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Gun Control 2.0

In our community, there’s a lot of talk about Gun Culture 1.0, representing the more traditional shooting sports culture, based around traditional shooting sports like hunting, shotgun sports, bullseye shooting, etc, and Gun Culture 2.0 which revolves around gun culture based on self-defense. As the argument for this division goes, Gun Culture 2.0 is more evangelic and politically engaged with the issue, having more dog in the fight than just their hobby. Gun Culture 1.0 was more passive, sometimes willing to defend itself when attacked, but reluctant to rock the boat and challenge the status quo, as long as their sports weren’t directly threatened.

I don’t think we should make the mistake of presuming our opponents are obstinate about change, or are somehow incapable of reinventing themselves. I propose what we’ve been witnessing, since Bloomberg’s outfit changed its moniker and subsumed Shannon Watts’ organization, is an attempt  to bring about a transition to Gun Control 2.0, in direct opposition to Gun Culture 2.0.

Gun control 1.0 centered around attempting to ban handguns, or at the least heavily restrict access to the chosen few. It was largely a movement of elites, and depended heavily on traditional media. Gun Control 1.0 was a colossal failure by the 1990s, and nearly everyone knew it. Gun Control 1.1 was brought about by Josh Sugarmann, who floated the idea that the public were more open minded about banning things they thought were machine guns, and the movement could take advantage of that confusion in order to build momentum for further regulation. Gun Control 1.1 was not so much a failure. With rare exception, most of the gun bans and onerous gun regulations we’ve seen in a small handful of states are a product of the past two decades. We also saw significant new federal regulations, though we’ve regained some of that ground. Nonetheless, by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, it had become apparent that Gun Control 1.1 was out of steam to anyone who had an ounce of honesty. It was still a movement of elites, and still dependent on the power of traditional media to influence public opinion and prompt people to action. Those institutions are in decline.

Up until the Everytown transition, Bloomberg’s efforts were very much in the Gun Control 1.1 mold, though the idea of using Mayors is something no one had ever tried before (and for good reason, if you remember all the black eyes they took every time a MAIG mayor was convicted of this or that). We won the political fight after Sandy Hook because our opponents were still fighting like it was the 1990s. It would be difficult for anyone but a delusional fanatic to view outright defeat after the worst mass shooting in the country as anything other than abject failure, calling for the movement to reinvent itself. If there is to be a face for Gun Control 2.0, it’s Shannon Watts. I don’t think she should be lightly dismissed, and believe she is very dangerous to our rights. We underestimate her at our own peril. I see a number of trends that are worrying to me.

The first trend is that many gun owners who have only been in the issue while we’ve been charging up the hill probably don’t realize for most of that time our opponents had virtually no money. They were more in the “trying to save our phony baloney jobs” mode, rather than “fight the enemy at all costs” mode. You’re not going to undertake any major new or risky initiatives that could change the dynamic of the fight if your primary concern is whether you’ll still have a job next year. That all changes when you have a wealthy billionaire patron who can well-fund your organization with relative ease. When the survival of your organization is a given, you have a lot more room to try new things.

And trying new things is what Shannon Watts is busy doing. She’s trying to make her own horizontal interpretive community to match ours. That’s clear as crystal with all the information she’s been gathering under various guises, and if she has decent data analysis tools, she’ll get an idea of which people are most ripe to push for further action and deeper involvement. She could also get a pretty effective GOTV (Get out the Vote) machine going with what she’s been collecting if she’s smart enough to mine the data in an intelligent manner. There’s a lot of options when you have money to burn, and have the technology to micro target in a manner similar to the methods that swept Obama into power.

I see evidence that they are having some success. Not blow away success, mind you, but there’s plenty of evidence that she is indeed being at least partially successful at building an organization. The thing that should scare everyone reading this post is we probably won’t have any idea how successful she’s been until there’s another pretext similar or worse than Sandy Hook. We could be in a position where we’re forced to surrender ground. Even if that ground is minor, it’s going to be spun as a huge victory. It will convince supporters that gun control is possible, and once that floodgate opens, it might not close again, or if we’re lucky will close only after we’ve been badly bloodied.

