“What the Debate Over Guns Tells Us About America” – Politico Opines

A rifle that could be seen as "compliant" displayed in the Sandy Hook lawsuit. It is only annoyingly less functional than "assault weapons"

Over at Politico, Professor of Law Sheryll Cashin has given us an opinion upon the firearms debate as we passed the anniversary of Sandy Hook. She is a professor of law at Georgetown and the author of several books on racial justice and American democracy…

Sheryll Cashin is a law professor at Georgetown University and author of several books on racial justice and American democracy.

In other words, the subheading hopes to establish that she is very smart and that all of these opinions are probably the right opinions. At the least they are worth considering in a positive light. Except we all know how that goes in academia and medicine these days. We use someone’s genuine expertise and authority, as a surgeon or historical legal expert, to then give them authority over a thing they do not understand, firearms. We are meant to extend to them the expert honorific even though this isn’t their field.

A grim anniversary is upon us. On the morning of December 14, 2012, a troubled, 20-year-old male shot and killed his mother then proceeded to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Among his arsenal, he wielded a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, a semi-automatic assault weapon that is shockingly easy to purchase in America. In less than five minutes, he killed six adults and 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7.

I understand the purpose of hyperbole in narrative building, I really do, but linking to an online firearm retailer who will then have to ship your purchase to a local federally licensed dealer, where the purchase will then have to pass the FBI and local legal checks and paperwork to complete the transfer to a legal possessor is not the ‘shockingly easy’ purchase of an item from Amazon. That feels like the implication of the sentence, but it isn’t the truth in the slightest degree. That feels very intellectually dishonest and that is not something I prefer out of my legal professorial types.

There’s all kinds of logical inconsistency there too, from glossing over the fact that killing someone and taking their weapon is both a very effective way to become armed if you legally cannot be, and highly illegal in its own right, however the final sentence is what gets my eye twitching the most.

In less than five minutes, he killed six adults and 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7.

Lethality over time as a measurement of why a thing should be illegal is… terrible policy math. It provides data for an event timeline, but it shouldn’t be pulled as some manner of ‘important fact’ since every firearm in service since the Henry Repeater (invented 1860) could kill 26 people in 5 minutes.

A mass killing, involving a firearm, where 86 people were killed in 5 minutes. Only one person was killed BY a firearm, the attacker.

86 people where killed and 486 were injured in Nice France over a 5 minute span. The only firearm involved was a tiny 7.65mm pistol the driver had, which he fired at police. He had several replica firearms, but only the small pistol. The only person killed by gunfire in this five minute span was the attacking driver.

Yet we will rent a truck to nearly anybody, I didn’t even have to fill out a form promising I wouldn’t run anyone over, or fill it with explosives, or even that I had taken a safety course on trucks of a certain size to get my giant UHaul and move. Dangerous! Open social spaces and events where it would be devastating to drive through are everywhere.

I remember thinking at the time that if ever there were an event that would alter Washington’s normal politics of capitulation to the gun lobby, this was it. Instead, only 40 Senators voted the following year to reinstate an expired national assault weapons ban, while several Democrats from swing states voted against it. In the ensuing decade, the barriers to gun access have come down, precipitously. Half of U.S. states now allow open carry of firearms without a permit.

Wow, gun control buzzword bingo right there in the second paragraph. Capitulation. Gun Lobby. Assault Weapon Ban. Gun Access. Open Carry without a permit.

Oh, can we acknowledge that there is nobody getting enough money from the ‘Gun Lobby’ compared to pharmaceuticals, or even just lobbying as a concept, to make it worth more than a general token effort, if they happen to believe in gun rights.

Lobbying spends by industry, 2021

Hmm, gun groups don’t make the top 20. Where do they actually sit when it comes to headlines like, “Gun rights groups set new lobbying spending record in 2021“?

“Gun rights groups spent a record $15.8 million on lobbying in 2021 and $2 million in the first quarter of 2022.”

Oh wow… a whopping $0.25 on the dollar compared to TV. They certainly have a stranglehold on Congress when their spent dollars since 1998 ($190 million), nearly a quarter of a century of spending, would only put them as the second biggest spender of 2021. Real big movers like getting $0.04 per dollar spent by guys like Pfizer, it really commands their time and attention.

