“The slope is not so slippery, actually” – Anti-gunners continue to miss the point… badly

Image via NY Post, Biden speaking on Law Enforcement Reforms

This one from the New York Daily News:

The slope is not so slippery, actually: Dems must tackle disinformation about gun control head-on

President Biden’s gun plan includes mandatory registration of “assault weapons” for anyone wishing to keep those they already own. He is the first president to raise the issue of gun registration in more than 50 years since President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He’s the first ever, too, to propose banning new sales of “assault” or tactical, semiautomatic weapons.

I distinctly remember it being until 2004 that an “Assault Weapon Ban” was in place, and more distinctly remember President Obama supporting the renewal of the measure too in so much as was politically convenient or healthy. So Biden does not get to take originality on this one. If we really want to get technical, the National Firearms Act started banning possession of weapons based upon features back in 1934. So Franklin Roosevelt was the original on this. The original ‘assault weapon’ ban, the NFA tax would cost $3,822 today (2019) making ownership prohibitive in the extreme. Considering the average American income in 2019 was just over $31,000, it is a prohibitively steep combined poll/sin tax. Imagine taxing a right at over 10% of your gross income to exercise, because a firearm had a scary feature.

The Biden administration is responding to pressure for gun reform led today by survivors of the Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The plan has finally put on the table what gun reform advocates including surviving parents and others have long demanded, seemingly in vain until now. The House just passed major gun control bills on Thursday.

And this directly assaults the rights over 100,000,000 Americans are actively exercising, rights already under dubious pressure in places like New York and California. It continues to baffle me how blindly we trust survivors as experts. David Hogg has found activism lucrative, he may even believe his particular brand of activism, but belief and experiencing the event (there are doubts he was that close to the shooting) do not make him an expert, nor for that matter make him correct.

Victimhood does not absolve one of fallibility.

Gun rights advocates, however, a group that seems to include nearly every leader of the Republican Party, are readying for a fight. If there is one issue that could reunite the GOP, from Sen. Mitch McConnell to former President Trump, not to mention every group from Three Percenters to neo-Nazis who joined in the Jan. 6 Capitol takeover, it is gun registration. Against it, that is.

Way to ‘gently’ imply all gun owners are Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. Newsflash: assholes can have a right opinion or two also, so can idiots. There isn’t one liberal alive that is against registration and restriction of gun rights, right? Not like there aren’t national level omni-partisan, liberal leaning, or non-partisan groups that vehemently oppose gun control. Nope, all Nazis.

It is impossible to imagine how Biden could succeed in healing the nation, as he has promised, and still enact all of his gun plan. Many if not most of the 74 million people who voted for Trump’s reelection would also oppose this plan. Not to mention many elected officials, from governors to constitutional sheriffs, who might refuse to comply. Or the new Roberts Supreme Court, which will one day no doubt rule on gun laws.

You are correct, it is impossible. It was always impossible. Not because of his gun plans, but because of his platform overall. Biden ran, as did Trump, a partisan ticket. When he says ‘the nation needs to come together and heal’ he means the nation needs to think like his platform. Both candidates played to their divided bases and let the middle pick which pile of crap seemed to smell slightly less crappy. Trump won against Clinton, Biden won the same way against Trump. The buyers remorse on Biden is already deepening, souring far faster than Trump in many ways. Syria was highly illustrative of that fact.

Millions of people, today, see gun control itself as an existential threat.

It is, it’s a control measure without a substantial societal benefit that can be easily abused by an authoritarian force under any guise. Every location where it is allegedly successful has to be cherry picked as a stat, like ‘no mass shootings since XXXX year’ or ‘gun-violence has decreased,’ while violent crime in total has not or was not meaningfully influenced downward outside general trends. Gun control can push a moderate change in method of violence. Certain violent acts are conveniently ignored in the calculus, like sexual assaults (see Australia), when gun-violence is the determinate and not violence.

All countries exercise some form of regulation over firearms, with wide variances in results, and their violent crime isn’t tied to their variant of legality or illegality of gun ownership. It is tied to the social and economic make ups of the nation as a whole and how violence is viewed by the culture and subcultures within. Look at the UK systematically banning everything to no effect.

When is violence considered permissible, and in what degree? Is the violence being used as a currency or professional message, or is it a personal/ideological act or response? How violent is the state itself, the recognized government, and how legitimate is that violence seen? These all matter much more in the calculus than, “how easy is a gun to obtain?”

