Another Strategy From Gun Control 2.0 Which Worries Me

The other side is prepping the ground to try to expand the category of prohibited person. This is why I don’t lightly dismiss Gun Control 2.0 — prohibited persons is a topic I’ve wondered why they didn’t push for years, especially after having success even in a GOP Congress in the late 1990s on the topic of domestic abusers.

Who wants to stand up for the rights of wife beaters, stalkers, brawlers, drunks, or other low lifes? Defending against this kind of attack requires persuading people think about big picture things. Unintended consequences are not typically a concern for people who don’t think much past “something must be done!” It takes a deeper understanding that most people simply aren’t willing to take the time to develop. In this sound bite world, dominated by low information voters, this is a topic our opponents have a natural advantage.

In the early 2000s, I thought the Internet was going to make more people enlightened. As anyone who has ever spent any time on Facebook, or read comment sections on YouTube videos can tell you, that’s just not going to be the case. The left is now far better at reaching LIVs via the Internet than we are by far. The right dominated the early blogosphere, but the left does social media much better than we do. Conservatives put all their faith in money changers who preach to the choir, rather than investing energy in activism that was highly effective at reaching and persuading people who had barely any education on conservative ideas.

The reason we gun folks are better off relatively from the conservative movement is that we never quite drank the same kool aid. Granted, the fact that our hobby is fun and doesn’t take a deep understanding of any particular philosophy is a great asset. I think we should play to our strengths. Our best bet is to continue to be evangelists for the shooting sports and armed self-defense to anyone who shows even a hint of an open mind.

17 thoughts on “Another Strategy From Gun Control 2.0 Which Worries Me”

  1. I think to the right to vote should be linked to the right to possess a firearm — i.e., all people eligible to vote should be eligible to own a firearm.

    1. That would certainly dampen the enthusiasm of some of our opponents! You can even make a good case that gun ownership is a right of citizenship, munch like voting, and should be treated similarly.

      1. Non-citizens also have the right to self defense. See eg Fletcher v Haas 851 F.SUPP.2D 287 (D. MASS. 2012).

    2. I would take it a step further: if you’re not so dangerous that you shouldn’t be locked up, then you should be free to own a firearm. I would suspect that this alone would make us more careful about what types of criminals we put on the streets, and which ones we keep locked up for a long time.

      After all, firearms are rather easy to get. Do we really expect laws to keep guns out of the hands of determined prohibited persons? Even if we succeed, guns aren’t even a minimum requirement for doing serious harm and murder to peaceable people!

      Furthermore, there’s no reason that a non-violent felon should be forbidden to keep a firearm; for that matter, I can’t help but think even Mafia members have the right to life, so long as they aren’t in the process of threatening the lives of others!

  2. On one upside… educating LIV’s is already a bread and butter task of gun rights advocates.

    Gun Contol 1.0 (and 1.1, 1.2) also depended on general ignorance to get their laws passed: see AWBs, machine guns, magazine sizes, and the like.

    Even the “blood in the streets” canard with regards to carry.

    I will say that this is a harder hill to educate on. Since it’s less about cut and dry technical aspects or simply saying “Acutally Machine guns are already heavilly regulated.”

    But like mental health reporting, this isn’t entirely new ground.

  3. I think that a single standardized test should be given to voters to weed out the LIV’s. Only the top tenth percentile gets to vote, but everybody is given an equal opportunity to take the test. That’s how I would set it up if I had a magic wand……

    1. It would never fly in this country, because our history of limiting the franchise is not an honorable one. But I tend to agree that in order to preserve quality government, you have to promote quality voters.

      1. I have a soft spot for the one proposed in Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”, though: the military is strictly voluntary, but service is required if you want to vote; it doesn’t matter what your physical or mental abilities are, if you volunteer, they will do their best to find something for you to do, to be of service to your country.

        I think such a system would naturally weed out certain types of undesirable people as well…

        Of course, no matter how hard you try, people will find a way to game even this system. Humans are pernicious that way!

        (I would also have to add that I haven’t read this novel yet, so I don’t even know how such a system played out in the book, let alone how it might play out in real life…)

        1. Not military service — GOVERNMENT service. You volunteer, they find a place to stick you, based on your capabilities. Juan Rico wanted to be a pilot; he ended up PBI. But, as is said in the book, you could be a wheelchair-bound blind man and they’d have you counting hairs on caterpillars if that’s all you could do.

          The rationale is to limit the franchise to people who have shown a willingness to put others before their own needs. How that would work in reality is an open question.

          Read the book, but don’t expect a roaring adventure. It’s primarily a coming-of-age tale. AFAICR only two or three battles are in the book; the bulk of it is his training and even discussing classroom experiences. The purpose of the book was to try to explain why we fight and why it’s moral to do so; Heinlein wrote it after seeing an ad from a “unilateral disarmament” group.

          1. Also — once you signed up, you had NO choice in what billet they offered you, other than you could resign at anytime you weren’t actually in combat and all that happened is you never got your full citizenship and franchise.

            The idea was that the virtue wasn’t in the precise service, it was in the willingness to offer yourself up for the good of the society in any role they needed you for.

  4. I totally disagree with that third paragraph. People ARE more enlightened. The rise of the internet is what gave us Gun Culture 2.0. Its why we have so many CCW. We got our message out by bypassing the mainstream media. There is a reason why they are doing so terribly- because they don’t tell the truth, and people know from the internet. All across the internet, on liberal sites I see our side well represented. It doesn’t go the other way.

    We are winning because of the Internet. No, its not perfect, and no not everybody is enlightened or on our side. But we are winning more than we are losing.

    1. Exactly: Just look back to how poorly Bloomberg’s latest attempt was received by The View…

    2. Patrick H has it mostly correct. The internet, however, is not about enlightenment. There were plenty of well read people before the internet who were not “enlightened.” What the internet has done is “empower” people by giving them access to multiple points of view and the ability to express themselves at a low cost, bypassing the traditional media. This is about competition, a free marketplace of ideas. If you don’t want to invest the time and/or resources in learning how to compete, don’t complain about the outcome. The problem is not access to the public, the problem is framing your message to meet the interests of the public. Technology has not changed the fundamental fact that everybody filters messages through the lens of “what’s in it for me?” If you want to engage other people in your argument, you must catch their attention long enough to answer that question. “I want” is not they way. “We deserve” works a whole lot better.

  5. I think if it’s explained that minor non-violent crimes shouldn’t result in the permanent loss of constitutional rights then it is an argument we can win.

    1. Why exclude violent crimes?

      For example, what about the individual who, at 17 is convicted under the felony murder rule and ends up serving 30+ years? Is he the same person at 47 that he was at 30?

      Why should our fundamental right to self-defense be predicated upon our lack of entanglement with the criminal justice system?

      Frankly, I subscribe to the Codrea principle: “Anyone who can’t be trusted with a firearm cannot be trusted without a custodian.” If/when the state has decided that it no longer is going to act as that custodian, ALL rights should be restored for the individual in question.

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