The Root of Reasoned DiscourseTM

We’ve seen reasoned discourse rearing it’s ugly head again, both in the comment section (comments go most recent first, rather than last, start at the end to see the anti-gun commenters) of the LA Times story I linked to earlier, and also at this place, which Dave Hardy linked to over the weekend.  You’ll notice that, for the most part, our side is appearing with facts, and reasonable arguments, and their side is slinging personal insults, stereotypes, and various other manners of prejudices.

I think the reason for the vitriol is that we have unwittingly hit on a nerve.  The LA Times article presented gun owners in a human light.  For those who have their identities wrapped up in who they are not, which is ignorant, paranoid, rednecks compensating for some kind of inadequacy and reacting to an irrational fear of crime stoked by the right wing establishment, it’s horribly destabilizing to a smug sense of self to read that those types of people might actually have things in common with you.  They may even have a serious point of view!

No, no.  Can’t have that.  That’s a threat to our every sense of superiority.   Those aren’t people.  Those are paranoid knuckle draggers.   Real people are enlightened.  Real people don’t feel a need to carry a gun to the grocery store.  The reason they hate articles like this is because it makes them face an unpleasant reality; we’re ordinary people, and we’re getting better at getting that message out.

We dominate, and are courageous in new media.  They can’t come here without dealing with us.  Folks like we’ve seen on the LA Times comment page avoid the gun blogosphere like the plague, because if they spent enough time with us, they’d realize we’re not easily crammed into the nice box they’ve made for us in their narrow minds.  One thing I’ve often pondered about the Brady Bunch, is that I know they read gun blogs, so they surely have to know us to some degree.   I’ve joked often that they believe we’re shills of the NRA, but in reality I don’t think it’s a joke.  They really believe that.  They have to believe that.  They’ve spent their whole careers battling NRA as an evil monolith representing the powers of darkness.  If we don’t fit neatly into that, well then hell, what have they been doing with their whole career?  That’s why I often get upset with people like for doing the same thing to the other side, because it lets them off easy.  If we fit the stereotype of everything they want to believe, it’s easy for them to justify to themselves why we have to be steamrollered.

We do not have to demonize the other side in order to have persuasive arguments.  We don’t need to do it to feel right, because we’re not advocating that people’s freedoms be taken away.  We’re the people who want to be able to keep shooting competitively with an AR-15s.  We’re the people who don’t want to have to wait 10 minutes for the police to show up when seconds count.  We’re the people who think our constitution means something.  I think we ought to have the courage to be able to stand up to the other side, as fellow citizens, and say “Sorry, you’re wrong, and here’s why.”  That is our power.  The other side can’t do that, and it shows in how they approach the issue.

What we ideally want is for the Brady Campaign to have a hard time retaining qualified staff, because their hearts just aren’t in it anymore.  Let them move on to other progressive causes, or the for-profit sector.  Politics isn’t war.  Sometimes you can win by humanizing yourself to the other side.  Ultimately we will win by breaking down stereotypes and fighting ignorance, just like every other civil rights movement in recorded history.  The Black Panthers didn’t end Jim Crow, that was ended by African Americans humanizing themselves to America, and demanding fair treatment.  The lesson is already there in history if we’re willing to follow it.

46 thoughts on “The Root of Reasoned DiscourseTM

  1. Excellent blog, as usual.

    I actually posted a 2nd comment to the Icky Bloggers’ post…but it never appeared. In fact, the last comment was early afternoon yesterday.

    Methinks submitted comments are down the memory hole before they are even posted!

    Sad, really.

    But more to your point. You know how it has been suggested that some people decry the carrying of firearms out of projection … because they don’t trust themselves to do it, they also don’t trust others? There is probably at least some truth to that. But that kind of thinking is not objective, and is not fair (or even realistic). Likewise, so is the bigotry upon which so much of this vitriol is based. It’s just not objective.

    But your blog is an excellent case in point that our civility, professionalism, and adherence to facts is more important now than ever before.

  2. ‘Methinks submitted comments are down the memory hole before they are even posted!’

    Others have confirmed that.

  3. You point is an excelent one. On that same line, I would like to see pro gun bloggers give the antis the benefit of the doubt and presume the best argument they could make applies to the facts.