Europe is always dragged out as an example, yet no one ponders how old Europe is and the deep roots culturally its societies have. Nor that it was the center field of Two World Wars within two decades, to say nothing of the preceding centuries. Europe is a violent place with a violent history, just a different one than the much younger United States. Even accounting for the Native American tribes of North, Central, and South America, Europe is the far more violent continent historically archived. Warfare certainly existed in the Americas, but not on the continent spanning scales of Europe and Asia.

We need to cease with the delusions that methods equal motives, that the existence of a convenient method dramatically changes the motive outlay of a given region. You could remove all restrictions upon firearms down to a point of sale background check in Europe tomorrow and in five years track the results. There would not be dramatic change, the European mindset wouldn’t become the American mindset in five years. Ownership would certainly increase, but developing a firearm culture is slower and has never been a European cultural item in the first place. Firearm homicide may increase, but homicide in general likely wouldn’t drift outside the up and down variance of the social and economic trends already.

Remember that the developed world was on a fairly substantial global decline in violent crime, but we (the US) relegalized the AR-15 and its brethren during that time and still continued the decline. Other nations took drastic steps against firearm ownership, with far lower percentages of the population being owners, and saw very little substantive result. They instead point out the lack of rare events like mass shootings, until events like Bataclan happen that is. It has long been seen that while mass attacks happen more frequently in the US, they are less deadly. We cannot use frequency of a single given event type to drive policy, not when there is no effective policy to be driven.

“They call it the slippery slope, and all of a sudden everything gets taken away,” as President Trump said in 2018 when he reversed himself on background checks after the back-to-back weekend shootings in El Paso and Dayton. He did so after speaking with the National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre, who, like the NRA, has long promoted this theory.

It is an apt description, we know and have known the goal of gun control hard liners is total civilian disarmament. It is not theory, it is the stated end state of folks like Diane Feinstein. They understand that attaining that goal must be done piece by piece, and that every piece they get through Congress sets them up for the next, especially since they can spin perceived success or proven failure to advocate going further.

Setting up the various policy layers that they know will not have enough effect on violent crime, and that another disaster will come along to capitalize on, to push for additional policies once again. Never failing to exploit crisis or outrage to push ineffectual policies that can be hooked onto the moral outrage and emotional outpouring to drive the agenda. These are not the arguments of reason, they are not problem solving nor designed to solve the problem. They simply push the agenda that disarmament is morally right.

Biden has yet to address the details of his own gun plan. Throughout his 48-year career, moreover, he is not known to have ever addressed the issue of gun registration. Gun groups have been circulating for months what they call the “Biden plan to destroy the Second Amendment,” filling the vacuum left by his silence with fear. They claim that this is the fateful step, after background checks, that could start the slide to disarmament, and then genocide.

Gun controllers once again…

It is a, sometimes willful, misunderstanding of what 2A proponents mean. It is not saying that the day after confiscation gets passed, its genocide day. It is saying that a population (say like the Uighurs in China) is subject to the whims of whoever can project force against them if they are disarmed. It is also saying that the US Government, like many around the world, has an overall piss poor track record of not using force against people when it was convenient. See the Waco massacre, or the Trail of Tears, or Japanese interment during WWII. The government is not to be trusted as the sole arbiter of force. It is not that the government will immediately abuse the trust in its authority over force, it is that history teaches us that is likely inevitable. Gun control makes them the sole arbiter, and they have proven time and again they cannot be trusted to be. It cannot be relied upon that a benevolent government will always remain so, or that the righteous rule of law will prevail in perpetuity, or even that a righteous and benevolent government can protect you from more mundane assaults on your person.

None of those can be assured you by the government, and gun control further removes your one truly effective individual recourse to protect your person against the unreasonable.

This kind of cowardice has long led reformers astray. The nation has not passed any comprehensive and lasting national gun laws in more than a half-century. In 1994, during the Clinton years, Congress passed the “Assault Weapons Ban,” which outlawed, for just 10 years, select semiautomatic firearms based on their cosmetic features, like both a pistol grip and a flash suppressor. But this only led gun manufacturers to design weapons to bypass the ban, which, since it expired, has resulted in more sales of more AR-15 rifles and other tactical, semiautomatic weapons than ever before.

Thus proving the ban was arbitrary and capricious, crime continued to fall during the ban even as ‘pre-ban’ firearms were still available and it continued to fall after the ban expired even as demand exploded. It had no appreciable influence on violence. And now it never can, the cat is long since out of the bag on personal arms.

