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Middle Grounds and Gun Control

Is there a middle ground on gun control? I often get annoyed with people who write about “middle ground”, because they often have a poor understanding of what that means. Where we stand right now is the much sought after “middle ground” on gun control, and we arrived here through struggle. But the article linked isn’t one of those simple minded articles on the topic, and makes a good argument that the other side overreached, while our side played the issue fairly pragmatically. I think that’s a correct assessment. But I’m also not sure they could have played it any other way.

The gun control proponents thought Sandy Hook was a bigger game changer than it really was. Within days of it happening it was pretty apparent from their cocky rhetoric many of them believed that happy days were once again upon them, and they would soon sweep us into the dustbin of history. What they weren’t expecting was such a strong mobilization by our grassroots. They got greedy in their demands, and we can be very very thankful for the overreach of our opponents. The prospect of far ranging bans on long guns, considerably more far broader than was achieved in 1994, were a big part of what helped mobilize the troops, and allowed us to stop everything outright.

Even the Toomey-Manchin compromise, which was at best a half-loaf for the other side, wasn’t destained to become the new middle ground on the issue. When people are paying attention, it’s easier to reach them with useful information about what the bills actually do. If the other side were only interested in more background checks, and were willing to give and take in order to get them, they’d be hard to defeat. But background checks are no more than flowery rhetoric to effectively carry a laundry list of other, more draconian regulation. But do the gun control folks have a choice, really?

Ultimately, it all boils down to bodies and dollars. Gun control activists and donors aren’t going to keep campaigning or writing checks to get more background checks. Their activists and donors don’t want to hear that gun bans are off the table. They don’t want to hear that registration is politically unpopular. The last thing they’d want to do is concede their most effective rhetorical tool for what to them is nothing. If background checks can’t be used to carry other restrictions, what good are they?

32 Responses to “Middle Grounds and Gun Control”

  1. Ian Argent says:

    The extremes are complete bans on private firearms on one hand, and on the other, no restrictions or limitations on keeping and bearing arms WHATSOEVER including registration and licensing. The antis want to redefine the current middle ground of “shall-issue/instant BG check” regime as the extreme, moving the middle ground

    • Eh, the extreme wouldn’t be “no restrictions or limitations.” I’d argue that the extreme would be something more like this:

      An ACT more effectually to provide for the National Defence, by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States.

      I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act. And it shall at all time hereafter be the duty of every such Captain or Commanding Officer of a company, to enroll every such citizen as aforesaid, and also those who shall, from time to time, arrive at the age of 18 years, or being at the age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years (except as before excepted) shall come to reside within his bounds; and shall without delay notify such citizen of the said enrollment, by the proper non-commissioned Officer of the company, by whom such notice may be proved. That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes…

      Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That every officer, non-commissioned officer or private of the militia, who shall fail to obey the orders of the President of the United States in any of the cases before recited, shall forfeit a sum not exceeding one year’s pay, and not less than one month’s pay, to be determined and adjudged by a court martial; and such officers shall, moreover, be liable to be cashiered by sentence of a court martial:

      TL,DR: It is the Militia Act of 1792. It requires able bodied citizens to be appropriately armed. It also exempts all such accoutrements of war from any sort of lawsuits or taxes. Failure to obey equals a fine equal to one to twelve month’s pay.

      The extreme isn’t just allowing citizens to keep and bear arms: it is requiring them to do so.

      A modern day interpretation would look something like this:
      – All able bodied citizens shall be required to attend CERT training and then a quarterly refresher training class, or alternatively, to participate in quarterly Civilian Marksmanship Program events.
      – All able bodied citizens shall provide a CERT emergency kit, AR-15, 7 STANAG magazines and 210 rounds of 5.56 ball; officers shall be required to furnish a M9 pistol with 45 rounds of 9mm ball and a radio or vehicle.
      – Failure to obey such lawful orders shall result in a fine of at least $1787 (E-3 base pay) and no more than $21,444.

