We Can No Longer Tolerate Two Americas

Two Americas on GunsWith a lot of people talking about Obama’s gun control agenda being on the ropes, I think it’s worth looking at where we are, and where we’re going. Obviously, we are not out of the woods yet, and we’ve taken a gut punch in three states, one of which no one really thought was vulnerable (Colorado). Maryland had been teetering on the brink for a while, and Sandy Hook was enough of an excuse to break the stalemate. Connecticutians fought hard, but the writing was on the wall there as well. We will likely lose ground in other states as well.

We have essentially no means of saving the blue states through the political process. Colorado is salvageable if the Democrats face a sufficient backlash in 2014, but it’s hard to imagine Second Amendment supporting majorities taking control of states like Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, or even Delaware at this point. But yet we can’t continue to have two Americas, one with Second Amendment rights and one without. We can’t continue to write off support from large segments of the American population, who’s legislatures have been successful at eradicating the gun and shooting cultures in those states. We cannot tolerate these gardens of ignorance the media, and demagogues like Obama and Bloomberg are only too happy to sow. Over the long term, if we don’t restore liberty to these states, we’re in a losing battle of attrition, with each new pretext chipping away our rights state by state.

The first recourse for restoring the Second Amendment to all Americans is the Courts, but the Courts move slowly, and I hold considerable skepticism that the Courts are going to make sweeping changes to state laws. I’d like to be wrong about this, but I hold considerable skepticism we can fix this easily through the Courts. I think we’ll likely see a case going to the Supreme Court on the “bear” or carry portion of “keep and bear” sometime in the next year or so, and I think we’ll likely prevail. But I still believe the Court will dodge on standards of review, because for whatever reason, it’s been two cases now with the Court being unwilling to address that standard. Perhaps this will change in a third case, but I’m skeptical, since I suspect the reason we have no standard of review is that there’s no agreement on the matter between the majority in both cases.

In nearly all other civil rights struggles in this country, it’s been a combination of Congress and the Courts acting to preserve liberties. The early Civil Rights Acts, authorized by Congress’ powers under the 14th Amendment, were intended to protect the rights of newly freed Blacks during Reconstruction. There have even been government agencies created for the protection of civil rights. Even today, under Congress’s enforcement powers found in the 15th Amendment, the Voting Rights Act provides for extensive federal oversight over state election matters and over state redistricting in states with a history of discriminatory behavior. There is ample precedent for Congressional involvement in the protection of civil liberties. I would propose that when the political environment improves for us, our focus ought to be on a comprehensive bill that restores Second Amendment rights to all Americans. What would such a bill look like?

  • Establish a finding that semi-automatic firearms are commonly used for lawful purposes, and therefore citizens have a right under the Second Amendment to possess semi-automatic firearms of all types. This at least puts the courts on notice as to what Congress thinks the right is.
  • States are not permitted to prohibit the sale, transfer, possession, or transportation of rifles, shotguns, handguns, ammunition, magazines, or firearm accessories in a manner that is inconsistent with federal law. This would federally preempt state AWBs.
  • The right to possess or carry a loaded rifle, shotgun or pistol, ammunition, magazines, or accessories in your home state is a right to possess or carry a firearm in all states, federal territories, and federal districts. This is essentially the reciprocity bill that’s been up before.
  • States may not interfere with the transportation of unloaded and cased rifles, shotguns, pistols, ammunition, magazines, or firearms accessories for lawful purposes. Basically a stronger FOPA peaceable journey provision. This would essentially render New Jersey’s byzantine transportation laws null and void, and also provide a federal standard for transportation states would have to be consistent with in the above section.

In order to make this politically viable, you’d have to leave state licensing alone. It would also allow states to prohibit classes of people from firearms, provided they maintained consistently with federal law. So a state law barring felons would be left alone, but if a state barred someone for a traffic offense, that provision would fall due to inconsistency. The courts would have to continue to make those calls, but at least they’d have a framework. National reciprocity was a top issue before, but the stakes have been raised by opponents of Second Amendment rights, and I see no reason we should not agree to upping the ante. Congress has the 14th Amendment power to enforce constitutional rights, and I think it ought to exercise it.