The Biden plan would give existing owners of semiautomatic weapons (like me) the choice of either selling their weapons back to the federal government, or registering them under a prior gun law, backed in 1934 by the NRA, along with paying a tax of up to $200 for each weapon. This would put hardship on working-class gun owners, noted the former NRA commentator and independent merchandiser Colion Noir.

I love the ‘like me’ defense. As if owning a thing confers a special level of expertise. I can buy a violin, a musician it does not make me (actually I played Trumpet, bad example). I can own a Helicopter, that does not make me a pilot or an FAA regulations expert. Owning a gun does not make one an expert on crime, suicide, or accidental deaths and does not confer special significance to your opinion on such. Especially when that opinion is shown to be based on spurious logic.

Gun control would work perfectly if everyone behaved, but if everyone behaved there would be no need for gun control in the first place. It’s the Utopian fallacy, that increasingly complex and stringent rules will bring us closer to the ‘perfect society.’ But a perfect society, by its very definition as ‘perfect,’ would need no formal rules, since it would be naturally harmonious. If everyone was guided perpetually by balanced logic, reason, and empathy at all times, and could not ever be angered or driven to greed excessively by their fellows, then everyone could be sitting on a personal suitcase nuke and all would be well.

If you need a harsh negative penalty to enforce ‘good’ behavior then that is a confirmation that not everyone is good. Good people do not require rules to reason and be good. Therefore rules that rely on everyone being good (like a gun ban or UBC’s) to prevent an extreme behavior or event (like a mass killing) cannot work. You are gambling that you will catch the extreme edges of human behavior by controlling the portion that didn’t require the rule in the first place.

And when the repeatedly demonstrated failures instead encourage further restrictions on people who did not need the rule to behave, either the rule maker is a moron or they have an ulterior motive for the rule. The further I get into this, the more I am convinced that most gun controllers are genuinely just abysmally ignorant. I don’t believe they have grand evil designs, for the most part. I believe that the person next after them does, the people who will take advantage of the glaring opportunities to abuse the ruleset for their personal or social gain.

That is the part gun controllers continuously fail to grasp, even if someone they are ideologically opposed to is currently wielding power that terrifies them (justifiably or exaggeratedly, doesn’t matter) they fail to grasp that fear is the very reason the 2A exists, so that if that terrifying abuse of power turns against you there is something you can do about it. Something your community can do about it that the very government that terrifies you with their excesses (whatever they may be) didn’t get to confiscate from you. But there is a lack of self-awareness, a lack of scale and logic to the whole perception where they cannot rationalize outside the zone in which everyone behaves, including the government, despite continuous proof to the contrary.

It takes a genuine lack of imagination to oppose policies you are against ideologically, but cannot fathom the reverse. That you can see the weaknesses in a policy you oppose clear as day, but will not turn that same critical eye to the weaknesses in a policy you support.

An engineer does not design and oversee building a bridge thinking everything will always go right. The weather will always cooperate, the maintenance will always be done on time, nobody will accidentally damage anything, etc. No, they build in tolerances and fail safes for when things go wrong. The worst expected weather for the region, that maintenance may fall behind, that a certain level of damage may be sustained. If there is no way to be reasonably certain the bridge stands, because one inevitable event like a single car speeding across it or one car too many being on it will collapse the bridge, then you don’t build that bridge.

The same goes for lawmaking. Don’t make laws you cannot enforce, they just erode the rule of laws legitimacy. Most gun control laws are written to, allegedly, catch or prevent the extreme events, but they don’t. They influence the general population only, that population was never a serious risk for the extreme event. They then justify it by saying that because they are pressing this rule upon the general population they are somehow ‘reducing the likelihood’ of the extreme event, but this argument is anecdotal at best. It is also undermined by the Government’s lack of credibility, in that they cannot prevent the event and they have on multiple occasions been the perpetrator of the event.

History is written upon example after example and yet gun controllers insist that this time the Utopian rule that only works with 100% total population support, which has never been achieved in human history, will work.

The plan would limit, too, although no one has yet suggested the cap, the number of weapons one may own, along with banning high-capacity magazines. All these steps are opposed by the NRA and others who share the belief that firearms in civilian hands are a necessary check on the power of federal as well as state governments, and that they are also necessary for self-defense against not just lone criminals but also armed mobs. Firearms sales spiked last year after the death in police custody of George Floyd as the uprising began of Black Lives Matter protests.

