I think I am probably on safe ground arguing we can likely muster the political power necessary to kill any new gun control laws in Congress as a result of the Arizona tragedy. But I do think this will affect us in two fairly important ways:
- You can bet this has put guns front and center in the minds of the federal judiciary, and not in a good way. At best I would classify most federal judges as luke warm to the idea of gun rights, and probably more realistically the average would be mild hostility to the idea. This isn’t going to help us, going forward in the courts, that one of their own was shot by a nut.
- It probably just got harder to pass constitutional carry in more states. No politician is going to want a law he voted for under the microscope the next time some whack job goes off the deep end with a gun. It makes absolutely no different that those laws will do nothing to stop someone intent on murder, or that police will have zero ability to detect and stop preemptively. What matters is politicians don’t like feeling embarrassed in public.
Those are the two main effects this will have, as I see it. This hasn’t made the pendulum turn, I don’t think, but it has taken some of the wind out of our sails. Our opponents can probably obtain some sense of satisfaction that this has likely managed to slow our agenda. I guess the real question is, is that worth the lives of five people from their point of view?
I would encourage everyone to be on guard and communicating with lawmakers. If the pendulum doesn’t swing on this incident, it is only because we made it so.
12 thoughts on “Two Ways This Affects Us”
Great post Sebastian.
Here in NJ, we have several bills in the legislature for concealed carry, as well as the SAF / ANJRPC lawsuit.
We need to be on the phone and sending email encouraging our lawmakers.
Has anyone looked at what happened after Columbine and Pearl HS and gun legislation with the passage of a decade? Could probably make an educated guess as to what is in the works with that kind of data.
Actually, if anything, I know it sounds like a sick way to put it–but I think Columbine helped our side. It brought all of the ghouls out of the network, got Hollywood types openly advocating for confiscation, and pissed off even lukewarm gun owners. The result was the S&W boycott and the defeat of Al Gore.
As to what needs to be done–we need to start contributing to the reelection of the AZ legislators who voted for constitutional carry ASAP.
We also need to be addressing the problem of deinstitutionalization, just not just to protect the rest of us from having to live in nation that becomes a low-grade mental hospital (we don’t trust anyone with sharp objects), but because of the suffering that deinstitutionalization has brought to the mentally ill and their families.
I love your work, Clayton, but I have to disagree with you on this one. You are assuming that institutionalization will work like it did in the 1950’s. More likely it will end up being a Damocles’ sword held over the head of those who “insanely” advocate gun ownership, or civil disobedience, or criticism of Democrats and their policies.
It’s analogous to Obama thinking his “stimulus” package would be the next Hoover Dam or TVA, and then finding that union rules today make those things virtually impossible. The people involved in committing insane people won’t be well-meaning professionals, but rather vicious political hacks with an itch to lock up their political opponents. Basically, it will be the Brady bill (the current one banning speech, that is), without the benefit of a vote by Congress or legislatures.
I know that reinstitutionalization has been a pet cause of some conservatives for decades, but in this case the conservatives are wrong.
There are ways you can safeguard against abuse. I mean, if the government gets that bad, they can find a reason to throw you in jail regardless. There should need to be a dangerousness finding on the part of the person being committed, or clear evidence they can’t care for themselves. I would say just having bizarre ideas probably doesn’t rise to that level.
I wouldn’t assume that many judges are anti gunners. My father was a judge for 30 years and carried every day. He was his own security detail. Judge Roll was an avid shooter.
In the end, the middle of the political curve appears to be taking a “stuff happens, life goes on” view of this. Which is good for freedom, IMHO.
I’m less concerned about abuse in the sense of government imprisoning people for corrupt reasons – ‘I don’t like his views – throw him into prison!’ – but more about an expansion of who is imprisoned.
There is not a hard definition of who is mentally ill, outside of a narrow range of disease that are caused by detetable chemical imbalances. Today, we have a genuine basis for imprisoning people – ‘danger to himself or others’.
If we broaden this, how soon those of us who are ‘eccentric’, ‘strange’, or arouse the suspicions of neighbors, get put away?
“I mean, if the government gets that bad, they can find a reason to throw you in jail regardless.”
It’s not “The Government” you need to worry about; after all, it won’t be Congress or the Attorney General having people committed. It’d be judges or county prosecutors who are catching flack from local bloggers.
It’s not the 537 tyrants 500 miles away I worry about, but the hundred petty ones only fifty-odd blocks south of me.
Tam already won the internet a long time ago, so I guess I have to award her the diamond cluster.
Big fish in small ponds close by scare me more often than the ones in DC
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