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Sounds Like a Winning Strategy to Me!

Dems to run on gun control as a central part of their platform in Georgia.

At the top of the ticket, Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans have tried to outdo each other on new firearms crackdowns. And Democratic candidates down the ballot are embracing gun control not just as a policy plank, but as a central campaign theme this midterm vote.

All I can say for those thinking of staying home because the GOP is awful (and I won’t argue with that), if they win on this there will be hell to pay. We can take care of business in the primaries. The solution to the GOP sucking is not giving control to the Democrats.

Citibank Strangles Gun Owners

I’m in the process of cancelling my Citibank card as I write this. It will go into the shredder shortly.

The new policy, announced Thursday, prohibits the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check or who are younger than 21. It also bars the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. It would apply to clients who offer credit cards backed by Citigroup or borrow money, use banking services or raise capital through the company.

The rules, which the company described as “common-sense measures,” echo similar restrictions established by some major retailers, like Walmart. But they also represent the boldest such move to emerge from the banking sector.

And I just took the “common-sense measure” of shredding my card, after calling and cancelling. They noted I had been a card holder for 27 years, and asked what they did to upset me. I sure as hell told them. I also told them to delete all contact information for me, put me on their “do not market to” list and remove my phone number from their system. You don’t want this cancer spreading? Do what I did. Get Woke, Go Broke.

This was the first credit card I ever held. Got it when I was in college.


Edward Skyler, an executive vice president at Citigroup who helped craft the policy, wrote in a blog post that the company’s announcement “will invite passion on both sides.” But he stressed that the policies are “not centered on an ideological mission to rid the world of firearms.”

Deputy Mayor under Bloomberg. Time to stop laughing at Bloomberg. He’s starting to win, and he and his rich buddies can basically end us. The only thing we have as a defense is each other, and it’s absolutely imperative right now to keep NRA strong.

Regulation is Coming

While both he GOP and the Dems are still sucking up to the Silicon Valley money machines, eventually regulation is going to come. YouTube has suspended a lot more categories of legal gun videos. John Richardson has a lot more to say on this. The purpose of anti-trust law can be best understood as to prevent unaccountable political power, which Google now wields in abundance. As Stephen Green says over at Instapundit: “It’s time to regulate YouTube, Google, Facebook, and Twitter as common carriers.” I’m not sure common carrier regulation is the correct thing, but if Google is going to maintain a monopoly on online video, it’s going to have to be a lot more even handed with content. Ordinarily you don’t have a course of action for private businesses, but when those businesses are monopolists, that changes.

I’d also note for our legal people, and we have a lot of them, that there are civil remedies available under the Sherman Act. I’d also be looking at remedies under Civil Rights Act. I see no reason to wait for the state to act, when we could be filing suit now. A pretty well-targeted suit against Google would be a much more effective way to channel some populist sentiment than another Angry Dana video. Just sayin’.

This Means We’re Losing

David French think it’s high time the NRA got on board with Gun Violence Restraining Orders, and praises it as a good move. I don’t agree it’s a good move, but I think it’s probably a necessary one. French seems to think this will make a difference, but I’m going to bet you even if we pass GVROs in every state, we’re still going to have mass shootings. French seems to believe gun control will work. It won’t. It’s never worked. In the Parkland case, they had every opportunity to take action under current laws, and no one ever bothered. This would just have been one more crack the killer would have fallen through, and everyone knows it.

I worried when Bloomberg started pushing the GVRO issue that there was a chance this would get traction, and that’s what has happened. So what do you do if you’re NRA? Again, the hard line answer is to shout “no” louder, but that’s not going to stop you from losing in a dozen more states on a bill that, like California’s, has zero due process. You also have the White House on board with this idea, which doesn’t help things.

So what NRA has decided to do is rebrand GVROs as Risk Protection Orders (RPO), demand some level of due process, and become all for it. Looking over the RPO concept, it would actually have more due process than a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, which is already disabling. So this isn’t really the sellout some are claiming it is. I’d be thrilled to get this much due process for PFAs.

This is not the first time NRA has done a move like this. When it became apparent the Brady Bill had real traction, after years of fighting it, NRA declared that instant background checks were good and wholesome, and pushed that idea as an alternative to the seven-day waiting period the Bradys originally wanted. NRA’s position is eventually what we got.