This is not to say Shannon Watts and Everytown is going to become an unstoppable force; it’s not to say that her efforts are going to pay off in legislative victories and we’re helpless to stop her. The next time we face in battle we might sweep her from the field again. But we might not. From my point of view she’s doing all the right things. She’s doing what I would do if I were a leader on their side of the movement. Granted, a lot of things stand in her way. For one, her patron is an immanently dislikable megalomaniac who can’t keep his mouth shut. Everytime Bloomberg opens his mouth, it writes the next NRA fundraising letter. For two, the politicians like Feinstein, who don’t know what century this is, can’t help but to overreach and say things and introduce bills and amendments that cause our side to rise to the occasion. But fools like Feinstein won’t be around forever, and while I get the impression that Gun Culture 2.0 types on our side are, on balance, more passionate about the issue than both our opponents and those gunnies who came before us, we’ve seen the tremendous downside to having passion without any discipline, common sense, or any idea about how to engage oneself in civil society. This goes broader and deeper than the jackasses OCing rifles into restaurants and retail stores.

So how do we counter this terrible thing? For one, we have to bloody their noses in both the 2014 and 2016 elections. We have to set the perception early that Bloomberg and Watts’ organization is a paper tiger, before she really has a change to get some momentum going. We have to convince their volunteers and donor base that it’s a lost cause; that they won’t win no matter how hard they try. We have to demoralize them. But in order to do that, we need to be out there on the ground, and using the best tools at our disposal to ensure that the gun vote turns out. We need to ensure politicians see action and signs of life from our movement. We can’t stay complacent. We can’t keep focused on our old enemies, like CSGV and Brady who are now irrelevant and I believe soon to be on life support. If Shannon Watts is even half as successful as I fear, we’re going to have the kind of fight on our hands the likes of which most of us have never seen in our lifetimes, and we ourselves need to be realistic about what we could be facing.

59 Responses to “Gun Control 2.0”

  1. Another part of their strategy that didn’t happen the last time around is to enlist corporate partners to turn gun owners of all stripes into the “other”. Target with open carriers, BofA with gun dealers and Facebook and L’Oreal with hunters are just a few examples of how they’re trying to make gun owners into people that are outside the norm of society and therefore can be discriminated against and derided.

    • Jim Jones says:

      I have been quite blown away by the blowback that attractive female hunters have experienced. They have committed the biggest sin in the collectivists’ view, and that’s straying from the reservation. Attractive white women do not own guns, and they certainly do not hunt. It is sexist, and it is all Alinsky. Nobody dares to say anything about male hunters or their harvest photos.

      I hope that they continue their attack on the hunters. Maybe it will be enough to motivate the Gun Culture 1.0 Fudd types into seeing why the gun culture 2.0 is so vociferous in the defense of the RKBA. When they are done coming for the “assault” weapons, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be coming for your “high-powered sniper rifle” aka your grandpa’s 30-06 deer hunting rifle.

      • Bo says:

        You are absolutely correct! The Fudd’s need to awaken.

      • Paul Kisling says:

        I suspect that has more to do with ones definition of attractive.

        The Fudds want fashion model attractive not walmart cashier attractive.

        They get mislead and I understand completely. There are very very few truly good looking female shooters and most are considered just above average by the standards of US society.

        I don’t hate to break it to you but there are loads of above average, pro-gun, pro-hunting girls in the South. Who don’t have a TV show or a magazine shoot to their names.

        What we don’t have is ANY drop dead gorgeous pro gun pro hunter women or any exotic beauties.

        If I want to see an average looking woman hunt I know of 8, personally, within 5 miles of me. And I do not have to pay for cable or buy a magazine to see them..

        That comes down to where the idea was good but the execution poor. Showing a bunch of average to slightly above average women hunting is something that we already have… If you want to attract attention show something NEW!!

    • Sebastian says:

      I have another post brewing in my head about othering, that I wanted to put here, but didn’t manage to fit it in to the structure of the post.