    For example, many progun bloggers dismissed Barak Obama for stating that he supports the Second Amendment and in the next breath, almost, saying that he supports DC’s handgun ban. Rather than dismissing those two statements as being mutually incompatable, we should read them as consistent, and make the logical assumption that he thinks handguns are not protected by the Second Amendment, but, perhaps, long guns are. I disagree with that position, but it is an intellectually honest position that can be supported by reasoned arguments.

    When we dismiss our opponents without dismantling the best argument they can make, we are being intellectually weak, and are doing ourselves no favors. When we show that we are willing to take on the best arguments for the other side, and even propose some that they miss, we are engaging in reasoned discourse.

  4. I see what you’re saying Cliff…. but politics isn’t war, but it also isn’t logical or fair. I do believe we need to treat the other side like fellow citizens, but politics is what it is, and it’s more about sound bites and emotion than it is about making reasonable arguments. I agree with you that Obama’s position could be logically consistent, but you don’t get to make those arguments in the political process, typically.

  5. Sebastian, fair enough. However, Snowflakes is a place where I have found reasoned discourse and is only political in the ancillary sense that guns tends to be a political issue. In blogging, one has time to engaged in a thoughtful fisking of an opponents opinion, why not fisk the best argument they could (in theory) make? I do agree that the other side tends to stoop to sound bites and emotion, but that is exactly what causes their unthinking supporters to engage in the trademarked version of “reasoned discourse.” If we keep it on a higher level, it will bear fruit, but it will take a long time.

  6. I think we have to be logical, yes. But we also have to keep winning politically in the mean time. Blogs are great, but a lot of people are still getting their information from the MSM, where we have to compete in soundbites and memes. I’m certainly not going to change how I’m being to appeal to people’s baser instincts, but I’m also staking my space out in New Media rather than old.

  7. I think we are in agreement there. There is a time and place for everything, and blogs tend to be the time and place for fisking and MSM for sound bites. I hope, however, that our sides’s sound bites are well reasoned and not just a pithy sounding attack.

  8. May I offer what might be a bit more insight? Our opponents do much of what they do and think much of what they think because they have a very, very different worldview. Ronald Reagan said that that problem with liberals is not that they have different opinions, it’s that so much of what they think they know just isn’t so.

    If you believed that individualism is bad, that the state should provide for all citizen needs (indeed, that only the state can do it right), and that there was no evil in the world, merely misunderstandings that can always be fixed by talk from enlightened beings who alone know what is best for the unenlightened gun and religion clinging masses, you would think and act just as the Brady Bunch and their supporters do. Facts and experience matter not when you’re an enlightened being because your enlightenment renders such trifling matters irrelevant. You know what you know, in fact you have access to a higher knowledge beyond truth, beyond reason, and the rest is mere rhetoric. When you’re a “Lightworker” like Senator Obama, who will not only calm the oceans, but will heal the planet, why, facts are the hobgoblins of inferior minds.

    It’s reminiscent of one of Woody Allen’s early satires of classical Greek writings where a character was accosted by several youths from Sparta and showed them the error of their violent ways using pure logic. The Spartans responded by breaking his nose. Reality does tend to intrude, even on the reveries of the enlightened. When that happens, they tend to become cranky. There is real truth in the old aphorism that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.

    And the NRA? Perhaps a more likely explanation for its success is that it is one of the oldest civil rights organizations in America that actually does enjoy grassroots support across all demographic and political groups. It uses the funds it gains from its willing supporters properly and frugally, it provides important services, not only to its members but to society at large, it does not lie (though I’ve very occasionally seen NRA representatives use intemperate language), presents its arguments with facts and logic, and focuses on defending the Second Amendment, a fundamental human right, rather than engaging in a variety of related and unrelated issues. And it does all of this very well.

    But then again, if you believe that all evil in the world may be laid at the feet of America, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and WalMart, it’s not much of a stretch to include the NRA, is it?

  9. It has nothing to do with facts or reasonable arguments, never has and never will. It’s because the antis are losing politically right now. They are forced to take a defensive posture out of necessity and they know it. It has nothing to do with our side being “right”, that’s just a side benefit.