I know hard-liners will be all “Negotiating Rights Away” yet again. By this point, I’ve heard it all. But let me ask you this: would we be better off with a 7 or 5 day waiting period for all gun purchases everywhere? Would we be better off if we had an assault weapons ban that had no sunset clause? Would we be better off with a dozen more states passing GVROs with no due process protections whatsoever? Would we have been better off if, as the original NFA intended, machine guns were defined as any firearm which could fire more than 7 rounds without reloading? As I’ve said, sometimes outright defeating your opponents isn’t an option. Sometimes it is a matter of minimizing the damage they are inflicting on you. If NRA had 10 or 20 million members, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But we don’t, so we are.

Weaponized Social Networks

This scenario is harrowing, and I already see some evidence of it. My mother’s side of my family and some friends on social media have gone commented and shared a lot on social media that aims to socially shame me and other gun people out of shooting and our opinions on the matter. It does not come close to rising to this level, but I see things headed in that direction.

One of the weaponized social networks I’m currently covering is a loosely connected network built on a newly emergent consensus morality (#metoo, etc.).  A consensus that it uses to successfully wield social, and increasingly, political power.

This moral network recently expanded with the addition of the #neveragain movement, after the Parkland shootings.  In the past, a movement like #neveragain would be focused on gun control through changes in government legislation.  Now that it’s part of this weaponized moral network, that focus is going to change.

Why?  This weaponized network isn’t interested in just changing legislation.  It’s far more ambitious than that.  It wants to change everyone‘s behavior and it is building the means to do it.  Here’s how.

Read the whole thing. I agree with Joe Huffman, who brought this piece to my attention:

Gun owners all need to “come out of the closet” and make it clear we are normal people. We do not have blood on our hands from the school shootings.

That really is the best thing we can do.

Walkout Wednesday

Say what you want about the school walkout thing, but it was brilliant. As in, “I wish I had thought of it,” brilliant. It’s times like this I wish I had kids, because I would have had them walk out with pro-gun signs and hand them out to likeminded teens. I’d definitely love teaching them the great pleasure of suing the government for fun and profit if they tried to stop them. The brilliance of it is that kids will take any excuse to get out of school, and these days we don’t really do discipline, so it was kind of inevitable that the schools would accommodate. A bit of ideological sympathy on the part of educators doesn’t hurt either. So you get nice big crowds that are more likely to impress lawmakers, and that can be spun to people who don’t understand activism as a huge generational shift on the issue. See, the future is gun control!

I don’t have kids, but for those of you who do, take a look at what Popehat has to say about the issue, and remember: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

I Think She’s Right

Ashe Schow:

Basically, the left had money and infrastructure ready to go for an all-out assault on guns and the NRA, they just needed the right moment — the right victims.

It’s sickening, when you think about it; they were basically waiting for children to die so that they could swoop in and blame everyone they dislike, instead of the actual shooter. They paraded grieving children in front of cameras without any care for their well-being just to help their cause.

And as much as it pains me to say this, and as much as I think this was a horrible thing for the Left to do; the right should learn from these tactics.

I think the reason for this is most of us really just want to be left alone, and aren’t really the rallying, marching, and organizing types. The reason the religious right was so successful within the right coalition, is they were the ones who really wanted the power to bring about social change that’s more amenable to them. My primary issue with the religious right was their failure to recognize that culture leads to politics. If you’re trying to use government to correct cultural trends you don’t like, you’re fighting a rear guard action, and you’re destined to lose. That’s why I think they will suddenly find themselves out in the cold when the current realignment finishes. If you want political power, you have to get people back in the pews.

Ashe Schow is at least as uncomfortable with these tactics as I am, but as we’re observing, they do work — especially when they are well-executed and well-funded. This is a big reason I called on NRA to up their game. Our movement is very good at self-organizing, but it’s exhausting for the people who have to put it together. As a movement, we’re firing on 3 out of 6 cylinders on a good day, because most of us have jobs and families. NRA has a great role to play as facilitator, but as I noted, parts of NRA seem overly focused on using members as passive consumers rather than as active change makers. We’re a lot better at getting people into pews than the religious right is. What we have remaining to do is to get them to do more than just listen to the sermons.

