Wow, They Really Are The GOA of Gun Control

Tom Diaz of VPC has some advice for his movement that if you took out the word “control” could have come from Larry Pratt:

I am sick and tired of the incrementalists in the so-called “gun control movement,” the strategic geniuses and direct-mail fundraisers who fed the shark by bits and pieces for years until it ate their movement.  Many who ran off the beach now mock the ones who stayed.  It’s a dead issue, you understand, and those who fled have more important things to blog, twitter, opine, and bloviate about.

Larry can feel your pain Tom, I’m sure.  Even if it’s from the other side of the coin.  Of course, how many legislative victories does VPC have?  Oh, I suppose some credit can be taken for coming up with the “assault weapons” bogyman.  But wasn’t that incrementalism?  Meant to get the public used to real gun bans?  The 1994 ban itself was built on top of another incremental victory with the National Firearms Act, then the Federal Firearms Act a few years after that, which was further built upon with the Gun Control Act of 1968.  HCI (now the Brady Campaign) had a string of legislative victories in the early 90s, and if it wasn’t for the election upset in 1994, they would have really screwed us.

But I can’t tell you how relieved I am to see this poison appearing on the gun control side of the issue too.  Keep holding out for that one big win, Tom.  And we’ll keep incrementally chipping away at the regime your cause built up over the 20th century.

17 thoughts on “Wow, They Really Are The GOA of Gun Control”

  1. I can actually understand where he’s coming from when he’s speaking about people being involved, and educating themselves. But I think it’s more of a problem for them than it is for us. We’ve all come across gun owners who believe in the Second Amendment, but who won’t do either. I think it’s difficult for them to build a network of serious activists out of people motivated by tragedy. But even that doesn’t seem to play for them as well as it did us. Suzanna Hupp, for instance, watched her parents get gunned downed in Luby’s, and ran for office and got TX concealed carry passed. What has Carolyn McCarthy done? It has to be frustrating for them. I’d be sympathetic if they weren’t trying to destroy the Bill of Rights.

  2. It’s sorta like the anti war movement of the 70’s. I read a thesis years ago that presumed that the anti war movement died cause people realized that Government is gonna do what Government wants, and people growing up in the late 60’s realized this during college in the 70’s, and thus concluded that their time would be better off getting laid and partying……..hence adding to sexual revolution.

    And by Tom’s own admission, the anti gun crowd is following this same trend. But I don’t see any increase in sexual activity due to this, just people living their lives.

  3. Lots of points to make about this. I”ll try to elaborate on my own blog later but the high points are:

    1) It’s tough to maintain motivation for something dwells on the negative. Staying mad at someone and actively pursuing that anger for more than a few days/weeks can only be done by a few rare, and perhaps sick, people. Gun control is like that. Gun rights is about enjoying the use and the security of guns. The trophy on the mantel for winning the league championship, the deer in the freezer, and the telling of hunting/competition/Boomershoot stories will always give you a pleasant warm feeling. Gun grabbers don’t have that. They only have blood to dance in.
    2) The NRA has millions of members and LaPierre makes million(s?) of dollars. The VPC doesn’t really have anything to offer a member if they had one. La Pierre’s personal income is probably greater than the VPCs entire annual budget. That has to be demoralizing to the point of extreme depression and anger.
    3) The Heller decision popped the balloon and exposed their long standing lie about there not being an individual RKBA. VPC had staked out the position of a complete ban on handguns and anything that wasn’t exclusively a tool for hunting (those would have been addressed later). Heller put nails in that coffin and buried it. Their position is completely untenable now. They have to redefine who they are and what they hope to accomplish. Diaz now needs to find a reason for his existence after being told by the highest court in the land the reason he had for the last decade (or more) was invalid. That’s got to hurt.

    In a way I feel sorry for him. I feel his pain so to speak. But I still think he should be prosecuted.

  4. While I agree that GOA’s “all or nothing” stance isn’t helpful, I don’t like the “light footprint” policy of the GOP with regards to gun rights either. (I realize that this is the fault of the Republican Party, not the NRA).

    By “light footprint”–and, yes, I am deliberately using the same phrase that the Bush II administration used to describe their early Iraq strategy–I mean the policy of, well, mostly the same people, in which they allowed gun rights supporters to advance quietly, largely by just not fighting against them as strongly as the Clinton administration had, while still keeping them at arms’ length.

    (It is rather embarassing now, knowing that even such a timid strategy was able to make the Democrats run and hide from such a fundamentally un-American cause as gun control, to remember just how close Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole came to actually flushing gun rights down the toilet. The gun control groups are a real albatross around the necks of the Democrats).

    So, considering that the “light footprint” strategy has gotten us Heller and the end of the AWB, why then do I disagree with it? Partly, of course, it’s a belief in honesty in government, and also resentment that a gun rights movement which is considerably more popular than the GOP should be treated as if it were an embarassment.

    More to the point, however, it’s the people who have died.

    The situation right now is untenable. We have relatively liberal (in the correct usage of the word) gun laws, but not enough people carrying guns. As such, we have numerous mass murders which could be easily stopped by one person carrying, which nevertheless result in extreme carnage because NO ONE at the scene is armed.