    You are absolutely wrong that politics isn’t war. Yes it is. War/confrontation can be a good thing. Antis/Leftists view war/confrontation as a means to achieve their political goals. Most people, and virtually all gunnies I’ve met, are unaccustomed to these tactics. When confronted with a problem, ex. criminal misuse of firearms, gunnies who attempt to be reasonable are verbally assaulted by the antis, their characters and motives are impugned. Because of their own sense of decency, gunnies get put on the defensive by these tactics and its downhill from there on. It rarely occurs to gunnies to question the motivation behind the antis. Gunnies are usually too polite or gullible. You’re even doing it by suggesting we should humanize ourselves to the antis. No.

    Our side will ultimately win by smartly organizing gunnies and using confrontational politics just like the antis do. Confrontation can be positive. Guns kill kids? BS. Guns Save Lives! Antis/Leftists cannot deal with confident opponents who won’t be put on the defensive. This doesn’t mean using gutter tactics and name calling. It does mean challenging their methods and motives and often their sanity.

  10. Jacob,

    I don’t think I’m not suggesting what you think. When I say politics isn’t war, I don’t mean that we don’t confront them, or fight them. But in war enemies are dehumanized, and soldiers are conditioned, because you don’t want your people hesitating and getting killed. My argument was that we have no need to dehumanize the antis in order to defeat them, in fact, we can defeat them by being who we are, and making sure everyone sees that. Let them be the ones trying to dehumanize us. One thing I’ve discovered is that it’s very difficult to get up to work every day when you know what you’re doing is a lie. If gun owners really aren’t knuckle draggers, well, that changes everything doesn’t it? If we’re not all shills of the NRA, who are they really fighting? If the NRA is really made up of a lot of individuals who have some legitimate concerns, what makes them get up and go to Brady headquarters in the morning?

    What I’m arguing is, if we keep going down this road, we’ll shift the debate onto terms that are more favorable to us, and less favorable to them. That might force them to actually have to disagree with us, rather than demonizing us and our guns. If all we do is demonize them back, we get nowhere in the debate, and the same old shit continues as it has been.

  11. I don’t disagree with you Mike. But the trick is, it’s very easy to feel that way when your only exposure is to people that agree with you, and you have no exposure to the people you want to “fix”. Elitism, to some degree, is only possible when you don’t know the people you put yourself above. I’ve heard more than a few times “Well, you’re not a crazy NRA guy, but a lot of those guys are just nuts!” It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. If they knew 3 other NRA members who they didn’t think were crazy, that’s one person who’s not going into the voting booth and thinking about gun control. That’s one more person that message won’t resonate with.

    The reason I think this is an important message in the blogosphere is because we’re (readers, commenters, and bloggers) all, for the most part, pretty intelligent and educated. We tend to move in circles with political elites more than typical. We don’t fit the stereotypes people have in their minds of gun owners, and there are tens of thousands, possible hundreds of thousands of us. If were were all “out there” being good citizens and making good arguments, the anti-gun movement would be finished.

  12. Here again, you’re using your standards of morality in an attempt to understand your opponents behavior. You might find it difficult to lie day in and day out but others do not. Dogs bark, birds fly and antigunners lie. It is well within their ethical standards to do so. Accept it. Any success that comes our way will be greeted by more lies and personal attacks from the antis, the goal of which is to intimidate our side and cause us to stop.

    I was very clear that confrontation doesn’t mean mudslinging. It does mean challenging their methods and motivation. Here’s a perfect example of positive confrontation over the antis latest buzz, microstamping:

    Confrontational? Yes. Demonization? No.

  13. Teach more people to shoot. Get them to enjoy the sport and buy a gun. Then they have something to lose next time the gun grabbers make a move. It might mean getting out of your comfort zone. It might cost you some bucks. BUT it does work. Ask your friends out to the range. Ask their kids. Take the Scout troop. Take the Girl Scout troop. Above all have a good safe time with them.

  14. RKV – I think most of us agree that is ought to be our #1 priority. That goes hand-in-hand with Sebastian’s concept of “humanizing” gun owners. Clearly, more people who are comfortable with guns will equal more positive media coverage. Of course, we _are_ making inroads into the media, even though it is only baby steps. But I can’t help but think as the mainstream media catches up with the “new media”, we will eventually fall into lock-step. The online pro-gun grassroots is all about openness and honesty to the nth-degree… even beyond what the NRA can comprehend. This is confusing to the anti-gun lobby, because they are only used to doing battle with the NRA. They seem to be learning, but unfortunately for them, we have the high ground in this new battlefield.

