Polling Shows People Support Closing Gun Stores

I believe the poll showing that Americans want to keep gun stores closed is correct. But people’s real views on any given topic are always more complicated than any poll can tease out. Very few people want to tell pollsters they think the economy is more important than saving grandma. What this poll tells you is that for many people, saving grandma is important to them. How many people who say “yes,” gun shops should stay closed were frantically calling around trying to make an appointment to buy guns? A whole lot if you believe the NICS figures.

Just to give a personal anecdote, someone asked yesterday whether I think the response was a) appropriate, b) inadequate, or c) excessive. Really all three, depending on context. But I chose c), and that reveals what I care about. Because in front of my mind are:

  • The drive up church services being busted up.
  • Golf courses being allowed to open but not outdoor shooting ranges.
  • California’s Governor threatening to close down beaches which can be used safely if people stay apart.
  • The arbitrary enforcement of the lockdown rules in some states (Home Depot and Lowes are getting away with violations that small businesses aren’t, and it’s destroying them).

But, generally speaking, I think the broad quarantine orders were understandable given the circumstances of where I live. Maybe not if you lived somewhere COVID was largely absent when the orders came. But no government response is going to be overflowing with competence. One reason you haven’t seen me going off on political rants is I have very low expectations of what government is capable of, and I think expecting competence is naive. Government is a poor tool to fix what ails society. Sometimes it’s all we got, but it’s never going to be really good at the things it does which are necessary. And it certainly won’t perform well during a century level crisis where nobody really has a clue.

Overall, I don’t think there’s any unity in this country at all. I’m seeing awful behavior from nearly everyone. This is exacerbating our divisions and bringing out the worst on the left and right: both have their respective pathologies dialed up to 11. What’s needed is adaptability and a little humility, and I’m not seeing any of that. When we come out of this crisis, I think our political divisions will be much worse than the already sorry state we entered it with.

59 thoughts on “Polling Shows People Support Closing Gun Stores”

  1. “Because in front of my mind are…”

    Right there you put your finger on things, and below it you actually arrived at the point: Your perception of “excessive” depends on whether you have an ox being gored or a dog in the fight; pick your metaphor. The problem is perception sometimes traces to people who, for whatever motive, will tell you are being victimized, or are about to be victimized, when you never would have figured that out for yourself. (Usually the motive is their desire for you to deliver them the political power they crave, and meanwhile, the money to acquire it.)

    I haven’t followed the NICS statistics, but I’m guessing that even if they set records over the course of what, a concentrated period of six weeks?, they yet represent only a tiny fraction of a population of 330 million (?) participating in the firearms marketplace. That despite hysterias about everything from potential gun bans to “urban hordes” pouring into the countryside to rape and pillage — speaking of people needing to be told their ox is about to be gored.

    1. “I haven’t followed the NICS statistics”

      I just checked quickly (now that I’ve spoken) and a raw statistic I found was that based on NICS, the FBI thinks 4.2 million guns were transferred in March and April combined. But again assuming a U.S. population of 330 million, that would amount to only about 1.27 percent of the population, if you assume one gun/check per customer. I suspect that would be considerably under the margin of error for the opinion polls in question.

      Sorry for the nit-picking.

  2. Now ask about abortion clinics (what percentage of the population got abortions in March/April) and weed emporiums being open. It is everybody beating their favorite horse. Another step closer to civil war.

    1. People get so salty when legitimate medical businesses are allowed to stay open while churches are closed.

      1. Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder which was my point (and I think Sebastian’s). And we have two sets of beholders who grow ever father apart.

        It is worth noting also that not all legitimate medical businesses were allowed to stay open (e,g, dentists). The original point of closing non-emergency medical practices was to preserve PPE for CV providers. Abortion clinics use PPE.

        1. Indeed: I would expect that people would be less “salty” if all other medical businesses were allowed to operate during this time — particularly those that wouldn’t have affected emergency rooms.

          As my wife has pointed out, “elective” in medicine means something different from what the rest of us think it means. To us, “elective” is something you do in school that isn’t required; it may even be extra-curricular. To a medical person, “elective” means “you can schedule it”.