Actually they spiked in March, during the pandemic where the police said they couldn’t and wouldn’t respond to certain calls so that their officers could avoid infection. Proving, once again, the government cannot protect you nor are they obligated to at the individual level. The sales spiked again as the riots in cities began and were allowed to proceed. Portland literally had part of their city temporarily annexed, into CHAZ. Sales spiked highest when Biden won election, so… was it really George Floyd and BLM driving the concern? Or is that just lowball racebaiting that once again discounts that millions of new gun owners were minted in 2020, and many of them are minorities and women.

Biden said he would also reverse the immunity granted under President George W. Bush to hold gunmakers civilly liable, again, for the potential misuse of their weapons to commit harm. He would eliminate the “gun show loophole” to require background checks on private sales. It remains to be seen whether this proposal might include an exception for, say, the passing down of a firearm heirloom to the next generation.

Unless protection is also removed in the cases of breweries, wineries, distilleries, and vehicle manufacturers whose products also cause serious loss of life every single year, much higher than firearms by the way, I don’t want to hear this argument. It is a weakly veiled attempt to fiscally crush firearms companies, many of whom are small businesses, not a policy of accountability.

The president left out one measure in his recent remarks, on the third anniversary of the Parkland shooting, still posted online: to ban online sales of ammunition. The nation has experienced an unprecedented, ongoing shortage of ammunition from both over-the-counter and online retailers, according to both the trade press and the NRA. It’s been fueled by ever-rising demand, as manufacturers have been producing ammo at “above-normal capacities” throughout the pandemic. Demand spiked again to worsen the shortage after first CNN, and then Fox News, announced that Biden had won the presidency.

This would be an equally asinine attack on small businesses.

No doubt any attempt to end commerce in the firearms industry’s fastest-growing sector would meet opposition. Most of the outrage already smoldering in resistance to the gun plan, however, is based on speculation, not facts. This shows how much the NRA, in particular, has shaped how we as a nation look at guns and their regulations. The NRA wasn’t always like this. The NRA backed gun control from the 1930s into the 1970s, as its leaders long sought to balance the needs of gun owners against public safety.

And it was never enough, there was never enough restriction for the gun controllers. It didn’t stop at the NFA or even the GCA, we had to compromise even further with GOPA and that mixed bag. Then the Federal ‘Assault Weapon Ban’ in 1993. It was never enough, there was never balance. Gun owners could only lose. The NRA was first a training organization, it got into litigation to protect gun rights and started by trying what they thought was give and take, but it was only take because no matter what law was passed it was never the right ‘balance.’ The NRA began taking back ground that had been lost in bad faith to gun banners. It was a necessary change, and despite the faults of the current NRA it continues to serve that purpose.

Nice try though, stating that the NRA making mistakes and compromising for years is proof that they should continue to do so. Bold move.

Despite what today’s NRA may suggest, gun registration is the norm in every other advanced nation, and not one of them has deteriorated into either a totalitarian or genocidal state. Canada, the nations of Western Europe and Japan all control guns by strictly licensing owners and registering each weapon, to the degree that they permit civilian ownership at all.

Nobody mention that Brazil has eight times as many registered weapons as we do in the US, roughly 2/3 of our population, only 17 million total private firearms to our 400 million (so less than 5%), and yet over five times our murder rate. They have the second largest number of registered firearms in the world. First is India, whose sheer volume of murders is several times ours (though rate is lower), and then Russia, which also has a much higher murder rate than the US.

A few more, like Australia and New Zealand each confiscated semiautomatic weapons after a mass shooting. Yet, rather than falling into tyranny, each of these two nations still gets the very highest rankings for their political and civil rights on the Freedom Index compiled by the watchdog Freedom House.

I love this example. It again supposes the theory that ‘confiscation leads immediately to genocide,’ is what we are saying as a pro-2A community. It isn’t. But if New Zealand or Australia (neither of which had a comparable gun owning culture to our own) where to ‘fall into tyranny’ tomorrow, or hell just have their own mildly more violent CHAZ set up, what could the population do? What is their recourse since the government took away their personal means of defending themselves?

Await the state’s help?

Hope it isn’t the state doing it?

Six blue states, too, including New York and New Jersey, require mandatory registration of some or all semiautomatic guns. New York also requires registration of all handguns, which must be kept in the home. Most states, today, also issue permits for the concealed carry of handguns. This generates registries of gun permit holders that the NRA and others also conveniently ignore.