  15. Clearly you guys don’t understand leftists / collectivists. In the world they inhabit reality is socially constructed. What this means is they’re not, in their own minds, lying when they say `guns cause crime.’ They’re not invoking some kind of sympathetic magic. They actually believe reality is entirely constructed by what you believe (or are told to believe). In a leftist’s world, wishing really does make it so. This is, obviously, pathological. It’s magical thinking in its purest sense. But it isn’t quite that simple… because in the world of human affairs and politics, `reality’ really is constructed by propaganda and indoctrination. The fact that actual real empirically observable events don’t match political reality isn’t the point but it’s orthogonal to what leftists are talking about and believe in. The bottom line is that some people cannot be swayed by reason because their arguments are not based on reason. We can only hope that there are more good and rational people than there are leftists / collectivists. People who understand that there is such thing as innate human nature which the fantasies of collectivists don’t even begin to match. People who can see instead of believe. If they’re aren’t more good people than bad we’re screwed anyway.

  16. John, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. I think that’s true for many rank and file antis/leftists and media talking heads. However, the people who run and fund outfits like the Bradys, VPC, etc know full well they’re pushing lies. It is ethically acceptable for them to do so in order to advance their agenda.

  17. FWIW, John and Jacob have not the foggiest idea how leftists in general think. but i won’t disabuse them in any detail; partly because that’d start an off topic flamewar in these comments that wouldn’t achieve anything, and partly because if i actually managed to, they’d stop being unintentionally hilarious. i’d rather point and laugh at their silly notions.

  18. John, I’ve talked to many leftists. There are certainly some that have poorly developed views, but you can say the same thing for folks on the right. In fact, most people, regardless of political affiliation tend to have poorly thought out views. But there are a lot of smart lefties that have well developed points of view that deserve to be taken seriously.

  19. John: I don’t think you give folks like Paul Helmke enough credit. He’s a smart guy. It just so happened that the political cause that pays to keep his lights on is the one contrary to ours. He’s a paid lobbyist, and as such, he has to use whatever political means necessary to win.

    Which leads me to Jacob: I don’t think they are lying, or even “think” they are lying. They have taken up a valid political stance (albeit one that I abhor) and they are fighting within the confines of our political system. Unfortunately, this is a political system where propaganda and heavy distortions of the truth are held up next to the plain truth for comparison in the eyes of the public. The Brady Campaign, VPC, et. al. are very good with spin, which is the only reason their causes still exist.

  20. I don’t think they are just doing it for the money. No one takes a non-profit salary if they don’t believe in what they are doing. But I don’t think they sit up a night and think “How can we get back at those evil gun bloggers” either. I think what they believe, is they are fighting to save people’s lives, like the folks you see on their new “newswatch” blog feature. It’s easy to convince yourself that folks like us might not be the problem, but there are enough problems to warrant further restrictions.

  21. My argument in regards to humanization is that, well, the more people anti-gun folks see that don’t fit the stereotype, the more they might question whether they are doing the right thing. People here might find it hard to believe that anti-gun people can be brought around, but they can. You may never make them pro-gun, but you can probably convince them there’s not anything wrong with people owning them, if that’s what they choose.

  22. “People here might find it hard to believe that anti-gun people can be brought around, but they can.” Precisely. I’m sure some can’t, but most of the anti-gun Suzie Soccer Moms out there CAN BE. It takes both humanization, as Sebastian says, and actual hands-on experience like RKV says. What’s cool is, the two things work together quite nicely. Sometimes you have to convince someone that gun owners aren’t knuckle-dragging rednecks before you can convince them to go to the range. Sometimes you have take someone to the range to convince them that gun owners aren’t knuckle-dragging rednecks. Sometimes, you’ll hit a brick wall, but I’d wager that most fence-sitters and even most antis can be brought around if we espouse the level-headedness shown by Sebastian.

  23. I understand your argument about humanization, I just don’t agree with it. You’re still holding onto a notion that somehow the reasonableness of our arguments will win the day. You have to stop using your morality to try and understand the behavior of our opponents. They don’t share it. Once you do that you will achieve enlightenment.