69 thoughts on “We Can No Longer Tolerate Two Americas”

  1. I don’t know what the solution is. You are correct, and many of us have know this, that there is no way to save the blue states. They have made their choice, and they will now live with it. I feel very fortunate to live here in Tennessee, and your rights in PA, at least for the next 19 months, are also safe. What about that? Is it likely that the republicans will lose control of the PA legislature in 2014? What about your governor? Can he survive next year’s election?

    1. Pennsylvania could flip very fast if things go badly for us in 2014. I think the GOP is likely to hold on to the legislature, but the Governor’s mansion is at risk. Corbett’s numbers in the polls are bad. The question is going to be whether people care more about their gun rights than they do Penn State football (which is why his numbers are bad).

      1. IMO the Corbett Administration just does a terrible job with public relations, all around. I think most people could care less about the PSU situation, beyond possibly that Corbett could plausibly be suspected of participation in an early cover-up.

        That said, the most viable Democrat I’ve heard mentioned as an opponent (IMO) is Alyson Schwartz, and I can’t imagine her being terribly popular in the rural counties; though maybe I’m putting too much of myself in that. This could turn out to be the classic city mouse, country mouse standoff. Will the cities and suburbs outvote the entire rest of the state? Possibly!

        1. Another thing about Schwartz is that she probably will get significant money from Bloomberg.

          This could work to our advantage, especially if we can properly demonize* the big money aspect of it, or it could be a repeat of Kane. I’d like to believe that the more left-leaning gun owners will vote guns, but part of me thinks that might be overly optimistic.

      2. Or the fact Corbett is giving away the shale gas tax free while trying to give Pa’s assets away. I hope he loses to a viable R challenger in the primary b/c he’s going to get a gun hater like Schwartz elected.

  2. Just like the issue of state vs. federal authority as it pertained to slavery resulted in the Civil War, it makes me wonder if the divisions over the 2A will become the catalyst of a new civil conflict. I sincerely hope not.

    1. The way I see it if we lose politically we’ll either turn into England, or the union will dissolve.

    2. What makes you think this isn’t about slavery? Replace plantation with collective.

      The Copperheads are all about slavery and always have been. The only question is how much killing will necessary to stop them this time.

  3. The 14th amendment’s section 5 powers were actually supposed to be the entire enforcement mechanism of the 14th Amendment. SCOTUS was only supposed to police the boundaries of those powers exercised by Congress to that effect, not to intervene directly within the states. A failure of Congress to act should leave state laws intact.

    So yes, Congress should exercise the powers granted to them by the 14th amendment. This is how it should have been done since 1866!

  4. Unfortunately, with the recent spat of laws being passed, the Courts are all that’s left. To make matters worse, if conservatives/libertarians, whether through the Republican party or some other third party, are unable to win the presidential election in 2016, then it is very likely that two conservative justices could reach the end of their ropes during that next term (Scalia is 77, Kennedy is 76). There is already talk among the liberal/progressive press of pushing Ginsburg to retire during Obama’s term in order to maintain that seat for a liberal justice, should the Dems lose in 2016.

    Heller and McDonald probably provide enough cover to slap down poorly worded state AWB and magazine bans, but you hit the nail on the head. Until we get strict scrutiny, we will never be out of the clear… I wonder how our side would fare against a Hillary/Michelle Obama ticket?

  5. It seems to me the exodus of gun owners and companies occurring in each new state to fall is probably only going to exacerbate this geographical segregation. Because that’s a bunch of voters that anti-gun politicians no longer have to worry about, and pro-gun politicians can no longer count on.

    1. So history will repeat itself. The Democrats lost the last civil war they started because not enough arms makers were in their territory.

  6. I would like to add that NRA and others can no longer afford to blow off urban Democrats. Participation in their selection/election process is required.