  2. ctd says:

    This goes broader and deeper than the jackasses OCing rifles into restaurants and retail stores.

    Did anyone ever get the background on those guys? Are we sure they aren’t Bloomberg operatives?

    • Sebastian says:

      I just think that’s very unlikely. For one, if they were really on the other side, they wouldn’t have changed anything. They’d be upping the ante, in fact.

      • ctd says:

        The Left does make use of “posers” & “agent provocateurs”. Wouldn’t be the first time sending someone to act like the vile twit they like to portray the Right as but can’t actually find any examples of. Great way to persuade the ambivalent centrists to dislike us.

        • Matthew Carberry says:

          No. These morons are as moronic as they appear to be. We need to stop trying to blame our own idiots on “the other side” -and- we need to call out their idiocy in a direct, but not from the rooftops kind of way. Just because they are nominally on our side doesn’t mean we embrace or defend their excesses.

          We do need to be careful to not hand the anti’s more ammo as we try to get the morons to stop being moronic and change their ways.

          • Echo says:

            This. There are plenty of complete and utter fools on our side. No need to explain it away with bogeymen.

            • Sebastian says:

              I would agree with you all. It is very unfortunate, but there are people on “our side” who are foolish to titanic proportions. The head of OCT has a history as a milblogger of some note. There’s not much in his history that points to agent provocateur.

    • Paul Kisling says:

      I find it interesting blaming OC rifle nuts for Policies the leftists have always had.

      It reminds me of the gay types who protest in churches. Seems to have worked very well for them..

      • Sebastian says:

        It definitely seems to have worked out well for them. I don’t see any evidence that gay rights is doing anything other than absolutely winning. If we were changing the culture as fast as they were, I’d already be able to own an M249 LMG, and anyone who had anything to say in contra would be a lame bigot.

    • Geodkyt says:

      Um, those jackasses were posting the photos on OCT and several were in the forefront of OCT pistures from the beginning. That’s just how OCT rolled.

  3. Countertop says:

    That’s why I remain convinced that she was paying off the asshats in Texas – and if she wasn’t they are going to in the future.

  4. Archer says:

    “[I]f [Shannon Watts] has decent data analysis tools, she’ll get an idea of which people are most ripe to push for further action and deeper involvement. She could also get a pretty effective GOTV (Get out the Vote) machine going with what she’s been collecting if she’s smart enough to mine the data in an intelligent manner.”

    All true, but the most disturbing part to me is this: With Bloomberg’s money, she doesn’t have to be that smart. All her organization has to do is hire someone who is that smart, and with the backing of a multi-billionaire donating tens of millions of dollars into the cause, that won’t be difficult.

    The leadership of “Gun Control” 1.0 and 1.1 weren’t that smart, but they had interns that were minimally competent at social media and getting their message out. They couldn’t afford any better, but they had someone. “Gun Control” 2.0 can afford better. Much better. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that, in addition to Watts’ PR expertise, they’ve got social media and SEO pros running the back-ends.

    Our side is going to have to seriously up our game.

    • ctd says:

      Two words: data mining.

      Seems the Left is figuring it out faster than the Right.

    • Patrick H says:

      Except they DO have to be smart, and Watts isn’t. How many gaffs does she have to make before people realize she’s not that great at PR?

      All the SEOs and all the other crap doesn’t matter when the numbers are against them in such large majorities. Gun control isn’t possible in a world where the left doesn’t control the media. The internet allows anybody to find out the truth and make up their own mind.

      I think that’s the biggest reason why we are winning. Now don’t get me wrong- we shouldn’t underestimate them. But we shouldn’t overestimate them either. We have facts and truth on our side, and that can counter anything they throw at else. They don’t have the chokehold on the facts and truth any more, and they can’t keep going like they are going.

      Everytown is a failure just like MAIG before it. We just need to prove it in 2014 and 2016.