          The problem, of course, is that a lot of very important things can also be scheduled. Chemotherapy. Cancer screenings. Vaccinations. Eye surgery. People can get seriously sick, be maimed for life (and even lose livelihoods!), or even die, all because they missed out on “elective” medical procedures. Yet, abortion is “elective” in this sense, but not closed down.

          When you combine this with the requirement to close Churches, and attempt to close gun shops, it’s very understandable why some people get “salty”.

          I, for one, wouldn’t forbid any of this activity. I would declare “all jobs are essential” unless you, yourself, decide you don’t need that haircut, or that you could pause your own work for the time being, because your family can weather the storm. I would declare “here are the risks, here are our recommendations, now make your own decisions about what to do next!”

          I would also take extra steps to secure the most vulnerable, and to quarantine those who are sick. I would not say “If you want to open up the economy, you just want to kill grandma” and then immediately proclaim “If you don’t let an elderly patient sick with COVID-19 into a nursing home, you are a monster!” which is what New York (among other places) has done.

          1. “abortion is “elective” in this sense, but not closed down.”

            A number of states like Louisiana and Texas require facilities that perform abortions to have doctors with hospiital admission privileges present. The requirement for hospital admission privileges would seem to imply a need for immediate access to emergency surgery facilities. It seems a little hypocritical to imply that access to emergency surgery is a necessity, at the same time you close an entire class of medical care as being non-essential and “elective”. There also is the consideration that in many of the same states, delaying abortions for any reason would push women into a time period when “late term” abortions are banned. Again it is hypocritical to ban late term abortions but place women in a position where that may be their only choice.

            Your argument to let people decide for themselves how to approach the risks of the virus includes employers’ decisions that “you’ll come in to work or you will never work here again.” That leads to things like the toilet paper shortage (as a metaphor) where people are forced to participate in the hoarding because everyone else is going to do it. The most desperate of the people’s fellow workers are going to go to work no matter what, so even those with options have no options, if they want to keep their jobs, at all. It results in almost everyone having no real option but to take the greatest risk. I can even see that as a factor in cult-like church sects, where people will be shunned or socially ostracized in some way if they don’t demonstrate their religious commitment to be as great as anyone else in the congregation. So I agree that “elective” means different things in different contexts.

            1. You are aware that these laws have been struck down or have a gigantic loophole for the mental health of the woman seeking the abortion?

              You just keep making my case that the differences are irreconcilable. Secede already.

              1. “Secede already.”

                Which splinter are the women going to live in? The African-Americans? The Hispanics? Or any demographic that statistically is not on board with you real Americans? Name any place where something like your proposed “divorce” took place, that wasn’t based almost entirely on ethnic or religious divisions going back hundreds of years. Not on manufactured factionalism going back less than 50 years.

                1. If they support liberty, the same as the rest of us. We aren’t the racist ones, remember. We welcome women, blacks, hispanics, etc.

                  Name a place? The British Colonies in North America, July 4th, 1776.

                2. Ethnic identity is a leftist fetish. Conservatives don’t care. I will agree that the current spate of factionalism goes back 50 years and that it was manufactured-by leftists. Long March through the Institutions, anyone.

            2. Even as someone who opposes abortion, I can see why the time element matters.

              However, as someone who sees how the time element matters, I see it matter in *far* more places than just abortion. In the past few weeks, I have heard about someone has had both their sight in one eye, and thus and his ability to continue work, put in jeopardy, and I have heard about someone who had to delay cancer treatment because of this shutdown. To make matters worse, my sister was diagnosed with cancer this last week, and it really irked me that I was unable to visit her while she was in the hospital; I consider it *very* fortunate that my State is just beginning to ease shut-down measures.

              Furthermore, there are a *lot* of people who would be *happy* to work, but are forbidden, because some bureaucrat is telling them that they cannot take the risk. How is this any better than those who would rather not take the risk, but still work because they feel the pressure to do so from their boss?

              Yet, somehow, throughout all this, abortion is the *one* special procedure that is allowed to continue. And what is the end result of this procedure? Dead babies.

              Again, is it any surprise that people are salty about it? Perhaps we wouldn’t be, if we didn’t attempt to shut everything down, but let everyone else evaluate their *own* risks that they were willing to tolerate.