  7. We have to go on the offensive a nation wide carry law and force IL to follow the law. Make the red state dem Sen. put up their vote for all to see. This means going all out in the 2014 senate election, no more wispy washy apologies for being constitutionalist instead of statists. If your not willing to fight for the second now we can kiss it goodbye.

  8. MD will have to go to the courts. However the basis will be on requiring fingerprints to buy a legal item.

    The 4th Circuit on Wollard vs the 11 th circuit means carry will go to the Supreme Ct. That takes out the restrictive LTC.

    The so called assault weapon ban is not the worst. The worst would be to redefine transfer of weapons.

  9. Might I also suggest: Non-compliance, public, and in the spotlight. OC marches, etc. No more, no less. As Sebastian said, it’s not enough to fight off anti-gun politicians with language about “enforcing the current laws.” The fact remains that in 10 states (or more), enforcing the current laws would mean a hell of a lot of deadly confrontations with gun owners.

    There is a line in the sand. How else was attention brought to the severe

    How many folks will be moving fast to register their guns in Connecticut, NY, Colorado?

    1. If PA passed any of these laws, I would not comply. And I would do it openly. Also, if I was supposed to register something, I would send in a picture of my middle finger.

    2. I’ve seen open carry marches on DC proposed, but on the whole I’m not certain that such action would be wise at the present time.

  10. Oops… hit send too soon…

    There is a line in the sand. How else was attention brought to the severe tactics of militarized police cracking down on civil rights marches in the South, college anti-war protests during the 1960s, or pro-life protesters today.

  11. Another Angle for Attack is the Commerce Clause. I know for a Fact that a Friend of mine who sell Military surplus Magazines On-line here in Ohio has to keep adding States to his “Do Not Sell” list, which is costing him sales. And as a small Mom and Pop, there’s only so much “Wiggle Room.”

    And I still think these Laws can be Attacked on the basis of the 2,4,5 and 8 Amendment. Especially the “Excessive Fines” part of the 8th. One needs a License and Training and Screening to buy Ammo? My Butt!

  12. Hey Sebastian,

    What about gun culture? I always see a lot of talk about legislation, but not enough talk about the culture. I am a new gun owner (so i may be totally offbase here), but one thing that always strikes me is how the culture has changed from the 1950s to now. From everything that i’ve read and seen, America had a strong gun culture in the 50s which slowly diluted to where we are today. Am i wrong?

    If not, What can be done to revive a culture to make it more main stream. I’ve heard a lot of good things about project appleseed….. but it doesn’t seem like it’s enough.

    In many ways, what i see the antis doing is a total systematic destruction/dismantling of gun culture through a process of attrition.

    Again, i may be wrong. I’m sure there are people here who could better comment on this.

    1. I keep floating this idea around so that it starts being suggested in earnest. I think the best way to counter these attacks is to involve as many children as possible in the enjoyment of firearms. I think that if we have to give anything to the anti-gun folks, then they must give us mandatory firearms safety classes as part of the mandatory curriculum in the 5th or 6th grade, run by a qualified NRA instructor, with no ammo whatsoever. Kind of like sex-ed for guns. Here is a magazine, barrel, action, etc. This is how it operates, this is how you disassemble and clean it, etc. This would be the best thing to happen to our cause. Our adversaries would really show their fangs then.

      1. This. If it is constitutional to mandate training to exercise a right, that training should be compulsory for all citizens.

        1. Congress could use its militia powers to demand training, but if Congress were only to single out gun owners, or make it a precondition to owning a firearm, that could be constitutionally suspect. But Congress could, using its militia powers, require firearms training for everyone. I actually think it would be a valid exercise of this power to require basic marksmanship and gun safety training as part of high school curriculum, in order to receive a diploma.

          1. Exactly. But you know very well, given your very astute observations that this is a culture war, that the antis would fight this tooth and nail. It would be rather poetic, given that progressives like to make fun of religious conservatives who don’t like having the state teach their children about sexual education. What, you don’t want your kids to be around a piece of metal. The would do things like prohibiting their children from taking this class, which would only fuel the kids’ desire to learn more about them (and since all their friends can take the class). We should get the NRA on this train.

