The Great Slide Backwards

As many of you have probably heard, Oregon passed a ban on privates sales. My goal with this post is to outline the implications of losing more states to the anti-gun blue menace. I keep thinking a lot lately about the book “The Big Sort,” which offers a theory as to why America is becoming more and more polarized:

We’ve built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood and church and news show — most compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences of this way-of-life segregation. Our country has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people don’t know and can’t understand those who live just a few miles away. The reason for this situation, and the dire implications for our country, is the subject of this ground-breaking work.

Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are the victims of what people have un-affectionaly dubbed Californication; the outmigration of Californians to like-minded neighborhoods in other states. Even Austin, TX has been Californicated to a large degree. The Big Sort, by putting us into homogenous neighborhoods, makes the task of Gerrymandering safe and uncompetitive districts easier for the politicians. Now, gerrymandering can be a tool of the defending party, by loading up new blue neighborhoods into established ones, but that has its limits. In Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and Nevada, we may have reached those limits. Once the state flips, and the new party manages to gain control for the gerrymandering process, it’s over for the defending party absent a serious realignment.

It was no real surprise to anyone that states like New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware slid back after Sandy Hook. Gun rights has been living on borrowed time for decades in those states. New Jersey, Connecticut and New York’s laws can all be explained by the fact that both Democrats and Republicans in New York won a decades long project to drive their gun cultures into extinction, and Connecticut and New Jersey are a result of that infection spreading. California’s transition happened much more quickly. Within my lifetime, California’s gun laws weren’t appreciably worse than those in other states. So how do politicians accomplish the extinction of their gun cultures?

Killing a gun culture really comes down to three things: gun bans, purchase restrictions, and carry restrictions. Note I don’t put licensing on this list. New York lived with the Sullivan Act for years with a healthy gun culture, and Illinois has (outside of Chicago) maintained their culture despite licensing. Licensing doesn’t necessarily kill a gun culture, but it can. Massachusetts is an example of a licensing regime that managed to kill off its culture. The Bay state successfully ratcheted up its requirements, dues, and greatly expanded the legal risk of gun ownership to the point where almost no one officially bothers anymore. California’s decline started with Roberti-Roos, their assault weapons ban, which after Sandy Hook became a template for states looking to finish off their gun cultures. It worked very well in California, and very quickly. I think assault weapons bans are probably the fastest acting gun culture poison out there.

Oregon gun owners should be very worried. Your new private transfer ban law will not be a culture destroyer itself. It’s too easy to ignore and nearly impossible to enforce. We’ve lived with a similar law for handguns for years in Pennsylvania, and it’s probably the most often broken gun law in this state. But this could be a harbinger of things to come for Oregon, and  the other Californicated states. My advice for people in Oregon:

  • Yeah, I know your new law technically makes it illegal to hand a gun to someone else to teach them to shoot. Ignore it. Continue what you’ve been doing. It’s technically illegal to hand a handgun to another person in Pennsylvania if that person doesn’t have a License To Carry. I’ve never heard of someone getting arrested for doing it in a context where they weren’t committing some other crime. These laws are useless. The politicians know they are useless and impossible to enforce, but they want to go back to their wealthy white liberal constituents in Eugene, Portland, etc and tell them what a swell progressives they are, and how much they care about “victims of gun violence.”
  • Fight any new gun bans like your gun culture depends on it, because it does.
  • Fight any new restrictions that would make someone first purchase confusing or overly complicated like your gun culture depends on it, because it does.
  • Fight any carry restrictions, like your gun culture depends on it, because it does.
  • Punish, as best you can, those that did this to you. As much as I hate suggesting this, if you live in a culturally pro-gun area with a Democratic rep, you ought to replace that rep even if they are pro-gun. Once you hit the point where the rest of the Dem caucus doesn’t have to care what their rural pro-gun contingent thinks, you do yourself no favors helping keep that party in power. Pennsylvania has traditionally had many pro-gun Democrats, but here the fact that gun control splits their caucus still matters to the party, though we’re reaching the point where that will no longer be true if they ever regain the legislature.

I wish I could say the problem will get better, but it’ll likely only get worse. California and other parts of the west are running out of water. This problem has been exacerbated by the drought, but it would be running out even without the drought. The root problem is poor planning, and an inability to do large water projects thanks to NIMBYs and environmentalists. It may be reality that one day the people of Los Angeles and San Francisco turn on the water taps and nothing comes out. If that happens, millions will leave the state, and that will be a disaster for the whole country, and especially states like Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.

