It seems almost hard to believe. On the Tuesday before the horrible tragedy in Newtown, we were celebrating a significant court victory, where a three judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling which said that Illinois blanket ban on carry was unconstitutional. The following Tuesday, we would be returned to the 1990s, in terms of where we are on the issue. What happened?Â There are a lot of unspoken agreements in politics. Often times it’s that each side really doesn’t want to go through the pain of antagonizing the other, and the recognition that often times in politics, once certain forces are put into motion, they can be difficult to stop. There are still many places in the country where gun control can move if proponents of it are antagonized. The reason we have gotten here is largely due to our own success.
We are threatening the unspoken agreementÂ that you rednecks in flyover country can have your guns, but we sophisticated people in New York and Chicago get to have “enlightened” gun laws so we don’t ever have to associate with people like you, and don’t have to be around your icky guns or listen to your icky gun talk. But the writing is starting to appear on the walls, and the powers that be in those two bastions of gun prohibition don’t like what they are reading. Despite losses here and there, when it comes to the battle in the federal courts, we’re winning on the big and important stuff.
Coastal elites, for the most part, absolutely hate the idea of civilians with firearms, and there’s plenty of bipartisan consensus on that in certain areas. The Second Amendment has almost always been a movement of ordinary people standing up for their rights and that too is more bipartisan than many people often acknowledge. Who are our elites? Wayne LaPierre may have a graduate degree from Boston College, but he’s from Roanoke, Virginia. I doubt most New Yorkers or Chicagoans could even tell you Roanoke is in Virginia, let alone where. Chris Cox is from West Tennessee and a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, in the heart of what coastal elites dub flyover country. Harlan Carter, who founded the modern NRA, had a law enforcement background. Neal Knox, who was right there with him, published a gun magazine, and before that was a journalist. The elites on our issue often have credentials that don’t look vastly different than yours or mine.
To the extent that the fight for gun rights is lead by ordinary people from far away, unknown places, I don’t think the costal elites were all that concerned about it. After all, they didn’t know anyone in their circles who practiced such barbarity as owning guns, or shooting guns. If someone did carry one, well, they are the right kind of people after all, and the city can be a dangerous place. But it’s not something spoken of in polite circles. But stand up for that right? For the common man? Well, civilized people just don’t do that. But it’s not political advocacy that’s really tipped the scales. The legal advocacy is what has brought us here. We have plenty of great contributions in the legal fight from people of no great pedigree, and who live and practice in flyover country, but then we also haveÂ HarvardÂ Grads,Â Yale men, and other folks with Ivy degrees,Â who have been instrumental in bringing this issue to the forefront of law. It’s the legal side of the movement that’s most threatening to elites like Mayor Rahm and Bloomberg, and even President Obama, because the legal side is what is bringing these ideas into their cities. The people who are leading that charge aren’t pot bellied rednecks, but people with pedigree. People who don’t fit the stereotype.
We’ve shown tremendous success in the cultural war in the past several years. More women are learning to shoot than ever. More minorities than ever before are standing up for their rights and demanding they be permitted to legally exercise them. It was starting to be OK to be a liberal Democrat, own a gun, and enjoy shooting. Urban foodies are taking up hunting. The face of the gun culture looks less and less like the beer gutted OFWG of costal elite lore every day. We are being successful evangelists, and broadening the appeal of the issue.
Victory in the culture war provides a foundation for the gun culture we know and enjoy to enter places like New York and Chicago. They know this, and at some level, I believe the ultimate goal of the current attack isn’t necessarily to get legislation passed, though they will certainly try. No, the current attack is meant to shame people out of the idea of supporting gun rights, because gun rights are what those people do. I believe many coastal elites have a deep anxiety that not only will those people start to spring up like dandelions in their fair cities, but more importantly, they may have to do business with them, to socialize with them, and to hear talk of AK v. AR, 9mm v. .45, or to have to listen to someone who should, by all rights, be one of them, talking about their new carry piece, and the thought of that drives them crazy.
The messaging in this current attack is that those people are monsters, who don’t care about dead children. There’s a reason for that, and it says a lot more about who they are than it says about who we are. We are ultimately here because they have nothing to lose. If they awaken the sleeping giant, and only make him angry and determined, they have lost nothing, since they were losing anyway. If they achieve some victory, well, that’s something. Perhaps it can slow or stop the inevitable. But even if we beat them back everywhere, if they can achieve some measure of shame, if nothing else, they can remind the right kind of people who the wrong kind of people are, and maybe they won’t have to worry about having those kinds of people at their dinner parties.
Next up is how we got here politically.