      • Sebastian says:

        I haven’t noticed Watts gaffing that much. Bloomberg does it all the time though. Sure, she’s a whack job from our point of view, but that goes back to othering. The fact that she’s radical doesn’t really matter all that much. What matters is whether they can build an army of radicals. Doesn’t have to even be a large army. Ours isn’t all that large.

        • Scott M says:

          I think our side is fairly large. We have a couple hundred thousand who are actively engaged and several million who are engaged enough to vote against the people who push for new restrictions. We’re up to 11 million people with a carry permit, you think those folk are going to take Watts or Bloombergs side?

      • RP says:

        The internet allows anybody to find out the truth and make up their own mind.

        I think you’re giving too much credit to the American public. Do many people actually do that? Or do most people congregate in echo chambers and pick out whatever “facts” support their view? Antis talking about how you’re 794 times more likely to shoot yourself than a criminal are just as certain facts are on their side, even if they’re wrong. And while they don’t have a near monopoly on the internet like they do print and TV, there are plenty of sites like Salon and Mother Jones.

      • Alpheus says:

        I think we need to keep in mind that data mining and GOTV activities ought to be a two-way street. Sure, Watts can hire data miners; shouldn’t the NRA-ILA be doing the same? To what extent are they doing so already?

        Political data-mining is a weird street; so far, Obama seems to be the only one who has been able to pull it off (although, to his credit, Romney attempted it, even if it was greatly bungled)…yet he’s been unwilling to share his techniques and data to the local House and Senate races, who have suffered because of that. Indeed, it’s not looking good for the Democrats this election in 2014. And who knows what’s going to happen to this machine in 2016?

        I suspect that Big Data will make a big dent when it becomes a Party and an Activist activity, rather than a Politician activity, which it currently seems to be…

        (To further complicate matters, if the IRS scandal is any indication, Obama may have been doing more than just data manipulation to pull of 2012…)

        • Sebastian says:

          Watts can hire data miners; shouldn’t the NRA-ILA be doing the same? To what extent are they doing so already?

          Good question :)

  5. RP says:

    That’s a good reality check. I for one am nervous. I see way too much confidence on our side. Whenever there’s a news article about some politician’s gun-grabbing antics, much of the commentary is along the lines of “good, keep digging your own grave, libtards”. I don’t doubt our side is much more motivated, but can we really influence elections enough to justify that kind of hubris? I think its an open question as to how much of an impact we’ll have. There really isn’t much evidence either way since November will be the first time in a generation gun control will be a major issue in a national election.

    The CO recalls were encouraging, but I don’t think that situation translates very well to a national election. I think the last VA Gubernatorial election is a better indicator. I think makeup of the purple state of Virginia is a pretty decent microcosm of our country as a whole. McAuliffe was openly very anti-gun. And while that probably lost him some votes, it obviously wasn’t enough.

    We also have the problem that the demographics of people who make up the bulk of Gun Culture 2.0 do not like many of the other GOP stances. Plenty of young AR-15 and Glock owners will be voting for Democrats. You speak of 2.0 being more politically engaged. But do you think they’ll be more engaged than posting on the internet?

    2014/16 is a huge opportunity for both sides. And I really feel like our hubris could be setting us up for failure. If we lose the perception that gun control loses election, we’re royally fucked.

    • Sebastian says:

      It would not be good to lose another state, and more are vulnerable than just Colorado. Once you lose an issue at the state level, you lose potentially two votes in the Senate and probably that entire state’s congressional delegation. Why? Because there’s no constituency in that state any longer for that issue. Pat Toomey screwed us on private transfers. Why? None of what he proposed would affect Pennsylvania all that much because for handguns it’s already our law.

      Why take a tough vote on something that won’t do anything to benefit your constituents because of existing state law?

      • RP says:

        I was referencing VA and CO more as possible predictive indicators of the upcoming midterms for the nation as a whole. But that’s a good point that’s often overlooked in state-level battles.

    • janklow says:

      i think, to some extent, this premature celebration happens because a lot of gun owners live in states where laws have trended in a pro-gun direction. if you live in the other states, you’re not so relaxed about where Gun Control 2.0 is headed.