I believe the professor is crossing streams on that last part a little bit too, with constitutional concealed carry. Why is the concept that a legal owner of a firearm is also a legal carrier of a firearm by default a radical concept? That logically tracks with me nicely. If you are not too dangerous to possess a gun you are not to dangerous, legally speaking, to carry it.

Skills wise it is incumbent upon the owner to develop those safe firearm skills as they must develop safe skills in any other activity with risk. The licensure of the driver and taxation of the vehicles in various ways are ultimately for the maintenance of the road system with the side benefit of providing a nominal barrier of entry to drivers of certain skills, in practice though this is no barrier as unlicensed drivers are rampant and drivers who should not be licensed due to dangerous behaviors (intoxicated, age, etc) are also. We merely accept these risks and place the responsibility upon the individuals to determine when or when not they should drive.

The most common punishment for violation of licensure rules is, you guessed it, a fee… aka a tax.

Yet somehow placing the same degrees of personal responsibility onto legal gun owners to be legal gun carriers is seen as crazy, simplifying it all down to make everyone’s lives easier is touted as recklessness, by the same people who cannot keep unlicensed drivers and intoxicated drivers from doing wrong but we shouldn’t look to hard at that. They assure us they can get it done with guns, as they fail with cars and guns currently, they just need more gun control laws.

Last summer, in the wake of mass murder of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas and a racist killing of 10 Black Americans at a supermarket in east Buffalo, New York, President Joe Biden and Congress broke through nearly three decades of inaction on gun reform to enact bipartisan gun legislation. The Uvalde and Buffalo shooters had also used an AR-15 style weapon, as had high body-count mass killers at a country music festival at a Las Vegas hotel, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and other venues to which America’s mass death lottery came.

This analysis doesn’t work professor. Yes, events happened where the AR or a similar rifle was used to devastating effect, but the majority of mass shootings still occur with handguns (71% last I recall seeing a number) and each of these events had a unique motive which was ultimately uninfluenced by that blatant illegality of the attack.

But the new law did not include a ban on access to such firepower.]

Because it was for political ‘did something’ points, not safety.

[Instead, it enhances background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21, encourages states to implement so-called red-flag laws that enable temporary confiscation of guns from people deemed too dangerous to have them, and strengthens laws against straw purchasing and trafficking of guns. Unfortunately, background checks and red-flag laws are easy to evade in a nation in which 19 states and nearly 900 counties have adopted some form of “Second Amendment Sanctuary” law or resolution. The end result of this movement is that in 61 percent of U.S. counties, existing federal and state gun laws are unlikely to be enforced.

Oh, now that is a stretch. No FFL is going to forego doing a NICS check just because they’re a ‘sanctuary’ city, county, or state. They aren’t. You, a professor of law, should well understand that the sanctuary movement is a feel good one. It is a solidarity play stating that the state or county will back its citizens in against blatant and egregious federal overreach on something like a suppressor or a pistol brace. They aren’t going to go to bat for a prohibited person who committed an assault or homicide, especially mass.

Also background checks and red-flag laws are easy to evade, period. Not just in sanctuary locales, but in California, New York, and Illinois too. They require voluntary compliance to work at all and we are in a pretty settled state of what that voluntary compliance looks like. Those that care are caring and following the law and those that can’t be bothered won’t be.

Oh, and if 61% of counties wouldn’t enforce federal or state gun laws, how do you think a reinstated assault weapon ban will do literally anything? If you passed a total confiscation today, and got it enforced tomorrow, you are only 39% of counties are going to give a crap. Many of those are populous counties, sure, but plenty of counties right next to them are going to tell you to get bent by your own admission.

So what’s the play?

Despite strong popular support for an assault weapons ban, mass shootings continue unabated in America, with more than 600 occurring thus far in 2022. Our current moment of inability to stop obscene, senseless gun violence and the increasingly deep division between states that want and enforce restrictions on guns and those that don’t and won’t is reminiscent of an earlier period in our nation’s history: the 1850s.

Interesting, listen did you know California is the leading state for both mass and school shootings in the nation despite their gun control laws? Now you do.