    2. I know this question was directed at Sebastian, but I’d like to weigh in on one big thing that can be done to contribute to the culture: Get the local gun stores involved. Along with every sale should be an NRA $25 membership card, an explanation of why joining a 2A advocacy group is critical, maybe a pre-printed paper on tips to writing elected officials along with phone numbers, addresses, of elected officials.

      As I said yesterday, the gun stores are actually not helping us at all in this fight. In Lancaster County none of the shops I frequent have done nothing to promote rights advocacy. They are focused on maximizing sales for the short term, not in and of itself a bad thing, but short sighted in the overall fight.

    3. Urbanization is probably the biggest gun culture destroying trend, because you need space for ranges. Our shooting sports today, like IPSC and IDPA are actually considerably better suited to an urban gun culture than the traditional sports. So the shooting sports have evolved.

      But the weakening caused by urbanization has allowed the law to move in to prevent the gun culture there from adapting. As bad as the Sullivan Act is, and the licensing laws in Illinois are, they didn’t destroy the gun culture. Scalia’s fond memories of schlepping an M1903 on the NYC subway happened during the time of the Sullivan Act. The restrictions in NYC that have an effect of destroying the shooting culture are relatively recent. Same with Chicago.

    4. I guess my answer is that you have to change the law in those places before you can change the culture. New York City is home to 8 million people. Chicago is home to to nearly 3 million. California as a state has a population of 38 million. New York State is 20 million. New Jersey is close to 9. All these states have, in the past few decades, passed laws that will have their gun culture completely eradicated in the next few decades. We simply can’t keep writing off chunks of the US population this big, who have no understanding or familiarity with their Second Amendment rights, and because they are effectively denied to them by their states or cities.

      1. You cannot change the law in urban areas until urban Democrats see gunnies participating in their selection/election process. NRA refuses to do this.

        1. Sure you can. You get Congress to use their powers under the 14th Amendment to preempt their unconstitutional laws.

          1. You’re trying to do an end run around them, not defeat them. NRA has tried this strategy for years and it does not work.

            1. Federal preemption under the 14th Amendment would have been extremely risky pre-McDonald. So no, NRA has not tried this for years. And how can I engage someone on gun issues in Urban areas when in places like New York City and Chicago it’s relatively impossible for people in those neighborhoods to legally obtain firearms? You have nothing to work with. You have get rid of the laws, and then maybe you’ll have something to work with.

              1. That is still and end run around them which NRA has tried for years and it does not work.

                As for engaging someone from NYC or Chicago, that is not an issue as evidenced by the multiple times in recent month’s I’ve been contacted by NYC media outlets including the NY Times. Because NRA does not make themselves available to local media they don’t get positive press coverage.

                1. I see a lot of people talking about what the NRA should or shouldn’t do. We are the NRA.
                  Especially when it comes to things like local politics and reaching out to expand our base. Individual gun owners need to take the initiative in these areas.

                  And NYC media outlets aren’t going to give the NRA a fair shake no matter what they do. I’d ignore their phone calls too. Better than giving them quotes to distort in their anti-gun rags.

                2. As Sebastion rightly pointed out, McDonald is a game changer on this front. Pre-McDonald, it was arguable that there was little or nothing the federal government could do about states like NY/NJ/CA/MA/IL/CT/etc.; post-McDonald, it is fairly clear that the federal government can do quite a bit about such states.

                  McDonald was only decided by the supremes in 2010.

  13. Hey, if motor-voter was a good idea…why not automatically register anyone who applies for a license to carry to vote? :-)

    1. Better: automatically issue a *carry* permit to anyone that requests a *driver’s* license and *qualifies* for the carry permit.

  14. Again, I see the 2014 election as critical.
    In order to go on the offensive like Sebastian talks about, Congress has to be convinced that promoting gun control will get them hammered on election day, and that preserving/expanding gun rights is a winning issue.
    To do that, the anti-gunners must be eviscerated next November.

    1. “To do that, the anti-gunners must be eviscerated next November.”