    2. Greetings, Gentlemen. Richard, you may be right about civil war, or at least civil strife. I have often wondered why I am considered selfish for wanting to preserve not just mine, but all Americans’ liberty, but he is not considered selfish who demands the loss of all citizens’ liberties just to preserve his own life.

      I have a fairly close friend who was in Air Force pilot training with me decades ago, and we have kept in touch off and on throughout the years. We always seemed to agree on everything until this Chinavirus showed up. I wrote him that I wasn’t too keen on the loss of liberties during this “crisis” and hoped the governments would restore our freedoms before the economy is destroyed and the Republic is lost.

      He wrote back, somewhat scoldingly, “In my mind, liberty must take a back seat to caution in this case.” I was stunned. This man took the same oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution that I did. And yet, here he was saying it could be suspended until he felt safe to go outside again.

      I thought about writing him some quotes from our Country’s Founding:

      “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
      ― Patrick Henry, Virginia Assembly, 1775

      “Those who would give up essential liberty for a little safety deserve neither and will lose both.”
      — Benjamin Franklin

      “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.”
      — Alexander Hamilton

      “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
      – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

      “Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”
      — John Adams to all future generations, including us!

      And from across the pond:
      “The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend, will keep the dogs obedient to the whip.”
      — Charles Dickens

      “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
      — William Pitt the Younger, Speech in the House of Commons 18 November 1783

      “The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
      — John Stuart Mill

      From antiquity:
      “All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures.”
      –Julius Caesar

      “Nor can [a man] possibly be brave while he esteems pain as the greatest of evils, or temperate while he regards pleasure as the supreme good.”
      — Cicero, “On Duties”

      And more recently:

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive…for those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

      “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
      – Milton Friedman

      “We’ll either preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
      — Ronald Reagan

      But alas, I will likely just send him a non-confrontational message about hoping he is doing well and that this will all be over soon. Why? Because, I don’t think I can change his mind, and I don’t want to lose his friendship (“Do not reprove a scoffer lest he hate you.” – Proverbs 9:8). Sigh….

      Blessings to all! Stay free!!!
      – Arnie

      1. It is impossible to preserve the freedom of everyone when half of the population doesn’t want it or has a starkly different definition. It would be a desirable goal but impossible to achieve. We are already two separate countries stuck inside the same geopolitical space and striving for dominance. This will eventually end in civil war if conservatives don’t just surrender first. A better solution is the National Divorce but few seem interested. The Left thinks the arc of history is on their side and they will get the whole thing eventually. The Right is divided. Some are just in denial. Some think federalism is still a thing. Some are lusting for the war and think we will win because we have guns.

        1. Richard, those are great points. In fact, your description of the two separate countries in one geographical space is the most succinctly accurate picture of America I have ever read. And it is not just the Coasts vs. the MidWest; there are many patriots struggling in New York and California, while I struggle against a few abject socialists right here in my own tiny farm village, not to mention the larger cities, in the Heartland. If there should be a civil war, it won’t be like the “War Between The States,” but more like the War for Independence where there was fierce opposition from “Loyalists” in every State.

          I had never heard of the “National Divorce” before, but I will google it. It sounds perhaps like the “Two-State Solution” being proffered for Israel/Palestine. I’ll check it out. Thank you!

          – Arnie

          1. I’m fully in support of a National Divorce. Because its either that, we all get subjected without resistance, or we fight a civil war. Sure there are tough questions to answer on the ND, but much better than the answers that the other options provide.

            1. The problem is all the major naval bases are in blue states. That’s just one example. But people talk about separation as if it’s easy. It’s not. It would be hellish.

              1. Well there are plenty of red states that can host new naval bases.

                Nobody talks about separation as if it’s easy. It won’t be. It won’t be hellish either. Plenty of countries have separated peacefully without it being hellish or super difficult.

                But what will be more hellish is being subjugated without resistance or fighting a civil war. Those are the three options. This is no fourth option.

                So which one do you prefer if you don’t want a ND?