    Obviously, the first thing that needs to change is the “gun free zones.” I know that there are some libertarians who dogmatically defend the right of businesses to ban guns within their doors. The problem is that we don’t live in a libertarian utopia, and the decisions of those businessmen result in an increased chance of everyone losing his 2nd Amendment rights. Furthermore, the businesses aren’t acting as private owners anyway; rather, they are knuckling under to left-wing lawyers who threaten to use the power of the state against them.

    Another thing that should happen, though, is elected officials–presumably mostly Republican–getting out front in the gun rights debate. Not in their usual way, which is to find a mob and run to the front of it, but rather in the sense of pushing the gun rights issue all the time and openly celebrating their ties to the gun rights movement. Few today criticize the “pandering” of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to the “special interest” of the black civil rights movement. Gun rights is the premiere civil rights issue of today, and our candidates don’t need to be even-handed about it.

    One final thing we need to do: DON’T IGNORE D.C. To extend the Iraq analogy, the 2nd Amendment movement has invaded D.C. with the intent of freeing it. We won the opening battle in Heller against the “Baathists,” the D.C. government and the lame gun control “movement.” However, if we just allow D.C. to rewrite its laws to pretend to conform to Heller, the continuing mass murder in that city will be blamed on liberal gun laws, and the “jihadists”–the Obama administration and the left wing of the Democrat Party–will enter the fight. If that happens, we will have our hands full just keeping the rights we have, let alone getting rid of existing gun control abominations like the Chicago ban.

  5. “All or nothing”, as I elaborated previously on this blog, is a deliberate misrepresentation of the GOA position. GOA has, time and time again, offered support to incrementalist bills that went ignored by the NRA.

  6. No compromise means, I believe, that they don’t want to cede more ground to the other guys.

    But there’s the thing:

    Do you genuinely think the only positions possible on this issue is the NRA’s glacially-slow speed and OH GOD WE WANT IT ALL AND WE WANT IT NOW?

  7. There’s only one speed. It’s dependent on the votes in Congress and the 50 state legislatures. Something I am fairly certain GOA has no influence over.

  8. “I can actually understand where he’s coming from when he’s speaking about people being involved, and educating themselves.”

    Heh, that’s what got me to switch sides from an anti-gunner to the gunblogger I am today. I read up what an “Assault Weapon” was, and compared it to my uncle’s deer-gun. I learned the difference between Semi-auto and full auto (nope I had NO idea in my youth, and when I asked my Anti-Gun Dad what it was, he didn’t know either).

    There is a reason why groups like the VPC and Brady push to confuse “Assault Weapons” and Military arms, totally ignore personal defense, and talk about Gun Crime, rather than Violent Crime.

    Education is the LAST thing they want!

  9. Sebastian, what about compensation beyond salary? Bonuses for example. And sometime, when we are face-to-face, I’ll tell you about other compensation I have heard rumors of.

  10. There’s not “only one speed”. The political climate is mutable and ever-flowing, and you know it better than me. And the NRA, unlike the GOA, *is* capable of influencing it.

  11. Yes, but only to a degree. If the implication is that they are sandbagging, what evidence do you have of that? What politicians that aren’t voting NRA’s way on, say, the DC gun vote issue are vulnerable. Which ones do you think might be able to be successfully targeted in 2010 if they don’t play ball?

  12. Here’s what I think should be done.

    I think there should be more educational material dispensed, both to politicians and the general public, about current gun laws, about what they do and about how they negatively affect honest people and law-abiding gun owners. We are not running for re-election. We can afford to say the truth.

    Only a year ago, talk about how modern laws unfairly disarm certain mentally ill people (veterans suffering from various degrees of PTSD) would be considered tinfoil crap by most. But today, NRA leadership has succesfully gathered a coalition of veterans and gun owners and made the issue mainstream.

    Consider it an exercise in memetic warfare.

    A long-term educational effort can be conducted – because it is not political, probably even with non-ILA money, depending on the wording – to explain how the Hughes Amendment (can you guess what my favorite guns are by now) is bad. We’re not in a hurry and we’re not going anywhere. If we can persuade a small quantity of people that it is bed, then we can provide pressure on that point where it could not previously provided.

    On the legislative front, perhaps it is a viable strategy to engage in research to identify what I call ‘linchpin provisions’ (seemingly minor points of gun law which, when eliminated, would make a sweeping positive effect on the lives of ordinary gun owners, like the legislation prohibiting steelcore pistol ammo or the sporting purpose provisions), and then persuading lawmakers that are already loyal to us to insert amendments that would eliminate those into existing bills, in the same way that the Hughes Amendment rode in on the Firearms OWners’ Protection Act

    In the short-to-medium term (4-6 years) this would allow us to improve the lives of ordinary gun owners while creating a situation where more people own guns and are educated in the state of current laws. Finally, in the medium-to-long term (eight to ten years) we would be capable of passing a bill of the same quality and importance as FOPA or the Gun Control Act, except working in our favor – expanding freedoms rather reducing them.

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