      • Ian Argent says:

        Fair enough – and I think still within Congress’ Militia Power. Especially after the PPACA decision on taxation…

      • Kirk Parker says:

        Just make sure you *explicitly* get rid of the pathetic ageism of the original. “Forty-five”? Pah! Mewling youngsters who don’t really know anything yet, *that’s* what you get at that age.

        • Geodkyt says:

          Current US militia law is still 45 — but anyone with prior service in the regular US Armed Forces is on the hook until age 64.

    • Jakob Stagg says:

      I beg to differ slightly about what constitutes “middle ground”. The anti gun stance is to disarm the law abiding citizens. The law abiding citizens are trying to maintain the middle ground, which is where we are at. The other side of that would be to force everyone to own and bear arms. That is never proposed.

      If the anti gunners are afraid of the law abiding gun owner, then the antis should stop providing a deadly threat to be resisted.

  2. RS says:

    Let’s go for middle ground:
    Everyone agrees that gun owners should be well trained in the safe use of firearms as well as less likely to miss their target and hurt others.

    So let’s open public shooting ranges in all localities, where the legally armed citizens can go to shoot and receive training. Perhaps using low-cost ammunition purchased in state contracts at the lowest cost per round.

    EVERY Swiss town has such a range.

    Can’t get any more middle than this.

  3. Devildog says:

    No more compromise. Period.

    • Sebastian says:

      That’s a workable strategy until they find the votes they need from lawmakers to screw you. Then you can do nothing, of do something that less of a disaster in the hopes you can peel off some of those votes for the lesser measures, which in most cases you can. If we took the “no compromise” approach, we’d still be living with an assault weapons ban. Hell, we’d have never had FOPA. We’d also still be living in a country where concealed carry was a practical impossibility in most jurisdictions.

      • Devildog says:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. If we would have drawn the line years ago and elected representatives who truly represented, we would not be in this mess. The Progressives will never stop. Giving ground to them is the weakness they are use to getting. The assault weapon ban expired, no compromise was actually met.
        We could debate this forever. I’m a little long in the tooth with too few years left. The last compromise I was part of was Viet Nam, and look how that worked out.
        Now let’s jump to another topic. Concealed Carry. I carried long before anyone granted me ‘permission’ to do so. Yes, I now have a permit. That was from pressure put on by my wife. I don’t like asking permission from anyone to practice my Constitutional rights.
        Just the way I roll. Your mileage may vary.

        • Sebastian says:

          If we would have drawn the line years ago and elected representatives who truly represented

          So only pro-gun voters vote in elections? And everywhere they represent a majority of the vote to get someone elected to office? It would be nice if we could do this everywhere, but the fact is that we can’t.

          • Devildog says:

            We can debate this forever. I think you’re wrong in wanting to compromise. You think I am for not wanting any more compromise.
            Grab one line out of this argument and run with it there, Sebastian.
            Of course not only pro gun voters vote. That’s ridiculous.
            And represent a majority? No again.
            But when the Republicans run such a lame field, as the last few elections, the Progressives are bound to win. Who would have bet Obama would have been reelected after such a miserable first term.
            America voted for socialist medicine, etc.
            It’s later than you think, sir.
            Gotta run. Wasted enough time here. Sorry to offend.

            • Sebastian says:

              I don’t really want to compromise. I’d rather not if I can avoid it.

            • Nathaniel says:

              If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.

            • SPQR says:

              I am puzzled why you misrepresent what Sebastien writes. Sebsstien has always – to my impression – stood for smart tactics.

              • Sebastian says:

                I don’t think he’s misrepresenting anything. I took it as a misunderstanding of my philosophy on this issue. I’m not in favor of compromising for the sake of being nice or accommodating to the other side, or hoping to give them 10 feet in hopes they’ll go away and not come back to demand another 10.

                But I do believe in minimizing the damage once it becomes apparent we’re either certainly getting screwed, or nearly certainly getting screwed.