Currently about 1/3rd of the population of this country lives effectively without meaningful Second Amendment rights. As we lose more and more states, that number is only going to rise. We have to do something, and that’s going to require more creative thinking than our movement has traditionally been accustomed to.

21 thoughts on “The Great Slide Backwards”

  1. In comparing SB941 (the just-passed OR law) with I-594 (its predecessor initiative in WA), they did make a few “improvements” to polish the turd. Specifically, this “exemption” to the definition of transfer was included in SB941 but not in I-594 (IIRC):

    “Transfer” does not include the temporary provision of a firearm to a transferee if the transferor has no reason to believe the transferee is prohibited from possessing a firearm or intends to use the firearm in the commission of a crime, and the provision occurs:

    (C) Under circumstances in which the transferee and the firearm are in the presence of the transferor;

    Thus you can legally hand your gun to somebody as long as you don’t think criminality would be involved, and you remain with the recipient. I don’t know and can’t really guess whether this and a few other refinements were included after input from honest-to-god gun owners or merely included by some enterprising law critter after reading feedback on I-594, but it severely weakens a lot of the arguments RKBA-activists could make against bills written like I-594 was.

    IMHO these laws are dangerous beyond the “universal registration” risk because they define, in detail, exactly what it means to possess or use a gun, or to hand it over to someone else. Essentially they create an entirely new regime of fussy gun possession laws, which will be amended ad nauseam when further “loopholes” are identified by hoplophobes and nitwits. They represent the RKBA defined by gun haters.

    And as a footnote to this discussion, SB941 lost by essentially 2 votes (2 more nay votes would’ve resulted in a tie, preventing passage) in both chambers, despite heavy, heavy lobbying on the part of gun owners in Oregon. Elections matter, folks.

  2. The only “short-term” solution for other states is something Michael Bane keeps repeating: Do not vote Democrat.

  3. I may have said this here already, but I’m pushing it everywhere I can.

    Spam Gov. Brown’s Contact form. (Contact form here.)

    The TL;DR version of that link is this: Gov. Brown received awards and political endorsements from more than a few “women’s rights” and “gay rights” groups. She’s openly bi-sexual. Hit her in the heartstrings with requests to veto S.B. 941: offer up the battered woman who is offered a loaned firearm from a well-meaning friend for self-protection from her abusive spouse. Under S.B. 941, they’d both be criminals.

    It may not sway her, but it’s worth a shot, right up to the point when she signs it.

  4. Californication ain’t what it used to be.

    You’re absolutely right that we’re in danger of losing some rights, and they are trying to kill the gun culture big time, but I would just point out that overall we’ve been winning for decades, and though we’ve had some setbacks thanks to the deep pockets of a billionaire who thinks his money means he should be able to decide what’s best for the paeons, we’re still in the best shape we’ve ever been in. A few points …

    1. Back in the ’90s quite a few people who liked guns, including myself, had given up on the cause and didn’t vote the issue. Many of us do now.

    2. The discussion used to be about banning handguns completely (there was once a clear majority on this) and extreme limitations on rifles. Nowadays a handgun ban is (temporarily) off the table and supported by only a small minority and only some types of rifles are targeted (my favorite kinds of rifles, but it’s still progress …).

    3. But the amazing thing to me is how far we’ve succeeded with younger people. A couple generations ago (for my generation) gun control/confiscation was extremely popular among the youth — can’t find a study but I’d guess a huge majority figured it was inevitable. Now the polls say it’s not popular with millenials, and so does my experience.

    To me the reason why the old white people trying to inflict massive gun control have gotten so desperate is that they’ve realized they’ve got to get it done now while they’re still in power, because the younger generation of progressives doesn’t have an appetite for it.

    And if my generation went from pro-gun control to moderately in favor of gun rights as they aged, what will a moderately pro-gun youth, raised in the age of concealed carry on demand (for most) and millions of AR-15’s around (they were almost nonexistent in civilian hands when I was a kid) become as they age?

    Not to mention that we have a SCOTUS ruling in favor of us finally, though a future liberal court would overturn that in a minute.