The parallels, though rough, are telling. In the 1850s, opposition to slavery]

Stop! You are not comparing the opposition to curtailing the constitutional right to own a firearm for self and community defense to the slave trade… you are not going there with your ‘rough parallels’… are you?

accelerated in the North, but the original structural accommodations to slavery produced a stalemate and politicians were not able to curtail it. Then as now, there was a growing disconnect between the polity and politics. We should think long and hard about where that could lead.

You did… wow… you went there. Hey did you know that the entire history of gun control is deeply rooted in racism, specifically for control of minority and ‘undesirable’ populations? Now you do.

Many Americans assume that the antebellum debate over slavery was a moral one. But in her expansive history of abolition, scholar Manisha Sinha shows that abolitionists’ moral arguments were never enough to end slavery. Instead, in the 1850s much abolitionist argument turned from the realm of religion, or moral and political philosophy, to constitutional interpretation.

Oh this is an easy one, I won’t get into the weeds on it right now but to summarize it.

  • Slavery was not the moral conundrum of all badness and evil in 1850 that it is today, that was a radical new idea that started about the time the constitution was signed.
  • Slavery was part of the world economy for millennia, not centuries, somewhere on 8,000 years and across most civilizations it was common practice in some form. Slave, Serf, ‘Indentured’ Service, title it how you want the concept is ancient and the idea of getting rid of it is very fresh in comparison. For scale, 5G tech has been around since 2016 and the internet was started in 1983. For time scale 5G, would have been invented in the 9th century if it were the concept of abolition and the concept of human slavery as we understand its history.
  • The United States and the modernizing Europe were the perfect breeding ground to begin ending the world publicly accepting the abolition of the slave trade but that didn’t erase the millennia of world wide acceptance of the practice.

Judging the past by modern standards and morality is stupid, it is doomed to failure and frustration. It is the past. It is immutable. It is the pathways which brought us to today so we can tackle modern problems with modern solutions. Using abolition as a parallel towards violating the hell out of constitutional right… that’s quite the Uno reverse card to play. We banned slavery and within a century had equal constitutional rights protections enshrined strongly in law, so that means we can crush the Second Amendment?

But constitutional argument, too, was unable to advance abolition because the Supreme Court upheld the Founders’ original compromise to slavery.]

Not surprising. Again, look at history through in context and not the modern gaze.

[For example, the Court enforced the constitution’s fugitive slave clause against northern states that tried to protect free and escaped Blacks from enslavers. And in the Dred Scott case, the Court excluded Black people from U.S. citizenship and tried to settle the question of slavery for all time, denying Congress the power to stop its expansion to western and northern territories — an accelerant to civil war.

What seems consistently understated in these arguments is that slavery was world economy normal. To put it into a modern economic context, abolition would be talking about immediately putting the farming industry out of business, shutting down how they operate and making them rebuild a new model from scratch with parts of the old model banned outright. No more tractors or irrigation aids, they’re all banned now because of… Climate Change lets say. My analogy is “rough” also, but its in line with a moralist argument taking on an entrenched system of labor that is critical to the current system remaining able to produce.

Abolition, while just and morally correct, was massively disruptive (we had a war about it, remember) because of the other pressures the US had been putting on the south too. You cannot stand on a moral argument alone and ignore real harms that will come from a decision, even a correct one. Being blind to how disruptive a decision is just increases the resentment of the people you are harming with it. Make no mistake, abolition had to cause serious short term harms whether we had a war about it or not.

That is the great sin of the gun controller, their argument is ‘moral’ therefore it is unassailable about its negative consequences, and they don’t even have literally the free agency of human lives as their base. They just don’t like firearms. Abolitions was about ending the double standards of free agency for people, living and breathing human beings.

Banning ‘assault weapons’ isn’t even close to having the same moral authority. It actively attacks the human right of free agency, specifically the defense there of, that abolition and later the civil rights movement extended to the formerly enslaved and their citizen decedents. We are literally arguing that constitutional regression on the ability of people to protect themselves is progress.

The fact that slavery is being used as the moral equivalency is mind boggling here. Good thing we’ve got that bloody shirt to wave to criticize detractors with, because this would be a shit argument if we couldn’t point at the dead for inflated moral justification.