      • mike w. says:

        Agreed. As someone living in a blue state I’m quite worried. Yes, we managed to fight off the most onerous gun bills they pushed here in Delaware, but they still got major legislation passed, and there’s virtually no chance of pro-gun bills passing here. In states like mine, a stronger, more focused, funded and organized gun control movement is a serious threat, because we don’t have the political clout to stop them.

        • Sebastian says:

          Living in a blue state has a habit of making things very real for you. Delaware is very vulnerable. But the First State surprised me for losing such little ground after Sandy Hook. I thought for sure you would have gotten an AWB and mag limits shoved down your gullets.

          But despite being a very blue state, up until Sandy Hook, in some ways you were more free than Pennsylvania. Sure, carry is more strict in Delaware, particularly in New Castle County, but you didn’t have any laws about private transfers, whereas we do.

    • Scott M says:

      Look at MN for another indicator then, it’s a blue state and all the new gun laws Bloomberg introduced got voted down in a legislature and governors office that was Dem controlled. The MN GOCRA packed the hearings outnumbering the anti gun people by 50 or 60 to 1. In WI a purple state nothing even got proposed because we have gone from 0 to 200,000 plus people with a CCW license in a couple years and the anti gun people know we vote.

      • RP says:

        Conservative issues often do better do better at the local level. MN’s two Senators are both very anti-gun, supporting an AWB and mag bans. And one of WI’s two senators is also very much an anti.

    • Geodkyt says:

      Well, the press did a very respectable job making Cuccinelli look like a lunatic, the national GOP pretty much sat on their hands (Cuccinelli was considered a “Tea Party” candidate and known to disapprove of the Old Boy Network controlling GOP internal politics) while the national DNC money and experts poured in for McAuliffe, while a major scandal involving the sitting republican governor and his wife was on the front page of every newspaper and the lead story in every news broadcast for the critical last several weeks before the election, and the Democrats apparently funded a “Libertarian” candidate to pull votes from Cuccinelli. (Democratic block voting is solid enough that the only significant numbers of outstanding votes Dems would be likely to get would not be from people who might vote Libertarian – they would be from people who might vote Republican.)

      And Cuccinelli still almost pulled it off, becuase he was rising in the polls against McAuliffe right up to election day.

      Only a few weeks after the election, polls showed that many Virginians regretted their votes for McAuliffe.

      Virginia in 2013 may not be as useful a metric for the 2014 and 2016 national electorate as the raw demographics seem to indicate.

  6. Arizona Rifleman says:

    Indeed. This is something that’s concerned me greatly. Gifford’s ARS is basically Gun Control 1.0/1.1 and has minimal cloud (though a fair bit of money), but the whole Everytown thing worries me: Bloomberg has “f***-you money” and money can get you a long, long way in politics and, as you point out, allows people to do things that they might not otherwise be able to accomplish while resource-constrained. Money alone can’t outright win elections, but it can have a major effect.

    If we can beat them in 2014 we can take a lot of wind from their sails. If not, the fight gets tougher.

    Fortunately, the Gun Culture 2.0 is a lot more vocal and active. Twenty years ago there wasn’t much resistance to banning scary black rifles. Today, the discussion is whether or not people should openly carry such rifles in public or into businesses (the question of whether or not people should own them at all has, except for a few states, been settled in favor of freedom). NFA ownership (particularly suppressors) is way up, and NFA owners tend not to be passive when it comes to their rights.

    There’s also another silver lining: we have some Supreme Court rulings on our side, and a bunch of other courts have ruled against stupid gun control laws (and often require places like Chicago to reimburse the NRA and other groups for attorney fees). While it’s best to keep them from passing stupid laws in the first place, many of the stupid laws keep getting slapped down.

    • Bo says:

      Those Supreme Court rulings mean little in states like New York and New Jersey where state court rulings squelch every rising opposition.

      • Arizona Rifleman says:

        Agreed, however that’s still not an absolute: Peruta v. San Diego and Baker v. Kealoha showed that oppressive gun laws can be overturned in California and Hawaii of all places. If it can be done there, it can be done in other states.