      I lean strongly toward agreeing, obviously, but I’m also thinking of how this will result in the Republicans seating a large number of self-discrediting loons, when we hold our noses and vote for anything with an (R) next to its name. Then it will be a crap-shoot how much the loons will injure the Republican Party by the time 2016 and the next presidential election rolls around. We could be starting a truly vicious cycle.

      1. As much as I’m not a huge fan of the GOP in general, we really have no choice but to go all out in support of them in 2014.

        If the Democrats have even a decent showing in 2014, we are screwed. If they think they can attack gun rights without paying a price, they’ll never stop.

        1. Also remember every Democrat Senator is a vote for (1) confirming awful SCOTUS nominees and (2) UN Arms Trade Treaty and (3) a Dem as the Senate Majority Leader.

          Mark Begich has been very good on the RKBA issue thus far for a MAIG Alumnus, but those three factors about the “D” after his name are a big problem.

          1. Yup. The first is his downside, the third an unavoidable side effect. I don’t see him voting to affirm the ATT though.

            The stupid party here has been extra-stupid lately so, based on history, I can see them nominating an idiot and not taking the seat.

  15. Nope. reciprocity & an expansion of the FOPA’s unloaded trunk gun policy ain’t gonna help. Tying things to federal law makes us only as safe as the next congress lets us be.

    What we should do is become absolutist in a hurry. No more permits to exercise a Right, no more prohibited persons list or any restrictions on mere possession or portage by anyone who can walk the streets without a keeper. Definitely no more making a bad bill a little better “cause it was gonna pass anyway”. We have to fight, & fight very very hard. There ain’t no more room for compromise or appeasement. That includes the idea that permits are just a step along with the folks who don’t mind background checks.

    “politically it’s just not feasible right now” is the response I’d expect from a bunch of folks. I disagree – mainly because nothing ever will be politically feasible if we wait for things to be politically feasible. If that’s not the case now we have to make it politically feasible, & right damn quick. & any pro gun orgs – NRA, GOA, SAF, etc, have to tow that absolutist line – no more appeasement or compromise or trying to be too clever by half.

    This ain’t just misguided legislation by well intentioned idiots – this is a culture war, & we have to treat it like such, or our culture will diminish. We can’t use the same methods we have been using (which I’d argue hasn’t accomplished as much as a lot of folks think). We have to be a bit bolder & not cater to short & medium term goals. we have to think long term, & the only way I see us being a vibrant culture 50 years from now is if today we start insisting on our Rights being respected, not trying to negotiate a better permit system or haggle about how much restrictions the state can place on our Rights.

    I have enough ego to be certain I’m correct in my analysis & my conclusions, but I’d be most happy to hear about an easier way to go about getting my Rights respected. I just don’t see it happening without a very hard very immediate fight to eliminate prior restraint based gun control (even CCW permits). All other roads I can see lead us to Australia inside of half a century, & I’d much rather not have my descendents having to join the National Pointy Stick Association to keep their bamboo skewers from becoming a Restricted Item, or having to apply for a permit if they find a nice branch with a jagged end.

    1. Your rights are always only go to be as safe as the next Congress, but there’s also a court component to this. The law is bound to get challenged as exceeding the Section 5 powers, but it puts the courts in a vastly different position than they normally are in. Normally, there’s deference to legislatures, but this puts their normal instinct to defer in our corner. If the courts hold that it is, in fact, a valid exercise of 14th Amendment powers, they are essentially saying that they agree the law is within the scope of that right. If a future Congress changes its mind, you already have precedent the court agreed with, which puts you in a better spot than if someone had just passed a gun control bill, which they can always do if they have the votes.

      The problem I have with the absolutist position is that if we had taken that approach, we never would have had any concealed carry except in Vermont, and maybe Alaska. Concealed carry so fundamentally changed the gun culture for the better it’s hard for me to see the benefit for holding out. I think without the concealed carry movement, you’d still be stuck in Gun Culture 1.0, and we’d be getting our asses handed to us right now. If we had even 20 million gun owners that agreed with absolutism, we could make it happen everywhere. But we don’t. So we work with what we have, and try to move along an achievable step at a time.