Similarly, in the debate over gun regulation, moral arguments, appeals to the sanctity of life, especially of children, have not resulted in solutions that actually stop mass killings.]

Because the solutions don’t stop mass killings. They never did. Never can. They suck. They’re simplistic Utopian fantasy garbage.

You’re trying to make a moralistic argument that banning slavery somehow physically got rid of slaves and the horrific living conditions therewith (it didn’t), so banning assault weapons will get rid of them? They’ll disappear? Poof, gone? No more assault weapons and no more mass violence, right?

How naïve.

[And the Supreme Court, as in Dred Scott, has imposed its will, contributing to Second Amendment absolutism.]

Oh yeah, just like Dred Scott…

Hardly, the Supreme Court has left plenty of regulations in place, even after Bruen.

In 2008 it bypassed the words “well-regulated militia” to strike down a strict local gun law and enshrine for the first time an individual right to bear arms for self-defense in the home.]

You bypassed “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” so bypassing seems fair game.

[Then last June, emboldened conservative justices expanded rights for gun owners; in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, the Court established a constitutional right to carry firearms in public.]

Keep and Bear.

Or the synonyms, Own and Carry, since we’re being obtuse here it feels like.

[And it denied the State of New York the ability to insist that applicants for a license to carry a concealed weapon show a special need for self-protection in public spaces.

Because no other constitutional right has to be justified to the state with a ‘special need’ for its exercise. Do the decedents of the formerly enslaved have to justify their continued freedom and citizenship status? Do they need to show ‘special need’ to cast a vote? How about a ‘special need’ for legal representation if they are accused of a crime? Are the very real crimes in New York, not to mention Chicago or L.A., not ample need for self-protection in public spaces? The state sure as hell isn’t doing it. They have no legal obligation too either.

The state cannot be held liable for failing to protect you, so why should you have to justify to the state a ‘special need’ for your protection in public and upon your property when they don’t have to do it?

Make it make sense.

The Court issued this imperious decision at the same time Congress was enacting its new bipartisan gun reforms.]

It’s almost like there are three separate branches of government to check each other. So not only should they not all get along and think the same, they should be actively checking the other two’s work at all times. In fact, that’s literally the job of the Supreme Court.

Also, can we stop pretending the BSCA does… anything. Other than annoy FFLs with a new 4473, ask people if they’re really super sure they aren’t making a straw purchase, and inconvenience and deny young people who have to go through a more stringent background check now. Imagine believing these changes increased compliance and public safety, that the additional headaches have people seeking to ‘avoiding background checks and red flag laws’ less often, as you’ve pointed out it is allegedly so easy to do.

[State political actors that try to promote gun safety are now bearing its brunt.]

Good, their policies were wholly in favor of state power over individual constitutional rights and did nothing to actually support safety or security.

[The case has unleashed scores of lawsuits by gun enthusiasts against state and local gun restrictions. Lower courts have invoked Bruen to halt laws that had been viewed as constitutional,]

Until Bruen reset the double standard the second amendment was held to. Remember when slavery was constitutional? Did you just say that Dred Scott upheld the constitutionality of slavery? Didn’t you just use the double standard of the human condition that is slavery to bolster your arguments for gun control as a moral imperative, but now we must honor court decisions as settled?

[including a local assault weapons ban, a restriction on homemade firearms and Texas’ ban on 18-20 year-olds carrying handguns publicly.

All of which are infringements, the mental gymnastics to argue otherwise are Olympic level.

Keep and bear. Own and carry. Shall not be infringed. All of this is really basic. The state needs a good reason to suspend your freedoms, any of them. You have the right and the state has the obligation to let you defend yourself from any legal encroachment upon your freedoms. This includes your keeping of and bearing of arms.

In short, you should be a convicted and imprisoned criminal or hospitalized if the state believes, and can prove, you should not be bearing arms or exercising other free agency. It should not be incumbent upon you to prove anything about the exercise of your constitutional rights to the state, the state must prove against you that you cannot be entrusted thusly.

Abolitionists, too, were boxed in.]

