenforceable. We know that the laws are unenforceable
among urban gang members. Gang members are among the best-armed
civilians in the world. Gangs have more firepower than most local
police departments. They do not use this firepower against what
they would regard as the civilian population. They use the weapons
against other gang members.
There is no
way in the United States that the federal government could gain
access to the weapons of the country without threatening extremely
high fines or other penalties. It is unlikely that Congress will
enact legislation that would authorize some system of draconian
imposition of fines or jail sentences for violators.
The sheer volume
of guns owned by Americans precludes the ability of the federal
government to confiscate anything like 80% of the weapons. The kinds
of people who own weapons are the kinds of people who resist bureaucratic
intrusions into their lives. It is not like Americans in 1933, who
surrendered gold coins in the darkest days of the Great Depression.
They did not view gold coins as basic to their rights as citizens.
They were incorrect in this regard, but there has never been the
degree of commitment to the ownership of gold coins that there has
been to the ownership of firearms.
Who would enforce
the ban? I do not think that it will be local sheriffs. It may be
local police departments, but local law enforcement agencies do
not like to think of themselves as being unpaid enforcers of federal
regulators. Cooperation will be limited, at best.
by the federal government to enforce such a law will be met by foot-dragging.
We will see lots of interest in ways of slowing down the bureaucratic
machine. Paperwork, not armed resistance, is the weapon of choice
in dealing with bureaucrats. The more paperwork that non-cooperative
citizens can force the bureaucracy to go through, the less likely
the bureaucracy is going to be able to implement its task of confiscating
the guns of the United States. It is easy to jam the system, and
with computers, it becomes even easier. I started writing about
this over 25 years ago, when desktop computers were a novelty. I
said that the microcomputer was the Saturday Night Special of resistance.
Now the tablet has replaced it.
AT THE TOP
I realize that
a lot of Americans believe that the federal government is ready
to take action against gun owners. Rhetoric aside, where is the
evidence that the President is actively pursuing any such goal?
I think the best indication of Obama's commitment to this is that
he has put Joe Biden in charge of the whole operation. The Vice
President has no power, and of recent Vice Presidents, Joe Biden
is something of a laughingstock. He is no Dick Cheney.
there is some major shooting, the media insist that legislation
will soon be passed to outlaw assault rifles. It is conceivable
that Congress will pass a ban on certain kinds of assault rifles,
but that will have essentially zero affect in keeping assault rifles
out of the hands of drug-crazed psychotics. There will be more shootings,
and there will be more calls to ban more assault rifles, but the
failure of the legislation to stop the shootings will testify against
the effectiveness of further legislation.
The fact that
no legislation has been introduced as a result of the Newtown, Connecticut
shootings tells me that this lame-duck Congress is not interested
in pursuing the matter. It has other fish to fry.
If the new
House of Representatives is ready to cooperate with the Senate in
passing legislation against assault rifles, then we may see such
legislation. But what would motivate Republicans to cooperate? What
is in it for them? Why would they want to face the wrath of their
constituents in order to pass a piece of legislation previous Congresses
have resisted for 40 years?
do not believe that voters in favor of gun ownership should back
off and let politicians have a free ride their attempts to restrict
legal access to guns in the United States. I do not think it is
wise to give a free ride to any political group that wants to interfere
with constitutional liberties. I think people should support lobbying
agencies that are in favor of gun ownership. Nevertheless, I do
not think they should do this on the assumption that the end of
gun ownership is imminent, because it isn't. I think they should
do it on the assumption that the Constitution is on their side,
and that the gun control movement is taking a stand against three
centuries of American liberties.
The fact that
the gun control movement has been politically impotent, or close
to it, for a generation is not a good reason to sit back and let
them browbeat squishy Congressman who were elected by voters who
are in favor of gun ownership. If pro-Second Amendment voters remain
silent, they will give an illusion to politicians that there will
not be a backlash against anyone who breaks ranks and votes in favor
gun control. We have to remind people in Congress that they can
lose votes if they get wobbly on gun ownership. As Bill Richardson
taught me over 40 years ago, politics is mostly about inflicting
pain on politicians who deviate from a particular agenda. Politicians
respond to pain, he taught me, and I watched him develop tactics
that were specially designed to impose pain on those who favored
gun control. He did this at the state level, and his organization
has done it nationally
Within a decade,
it will be possible for people to manufacture handguns inexpensively
in their own homes. Even if it takes two decades, it is clear what
is going to come. The ability of the government to confiscate handguns
is surely limited when somebody can download a free piece of software
that will enable him to manufacture a handgun, or the components
of a handgun, in the privacy of his own home. The Left is now facing
an ideological crisis. Either it bans 3D printers, raising civil
rights issues, or else it must give up having any shot at banning
of the gun control crowd to control the spread of weapons across
the face of the earth is going to decline dramatically over the
next 10 years or 20 years. This is the last gasp of the entire movement.
The 20th century will go down in history as the era of gun control.
The 21st century is going to be knon as a century in which the common
man, around the world, becomes a gun owner.
think it is a good idea for people to purchase those items that
they want to own, and which are legal for them to own. They tend
to do this in times of panic, when prices have been bid up. But,
in my view, it is better to buy an artificially or temporarily high-priced
item than it is to wait. It is best to take action when you are
motivated to take action. Otherwise, procrastination wins out again.