Effects of Civil Unrest on Guns Laws

Generally speaking, civil unrest is good for opponents of the right to keep and bear arms. The National Firearms Act came largely as a result of a perception of increasing lawlessness, and the Gun Control Act of 1968 most definitely came about after some serious civil unrest.

But Uncle notes that permits are up, and we’re looking at ammo shortages amid new fears of civil unrest. This raises a question. Has the dynamic changed? Is the public response to threats of civil unrest going to result in more gun owners and fewer people calling for strict gun control? Has the civil unrest pendulum swung in the other direction from what it was in the late 1960s? If that is the case, I’d really like to understand the driving factor that created this change in attitudes.

16 thoughts on “Effects of Civil Unrest on Guns Laws”

  1. In the most basic terms I would say that it is because the average person doesn’t trust the government at all, and they don’t expect the police to do anything either.

  2. I think police budgets being cut and the bleed or lead tactics of the new media are to blame!
    I sure do think that the New Black Panthers, Sharpton and even Mayor Nutter spouting off hasn’t helped either!

    I just ordered 1000 more rounds of my 2 preferred ammos!

  3. I am not sure this bout of upcoming civil unrest, if it even happens which I have serious doubts about, will actually be like the 30s and the 60s. Here is why: In the 30s it was lawlessness of individuals and groups of individuals thumbing their nose at mostly the federals (this is back when we still had a healthy skepticism of federal power) enforcing a wildly unpopular mallum prohibitum law and a large number of people agreed that booze should not have been banned.

    In the 60s it was angst over the war against red people which most thought was over the top, at least by the end which was when the vast majority of the war related unrest occurred. Remember, the red scare was mostly over by the time we engaged in Vietnam. The other significant source of unrest was in the black civil rights movement which actually started off the period of civil unrest in this country as far back as the 50s but again this movement had a lot of popular support.

    Now, fast forward to 2012. What movement has popular support and can sustain a period of civil unrest? The give me more government services for free crowd? Because I don’t think the stay out of my healthcare decisions crowd is going to lose at the supreme court, so the bulk of civil unrest may come from what is tantamount to large scale advocation of theft and begging.

    That is a very different underlying cause than the previous two and one I don’t believe will garner much popular support. If it had, the occupy movement may have actually not petered out like it did.

  4. “If that is the case, I’d really like to understand the driving factor that created this change in attitudes.”

    The internet.

  5. I will point to a second angle of this. The fact that we’re seeing a surge in “women” who want to own firearms.

    This stems largely in part from the fact that many women are remaining “independent”. Not relying on a “man” to be their protection, but also being intelligent enough to realize they need some form of protection.

    And the one form that equalizes is “Colt” (and kin).

  6. Errr, aren’t you comparing reactions to actual violence (NFA) and civil unrest (GCA) to putative perceptions that we might be headed for more of the same? That us, until and unless these potentials for violence are realized we won’t know how people and the government will react.

    To wildly speculate, to the extent you’re already well armed you might not care so much about measures that will make it harder for people behind the curve to arm themselves, i.e. the “I’ve got mine” attitude.

  7. An old mentor of mine told me he watched his farmer-dad give food and supplies to itinerant beggars during the Depression. Years later, as the dad watched American social ethics and restraint deteriorate, he told my mentor, next time there’s a depression, they won’t beg, they won’t ask; they will TAKE….

  8. My guess? People have now seen dozens of examples about what goes on in periods of civil unrest broadcast to them live via the television and, in later years, the internet, and have realized that the police will almost certainly be way too damn busy and possibly completely overwhelmed and won’t be of any use to them. They realize they may almost certainly be on their own, with only their neighbors (maybe) as backup. That kind of example will get people thinking about ways to protect themselves pretty quick.

    1. Or worse, taking the Katrina example as … well, pretty much the worst case we have in the US in my memory.

      Many know how quite a few New Orleans police simply fled, the most stylish in stolen Cadillacs.

      Those of us in the gun culture know how various police forces, instead of serving and protecting, violently confiscated citizen’s guns.

      Everyone who’s paying attention now knows about one of the incidents where New Orleans police murdered innocent civilians (the bridge isn’t the only case, BTW).

      In too much of the country peace officers have become law enforcement officers and aren’t particularly our friends, something brought home to me after I returned to my home town when a random cop played a game of chicken with my body and his car….

  9. 68 Riots , the LA riots, all of these were basically blacks rioting and damaging non whites homes and businesses. They never were a direct threat to white America. But the result was gun control to stop blacks from getting guns.

    The 1980’s crack wave caused a lot of cities to enact gun control because of the massive increase in crime. Mostly black on black.

    It does not have to have interracial violence to cause a surge to gun control.

  10. Why aren’t there serious gun control proposals? Because they lag the violence. GCA’34 came after the end of prohibition, and the really violent events of the late ’60’s were in ’66 and ’67, leading to GCA’68 and state analogues

    1. Except that MLK was assassinated in April of ’68 (which of course sparked 125 race riots according to Wikipedia; the D.C. riots were massive and utterly devastating, and their mark was still visible when I lived in the region in the ’90s and early ’00s) and RFK in June, with LBJ signing the GCA in October.

      (What was it with three letter acronyms and the calendar ’60s?)

      1. Those assassinations were the culmination of nearly a decade of racial and political violence. Newark and Plainfield burned in ’67, for example, and GCA’68 was in the works prior to RFK’s assassination, and I believe prior to Dr. King’s. The mail-order ban was arguably a response to JFK’s killer obtaining his weapon via catalog, no?

  11. I have to echo the state/local government budget situation, Katrina (for both the violence and acts by LEO’s abridging 2A), a deep perception of incompetence (no small amount of venality, too) at the state/local government level, etc. At the national level, a politicized DOJ and feckless Homeland Security don’t bring confidence that laws will even ultimately be enforced “fairly” or wisely. The tendency of Obama to venture into matters (cops behaving badly, a son he might have had) cause some wonder what his own priorities are and what he might do in stressful situations. Justice Kennedy was right in verbalizing how ObamaCare fundamentally changes the positions of citizens and government, but a number of things have happened that indicate, in the minds of some of the political class citizens are very much not who they serve. This taste has been there for a long time but reached flower with Obama’s election. The 2010 elections were a setback for the statists, but they appear more determined than ever to make their mark. I hope for the best.

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