  24. Some people who adopt leftist agendas do it for all sorts of reasons that are much more to do with personal advancement than any real belief in anything, sure. Some people who have amazingly stupid ideas are extremely intelligent, sure. But the reason lefties get so rabid and crazy is because, however cleverly they argue and however sophisticated their thinking, cognitive dissonance kicks in when they are confronted with reality versus their belief systems. Of course, in may ways the same thing could be said of a lot of people you could style as right wing. But it’s ridiculous to pretend I don’t understand lefties – I’ve had that politics rammed down my throat my entire life.

  25. Sebastian and Jacob,
    I think you’re talking past each other. I think we can all agree than reasonableness and humanization will never matter a whit to the Brady bunch and VPC and their ilk. However, it’s the key to winning over the general population.

    I had a friend who accepted the ‘guns are bad, m’kay’ rhetoric, because its what he heard from his parents and on the news. Once I explained the safety rules and common mechanical safety features, his fear was gone. I haven’t gotten him to the range yet, but I think it’s only a matter of time.

  26. The phrase I believe is that politics is war by other means. Beware of being too reasonable. That is the methods that is used to create all these gun control restrictions since 1968. It is for the saftey of our schools that guns are banned. The safety of our parks where we have children is the reason for the ban. It is for public saftey that DC banned guns. The ironic thing is that DC banned guns in 1976 during the bicentennial of our founding

  27. The opinions of the general population don’t mean a thing. The antis represent a tiny fringe of society. They have been able to move their agenda with a small number of savvy people who understand how the legislative and political processes work. The vast majority of gunnies do not understand this and spent far too much time fussing about other things like public opinion. Very rarely do gunnies put any effort into understanding exactly how the antis have advanced their agenda or how to advanced a pro-gun agenda. They think being “right” on the issues is enough. It’s not.

  28. One of the most revealing insights into leftist thought is `The Day the Earth Stood Still.’ Go watch it and think about the `perfect’ human society Ktaatu represents. They had programmed `perfect morality’ into a race of incorruptible, super-powerful, robot policemen to make sin impossible. They had, in fact, abandoned their adulthood, even perhaps their own humanity, for eternal childhood and the perfection of the machine. Leftists have abandoned their humanity because of their own self-loathing. Of course, that’s something a leftist can never really understand because they think they’re better than everyone else for denying their own humanity and believing that their perfect system of living is the result of their perfect understanding.

  29. you’re seriously trying to use a 1950’s sci-fi B-movie as an object lesson into “leftist thought” of today?! i swear, John, i could not make you up if i got drunk and stoned and tried with all my might. keep it up!

  30. In general terms I would say that the antis managed to forward their agenda to the general public and their representatives by using the emotional reaction of revulsion due to emotional public events. Assassination of JFK and MLK are good examples. If they presented their agenda as not endangering the general populace hobbies and personal arms then there was no public rejection. NRA during the 60’s was an organization that membership comprised of mostly hunters and instructors or serious hobbyist at target shooting. As long as those hobbies were not affected then people had no objection to the making illegal mail order sales or interstate sales to people without a FFL. These are just examples.

    After Columbine the reaction was that there should not be guns allowed in school and this was after years of public announcements indicating that handguns were dangerous and the emotional reaction turned against guns. If you had a child in school in those years most parents were against guns. Just because they had assimilated the general idea that guns are used only for killing.

    Now the strong political action taken in state legislatures on CCW has made a significant difference. This was based on decades of degradation of civil society and a general anger at the level of crime. Other measures were 3 strikes and out and harsher penalties for crimes. It increased prison time and locked up more dangerous criminals.

    State legislatures tend to run legislation in almost herd mentality. Once one state does it other states think it may be a good idea. People fed up with the prevailing idea that criminals were getting off scot-free and the fact that criminals seemed more likely to kill than in the past. Now the anti guns forces fought long and hard against Florida CCW. But after it was done thanks to the effort of those in Florida legislatures, other states decided to try it also. Texas instituted CCW and after that was in place and the surprising fact that CCW holders were more law abiding than then general population even, that representatives that were against the idea came around and said it was a good idea. Now this all happened under a time that had more Republican governors and southern democrats that were always pro gun. In the US House of Representative John Dingell stopped more gun legislation then most. He is a Democrat and somewhat liberal but not on gun issues. I am sure that NRA works closely with him. The NRA also became more resistance to gun restrictions and more gun rights friendly. Wayne La Pierre has been very effective to push pro gun laws and stop anti gun efforts in the states.