Talking to Non-Gun People, Redux

Thanks to social media, we can now all see into each other’s minds, so I have an idea of what non-gun people think about the issues of the day. I see consistent themes. Here’s a few facts I see people get wrong a lot:

Rapid Fire: A meaningless term. If you hear this, try to flesh out whether the person is confusing machine guns. If so, relieve that ignorance. It’s OK to say “machine guns are banned.” They effectively are. A lot of gun spergs will get all ACKCHYUALLY, and that’s not the path to take. Your goal as an ambassador to the gun culture is to relieve ignorance, not to impress your opponent with your knowledge of obscure firearms minutia.

Military grade: What does this mean? Almost all firearms have a military pedigree of some sort. Even Grandpa’s deer rifle likely uses the bolt action invented by Paul Mauser in 1898. The M1911 was developed for the military. Again, this could be a symptom of confusion between machine guns and semi-automatics. This is where your typical explanation of the “assault weapons” issue comes in. The war on AR-15s is nothing more than a war on scary looking rifles and ergonomics. It functions no differently than other common rifles.

Magazines: Most people have no idea it takes only a few seconds to change a magazine. It’s also not completely apparent to someone who hasn’t taken any kind of firearm self-defense course that magazine restrictions benefit attackers over defenders. The attacker has planning on his side, and he can plan around the restriction. As a defender, I’m not going to carry a gym bag full of 10 round magazines around with me all day (as the attacker in Parkland did for the shooting). I’m going to carry what’s in my gun, and I want it to hold what it’s designed to hold. Police feel the same way, which is why they’d fight tooth-and-nail if the restriction applied to them. Your average cop is more likely to need his gun than I am, but the vast majority of police shootings don’t exceed ten rounds.

Firearms are Deadly: We shouldn’t mince words. The AR-15 platform is not designed to wound. That’s one of the biggest pieces of gun lore out there, and it’s not true. The reason the .223 Remington was adopted by the military as the 5.56x45mm because a solider can carry a lot more rounds of it than the .308 and .30-06 ammunition it replaced, and it does the job adequately enough. Yes, as rifles go, the AR is not particularly powerful shot-for-shot. Yes, in many states, you can’t hunt medium sized game like deer with it because it’s not powerful enough. What makes it popular among shooters is also what makes it a choice for some mass killers: it’s an open-source, accessorizable platform with good ergonomics, manageable recoil, and a quick learning curve. There’s nothing remarkable about the AR-15s function that sets it apart from any other magazine fed semi-automatic rifle. I think it’s important for people to understand why it’s a popular platform. While I’ve always thought the term “Modern Sporting Rifle” was a transparent euphemism, the war on so-called assault weapons is a war on modern ergonomics and usability.

Yes, We Care About Children: How many of us have heard this one over the past few weeks? I don’t really take kindly to the use of emotional blackmail, so usually if someone engages in it, I will cut off discussion. But yes, we care about kids. We just don’t agree on solutions.

Arming Teachers: Be realistic about arming teachers. The caricature pushed by the media and gun control proponents is that we want to hand out guns to school staff. No proposal by the NRA or anyone else even comes close to this. My actual opinion on this is that there should be no legal penalties for a person to carry in a school if they are licensed to carry everywhere else. I think local schools should have the option to adopt state prescribed training standards for allowing select personnel to carry. Could be a resource officer, could be retired veterans, could be teachers who are inclined. I don’t really care either way. It should be up to the school district how they want to go about it, or if they want to allow it at all. If a teacher has a license to carry and wants to carry regardless of district policy, they risk their jobs. I don’t see any public benefit to putting them in prison for it.

It’s Just a Hobby: If it was just a hobby, we wouldn’t be at each other’s throats. Skiing is just a hobby, and even though people die skiing, no one argues over it. The fundamental argument at work in the gun issue is what the proper distribution of power in society should be. That’s not a simple topic where there are easy answers. Unfortunately, people very strongly want to believe there are easy answers to complex social problems. I don’t believe popular sovereignty really has any meaning if those in power disarm those without it. Without arms in the hands of the people, it’s a fiction. Also, non-shooters tend to be unaware of the interdependency between the civilian shooting culture and the police and military shooting culture. The truth is when you destroy your civilian gun culture, shit like this is what happens. Many of the training options police and military now have are courtesy of the civilian culture, and vice versa. You can’t destroy one without damaging the others.