    2. I think the hard-line absolutist approach you’re talking about isn’t feasible, and never will be.

      We didn’t get where we are now all at once; it was a gradual process, specifically because the absolute approach in the other direction wasn’t a feasible option.

      As such, we would do well to take a leaf out of the books of the anti-rights cultists: eat the elephant one bite at a time.

      Seriously, that approach has gotten us from the early 1980s, where concealed carry was largely no issue/may issue to the early 2000’s where the vast majority of the country was shall-issue, to today where the next big push seems to be two-tier constitutional carry.

      It is also the same strategy that has been used by the Second Amendment Foundation to such great effect in Heller and McDonald: They have taken cases that are relatively easy to argue, and that do not require the court to set a particularly large precedent to side with us.

      Certainly we should all be absolutist in our eventual goals (personally, I’d like to be able to go into a store in Times Square, buy a Glock 18 and ammo, load it up, and openly carry it out and about in NYC without any worry of being harassed by agents of the state), but we need to recognize that our focus needs to be on always moving in the right direction.

    3. I guess the other issue I have with absolutism is that I have never understood how it works. I mean, you can go to Congress and tell them you want GCA & NFA repealed, or go to a state legislature and demand Constitutional Carry, but what happens when they say no? What happens when even friendly lawmakers tell you the votes aren’t there?

      The answer would typically be that you have to make the votes, which means unseating candidates who wouldn’t be with you on your demands. What if a politician is with you 90% of the time, but won’t go far as repealing GCA, NFA, or all carry restrictions? Sure, you can still target that lawmaker, but what if you fail to unseat him and then he decides he doesn’t need you after all, and now is with you maybe only 20% of the time. You would have just shot yourself in the foot.

      You’re always going to be limited by who you can and can’t unseat, and there’s always going to anti-gun politicians, or squishy politicians you can’t touch. Like I said, if even half or a quarter of the 80 million guns owners were single issue voters and all shared an absolutist viewpoint on the issue, you could probably go back to having almost no controls on guns. But that’s not what we have. What we have are maybe 10 million or so people who weigh the Second Amendment very heavily in their voting calculus, and many of them are OK with some regulations. They are also geographically quite spread out, and are sparse in enough areas that the ability of the gun vote to swing elections isn’t as strong as it needs to be.

  16. Another area in which we can exercise influence is through our wallets and pocketbooks. Right now we are seeing that in Colorado with hunters canceling elk hunts there, Magpul and others moving, and people stopping visiting there on vacation.

    Just like Colorado, CT and MD are relatively small states. I don’t plan to buy life, health, or property insurance from a company headquartered in CT. I won’t recommend annuity or life products to my clients for any CT based insurer. I don’t plan to buy either Stanley or Black & Decker tools as Stanley Black & Decker is based in New Britain, CT and has plants in Maryland. The list goes on.

    I won’t be visiting Mystic Seaport, Inner Harbor, or the Eastern Shore of MD. I won’t be gambling at Foxwoods (which, to be honest, was highly unlikely anyway).

    I plan a personal economic boycott of these states and I plan to let the companies, agencies, etc. involved know why.

        1. I appreciate it. Generally speaking, snarfing whole posts is frowned upon on the blogosphere. Even The Truth About Guns, who were shameless about doing that for a while, have realized it just makes enemies.

          Excerpts are fine, and in truth if my post is short or doesn’t really add much to the conversation, I’ll probably not look too badly on using the whole post as an excerpt, but the key is to add something to the conversation. Otherwise it’s basically trying to wrangle google-fu with someone else’s work.

        2. The fun part is hat tipping etiquette among blogs is even more byzantine. Generally it’s Kosher to steal a link, if you hat tip. Like if you see a story someone links to, and you have something to add to it, you can swipe it. But people can get bent out of shape over failure to hat tip.