              2. Divorces suck but they are survivable and the property settlement is negotiable. Got to quit thinking in terms of states and start thinking counties or even smaller jurisdictions. The key, I think is to make blue states so uncomfortable that they will secede and then we let them go on the condition that the counties get to decide whether they want to go or stay and consider some deals like Gitmo for the bases. As for bases in the Pacific, there are possibilities for Cam Rahn Bay and Truk to hold over CA, WA, and HI. For the E coast some of the counties there will have decide whether they want the economic benefits of the bases which the People’s Republic won’t provide or we can try to cut a deal with the UK or Canada or Ireland.

      2. I’m not big on inspirational quotes, because sometimes they are just bogus, almost always they are out of context (e.g., the person quoted can usually be shown to have been a hypocrite)and usually some study will show that with the issue addressed, either the person quoted or the principle failed to deliver what was implied.

        I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but I seem to recall that even Adolf Hitler had a couple quotes that would bring a tear of joy to a freedom-lover’s eye.

        Just at random, I noticed among the above Milton Friedman’s quote, “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.” I thought that one was a little ironic, given that Friedman was a bigtime apologist for Chile’s Pinochet, and Pinochet was nothing if not a believer in “concentrated power.” But as long as Pinochet was listening to and talking up Friedman’s economic theories, Friedman loved him all to pieces.

        (For the record, I do believe “Pinochet did something wrong.” Lots of things. Someone close to me spent some time in Chile about 20 years ago, and reported that it was still considered a social faux pas there to express anything that smacked of being a political opinion; even something as simple as “You’d think the city would fix these potholes” would provoke an embarrassed silence with everyone sharing furtive glances. That, even though Pinochet had been gone for about a decade. The vestiges of his terror [oops, I meant “concentrated power”] were that ingrained in the culture.)

        1. Hi Andy B.! Thank you for the info on Friedman. I did not know of his support for Pinochet. That was most incongruous. The Caesar quote I used above could also be guilty of that charge, for he was certainly not the poster boy for small government

          I have noticed similar discrepancies between sayings of Napoleon as a dictator and his quotes as a prisoner on an island in the Atlantic. Moreover, Thomas Jefferson could be quoted as a champion of strict construction of the Constitution until as President he purchased Louisiana from Napoleon!

          Sometimes men later changed their minds, so we have to be careful how we quote them. Sometimes, however, they betray their earlier principles, which makes them hypocrites, but I don’t think it should necessarily disparage their earlier statements made when they were yet honorable men, especially if confirmed by the judgments of history.

          It is a judgment call to be sure, I admit that.

          I don’t always use quotes for name-dropping; sometimes I quote others to say succinctly that which I myself would ramble on trying to describe. One of my favorites is John Wayne’s:
          “Life is hard; its harder if you’re stupid!”
          That is a whole book in one sentence! Glad he said it because I would never have invented it, but would have spent hours trying to explain the same thing to my audience.

          I have recorded several hundred quotes on my iPhone notes, including many from Sebastian (“If the only tool you have is a hammer….”) and his contributors. I think I may have stolen a few from you, too, Andy B. The fellows on this blog are quite witty and often unleash a doozie that I just have to add to my repertoire. For that I thank you and Sebastian, and all who comment!

          – Arnie.

          1. Arnie:

            I’m glad you took my comments in the right spirit.

            I didn’t want to imply anything about your selected comments in general, it is just that over the years I have been disappointed so many times by quotes I was loving, that my warning flags almost always go up automatically when I encounter them. There is more than one populist (for want of a better adjective) historian who has built a career on selectively applied and edited quotes, massaged to wow and sell books to his/her fan-base.

            My “favorites” are the quotes of the Founders (possibly with Thomas Jefferson in the lead) that never appeared until decades after their deaths. I don’t mean that authentic quotes were “discovered”, I mean that some author apparently invented them to support some point he was trying to make.

            I have my own collection of quotes, but most of them I have vetted with reasonable care, to make sure there is at least an informed consensus that they are authentic. That I love the sentiment is not enough.

            1. Yes, Andy B., I know exactly how you feel! Those false quotes that come out decades after a man’s death with no contemporaneous verification are SO frustrating! And yes, it often occurs with the Founding Fathers. I am sure we are all familiar with the misquote of George Washington on “government being a fire,” as well as a few on the Right To Bear Arms. What is most disappointing is that there are usually plenty of authenticated quotations that support the fabricator’s position if he’d just look for them – so all he does is call into doubt the Founder’s true position when people fact-check him. Oh I could scream! We did a Musical on the Founders for a Fourth of July presentation years ago, and the writers asked me to fact check the quotations they used. I had to throw out three of them as spurious. Fortunately, I found several replacements that were were not only authentic, but I thought better than the fabrications! We humans can sure be a fickle lot!