  4. Stacy says:

    There’s plenty of middle ground, but no rational person will make concessions to an opponent that they know isn’t really interested in compromise. Everyone knows the Bloombergians want to ban guns, full stop. There’s no reason to talk to them at all.

    • Nathaniel says:

      When you’re strong, you try to get as much as you can.

      When you’re weak, you try to delay and compromise as much as possible to minimize the damage.

      By speaking of compromise, the anti-gunners are implicitly acknowledging that they’re weak. I mean, if they were strong, what would be the point? They’s just take what they wanted.

      As long as they’re signaling weakness, there’s no reason for us to compromise with them. We should take as much as we can–and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

  5. dustydog says:

    Noise suppressors seem like they should be an easy sell. Get some sympathetic person, explain why they are a victim and need to practice marksmanship.

    Learning and handling guns in school should be a long term goal for RKBA. Plant the seed early, and TV/movies will water it. The work the Boy Scouts do here is golden.

    We all would like to see improvements in mental health, but the Left is so dishonest, there is no room for compromise there.

    The only place I see that we can compromise, is punishment. Meaningful reductions in crime will reduce the public’s desire for gun control:
    1) somebody has has committed a violent crime, been convicted, been released, committed another violent crime, been convicted, released, and commits a third violent crime – should be executed. Maybe by the federal government, if the states won’t execute.
    2) corporal punishment for violent criminals, to save on jail time/costs.
    3) If somebody uses a weapon in two crimes separated in time by a prison sentence, they should lose their thumbs. Give their next victim a chance.
    4) violent criminals up for deportation should be clearly branded first, to aid in keeping them out and re-arresting them in the future. Especially if they are going to get bail and be released into the US awaiting deportation.
    5) first time offenders should be housed separately from repeat-offenders, to avoid in-prison training.
    6) Non-violent crimes shouldn’t get jail time (i.e. fines and corporal punishment). Let’s not harden the criminals.

    The time is coming when the US will accept new manufacture machine guns, especially if they are sold to gun clubs (rather than to just one person).

    • Ian Argent says:

      See CA for the fiasco that government makes of three-strikes penalties. The rest of it is likely 8th amendment violating in practice; not to mention being really scary in the hands of a “tough on crime” prosecutor.
      You really want to give that kind of power to the kind of people who persecuted by prosecution George Zimmerman?

      • dustydog says:

        I hear what you are saying. California is a fiasco precisely because goals for the justice system has been to increase the number of government jobs involved.

        Any workable compromise should focus on criminals, not law-abiding citizens. Focus on the worst criminals rather petty criminals. Focus on quick and speedy trials, rather than the jobs-for-lawyers crapfest that is our justice system. Focus on cheap persuasive punishment over imprisonment.

        Any talk of gun-control should be deflected onto the real problem areas. Law-abiding citizens bearing arms is a solution to societal ills, not the cause.

      • dustydog says:

        I wonder how much identity theft goes on with buying guns. If somebody uses your information to buy a gun, how would you know?
        Hit or miss even if you live in a one-gun-a-month state.

        If the gun seller or ATF were corrupt, they have everything they need to steal my ID. If you use the free electronic tax filing, then everybody at the software company has your information to sell too. And soon everyone involved in your health insurance will have my information.

        A real compromise: an opt-in for email or text message whenever your background is checked.

        Imagine somebody gets arrested, and gives your information, and the justice system doesn’t catch the scam. Suddenly concealed carry permits are getting revoked, restraining orders are going into effect, guns are being seized.

        • HappyWarrior6 says:

          A real compromise: if all these things are really proven to “reduce crime”, then any firearm should be legally allowed to be purchased. Maybe give these laws a period of two years for “study”, then a full repeal of the ’86 MG ban. That’s compromise.

  6. Patrick H says:

    I think there is a middle ground, but they don’t want a middle ground. Do you think we’d trade a Grassley system of background checks for removal of the NFA? That’s compromise. But that’s not what they want.