Oh no… no… were back to banning the AR-15 is exactly like freeing the slaves…

[In the 1850s, as moral and constitutional arguments failed, they moved to politics. Disparate northern bedfellows who opposed slavery ranged from racist “free soil” advocates who wanted to keep Blacks out of their states and not compete with free labor, to Radical Republican abolitionists who supported Black equality. The political argument that gained traction among northerners was the unifying idea of “Slave Power” or “slavocracy,” in which the country was governed by a small class of southern planter-elites.

You mean there were a disparate group of opinions in the nation during the fading era where slavery was still a world wide norm and you had to unify them around an unifying if exaggerated political idea? Well that sounds familiar.

How did we ban marijuana again?

But antebellum politics was gridlocked by systems and narratives that had perennially accommodated slavery. In particular, the Constitution’s “3/5ths clause” and the allocation of two senators to all states gave disproportionate power to small-population southern states. Incapable of ending an admitted evil, all effort at containing or reforming it stymied by political polarization, this led to more compromises that extended its life.

You are saying that the Senate, which gives all states an equal voice in one house of Congress to prevent a tyranny of a majority in one or a few high population states, and the 3/5ths compromise which kept southern states more placid and within the union despite things having turned against them for years like free states being able to join the Union at will while slave states needed a free state partner combined with the coming crushing blow to their economies prolonged slavery?


Again, slavery was any powerful nation’s practice for nearly 8000 years. The abolition movement was the radical departure, being scarcely a blip of a thought on the societal scale, and yet rapidly implemented in about 100 years of total time. The people of the period, even the most extremist abolitionist Republicans, were generally looking for a swift but peaceful transition to freed people. We quashed the concepts of accepted slavery in the West in less than 2% of the time over recorded history where it was accepted.

Imagine room where everyone agreed on a concept, at least in a general sense, for one hour and then in the last minute and twelve seconds everything about that concept was reimagined and implemented anew. It’s fast.

Shoehorning this awkward ass-backwards analogy to push for the curtailing of a constitutional right seems… well, ass-backward.

This cycle ended only with a war that killed more than 600,000 people.

Yes. It did. Radical changes often require bloodshed, often because breaking the old structure to its foundation is necessary. There was no way we were going to get slavery over quickly without bloodshed. Slavery was always an institution of violence, it was often a part of the violence of warfare.

Also, the cycle is not ended. Slavery is alive and well in the world, we just don’t openly approve of it in the nicer parts of the world anymore.

Will it take civil war for us to become a nation that protects innocents from being sprayed with bullets?]

Only if you and your crowd really stupidly want to push it.

How is it that the legal and worldwide acceptance of slavery until the late 18th century A.D. is being compared to the patently illegal action of homicide, which we can find outlawed as early as 4,000 years ago? Our definitions of who counts as slayable with or without consequence have certainly evolved, but the recognition that an unjust killing is wrong and punishable by society is four millennia old at least.

[We are already in an uncivil culture war in which attacks on books, teaching accurate history, transgender children, drag queens and more are modern versions of an old politics of stoking fear and resentment among white voters about their purported loss of dominance.]

No, I’d still consider this civil overall. Some folks on both ends of politics have certainly been less than pleasant about it, but in most respects we’re still talking to (sometimes unfortunately just ‘at’) each other. If this culture war had turned uncivil beyond that absolute most fringe and violent extremes in our society the bodies would be stacked much higher.

[According to communications scholars, right-wing politicians now tote guns in campaign ads to appeal to whites and pro-gun politics are a continuation of the decades-long Republican southern strategy of cultivating white racial solidarity.

Then why do they support armed Blacks?

You bring up a great many sore spots in the ‘culture war’, with evidence of abuse from both sides, and decades of deceptive and manipulative language being used to try and sway opinion, and you’re surprised when your opposition isn’t buying the fresh brand of bullshit? The audacity to suggest there is moral equivalency between hobbling the 2nd Amendment to the whims of the state and abolishing the practice of slavery is truly amazing.

Great play of the ‘old white racists’ trope too, they worst ones keep dying off as the culture continues to shift, but the younger and better informed than ever gun owners won’t be dead soon. The largest increase in gun ownership rates in the last three years came from women and minority demographics. But sure, being against gun control is like not wanting to free the slaves.

So many GOP politicians have accommodated and competed for base voters by loosening gun restrictions, not unlike the way national law was bent to accommodate the interests of enslavers from the Founding to the Civil War or the way Democratic candidates competed for white voters in adopting ever more ridiculous Jim Crow laws in the 19th and 20th centuries.]