    Even Maryland the unrepentant liberal state has had senators and representatives in the state legislature that block gun restrictions. The Attorney General Joseph Curran was very anti gun and he was there from 1987 to 2007. Our dear Nancy Pelosi is related to him. Every governor except Erlich was anti gun. But the representatives from the rural areas, most of them Democrats since Republicans cannot get elected in Maryland, managed to stop most of these efforts. Some did succeed but the worst were stopped.

    In a very short time over 30 states have enacted CCW and Alaska has eliminated the need entirely. This is very fast. The results that come from that have had a lot to do with deconstructing the myths that guns are bad and only used for killing. Since those successes have spur more efforts to keep gun rights and not to agree to any more “reasonable laws” Thirty years of reality have shown that the DC gun ban was totally ineffective and MD and VA have jealousy protected their own ability to not be stampeded by the DC local government.

    Two emotionally shocking events have occurred that supported the gun rights agenda. 9/11 was a big one. That really jolted people out their complacency and made them think of their own personal protection in ways they never thought before. The second event was Katrina. The absolute lawlessness that was shown on the TV screen showed people that they absolutely must have guns for self-protection. The fact that on TV shoed that police from other states were taking the guns from good folks but that the bad guys were able to loot without any police action. This really got the lesson imprinted that in a disaster; do not depend on the police to protect you. That is better to have the means to protect yourself and family.

    So back to Jacob’s point, that is better to have the organizations to lobby our representatives and have representatives that are pro gun elected and in place in the states and Congress. But the background of public accepted opinion about guns is important.
    The 1994 Assault Weapon Bill really galvanized the hobbyists and some hunters since they realized these were only cosmetic changes and that their shotguns and guns were in danger. The NRA really pushed the agenda and the Internet started to take off. More important local organizations were forming and with email were able to warn people about particular bills and larger numbers would show up in the state houses when bad bills were debated. NRA helped by the email alerts and so more people were advised of a dangerous bill and would go down to the capital and lobby against it.

    So Jacob is correct that small but active people can have a disapportionate effect. Moving the levers of government can be done with less people. But the background of agreement needs to be there also to help it along. The surprising effect of the Bush administration and the Patriot Act made a lot of people on the political left rethink their idea of gun ownership. They started to think that the government could work against them and want to retain the right of firearms.

    Now that many MSM and newspapers have opened comment sections, the numerous pro gun people have been able to vocalize their opinions. Since the numbers of these comments have been overwhelming pro gun with well reasoned arguments, the MSM is starting to realize that maybe guns are not bad and giving more balanced stories.

    Virginia Tech was another pivotal moment when the failure of gun control pushed by the media on ABC, NBC, and CBS immediately after the event and the lack of affirmative response showed the changing environment. Students started thinking that if that happened in my class. I do not want to cower and wait to be shot. The gun control groups tried to use this emotional event like they did Columbine but now people were started to realize that these gun controls laws have been ineffective and maybe that the idea of arming oneself may be credible. The fact that Heller happened to be argued and won on the Circuit Court and then Supreme Court has educated a lot of people and they are starting to question the mantra that guns are bad and only good for killing people.

    Politicians are now gun shy since Bill Clinton said Al Gore lost due to be pro gun control. Now this is an issue that politician want to run from. Please see the amusing spectacle of anti gun folks like Obama and Hillary saying they now respect the 2 nd Amendment.

    Events and pro gun reasoned arguments resonate more in the public and more people are open to the idea. But organization is more important to stop states like NJ to enact gun control laws. I saw that dozens of states debated the micro stamping this year and I think this is a last ditch effort by pro gun groups and politicians before Heller has been decided.

  31. Sure microstamping. There’s no public support for it anywhere, certainly not NY, yet it’s popped up in at least 13 states and CA passed it. Why is that? NRA has over a quarter of a million members in CA. Were there a quarter of a million + 1 antis in CA writing/calling their reps. ? No. Despite no public support and the NRA having all those members, NRA was blown right out of the water. Why? Because the small number of savvy people pushing it, Mayor Bloomberg, the Legal Community Against Violence, and a handful of professional politicians, know how to move an agenda and don’t spend any time worrying about public opinion. Same thing in NY. With no public support, who exactly is pushing it? A politican and a couple of professional antigun activists. Who is their target audience, the general public? No, more politicians in the State Senate.