        Sure, relying on the courts is not always a good thing: they don’t always take up the cases you want, parties to a suit might not appeal to a higher court, and they don’t always rule they way you want.

        Still, the courts often provide an option that legislative methods in anti-gun-dominated states do not, and there’s plenty of legal precedent supporting gun rights.

      • mike w. says:

        Reading some of the lower court cases after Heller I’m not too optimistic about the Court’s saving us, and I think about what Justice Kozinski said in his Silviera v. Lockyer dissent…

        • Fair enough. I don’t like relying on the courts, but most of them aren’t bad.

          It’s been a long, long time since I read anything about Silviera v. Lockyer: what specific part of Justice Kozinski’s dissent are you referring to?

  7. Thirdpower says:

    The more we can connect Bloomberg to her and any politician will benefit. His name is mud in political circles currently and anyone who has accepted even a phone call from him are able to be labelled as one of his puppets.

    Her use of private security and the fact that they’ve repeatedly lied about their numbers at various events needs to go viral.

    • Thirdpower says:

      Oh, and as an addendum,… Groups like the Brady’s and CSGV may be irrelevant but they’re still around and spreading their poison w/ a small but fanatical following. While we can’t ignore Bloomie and Shannon, we also can’t let up pressure on the others until they permanently turn off the lights.

  8. Chase says:

    You forgot to mention that Watts is a professional PR specialist from Monsanto, an “evil corporate empire” if ever there was one. I don’t know how relevant it is, but I’d like to try to make it more so.

  9. Brad says:

    Sebastian

    You say we have beaten GC V1.1, but is that really true? Yes we stopped them at the Federal level, and even gained in Red States, but we lost ground in Blue States and are still having an ugly battle in purple Colorado. And all the while the Federal Courts by and large refuse to enforce the 2nd Amendment, with the notable exception of Illinois and Chicago. I think that experience, the aftermath of Newton, accurately predicts the near future of gun control politics in America.

    In my opinion that future is Federal Court non-involvement, stalemate and stasis on Federal legislation, while the Red States continue to become freer and the Blue States more repressive. The only battleground where our focused efforts can make a vital difference will be in places like Colorado. California, New York, and a dirty half dozen other states are lost to us.

  10. One of the things that nobody seems to be talking about is how the haters have cemented the gun issue as left vs right fight…..to the point that gun owners on the left side of the isle are totally silent. When it comes to rallying gun owners, and fighting for gun rights, it’s all based on the right, nothing comes from the left. And I feel that the Left has successfully marginalized and gun owners on the Left by hook and by krook.

  11. Bo says:

    Pending elections in 2014 don’t look too promising. There is a resurgence of awareness on the right side of the fence. But every incident of a shooting that goes virile and is politicized and capitalized upon; hurts. Everytown is funded by Bloomberg. The Sandy Hook parents have quit their jobs and are touring the U.S. in his tour bus. I’m sure he has a cadre of hacks on the payroll working 24×7 to fuel this. Shannon Watts may look silly but she is not stupid. The demographics of America are changing every day. As more of the “last great generation” disappear at the rate of 1,000/day; who are they being replaced by? I’ll give you a hint; vapid, self-centered folks who embrace being coddled. CT, NY, CA, MD and CO have gone stupid in less than 18 months with their new anti-gun laws. NJ is teetering on the edge of an abyss, as the anti Dem’s wait for Christie to depart to parts unknown, just so they can follow in these state’s footsteps with anti-gun laws waiting in the wings. (Not a single one of those incumbent Dem’s were removed in the last election in NJ. So much for “change.”) The future isn’t pretty. It will continue to be an uphill battle.

    • cubby says:

      NJ fell into the abyss years ago, if not decades…..hard to vote out Dem incumbents when the Republicans don’t even support ousting them.