          Hat tipping is generally something that you need to do down the chain more than horizontally or up the chain. For instance, there’s stories I find on Instapundit, because I follow Insty regularly, but that are sources I have on RSS or on Google Alerts that I just haven’t run across yet because I read insty first. I will always generally hat tip, either horizontally or up the chain if it’s a story I genuinely haven’t gotten from any other source.

          Down the chain, to lesser trafficked blogs, you have to be more meticulous about hat tipping. I will generally hat tip a lesser trafficked blog even if I have independently found the story on my own, just because it helps a blogger out, and is just generally nice.

          Of course these days, knowing traffic is hard. Years ago we all used to publish our stats, so you knew where people stood. It’s harder these days.

          1. Crap, dude, I just wanted to share some of your ideas on my blog. I get it. No lecture needed. It won’t happen again. Actually, let me correct my apparent blog faux-pas.


            1. No harm, no foul. I am not lecturing you, just kind of rambling not in any direction. I made the same mistakes starting out. We all do. It’s not a big deal.

  17. Le sigh. I don’t know what you see out your window, but when I look out my our asses ARE getting handed to us.

    Any permit system, no matter how liberal is bad because A: it conditions folks to accept government permission, which makes it a privilege rather than a Right & B: it gets government used to power over a Right, & .govs generally hate giving up power.

    I see no reason why we’d only have Alaska or Vermont if we’d have stopped appeasement based strategies & worked very hard towards constitutional carry. Hell, I see no reason why we only have 4 constitutional carry states now. But the fact is, a lot of folks prefer a permit system. Just like a lot of folks are cool with background checks as long as they’re done right. (Here in Co, the most quoted opponents to constitutional carry attempts the last half decade have been permit holders & instructors.)

    If the goal is to have a nice pillow under your knee to make life mo’ better comfy when you bend it to the state to beg permission to exercise a Right, then an incremental approach will work. For a while. In the long run it works against us, cause much of the time our gains are qualified (Heller, FOPA, etc…) and the other side can afford to be patient. We can’t, not if we don’t want to be marginalized out of existence culturally.

    I’m not just typing about a legislative approach – it has to be comprehensive. & part of that is to make the case for absolutism, which is simply making the case against prior restraint concerning possession. I’m not saying we try to convince to the anti’s, or even talk to them. But the folks who are presumably on our side, or could be, need to hear why a permit is a debasement of a Right, not an extension of it. They need to be told that background checks are a bad idea, & have that case laid out for them. With legislators & attorneys we need to tell them not to cede an inch. No compromises, no trying to clean up bad bills to make them more tolerable. No throwing folks under the bus because public sentiment may be against them.

    It’s because we are so spread out & outnumbered in places that we need to be hardcore about what we want. I agree someone who’s with us 90% of the time is better than someone that’s 100% against us, but if our ally is using that 10% to lay the groundwork for future defeats or concessions, then we’re not losing much. Well, in the short term yes, but I’m talking about long term – not just the next few election cycles, but the next half century.

    Political feasibility is not something we have to accept as is. That can be changed. But it takes a very vocal minority willing to speak loudly in order to change it. & for that, common goals are important. If you’re really cool with permits, & don’t want to ever see an end to all the prior restraint based gun owner control, then I’m wasting your time. But if you’d like the Right to arms to be treated as a Right, like political or religious speech for example, then I’m suggesting to abandon the incremental method. Start preaching the evils of prior restraint, & start making what’s political unfeasible right now very damn possible sometime soon.

    It’ll take a lot of things to come out on top, or to even survive as a culture or subculture. A legislative effort certainly. & the courts have their place. But we also have to be damn near evangelistic about it & try to not only recruit new folks, but try to correct the folks already in our culture when they do start talking about having no problem with background checks. & finally we have to be disobedient. We can’t keep saying we’re law abiding gun owners, or be such. we have to defy the laws that impose upon our Rights, & sometimes openly. Risky? Yes. We could very well lose. But if we keep using the old methods I’m pretty certain we’ll lose anyway.

    1. “But the fact is, a lot of folks prefer a permit system.”