Holy shit, I wasn’t serious… And are we seriously blaming the Democratically Supported Jim Crow laws on modern Republicans?

[This political performance art has incited and enabled violence that politicians can’t control, as well as attacks on government, as seen on January 6, 2021.]

Now do the CHAZ in Washington State.

[Like the KKK of old, self-declared militias of today are not well regulated. Extremist groups, mainly in open-carry states, now wield guns to deny the election results of 2020 or counter free expression by Black people, LGBTQ+ people, abortion advocates and others they disagree with.

Free expression

What type of free expression are you worrying about them countering? Look, I understand a group of armed and grumpy folks who you disagree with isn’t a comfortable thing to deal with, but the beauty of the Second Amendment is you can be equally armed. It is the ‘FAFO’ clause of US law. The beauty of modern society is that they can be as armed to the teeth as they want and as grumpy as they want and if they try to assault or kill you they go to prison. Feeling uncomfortable or not as safe as you’d like is not the equivalent of being ‘prevented’ from doing something that is within your legal right to do. Intimidation is even a crime in many forms.

I find many of the modern militia movements pretty cringeworthy, not as cringeworthy as comparing gun control to abolition, but still usually crass and distasteful. But I wouldn’t have them stop expressing their opinions any more than I would have them disarm for making me cringe.

Seen here, right wing extremists totally protesting the gays! Wait, those are armed pro-LGBTQ+ supporters protecting a drag event. But how is that possible!? Guns are right wing things only!

One day, not today, but one day people are going to recognize the universal protections of the constitution don’t need equity to work out, people just have to understand them… I hope.

If you, a free willed individual, choose not to arm up and become proficient in use of a weapon, that is your choice. It is still your right to redress the grievance of an assault against your person, assuming you’re around to, and the state’s obligation to seek to prosecute that offense. You can also choose not to vote, not to drive, not to work, not to eat even.

You don’t then get to make it everyone else’s problem though.

If your response to a variation on ‘be prepared in case a bad thing happens’ is to say, “Well, bad things shouldn’t happen.” you’re a child. Children don’t get to weigh in on adult problems. We live in a relatively safe society with a good chance every single day that nobody will deliberately or accidently kill us. That’s awesome. We can’t legislate it into an absolute though. It’s that whole free agency thing again, some people use it selfishly, irresponsibly, or for downright evil.

We will never legislate safety to existence, we can only encourage safe behaviors in a dangerous existence and punish the unacceptably unsafe acts.

Our constrained democracy seems as incapable of stopping mass killings now as it was incapable of stopping slavery then.]

And here we see this clumsy white guilt analogy fail again. We didn’t stop slavery then. We haven’t stopped it now. We have made it illegal and the world puts quite a bit of resource into enforcing that law, but it isn’t stopped. Mass murder is also illegal, nationally and internationally, with similar efficacy on stopping it.

Our ‘voter suppression’ squabbles of today over things like voter ID’s provided free by the state to anyone who doesn’t have other ID are laughable compared to the outright violence of yesteryear. We’re crying about a senator or congress member getting to move a line on a map that improves their chances of keeping their seat like its armed thugs at polling places ready to beat or execute the first uppity [insert group being pandered too or about] to cast a vote.

God we have it really good in 2022. We are so first world problems its tragically hilarious. As crazy as the divides today remain, for all the reasons, and for all the very real and very serious problems that persist, we have it damn good. How good? The Black population of the United States has a 50% greater net worth than the entire African continent. Yes, all problems included, the decedents of those enslaved and brought to America are worth 1.5 times what their genealogical continent of origin is. Does that mean work is done? Not in the least. But it does help bring context to good things continuing to happen if look actually look for them.

[Congress requires a supermajority to pass anything because of regular use of the filibuster in the Senate. Since Sandy Hook, Democrats and Republicans have sorted into separate geographic regions and extreme partisan gerrymandering ensures disproportionate representation in Congress by the gerrymandering party rather than alignment with popular will.