    Another example, the .50 cal ban in CA. I remember when it passed and Cam talked about. There were 7 people in the CA legislature that day lobbying for it: 2 went around visiting legislators and 5 more were eating in the cafeteria. 7 antis verses 250,000 NRA members and the NRA got spanked.

    The NRA AM moved to Louisville after Columbus passed their gun ban. There was no public support for that either. The only people pushing it were Toby Hoover and the one or two others from the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. So Toby and her fax machine verses thousands resident gun owners and the millions in revenue from the NRA convention and what happens, Toby wins by a knockout.

    This goes on all the time. You’re in PA. Did you see thousands of people in Philadelphia demanding the City pass their gun laws?

  32. CA was the first to get the microstamping and the liberal environment elected more anti gun politicians. I called seven times to Arnold against this bill and he still signed it. After that more folks were aware and started to fight it. It has failed, I believe, every state since, but NY is still thinking. Rep Ball stopped that I believe because the time allowed people to get to the politicians and lobby against this.

  33. So who is electing all the politicians who are voting for this stuff? If it were just a matter of dueling activists, I’d be able to own my own fully automatic MP5 by now. Public opinion does matter, because it’s the public who puts politicians in office who vote for microstamping. It may not have been the people of New York pushing for it, but the gun control people found something that sounds like a great idea to an ignorant public and ignorant politicians who either know nothing of gun ownership, or look down on it. At the very least, it doesn’t affect them, or anyone they know, so they will acquiesce. You can’t completely ignore public opinion, because it’s the wall that limits what you can accomplish.

  34. And on that note, the reason that LA Times article, and it turns out it also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, is so subversive is because it’s appearing in a media market where people have almost no exposure to the idea that gun owners are anything other than police or criminals, and maybe actors for LA. The only other image they have of gun owners are ignorant rural people who drink beer while hunting, and then go home to hump their cousin.

  35. I think the question should be is it better to get this in the states or federal. I think the states since that is where it affects the people directly. If we are good on the state level the federal will follow. Though having a Prsident who is not for gun control is very important too, since that sets a tone to possible federal legislation

  36. RAH, exactly four people were involved in Ball’s sabotaging that microstamping dog and pony show: me, Ball, our NRA/NSSF rep. and his partner in the NSSF and I wasn’t even in NY at the time. After arriving in Louisville Thursday I sent out an e-mail alert about the demo which the NRA rep. got. The NRA rep. contacted me directly and forwarded the note onto his NSSF partner who just so happened to be at the Makers Mark pub that evening. Meanwhile, the NRA rep. contacted Ball who already knew what was going on because he’s also subscribed to our alert list. Monday rolls around and the three of them show up at the range and the antis hopes of bullshitting microstamping through the legislature went down the drain for the year. Public opinion? Will of the people? Hardly.

  37. I agree with you because the anti tries to circumvent the normal debate process. How did you find out about the dog and pony show? That is a perfect example of pinpoint precision to get the right people to the right place and the right time.

  38. The public doesn’t elect politicians, organized special interests do. They provide the money, manpower and votes. Go look through disclosure reports from the board of elections and you and can tell who is effectively running the show.

    Politics is dueling activists. There’s a lot few antis, but they are a lot better at what they do. That’s why you don’t have an MP5. Bob Ricker may just be one man, but he’s a hell of a lot better at what he does than you, Bitter, everyone on your blog roll and just about everybody who has ever read one of those blogs all put together.

  39. Jacob,
    That bolsters Sebastian’s argument that we need to be more active in local politics. To personally know our leglistors maybe have their numbers on our cell phones. Visit them at their offices, get on first name basis. Know the clerks who put things onn agendas. That type of stuff.

  40. Absolutely get involved in the selection and election processes. That’s the only way to be taken seriously.

  41. Recently, I mailed out to my friends (gun owners and others, i.e. liberals) and laid it out for them on the Leading Causes of Death in the USA in the USA in 2005. (Latest year with full figures.)

    The bottom line was that of the 2.4M folks who died that year, 57% of them succumbing to heart disease, cancer, strokes and diabetes.

    Less than ONE per-cent died because of firearms (all variations – accidents, homocide, police and suicide).

    I then, not very tactfully, suggested that they could better invest their efforts and monies by educating the public on the dangers of cheeseburgers, tobacco, alcohol and candy.

    MUCH better bang (heh!) for the buck to attack the 57% rather than the 1%.

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