      I just need to comment that you’ve hit on one of my pet peeves, because that’s the situation we’ve had in Pennsylvania for as long as I’ve been aware. Several of the key activist personalities in our state would give lip-service to the desirability of Constitutional Carry, but privately confide that they didn’t believe it would work here, because we have too many ethnics. So, as far as carry permits were concerned, their gold standard was universal reciprocity with other states, not the right of everyone to carry unencumbered.

      I of course can never prove the conversations by which I came to know that. But for circumstantial evidence I would offer that they were people who had the ear of Daryl Metcalfe, nominally “the best pro-gun legislator in the state,” who has no problem with introducing off-the-wall social conservative legislation on any other issue, but has never had anything but excuses for why it was a “waste of time” or a “waste of political capital,” etc., to introduce Constitutional Carry legislation. I may be wrong, but I believe that when another freshman (?) representative introduced a CC bill, he was not among the cosponsors. Meanwhile, he had introduced cockamamie legislation to create a centralized state carry permit registry, accessible nationwide, the better to facilitate reciprocity with anti-gun states.

  18. Just an observation:

    An article that was linked the other day showed the Illinois is still enforcing their own laws found unconstitutional. Other states have pledge not to enforce bans proposed by the federal government. Co. has legalized marijuana while it remains a federal crime…and the federal government has not acted on it. In the past, our federal government has stated states can not enforce federal law (immigration)….

    I’m inclined to believe the situation is bigger and more interconnected, but I could be just as easily wrong.

    Lots of good post.


  19. Another thing to keep in mind is that we do not need a perfect strategy looking out years in advance.

    The short term rocks are the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential election.

    If there are zero electoral consequences in 2014 — that is, the status quo prevails — then the antis have learned that 1994 no longer applies. They will learn that they can slap us around with impunity and like the local bully they’ll be back for more. Moreover, we will continue to be on the ropes for two more years. I guarantee there WILL be at least one more mass shooting between now and 2016 to exploit and the RINOs will get tired.

    If we lose the House and our 40-something vote Filibuster block in the Senate we are completely F’d. 2015-2016 will simply be awful and potentially unrecoverable through the legislative process. Remember how Obamacare got passed? Well, I guarantee there will be a gun grabber wet dream that gets rammed through, and we’ll have to pass the bill to read what’s in it.

    If we do not put a Republican in the White House in 2016 then the razor thin SCOTUS 5:4 edge is almost certainly going to disappear.

    I want to play to win, too, but the first step is not losing. We need good pro-RKBA candidates in the primaries but more than anything we need to punish the Democratic party as an institution and win some elections. All the best laid 20 year plans in the world are pointless if we lose the house, continue to lose the whitehouse, and lose the SCOTUS. I hate to make this so partisan but them’s the facts.

    The GOP is not perfect, but I simply cannot see the Dems putting up a strong pro-RKBA POTUS candidate in 2016, and the risks of Dem majorities in the House & Senate are just too disastrous to contemplate.

    I used to think the parties were way too similar, and in many ways they are, but the stand made by the GOP in Colorado and some of the younger Senators (Cruz, Paul) have given me hope that the party can hold the line and even push back.

  20. That our cause is just, doesn’t grant it victory. We have to work with the culture we have, and try to change it. You can’t do that as a minority in a nominal democracy in the real world by creating an absolute “with or against us” dynamic which can -only- result in driving the “sympathetic but not fully on board” and the “apathetic but influenceable” into the majority “anti” camp.

    You don’t surrender your goal, or even compromise in the sense of voluntarily surrending territory already secured (temporarily accepting less than you ultimately want, while not giving anything you actually have, is not “compromise” in negotiation by definition, it is merely bargaining) you use long-term strategy and good tactics to get there.

    You prep the battlefield, in part with shrewd bargaining, accept that there will be reverses, and drive on. When you create a big vulnerability, like an opportunity for Con Carry, or preemption, or reciprocity, or Louisiana’s Constitutional change, or a good court precedent, you strike that center of gravity with everything you have.

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