Whose fault is it, that we keep sliding down increasingly partisan politics seems to have been a joint slide into madness by both parties (hence the use of ‘gerrymandering party’, which I do appreciate) who just sit there and blame the other one. Every dirty trick a Democrat accuses a Republican of and vice versa are all the sort of political machination the public is sick to death of.

We dropped from an approval rating in 2001 of 84% in Congress to 9% in 12 years. 12 years!

Today its up to a scorching 22% and has never above 35% in the intervening space.

We have no faith in our Congress, so perhaps its good that they’re gridlocked and can’t do much unless most people actually agree it is a good idea.

As for popular will? Will of the mob is dangerous and the reason we went with a Republic in the first place. What would the will of the mob had done to people during COVID? The will of the mob calls for some terrifyingly evil shit sometimes.

Popular will does not and has never necessarily meant a proper or just course of action. The populous is stupid. Mobs are stupid. Letting the mob opine on things that require expertise is stupid. Gun control is one of those things that require expertise. The population can opine broadly, but the idea (not working out well at the moment) is to fill Congress with actual experts and staff them with experts who can make nuanced decisions that the public steers more gradually through their voting and commentating.

Popular will gets thrown out the minute it is inconvenient anyway, its just something to bring up when it happens to be a stat you can say is on your side. Survey 10,000 people on whether they support gun safety and you probably get 10,000 ‘yes’ votes because your survey is too dumbed down to convey useful motive. Ask those same 10,000 people how a background check works or whether or not an online gun sale is subject to one and I bet we see some abysmal stats on comprehension.

An assault weapons ban passed the House this year largely on a party-line vote, but because of the filibuster, such a ban requires 60 votes in the Senate and won’t advance.]

That was always for political capital and never about safety. Next point.

[It’s also not likely to pass the House in the next Congress in which House Republicans will have a slight majority. Democrats no longer cower to a weakened National Rifle Association,]

Ha, because they don’t have to. Democrat voters will keep electing and voting for Democrat almost without any effort, so as long as they ‘try’ whatever pet gun control item is the flavor of the week they’re more than fine electorally on that front. They get just as much political gain from failing as they would succeeding, but with none of the negative side effects of the success. Its why the BSCA was such a nothing burger, because it was going to pass. Because it was going to pass and become law there couldn’t be anything that would actually rock the boat and make people really mad in it. Democrats and Republicans can ‘pass’ all the bills they want, they know the bill will die in the other house and score their team some cheap points with their base.

Old tactic, really annoying, keeps happening because it works on stupid people.

[but with a bare majority in the Senate and many GOP politicians beholden to extreme base voters, gun safety advocates will be forced to keep fighting this battle for years if not decades.

In a nation with more guns than people and an estimated 20 million AR-15-style weapons in circulation, violence is a constant specter. But the lesson of the 1850s isn’t that violence or civil war is inevitable, it’s that when moral and constitutional argument fail, politics has to take over.

This supposition is so.. so much garbage. That gun ownership rate and existence of the AR-15 are a death specter somehow in the US, so much that we’re implying a second civil war is a possibility, and yet…

World’s 25 lowest gun ownership rate nations and murder rates.
World’s 25 highest gun ownership rate nations, plus the US at the unequivocal top, and murder rates.
The United States’ rank by murder rate worldwide
The United States rank by total murders despite being the worlds 3rd most populous nation.

Those who wish to ban assault weapons should look to the abolitionist movement for inspiration.]

No, they shouldn’t. They should instead look at the prohibition movement, realize what a dumpster fire that was, and promptly move on with their lives because the idea of prohibition is asinine.

[Anti-slavery visionaries like Frederick Douglass and Thaddeus Stevens embraced politics as their means and agitated for more, not fewer, people being allowed to participate in democracy in order to make our founding ideals of freedom true for all people.]

By this logic I want more, not fewer, armed people able to defend themselves, both from and despite a state with no obligation to defend them.

[When it comes to freedom from fear of gun violence, our best hope is to bolster and repair democracy itself so that the popular will can ultimately prevail.

Freedom from fear… You don’t have that.

You don’t get that. You can’t get that. You can’t legislate fear away and anyone advocating otherwise is a fucking idiot or they’re lying to you to sell their bullshit.

I’m hoping professor of law Sheryll Cashin is just an idiot here.

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.