              Thanks for the great conversation and for your perspective on quotations. I am very grateful!!!
              – Arnie

  3. It turned out to be a good day during a bad time here in Texas when the state government told a Dallas judge to step down and backed up the woman who went to jail rather than apologize.

    Texas – Gun ranges never closed, considered essential, our town Walmart, you cold buy anything, Home Depot the same way, Restaurants were allowed to do curb service and sell alcohol mixed in drinks on the curb to go. People were encouraged to get out and walk, run and drive anywhere they wished to go, just keep groups down to five and now up to ten. All retail stores this week were allowed to fill to 25% capacity of customers and starting tomorrow all food places and barber shops and hair salons the same. Building trades never slowed down along with yard service people, a lot of working class people were able to get up and go to work every day.

    Of course there were the Odessa idiots with their damn Super Size armored assault vehicle along with Super Size deputies keeping a bar closed while some armed idiots got taken in for having guns on the property of the bar but that’s just kind of Texas too.

  4. Duuno how it is in other places, but a Pro-Bass store down here in FL was/is moving ~700 guns/week.
    It has gotten to the point where the distribution warehouse isn’t even shipping guns to the stores anymore. Rather the stock is being sold directly on line from the warehouse with the buyers picking up their purchases from the closest Pro-Bass store.

  5. The media also hasn’t helped. They have propped up Cuoma, despite him ordering nursing homes to take back positive patient and only just started cleaning the subways. But they railed on DeSantis, who didn’t close down a lot and is starting to open, and Florida has been fine.

    1. I’m not sure Florida has been “fine”, though superficially it appears to have fared better than Pennsylvania, if you look at only the states’ total populations.

      The problem with that is that few east coast states are really homogeneous. Pennsylvania’s eastern tier counties are very much a part of the Washington DC to Boston megalopolis, with high population densities. (Bucks County has more population than 3 or 4 states in the nation.) Florida has different concerns as a high “tourist” economy, presumably both receiving and sending the virus from/to all other parts of the nation. I think most of the criticism I’ve heard of DeSantis has been centered on tourism considerations, but that may just be what caught my attention.

      I’ve been wishing I could find a map of the country where COVID-19 cases were color-coded by county, based on cases/deaths per 10,000 population. I’m suspecting that across the country, places with similar population densities have experienced similar problems; except that initially, the virus could be seen spreading like a wave or waves, originating from the highest population density centers. I suspect that if anyone had access to the daily historical data, and plotted it that way, where waves peaked, or appeared to be dampened, would contain useful information as to what policies had been most or least effective. Though a complicating factor is, different populations adhere to “policies” to different degrees.

      1. I don’t know your county, but a while ago I found exactly what you’re looking for from my local news. They posted a visual of my county broken up into cases according to zip codes. Not an exact number per area (0-20, 21-50, etc), but world’s better than a breakdown by county.

        tl;dr- search your local news, they might have something.

        1. Thanks for the suggestion. I have seen a variety of renderings, but nothing yet that I think ideal. Most presentations seem to focus on absolute numbers per political unit (states, counties, etc.) rather than rates (e.g., cases or deaths per 10,000 or 100,000).

          It also has occurred to me that for purposes of graphic visualization, plotting a 3-D orthogonal view of the country with each county elevated proportional to its rates of infection would be an aid for getting our heads around certain phenomena. Then, plotted against time it would give a visual rendering of any moving “wave” phenomenon.

          1. If we had honest media they would be doing exactly that. Since we don’t however, you will have to do it yourself unless someone out there that I haven’t found yet has done it. Extract the cases per county (bad or lagged data, I know). Johns Hopkins has this though it is on a map but perhaps there is a table somewhere on their website to pick up the counties with zero cases. Then extract county population. Divide, then use the results to produce the graph you want.

            This is a special case of what Richard Fernandez noted that when you politicize an epidemic, it looks everyone into their tribe.