Also, I would encourage you to check out Tam’s post on this subject, and add that to your quiver.

Passing Gun Rights on to New Generations

Divemedic recently left a comment that certainly resonated with me because I think all serious activists feel this way at some point:

I hate to say it, but I am getting to the age where I am not really fighting for my rights any longer, nor even my children’s rights. My children are all over 30 years old. They are old enough to fight for themselves.

To tell the truth, I am tired. I have been fighting this battle and arguing with misinformed nitwits for over 30 years, and they still use the same old, tired talking points.

At this point, I am fighting for the rights of my grandchildren.

I don’t disparage anyone who puts in years of working for a cause at all. It does get tiring. Even with blogging, there are very few issues we haven’t covered before. This isn’t an issue or hobby that sees exciting new changes every few months. There aren’t really any radical new discoveries to pull us back in when things get old.

But the notion of fighting for grandchildren got me thinking, especially where kids of gun owners haven’t really picked up the fight for gun rights in the same way. How will our descendants know about what was so dear to us? I don’t just mean the ones we know, but the ones we won’t ever know – 3rd, 5th, 7th great grandchildren.

And it’s not just a matter of us passing it on to our descendants, but what of our ancestors? In my family tree, there could easily be upwards of 7 generations of NRA members in theory. (In theory for my family because those early years were focused in Yankeeland, and my ancestors were all broke Southern farmers – including the Georgia & Tennessee boys who fought for the Union.) In reality, it’s more likely on recent generations for many people. But were my deceased grandfathers and great grandfathers ever members? I don’t know. Because I know there’s no real chance of ever getting NRA member records from the past opened up for research, I’m quite confident that I will never know.

But that’s where gun clubs & shooting match organizers can make a difference.

One way to make sure that news of the traditions are passed down would be submit news of shooting competitions and other events to the local media. That helps us now and documents our passions for the future.

The other thing that I believe gun clubs should seriously consider is some sort of historian officer who is charged with documenting, preserving, and thinking about all things history of the gun club and shooting sports. There’s the internal value of someone ready to share the history of the club with new members and make them see they are part of something bigger. And the fact that someone would be in charge of sorting & maintaining records, photos, and memorabilia that most people aren’t quite sure what to do with.

If you’re a member of a really, really old gun club, are there newsletters from the early days with people who are all deceased that could be digitized, bound, and donated to a local historical society? If they won’t take them, then consider starting a club blog that will share the history with the community in an interesting way. Most clubs have websites these days, so put them to use in sharing history and our present.

What about member applications from decades ago of long deceased members? Records that document people between censuses are genealogical gold in general, but if they also reflect the interests of the applicants at the time, that helps tell the story of those individuals. I realize there are privacy and safety implications in gun-related records, and I’m more than sensitive to those as someone whose information was published as a concealed carry license holder in Virginia who lived next to a threatening neighbor. That’s why I’m specifically saying to look for records for people who are long deceased.

For me, it starts small. In my genealogy software, I’ll mark the family members who I know are/were proud NRA members. Eventually, as time and people pass, that information will make it out into the family histories. For those who were really involved in the issue, it will make their obituaries. Hopefully we can do more to create a better documented history of our own contributions to protecting the Second Amendment so that the Second Amendment supporters in 50, 100, and hopefully 200 years will know they are part of something much bigger. They won’t be relying on wills and estate inventories to see if we owned guns or left some to the NRA. They will know because we spoke out.

Analysis True!

From Glenn Reynolds, on people ignoring assault weapons bans:

But since the point of gun control is to humiliate and grind down flyover people and demonstrate that the Ruling Class is ultimately the, well, Ruling Class — not to control crime — the appearance of submission is probably enough. Plus, a seldom enforced and often ignored law is ideal if you want to be able to target troublesome individuals later.

That pretty effectively sums it up.

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