    So while some aspects of the future appear bleak (i.e. background checks iniated bloomberg style to entrap and endnager the gun culture are still on the march) I think the war is going well. We may lose some battles, but I’d bet a brick of .22 that my kids will still be owning guns when they’re my age.

    1. I agree we’re in pretty good shape, if you look at the whole issue, and not just the states becoming endangered. It’s possible Oregon won’t see more gun control after this. I actually think we need to think about using federal power under the 14th Amendment to free the bad states.

      I’ve been encouraged by the polling on Millennials, but even if they don’t believe in gun control, if they keep voting for politicians that do in states like OR, CO, WA, and other places, things could still get worse. Our polling will look better, but things will still get worse. Over the long run, you turn a few more states blue, nationally we’ll start losing ground. It’ll get tough if we go from 1/3rd to 1/2 of the population living without effective gun rights.

      1. I think the social conservatism of the GOP is our biggest problem. Millenials may not be pro-gun control but they will NOT vote for someone who seems anti-gay/anti-gay marriage. And though late-term abortion bans are widely supported, very early term abortions/the morning after pill are just as widely supported (all positions I personally agree with though I’m no millenial).

        1. It has nothing to do with “social conservatism” and everything to do with how political wars are waged. The left plays to social justice warriors. They have the Bloomberg and Soros cash. Millenials these days can’t think past the sound bite.

          We have cash, but in certain pockets, and not thrown toward multiple statist policy issues like Bloomberg.

          The generic “pro-life” position polls at around 57% BTW… I’d say abortion is something a sound majority do not believe will solve the social ills as they were told and have been rejecting it for a while.

          1. Young people are very fierce about the gay rights issue for sure. They live in a world where starting in High School gay people are open and everyone has some gay friends. I’m not a millenial but work in IT and it’s the same for me. So with a large number of those in their 20’s or younger and some that are older gay rights are as non negotiable as gun rights are to me; I will NOT vote for someone who is against them.

            I can’t argue individual abortion polls, but when you dig deeper into those polls you quickly find that the biggest concern is with late term abortions (dislike of which is high). But when it comes to anti-abortion group supported concepts like “life begins at conception” and a desire to ban morning after pills and very early abortion methods like the abortion pill the — or even contraception that involve blocking implantation — numbers shift dramatically and support disappears.

            Extremists on the anti-abortion side push things too far. A “life begins at conception” referendum died big time on a popular vote here in Colorado.

            So I stand by my point … if we want millenials, particularly female millenials to vote with us, fighting early term abortions needs to drop off the table — though making it a point that we are fighting late terms abortions ONLY could be a positivie. And arguments against legalizing gay marriage hurt us even more.

            I think a libertarian leaning GOP is the only one that can win in the long term. Young people understand freedom, and they believe in themselves at that age (by nature — unless tehy’ve been watching MSNBC) and they are savable.

            But they won’t vote for politicians who are inflicting morals on them. And frankly I don’t like voting for such either, though I sometimes have to.

      2. On the flip side, Bloomberg spent a bunch of money and political capital to push through a law that more and more Sheriffs and communities are saying they flat out won’t enforce. The law enforcers who do want to enforce it don’t have, and will never have, the resources to do so in any meaningful way.

        At the same time concealed carry reciprocity just passed their House with only one “no” vote. I don’t know what their Senate make-up is, but given that Oregon was one of the few “shall-issue” states with basically no reciprocity, I’d say a win on that front is a much larger countervailing plus in terms of keeping the gun culture active and alive and a bigger slight to Bloomberg’s anti-carry efforts on a national level.

        1. Minor nit-pick: Oregon isn’t a “shall-issue state with basically no reciprocity”. It’s a shall-issue state with no reciprocity. Oregon doesn’t recognize any other state’s CCW licenses. Any other state that recognizes an Oregon CHL does so because that state opted to recognize ALL licenses, not because of any reciprocity agreement.

          Oregon law allows the Secretary of State (IIRC) to examine the CCW requirements of other states and determine if they are substantially similar to Oregon’s, in the interest of negotiating reciprocity agreements. Note that’s an “allows”, not a “requires” (some sources say it was required in the original CCW law, but was never enforced and eventually was quietly dropped). The endless stream of anti-rights Democrats – along with the occasional jelly-spined GOP squish – holding the office has resulted in no agreements: no offers given or accepted.

          1. I didn’t know the law currently allows it in theory. I guess I was trying to get at basically no one can carry in Oregon but Oregonians and people in the 4 contiguous states who can maybe get Oregon permits.