    • Joe_in_Pitt says:

      NY has been in the abyss for decades as well. The SAFE act was just the most recent of a long line of anti-gun moves by the state. Keep in mind that NY has always had a statewide AWB and the expiration of the federal one didn’t mean squat for residents. Hell, NY has essentially been May Issue since 1911 with the passage of the Sullivan Act, which pretty much served as a framework for gun control for years to come. And we’re not even talking NYC’s gun control laws.

      The only thing I can take solace in with my native state is simply the fact that there is such a huge amount of civil disobedience going on north of Westchester right now. I know people who have no problem flouting the SAFE act and their elected Sheriffs are pretty much backing them up.

    • Alpheus says:

      Of the states you listed, I think CO is the only one that has gone stupid in 18 months; the others have been stupid for as long as I remember (although I’m somewhat ignorant about CT and MD laws). It is my understanding that it’s been held as a model for how Democrats could capture other States…but it might just prove to be a model of how Democrats can lose a State, if Coloradans rise up and replace representatives with those who will respect gun rights.

      I don’t consider that a guarantee, though. CO is going to be a nail-biter for me in this next election! (I don’t live there myself, although it’s a State I generally respect; that, and I want to see gun rights come out triumphant!)

  12. Paul Kisling says:

    I don’t think their side wants to see Gun Culture 3.0 and especially not 4.0

  13. benEzra says:

    Using your categories, I think it can be said that the primary focus of “Gun Control 1.0” was criminals. Gun control activists played to fears of violent crime, especially racist/classist fears about armed minorities/riffraff. This was the basis of Jim Crow laws, NY’s Sullivan Law, California’s Mulford Act, and the various handgun bans around the country. Long guns (including those later dubbed “assault weapons”) were explicitly exempted in most cases because rifles of any type have never been all that represented in criminal homicide, as the gun control lobbyists themselves pointed out.

    In “Gun Control 1.1”, instead of playing to general fears about crime, the focus shifted to particular classes of civilian guns in a bait-and-switch game. The gun control lobby would simply lie about some subset of guns, portraying the target du jour as some sort of superweapon that has no business in civilian hands (no matter how rarely misused); the more far-out the lie, the better, and they became very aggressive at trying to prevent any debate by framing opposition as extreme or irrational. The first such meme was the “cop-killer bullet” issue(most often an attempt to put most rifle ammunition under the Attorney General’s authority). However, the first one to really gain traction was the “assault weapon” fraud circa 1988, but they also tried such categories as “sniper rifles”, “hand cannons”, 5.7x28mm firearms, “plastic guns”, ad nauseam; typically the approach would be to express support for ownership of “normal” civilian guns (e.g., what they weren’t currently trying to ban), and ban one category at a time. Eventually this approach collapsed under its own weight, because the rise of the Internet made outlandish claims easy to ridicule and debunk. The “assault weapon/high capacity” meme still hangs on due to sheer inertia and the ignorance/complicity of Big Media, but the writing is on the wall; those guns now *define* the mainstream, and attempting to ban the most popular civilian guns in America is ultimately self-defeating even if the dimmer bulbs in the movement haven’t figured that out yet.

    Gun Control 2.0 has shifted the focus again. It’s no longer about particular classes of guns; now the meme is how evil/stupid/deviant gun owners are. In short, the movement is now attempting to cultivate sheer, blind *hatred* and run on it. This approach worked in the UK, but here I believe this approach is ultimately self-defeating, because in most of the USA gun owners are not a tiny, beaten-down minority, and we have numbers and grassroots.

    Yes, Bloomberg worries me a bit; gun control is mostly a movement of elderly whites, but the Wall Street money will be around long after Bloomberg has left the scene, and the media is firmly in his pocket. But I think the hatred that drives Gun Control 2.0 is also that movement’s ultimate weakness, if gun owners are smart enough not to fall into the stereotypes and “othering” traps. It will be a heck of a fight but we are in a lot stronger position than we were in the dark days of the early ’90s.

