Is Gun Control Dead?

You almost have to feel sorry for Shannon Watts while reading this article in the New Republic, trying to stave off the media narrative, which now is that gun control is dead.

Watts looks at it all differently. She sees a Senate vote that came closer to approving significant gun law reform than lawmakers have in two decades, with six senators with A ratings from the NRA, and two senators up for reelection next year in gun-friendly states, voting for the legislation.

You can spin it that way, but a lot of other gun control groups didn’t think Manchin-Toomey went nearly far enough, and while close is fine when dealing in horseshoes and hand grenades, in legislative terms we still call a near win a loss. But I can’t blame them for trying to speak out against the fatalism their media allies are displaying, and it’s everywhere in the media. The Washington Post has an article about how the renewed debate has led to little in the way of results, with more states liberalizing their gun laws rather than tightening restrictions. The Atlantic is speaking about the “Death of Gun Control” openly, suggesting that while the Senate voting down gun control in April was a setback, there was still hope, but then the Colorado recall happened … and a Democrat was sent packing in a heavily Democratic district, proving gun control is a losing issue for Democrats even among Democrats. Rich liberals aren’t enough to save gun control advocates from the wrath of our grassroots if they get pissed off enough.

But Watts is right, gun control isn’t dead, and won’t be. We beat them because we were all paying attention and doing all the right things. If we lose that edge, things could change, and fast.

h/t Miguel for the New Republic link.

8 thoughts on “Is Gun Control Dead?”

  1. For the first time in a long while, the supporters of gun rights have their opponents on the defensive. After decades of new gun laws on both the State and Federal levels, with few victories for gun rights (FOPA 86 is the only and partial one at that), it’s their turn to get their ass kicked.

    Right now, the issue for the gun rights movement isn’t the fear of new gun control laws, but the investment and development of political capital to begin reforming gun laws in a way which enhances gun rights.

    Yes, we have the courts, but they’re just one component to this movement. Real change starts with new legislative reforms to get our way, and that starts with protecting and supporting those who stand on our side.

    1. There’s aslo the state legislative (and some judicial) victories on CCW over the last 25 or so years.

      That was a major change in the terms of the debate (Gun Culture 2.0).

      By having self defense become a “polite company” reason to own a gun all of a sudden previously taboo subjects were more normalized.

      When a person can carry a gun for self defense said gun being more concealable or more powerful or having more firepower have easy explinations. As opposed to saying why you have a handgun in say… Canada.

      I’m not condoning the “need” argument but having reasons why X is useful greatly helps with normalization.

      Remember the antis used to be very open about their desire for a total handgun ban.

  2. Here’s a Washington Post article about the latest rally in D.C.

    “The craziness dies down, and people stop paying attention,” Soto said.

    How true that is. From the last paragraph of the article.

    Soon all that remained was one person at the lectern, reading names that were broadcast through a speaker system.

    They can’t even keep their own people interested.

  3. I don’t feel bad about Watts at all. She’s a professional media expert, a hired gun who is happy to be making money off the gun control gravy train.

    I found this quote interesting:

    The moms’ goal is not just to change the laws, but to change the societal norms around guns. “It used to be OK to drink and drive, and now it’s distasteful,” she said. “We need to do the same thing with open carry.”

    Say what you will about the open carry people, they have opened a new front in the war. We’re no longer talking about shall-issue CCW. Open carry has taken that off the table. Now, the best the antis can do is argue against open carry. It allows us to do the same tactics they use: ask for everything and accept a nibble that gets us closer to our goals. It puts them even more on the defensive and makes them waste time and effort.

    Obviously I’m not necessarily approving of OCing AR-15s as an effective tactic but it is nice to hear the antis validating some of the OC arguments.

  4. Right or wrong, the vast, fairly apolitical, majority in this country (who we must keep neutral at worst on guns) don’t resonate with “absolutist” arguments about -any- rights, they want something resembling an explanation why a certain exercise of a given right makes sense. Look at the public reaction to “extreme” instances of first amendment exercise, or late-term abortion, etc. The reaction is usually, “But why would you -do- that?” The side without a “reasonable” answer loses their support.

    So, if we want to keep winning we need to do little to no “F-u, that’s why!” and more, “Well, doesn’t this make sense when you think about it?” Gentle persuasion, not petulant demands; and thinking smart about our tactics is -not- “kowtowing”.

    Look at the evidence. Over the past 4 decades of shall-issue, concealed carry has become “reasonable”. We incrementally showed that it merely enables people, the “normal” friends and neighbors of the non-ideologues, to defend themselves.

    Open carry of those same -handguns- is the logical next “reasonable” step. After all, they are mostly on board with the “having a pistol for defense” part already, so it is easy to point out that it doesn’t make much sense for those same friends and neighbors who carry to have to hide the gun, given that context.

    However, OC of long guns for defense lacks any such context.

    America hasn’t had a tradition of -carrying- rifles or shotguns in hand, in public, for personal defense not in time of war, since the Indians stopped attacking the first small colonial towns almost 3 centuries ago. They quickly were relegated to behind the kitchen door at home, or on the horse when travelling, in case of actual need or militia call-out.

    Americans carried -pistols- for day-to-day personal defense in town.

    The -context- of long guns in public has thus traditionally been just transporting them to or from an activity that -requires- a long gun: like the gun shop, or the hunting fields, or the target range. Even then they were typically in the gun rack, or scabbard, or some kind of case, not loaded in hand enroute.

    For example, the common cite to Scalia carrying an unloaded rifle on the NYC subway as a teen doesn’t support “rifle open carry for defense”, it supports allowing kids to -transport- their target rifles in the context of going to and from school rifle practice.

    When Americans have a rifle in their hand in public, not on a range, or hunting, or merely being transported somewhere it can actually be used, the context has -always- been that somebody or something definitely needs shooting right now. That’s going to war, not open carry for potential self-defense.

    Trying to explain to the vast middle we need to keep neutral why defensive rifle OC is suddenly reasonable, after centuries of American tradition to the contrary, is a loser’s game at this point. There’s a lot of context we need to reestablish in our cities and towns to even re-normalize long gun transporting in most places, much less slung locked and loaded AR’s in Starbucks.

  5. Sadly gun control is still very vigorous in the blue states. California is about to ban all centerfire self-loading rifles with detachable magazines. And of course detachable magazine is defined in the law so broadly, the ban might even include M-1 rifles.

  6. When I can order a Tommy Gun through the mail, I’ll call gun control ‘dead.’ Until then, the fight continues.

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