You cannot claim to defend the second amendment while supporting or openly accepting the NFA of ’34 and GCA ’68. Or background checks. It makes absolutely no sense.
I think it depends on what you mean by “accepting.” When every expert in the field tells me that fighting the National Firearms Act, or most provisions of the Gun Control Act in court are fruitless endeavors, I can’t really find much ground to disagree with them considering we can’t even get the courts to agree we have a right to bear arms. Legislatively, I’ve never talked to a gun lobbyist who thinks that NFA or the many regulatory aspects of GCA are repealable in the current political climate, or in a foreseeable political climate. The current situation bears this out; if we’re worried about a ban on semi-automatics, because too many people think they are machine guns, how do you expect to find the votes to ease restrictions on machine guns themselves? I think it’s a waste of the community’s energy and political influence to fret over battles we lost years ago and can’t win now. It’s talk of storming the castle, when we aren’t even half way up the hill the castle is on yet.
Joe has a good post on the fallacy of the effectiveness of background checks, and I agree with him that’s true. An old study by the Bureau of Justice Statics bears the facts out for all to see. It shows in a simple table where criminals obtained their guns. It’s pretty clear that the decline in guns obtained at retail after the enactment of the Brady Act was nearly perfectly replaced by straw purchasers, most of whom are friends and family of the criminals who have clean records. The reason we got background checks is not because the NRA or gun rights advocates caved on the issue. NRA caved on the issue because the vast majority of Americans agree with background checks, and it was going to be a choice between instant background checks and background checks with a lengthy waiting period. As I said in the last post, sometimes it’s a matter of having to pick your poison. Most people have no inclination to dive into the data and find the truth, and if background checks feel emotionally satisfying to them, they’ll dispute your claim of ineffectiveness even without bothering to look at the evidence themselves and make up their own minds. They have no dog in the fight, so why should they?
If you want to eradicate the current gun control regime, you have to first deal with this: a majority of Americans do not own guns, know nothing about the gun culture, shooting, hunting, or anything involving firearms. About 100 million Americans live under state or local governments who have enacted enough strict gun control as to effectively destroy their shooting culture. That’s 1/3rd of the population of the United States we can write off, just starting out. Unless we get strong enough protection from the courts to make it possible to rehabilitate the shooting cultures in these places, that population will effectively remain among the people we can’t ever reach. The only way you’re going to make strong advocates for the Second Amendment is to give people a personal stake in the fight. One reason I often advocate people getting over the NFA is because, to be honest, it’s going to be necessary to concede those issues, for now, in order to get stronger protections for everything else. You have to reach into the areas where that 1/3rd lives, and start changing minds before a conversation about NFA or GCA, or the Brady Act, is even going to be possible. That is the fight right now, and the current backlash your seeing is because the elites in those places know we’re being successful, and it frightens them. We may one day get to storm the castle, but that will likely belong to the kids being born now. It’s incumbent on us — those in the fight now — to get them to the top of the hill.