Ignore? The NRA actively champions national reciprocity. Licensing for carry, which effectively amounts to a state limiting their own liability, is not the same as licensing every firearm owned or even acknowledging that you own one at all. License to carry doesn’t require that you carry. It doesn’t require you to own a firearm at all. It simply allows it in more public spaces in states that have not passed constitutional carry. The two are not comparable. But nice try, again.

Resistance to gun registration runs deep. During the Reagan years, LaPierre was dubbed the “Captain” by Sen. Orrin Hatch after he guided, on behalf of the NRA, passage of a 1986 law that weakened two prior national gun control laws. The same law also prohibited “any system registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions.”

Fear of gun registration remains strong. In 2013, when a bipartisan pair of senators, Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, wrote a bill for “universal” background checks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in two first-grade classrooms, they included language adding criminal penalties to any government official found to have compiled gun registration lists, saying it would make the bill more palatable.

Yet, even with this redundant language, the bill still fell short of garnering the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster. Today, even though the Democrats now have a slim majority in the Senate, the threat of a filibuster to block gun reform remains. Majority leaders have discussed the possibility of taking the “nuclear option” to eliminate it. But they are hesitant, as it could lead to other ways for the Republican minority to block legislation.

Because the laws are egregious and ineffectual. Supporters continue to cite grossly misrepresentative statistics like the “90% support background checks” claim, which have no relevant contextualization to make the opinion worth considering.

Due to the steady erosion of rights from the NFA through the AWB and bumpstock ban any possible infringement is seen with great suspicion. No longer are proponents of gun control offering even the slimmest guise of compromise either, to do so would undermine their voter support from their base.

A “palatable” exchange for UBC’s might be national concealed carry reciprocity and the ability to buy any firearm in any state, not just long guns. Also removing the onus for understanding every state’s restrictions from the seller and place it on the buyer, who is likely to better know their local laws and could reasonably making some other arrangement, like storing it at a second non-primary residence.

That might make such a bill “palatable” as the word.

I’m tired of debating in bad faith. I’m tired of pushing against the mental blockade that cannot concede, even while they screamed Orange Man BAD, that the government should not be the sole arbiter of this control. Because when they screw it up, which they do regularly, that control will have been misplaced again. Safer to not endow them with that responsibility and have them stick to things they can arbitrate, like an actual homicide, instead of the nebulous potential for one.

The next several paragraphs are about the Third Reich argument, which is especially entertaining because we were already called Nazis at the beginning, but now the piece is defending that the Nazis really didn’t so purposely disarm the Jewish population in Europe. The position has some merit since the Jews were not a well armed, or particularly well regarded, population in Europe at the time anyway. So the “Gun Control in the Third Reich” is “NRA funded propaganda.”

I haven’t read it, but leaving aside how deliberate and thoroughly the Nazis did or did not enforce weapon confiscation against the Jewish population pre-war and early war, it was absolutely a factor in France and Poland where resistances fought and stole weapons to arm themselves against the Nazis while also being armed as available by the allies. The Nazis being one of the more egregious examples of a legitimate government gone bad and getting their mass murder on.

The piece concludes with…

These are the kinds of myths and disinformation that is filling the gap left behind by Biden and his advisers’ silence over their own gun plan. If they and others want to pass meaningful reforms, they need to finally address these tough issues head-on. They might want to pace themselves, though, as anything more than expanded background checks will probably take years, and nothing less than changing the nation’s conversation about guns.

They can’t break their silence, if they do they can only come forward with weak easily defeated arguments. They have to be obtuse about this topic because anything else is too honest a discussion and probably immediately unconstitutional.

The myth we have to bust the absurd amount of faith gun controller proponents put in a government, as long as their team is in power at least, when history has shown time and time again that the most developed nations and most powerful economies on the planet can still fail and oppress their citizenry. “Developed” does not equate to infallibly altruistic and moral. Governments routinely commit heinous acts, especially on a wider historical scale, and we are not far removed from any of these atrocities.

What piece of delusional cognitive dissonance needs to finally fall away? Pro-2A it isn’t a belief that the day after gun control is finally passed, its immediately overnight gestapo. Its knowing that government can neither guarantee your safety, and so they should make no such promise, nor provide a guarantee that the succeeding governing power will not abuse it. Since they can promise neither, it is therefore unreasonable for them to deprive the citizens of the means to respond to unreasonable acts against them.

Dems cannot ‘tackle disinformation’ about gun control head-on because gun control proposals are built on disinformation.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.