    • aerodawg says:

      I’ve tried to get some antis to understand this. That in order to compromise with me, they actually have to come to the table with something I want. They look at me like I’m a space alien when I suggest that part of compromise is me getting something in return.

      They have this completely non-sensical notion that any compromise is between where we are now and where they want to be, when in reality it’s between where they want to be and where I want to be.

      • Nathaniel says:

        That’s why they’re losing. Intransigence and belittlement work so much better when you have numerical superiority and strong public support.

  7. Ron says:

    I would suspect that each person defines “middle ground” as a different location on the latitude/longitude map of gun control. While some “average citizens” may have defined such from a more reasonable approach, the Bloombergians have a totally different outlook. I for one have no clue what the middle grounds are??

    Gun control is NOT going to curb one ounce of violence,,,,,,, killers will still kill, and those with bad intent will choose other methods short of guns to ply their trade. If the folks going after “middle grounds” are assuming it will make America a safer place to live,,,, they will be in for a shock.

    Looking at what has taken place in other countries that have adopted strict gun control regulations, I can’t see why this issue is still on the tables,,,, other than from the eyes of Big Brother wanting to further control the citizenry. I myself feel that Big Brother is using the common man to help accomplish his task. YMMV

    • Sebastian says:

      Middle ground is just something you arrive at through struggle. You just kind of end up there. It doesn’t come about because we get together with the other side and work something out. We ended up with instant background checks instead of a 5 day waiting period because the Bradys kept pushing and pushing and pushing their bill, which had the 5 day waiting period, until it became apparent we were going to lose on this issue at some point. So what do you do? You can keep being obstinate, and that might feel good, but would we be better off today with a 5 day waiting period over the instant checks?

      • Jack says:

        That would have normalized waiting periods at the federal level.

        And that 5 day could have been inflated whenever the mood struck the antis they had enough votes. It’d become another “saftey” measure that “Doesn’t ban guns”.

        Where one thing NICS has done is normalize instant* possesion at point of sale.

        *Or at least same hour.

        There’s also who you are comprimising with. Comprimising with the antis is one thing, but compromising with ambivilant politicians *could* be another.

        For that one can look at CCW bills and how the initial bill could be pretty bad (See Tenn for example) but through subsequent work is improvied. The question comes down to what can be adjusted with more ease.

        This is why a Shall issue bill with expensive permits, annoying class time, and lots of carvout locations is better than a May issue bill that is cheap, no training, and carry anywhere.

        A lot of politics is the art of possible and the art of what is “normal”. And of course there’s being well aware of the true intentions and goals of the opposition.

        And yes it sucks that rights are at risk due to political whims, but that is the reality we face.

        Counting on the courts to save us is a mixed bag.
        (Illinois has done pretty good on balance. But California has not).

        • Patrick H says:

          Sebastian has really turned me around on my initial no compromise beliefs- and you give good examples of why.

          • HappyWarrior6 says:

            Any middle ground needs to take into consideration how much ground was lost constitutionally under the ’34 NFA and the ’86 MG ban. Yes, we gained something, but what we gained were constitutional rights back that we shouldn’t have lost in the first place. To tilt the ball back to the restriction side without recognizing fundamental rights would be a loss.

            Talk about repealing restrictions on non-prohibited persons (i.e., recognize our rights), then we can talk about recognizing background checks, though that still doesn’t change the fact that they do not stop crime.

  8. Braden Lynch says:

    Looking at any of their “common sense” proposals show that none of them have any beneficial impact on violent crime. Actually, I argue the opposite; they disarm the law-abiding and embolden the criminals and the government.

    I believe that most gun control advocates have sinister goals since the evidence is crystal-clear that their proposals will not achieve utopia. The others are brain-dead and hysterical. Kool-Aid anyone?

    So, since their ideas of “compromise” are always a net negative for gun owners; no discussions with them and no compromises.

    Let them try to take our firearms.

    Never Again!
    Molon Labe!

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