            By granting reciprocity (and thus getting it automatically from even more states) they’ll increase the “value” of an Oregon permit to Oregonians and make Oregon more welcoming to concealed carry visitors. More carriers with no issues makes the anti’s job harder on every other front and allows for incremental roll back on UBC’s by excepting permit holders. With that foot in the door on top of their other issues I think UBC’s are a temporary loss for our side long term.

            Bloomberg can’t make them common enough fast enough to outrun the general pro-rights trend as their weaknesses become apparent.

            1. Ah. In that case you got it right: Nobody can carry concealed in Oregon except residents of Oregon and the four contiguous states (and non-resident permits are may-issue, but as a non-resident you get your pick of Sheriffs to apply with; some are friendlier to gun rights than others).

              I truly hope you’re right about the pro-rights trend growing fast enough to outrun Bloomberg. Exempting permit holders from UBCs also adds “value” to the permit. Depending on how many guns you buy, it could literally pay for itself ($50 every four years, to off-set the $10-per-sale background check fee). I expect if that were done, the next move from the anti-rights side would be to drastically increase the fees involved with getting a CHL.

              [sarcasm] After all, if it has more “value”, then it should cost more, right? [/sarcasm]

              1. I can only hope that Oregon, like the other shall-issue states, keeps the fees low or even lowers them.

                The anti’s have been hard pressed to argue in favor of increasing fees or increasing requirements so far. Permits have been a one-way gate mostly, the terms keep improving.

                1. Well, why don’t we file a lawsuit asking “If the fee (or even the requirement) to impose voter ID is an unconstitutional infringement of a Constitutional right, why doesn’t the same thing apply to gun rights?

                    1. Likewise, after SCOTUS rules in favor of gay marriage, I hope someone will use full faith and credit to argue that reciprocity must be observed for ALL state issued documents including CHL.

  5. This is simply alarmist.

    Population-wise it will eventually work itself out. Liberal and “mainstream” statist types contracept at generally higher rates than conservatives. We seem to be the only ones having kids and passing on anything resembling traditional values that include a healthy respect for the bill of rights.

    If California runs dry (unlikely) that will be the biggest exodus in history, and the liberalism will dilute. We flood it with folks who actually want to build desalinization plants which the enviro weenies have poo poed for years.

    I also maintain that there is also a huge difference between Bloomberg UBC states that have flipped and the “gun ban” states that simply ban inanimate objects. If we are winning (and we are) then people will continue to buy and become interested in guns as has been the case in the U.S. since guns were available to the citizenry.

    We will have the last laugh.

    1. Hispanic fertility rates are higher than conservatives, and they vote Democrat. I am generally an optimist, and I think if you buy enough time, and enact policies that allow for upward mobility, hispanics will cease to be a voting bloc along ethnic lines. They will integrate, they will get wealthy, and they will vote to protect what they earned.

      But we have to buy enough time.

      1. It is my understanding that the Hispanic vote (even of the illegals, if they are naturalized) are a wildcard, rather than a firm “Democrat” voting block. I think you are right, that what we need is time, and this block will likely side with us.

        As much as Republicans fear amnesty (for all sorts of reasons), amnesty may in the end be harmful for Democrat interests! But it’s not clear exactly what will happen; having to cross my fingers in the event of an amnesty makes me a little nervous.

        Having said that, if you think about it, the illegals that come here are often fleeing horrible conditions to build a better life here. While they may bring socialist ideas with them, they also come with a general idea that socialism didn’t work as well…and they get a taste of freedom here, for comparison and contrast!

        Thus, I tend to think we need to be more welcoming of people coming here, even if they do so illegally (which, in part, is due to the overbearing immigration laws)…but they make me nervous in much the same way Californians fleeing the Democratic Socialist Republic of Kalifornia do…

  6. “These laws are useless. The politicians know they are useless and impossible to enforce, but they want to go back to their wealthy white liberal constituents in Eugene, Portland, etc and tell them what a swell progressives they are, and how much they care about “victims of gun violence.”

    Isn’t about being able to enforce them generally; it’s about having a law on the books that allows 3-4 Democrats to accuse anyone who’s an effective pro-gun spokesperson, especially elected officials, of violating it so they can get rid of them. Lawfare by bureaucrats is becoming the new norm.

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