  6. I’ve been whittling down my gun collection and ammo stockpile in anticipation of retiring to Spain. Had eager buyers for everything. Sold 4500 rounds of 10 mm and .45 in 3 weeks and 4 firearms in the same time period.

    For the first time ever, I sold guns for what I paid for them.

    1. Why would you move to a country that requires you to liquidate your firearms?

      1. The weather and the cost of living. I’m still taking a few of them with me. The big thing is, you can’t stockpile ammo like you can in the states.

        1. An Old Fart has to ask: Doesn’t anyone reload anymore?

          I once knew people who shipped powder to another restrictive country, mixed in dried pipe tobacco. At the other end they just had to sift it out of the tobacco.

          Also the technology of cast bullets today is such that they can be used at full power or close to it.

          Sometimes you have to swap elbow grease for convenience. When I was a kid, economics saw to that. ;-) I remember people writing in the American Rifleman, about shooting experiments they conducted when they had only six primers to work with.

          1. Now I have a picture in my head of a Customs agent deciding to confiscate that pipe tobacco for personal use….

          2. My brother has retired to Mexico and hung out with a bunch of upper-class Mexicans and expats at a local gun club. They are limited to .38 caliber down there, but the cheating was rampant. The one I recall distinctly was they were taking Coonan 1911s in .357 magnum, grinding off the caliber from the slide and telling the Mexican government that it was .38 Special. Then they were reloading .357 magnum from components they smuggled down there.

    1. The civil war? That looks to me like fellow citizens who also value their 2A rights defending a state rep of their choice. No disagreement there.

      Do you purposely post to stir up trouble? Your posts seem to come from a left leaning perspective, which is fine, but if you dislike 2A rights I don’t get the point of your interest in this blog. Are you a left-leaning gunny or what?

      1. That’s definitely the opposite of a civil war.

        399 is the local rabble rouser. He’s got TDS hard, among other ailments.

    2. Hi, 399!
      I’m not sure any of OUR “guys” claimed they were “itching for civil war.” Richard warned that among other conservatives, “some were lusting for” it, but I didn’t sense he was including himself in that group.

      I also read the article from your link and saw animosity against racism, not liberty. In Michael Lynn, Jr.’s, own words, they were there to protect their liberty as “black Americans” to “exercise our second amendment rights as everyone else does.” That’s an ally, not an enemy.

      Now, I’m not so naïve as to think the legislator they were “protecting” was on the level and wouldn’t backstab them by disarming them the first chance she gets (in fact, she essentially admitted she would), but if the tenor of the article can be believed, they were there to protect her from racial supremacists, not to threaten war against libertarians.

      Respectfully, Arnie

  7. I’m moving this to the end because I don’t want to imply anything at all by who I’m replying to.

    I think some of you people protest too much. I remember around the end of last year there was a lot of discussion here about the potential for “boogaloo” and “civil war” has been mentioned several times since. I usually find when a subject comes up frequently in a venue, it means someone there is really intrigued by the idea. If “civil war” isn’t favored by anyone in our present company, my apologies to you all.

    The armed black escort for that black Michigan legislator was a reaction to armed white demonstrators in the capitol last week. Armed reaction to a previous armed action, along clearly identifiable faction lines (race or political party) is a scenario for war breaking out. It is a form of “gunboat diplomacy”. It is as simple as that. I implied nothing about who was right or wrong or good or evil. If you want my guess, Rep. Sarah Anthony is hoping for a reaction exactly like what happened in California in the 1960s when the Black Panthers showed up armed in Sacramento. Ronald Reagan as governor teamed up with the NRA to push through gun control, because of outrage at the sight of armed black guys displaying their legally carried arms in the capitol. I think they even called it “The Panther Bill”, colloquially. Anthony is probably betting that the sight of armed black guys will bring the same response in Michigan, with even some white Republican legislators getting behind it. Let’s hope she’s wrong, but I think there are more incidents and armed protests yet to come.

    1. One of the motivating factors for the 14A was that local governments in the South and the KKK were denying freedmen of their 2A rights. The three pillars of Jim Crow were denial of right to arms, right to vote and right to property. Once this was in place the petty apartheid of drinking fountains, lunch counters etc was easy.

