But what if the intent of this legislation wasn’t really the banning of magazines or classes of firearms? What if the real intent was to let the bans be watered down while pushing through sweeping redefinitions of terms we all think are clearly defined?
Consider, for example, the lawful transfer. That’s a transfer of ownership between two private parties or between a federal firearms licensee and a purchaser, right? To a point.
But what if language broadened to the point that the term “transfer” was applicable to any regulated item -such as a “high-capacity magazine” used in competition and not just a “firearm”?
It seems to be a very small distinction, until you realize that a lawful transfer, as stated under Colorado’s proposed statutes, would be applicable to magazines. And those definitions went on to broaden a “recognized competition” as having been run by either a state agency or non-profit. SASS, IDPA, USPSA are not, technically non-profit organizations. Under that broadened definition, USPSA/IDPA match officials picking up a magazine dropped during a competition stage would be participating in an illegal transfer.
I don’t think their strategy heading into this was anything other than to throw everything they had at us, and probe for where we were weak, and where they could get us. The goal, quite simply, is to break us. They don’t care if they do it with an assault weapons ban, or without. They are happy to do it by banning private transfers, redefining terms, or even bringing back old, stale ideas like liability insurance. I believe the overall goals of the gun control push can be best summed up in a few bullet points:
- Set up a confrontation for the 2014 elections. If they can deliver us any setback or defeat, it’ll be used to cement the case that NRA isn’t a factor in elections. Even if the 2014 Senate races go well for the GOP, that will help the progressive-left tighten their control over the party, and help them convince other Democrats that NRA can’t protect them, even if they vote the right way. The progressive-left has little to lose pushing this issue. Most of them are in safe districts, and they don’t have to worry about winning close elections where NRA could sway people at the margins.
- Try to gain ground in a policy area we’ll have a hard time challenging in court. That’s why I think they like trying to redefine terms, as Jim says. They’ll want to set something up for a possible change on the high court so they can forever limit to the Second Amendment to a second class right. I think they’d be happy to overturn it, but that might be a hard sell, and absent that, limiting it to a great degree would be just as well. New York City has demonstrated that ownership of weapons by civilians can be for practical purposes eliminated without having to resort to an outright ban such as existed in Chicago or DC.
- At the least blunt our advance into cities like Chicago and New York. One reason I think they are so unwilling to compromise on some of our concerns regarding private transfers is that they don’t actually want to pass something that would be tolerable to us. If they pass something intolerable, our immediate priority will be to undo the damage, rather than shrug our shoulders and continue pushing gun rights into places that have long strangled their legal gun and shooting cultures.
The 2014 elections will probably determine what happens to our rights. If gun owners fail to become engaged in that election, and pro-gun politicians take losses, I think we’ll see a tsunami of anti-gun legislation moving forward. The Democrats will have no reason to care about gun rights, and the Republicans will be further weakened, and also wondering if the gun vote is really delivering for them. It is vitally important we stand by lawmakers who stand by us in this coming election, and punish those who screw us.
My big fear approaching 2014 is a broad Republican sellout on one of our key issues, like gun or magazine bans, or on private transfers, that effectively disgusts enough of the people who comprise potential volunteers that we end up a non-factor in the election because gun owners feel cheated by both parties. Even a screwing by one or two key reps in swing districts or states may be a real problem for us. A good many of these folks in Congress have never been in a real fight over guns, and this is where the rubber meets the road. A lot of what they are going to do depends greatly on what we do.
Once we get through this I think it incumbent upon us to not just push them back, but to destroy them. They have raised the stakes of the game, and we’re playing for keeps. It will be incumbent upon us to keep fighting. The gun control regimes in New York, Chicago, California and New Jersey must be crushed, and relegated to a dark age when some constitutional rights were more equal than others.