    • Sebastian says:

      That’s an interesting viewpoint. I hope you end up being more right than me :)

    • Sebastian says:

      I guess I shouldn’t quite say that. I’m fairly optimistic. I thought for sure they’d end up kicking our asses sideways after Sandy Hook. If you had told me New Years of 2013, we’d beat back everything, except in the a small handful of states, I’d have said you were a wild eyed optimist. Hell, I’m not sure I’d believe “We’ll largely keep Delaware. Don’t worry too much.”

    • Sebastian says:

      Though, Colorado was a complete kick in the balls. If you had told me I’d take it in the nuts in Colorado, but Delaware would be largely minor, I’d have not believed you. But that’s what happened.

  14. davidyamane says:

    Smart post and good read. Of course these version labels are just a convenient shorthand for very complex underlying phenomena but I like to think about Gun Culture 1.0, Gun Culture 1.5, and Gun Culture 2.0.

    Gun Culture 1.5 are those who were traditional gun culturists in the sense of being raised in the culture, but who took a more activist attitude toward the RKBA especially as concerned self-defense.

    Gun Culture 1.5 creates a bridge from 1.0 and 2.0. Gun Culture 2.0 is also focused on self-defense, but also includes people who are into guns simply for the fun of it (whether shooting sports, or target shooting, or just thinking guns are cool technologies to play with). Some significant part of the latter group are new shooters and those who come from more diverse backgrounds (gender, race, sexuality — A Girl and a Gun Club, Colion Noir, Chris Cheng).

    For me the question is whether Gun Culture 2.0 will continue Gun Culture 1.5’s political fights. Some part of this group are not politically conservative or libertarian and therefore will have other priorities in voting than the 2A.

    • Sebastian says:

      The problem with putting labels on groups is the labels don’t really neatly fit. I think the GC 1.0 and GC 2.0 labels are a bit overwrought. But sometimes it’s useful for illustrating a point, which is why I used them.

      I too am concerned about the health of the single issue voter in the gun rights issue. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if younger shooters tell pollsters and friends they don’t support gun control. If they don’t vote their gun rights, they will lose their gun rights. It’s that simple.

    • Joe_in_Pitt says:

      GC 1.5 is an interesting theory. I know some GC 1.0 types who as years have gone by started to get even more concerned about personal defense (whether because they still live close to the city or are seeing increases in some types of crime where they are) and although have generally always had carry permits are actually starting to use them more. They are concerned about their rights more from a self defense side of things instead of the traditional hunting/shooting sports one, but they also haven’t crossed full-on into GC 2.0 since most still don’t care for the AR or AK platforms, 3 gun, etc.

  15. Shawn says:

    I would think this is yet another defeatist post by Sebastian although the last few paragraphs save it. Even though deep down I don’t think you believe it yourself. You are implying That if we do poorly in the 2014 and 2016 elections (Hillary Clinton will be the next president, there is no doubt) no matter what we do after that, no matter how involved we get even if every single gun owner become involved join the NRA and fight fight fight we are going to lose because of the billions of that Bloomberg can pump. That gun-control 2.0 will succeed and we will see nationwide confiscation. All and Hillary Clinton will be the next the powers that really control this country have already decided, your vote is worthless.

    • Sebastian says:

      If we had every gun owner involved, we’d never lose. That’s 80 million people. If they all registered to vote and voted their gun rights, Bloomberg could spend all the money he wanted and it wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans.

      I am not saying Gun Control 2.0 will succeed. I’m saying it’s not a guaranteed failure. They are trying something new, showing some successes, and that could be the basis for something far worse than people imagine now. I see a lot of people dismissing Watts because we’re used to gun control being astroturf. What if someday it wasn’t? That’s what they are trying to accomplish. They might fail, but they might not.

      What the post boils down to is that we don’t have a lot more room to lose future elections. If it’s Hillary or some other Democrat in 2016, the Second Amendment is certainly gone as a judicially recognized right of any meaning. The Heller 5 won’t make it through another hostile Administration.

      I’m not going to tell people everything is all going to be fine in the end, because it might not be. And whether it is or not depends on how many people are willing to stand up and be counted when it comes to the next two elections.

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