    2. “with even some white Republican legislators getting behind it.”

      I have a slew of relevant Old Stories, but maybe the top-level one is about the two “Friends of Sportsmen” Republicans who invited me and a small delegation to Harrisburg to convince us to support some “Gun Control Lite” they were pushing. When we weren’t biting, they took to telling us horror-stories about what [N-words] (their language) had done to pretty little female convenience store clerks, while armed with guns. I was always bothered by, why they thought that would work on us?

      The other Old Story is about when I attended an NRA meeting in Harrisburg, after the NRA had succeeded in getting Governor Tom Ridge’s gun control legislation passed. Two factions were present: Those of us who had opposed gun control legislation, and those who had supported anti-crime legislation.

      A question came up about a provision that made you a felon if you left your under-18 kids home alone in a house with guns in it. Those of us who opposed gun control spoke against it. But one of the anti-crime guys spoke up, saying “Who cares? In North Philadelphia, the kids are all drug dealers and the parents are all out drunk in a bar somewhere.”

      The point of the story is, it really didn’t seem to occur to him that the law would apply to him, too, and not just to “Those People in North Philadelphia.” Specifically, he appeared to assume the gun control he supported would only be enforced against blacks, while whites like him would pursue business-as-usual.

    3. You make it sound like race was the biggest factor in the Black Panther stunt. I somehow doubt it is.

      Do you really think that, if, instead of the Black Panthers, it was the Weather Underground who brought legally carried arms to the Capitol, at the moment that they were discussing gun control, that the California legislature would have acted differently? How many times has Sebastian on this very blog complained about gun rights bills derailed because some white guys show up at a rally on their Capitol Hill legally and openly carrying guns?

      The fact is, when it comes to protestors carrying guns, it isn’t the skin color that matters, it’s the presence of the weapon that does! That, and the fact that legislators are spineless wimps, even (or perhaps especially?) the Republican ones, assuming that they were really on our side to begin with (which, despite what they might say on the campaign trail, is notheless a big stretch to believe).

      1. “You make it sound like race was the biggest factor in the Black Panther stunt.”

        Oh, I absolutely think it was. Look at the history. Assemblyman Don Mulford had introduced what he called “The Panther Bill” on April 5, 1967, not as a reaction to a Black Panthers’ demonstration, but in reaction to the Panthers conducting lawful armed “copwatching” patrols to monitor police arrests of black people. The Panthers’ armed protest in the capitol came later, on May 2, 1967. It was a reaction to Mulford’s anti-gun legislation that had already been introduced, that he explicitly said was directed at them, They also were protesting that blacks were routinely harassed for being armed, usually being arrested under other charges, because being armed was not illegal.

        The Panther’s appearance in the Capitol was an “open carry” protest that backfired, because the participants were black. Compare that to white “open carry” demonstrations in recent years, that overall have been successful. However California, where modern gun control was born under governor Ronald Reagan, remains a “no carry” state to this day. Reagan introduced the argument that only “sporting uses” like hunting and target shooting were “legitimate” civilian uses for firearms. He said that the Mulford Act “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.”

        A final point is that despite the appearances of armed white supremacists at dozens of demonstrations around the country in recent years, including Charlottesville, there have been no attempts to restrict their gun rights, that is, no bills directed specifically at them. Since they are people at least as noxious as any black militants, we have to question what if anything has changed since more than a 2/3 majority of the legislature eliminated carry rights in California in July 1967.

        1. First of all, you have overlooked the times where open carry of guns by whites have either resulted in cancelled gun rights legislation, or (and I can think of one time in California, in particular, several years ago) the increase of gun banning. California is so far down the path of gun banning, I can’t help but wonder if they’re going to start banning guns because police openly carry them!

          Secondly, I can think of a lot that has changed since July 1967. The failed attempt by Massachusetts to ban, by referendum, handguns, in 1976. The rising and setting of the Assault Weapons Ban. The increasing of concealed carry without blood in the streets. McDonald and Heller — and one of these cases included an African-American from Chicago.

          1. “you have overlooked the times where open carry of guns by whites have either resulted in cancelled gun rights legislation”

            Give some examples where that was the real reason for the “cancellation”, and not that the election was over, so the sponsors didn’t need a shiny object for their campaigns anymore.

            1. Give some examples where that was the real reason for the “cancellation”, and not that the election was over, so the sponsors didn’t need a shiny object for their campaigns anymore.

              Virginia Lobby Day, January 2020

              1. That wouldn’t have had anything to do with the Democrats taking over both Houses in the 2019 election, would it? For which you can thank the gun rights movement getting into bed with Donald Trump, more than a handful of guys demonstrating with guns.

  8. I don’t give a rat’s ass what my fellow citizens believe or want. The Constitution guarantees certain rights. When those rights are unfringed its time to start using the guns. Or else why is there a 2nd amendment?

  9. “The Constitution guarantees certain rights.”

    The constitution has meant polar-opposite things at different times. While constitutions may be the best we can do, rule-of-law-wise, the rights they allegedly guarantee exist only in the minds of men, and human minds are notoriously malleable. Both left and right have campaigned and propagandized for a half-century now to create new understandings of what the constitution “really means.” On the left the effort to redefine the 2A is an obvious example. On the right, things like the “Sovereign Citizen” and “Constitutional Sheriff” doctrines may be extreme examples. Whoever is most successful at persuasion is not going to give a big rat’s ass what their fellow citizens believe or want. Never have, never will. Who can afford best to buy access and influence in the courts will decide. Like all history.

    1. The difference is the the extremes on the Right are a fringe of a fringe. The extremes on the left are elected officials, billionaires and celebrities.

  10. “The extremes on the left are elected officials, billionaires and celebrities.”

    And the extremes on the right have none of those at all?

    Not that he was “extreme” (except for being extremely anti-gun) but I remember a certain actor who was NRA president, and another who was an NRA Board member, but now flogs reverse mortgages in TV commercials. Two “celebrities” right there.

    1. Now count the leftwing celebrities. I assume you are talking about Charlton Heston as the first except you got your double negatives mixed up. I do have a hard time defining someone who marched with MLK as right wing much less extreme. No idea who you are talking about on the second since I don’t have a TV.

  11. “No idea who you are talking about on the second since I don’t have a TV.”

    Tom Selleck. I’m actually feeling bad about the implications of my remark, because I think Selleck is a pretty decent guy. I’m a little influenced by his latest gigs being, playing a patriarch cop on TV (“Bluebloods”?) and using his avuncular character-image to promote reverse mortgages, which I think should be illegal. (They are a very subtle way for transferring taxpayer dollars to the mortgage industry, but that’s another subject.)

    The problem of celebrity head-count is one I have considered. I think it is mainly demographic, since it appears rare to find anyone in the entertainment industry who didn’t have a blood-connection that got their foot in the door, and apples seldom fall far from the tree.

    Admitting I’m just being argumentative, I’d suggest that “the right” has created its own celebrity-class, with “pundit” characters like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and similar personalities whose “opinions” usually outweigh their claims on credibility — exactly the same fault of say, the acting profession.

    My bottom line is, I have personally been exposed to so many charlatans on the right, that it troubles me when anyone suggests their ideology has the patent on virtue, and isn’t top-heavy with characters as bad or worse than their opponents, all using similar or identical tactics. Self-serving charlatans pollute every cause.

    Look at the NRA, right now.

    1. The Right has had to create its own celebrity class in self defense. People pay too much attention to celebrities but that is the way it is. So now everybody has their own celebrities and, more importantly, their own media. Tell me how this isn’t a recipe for civil war.

      1. “The Right has had to create its own celebrity class in self defense.”

        No, their “celebrity class” created themselves out of raw opportunism, in some cases being perceptive enough to realize part of that opportunity was heavy-duty funding from self-interested billionaires who created several layers between themselves and their mouthpieces. “Stealth” was a big element, recognizing it and knowing who and what was behind it.

        I underwent the entry-level training to be a front-man, and I know who was sponsoring the training, which was always treated as Top Secret. But there is no sense talking about it, because True Believers simply choose not to believe their cause is anything but Holy and motivated by purest altruism.

        1. Celebrities can’t create themselves. It takes followers.

          Name a right wing billionaire. The surviving Koch doesn’t count because he is now in the Soros orbit. I can name 3 left wingers for every one you come up with.

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