Obviously, there’s a lot of tension going on right now between the people very much for gun control and the people very much against it. That tension exists because we, as a country, have finally reached the point where gun control is about as good as it’s going to get.
Here’s why: we’re presently pruning gun control restraints back, nationally. More states than ever allow “Constitutional Carry,” and more are in line to adopt it. Even Chicago, epicenter for bad management decisions, is begrudgingly accepting the reality of legal concealed carry. Gun ownership is up, the number of gun stores is greater than it’s been in two generations, and overall, gun-related homicides are down.
And yet we still have 20,000 gun laws on the books. Or 50,000. Or maybe 15,000…no one really knows because indexing gun laws at every level of government in this country is like counting dandelions in a field: as soon as you tally up a section, new ones blossom in areas you just counted.
In the 1990s, gun control overreached. We realize that now and are starting to prune. And as evidence starts to mount both for gun liberties and against gun control efforts, it may be that future historians can look back and say the 1990s was the height of gun control in American history, and it achieved nothing. It sure looks that way 20 years later.
Think about it this way: we’re now at a point where every proposed gun control argument has a better counter-argument. If you’re in favor of gun control, you might not think so, especially on social media. But for every person wanting to ban x or make it harder to do y, there are two or three well-argued responses against it.* Want to ban AR-15s? Here’s reasons why you can’t. Want to outlaw gun show sales? Here’s why you’re wrong. And so on: the same false arguments keep popping up, and each time they do, more cogent counterarguments add to the list.
Here’s the issue with gun control: there’s only one way to do it. No, not passage of incremental laws, reasonable restrictions, integrated background checks, mental health assessments, licenses, may-carry reviews, non-reciprocity, or any of the dozens of strategies that worked in the 1990s. The only way is enforced confiscation.
- Banning a particular weapon won’t stop school shootings. Total confiscation will.
- Gang shootings are already illegal, and they happen weekly. Total confiscation stops that.
- Most suicides are committed with firearms. You can’t stop the suicide, but total confiscation will make it impossible to do with a handgun.
- Accidental or friendly-fire shootings? Stopped with total confiscation.
Because as long as there is a reasonable explanation for possessing a firearm—self-defense, hunting, sports, recreational shooting, collecting, historical interest—then guns will be stolen and used in crimes, will discharge negligently, will factor in suicides.
As long as there is one person with a gun out there, the rest of it continues. The only way to stop it, in agreement with frail human nature, it total, absolute confiscation.
And not that mushy kind they tried in Australia, with initially voluntary trade-ins for cash and eventual fines and arrest. That didn’t work, as evidenced by the sheer number of firearms still used in Australian crimes. This must be enforced confiscation, which means seizing of records of gun sales receipts over the last couple decades, house-to-house searches, and more.
Because anything less than this will fail. It must be absolute, and gun control proponents know this when they make comments beginning with “If even one gun….”
On a practical level, this will be an utter failure. Not because of fantasized armed revolts or ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ bumper stickers or civil wars. The effort will be impossible on a purely organizational level: there are too many Americans to search, too many homes, and an untold number of firearms out there to find in them. Not only will local law enforcement be unable to cope with this monstrous workload, they won’t do it—in a Chicago suburb that tried this a while back, the town’s cops refused to comply saying it wasn’t in their job description. The effort failed out of the gate simply because they couldn’t fund the overtime pay for such an effort.
And there’s that pesky issue of the Second Amendment that keeps coming up.
At least that pretense is over with: at long last, Justice John Paul Stevens, writing in the New York Times, has acknowledged that gun control, at this point, shall require the repealing of the Second Amendment. It’s finally out there: backed into a legal and logistical corner, the gun control movement has finally conceded that, at this point, only repealing the Second Amendment will afford increased gun control. The mask is off, the ruse exposed.
This doesn’t make confiscation possible; it makes it more unlikely. Indeed, here’s the thing: the news media are happy to plaster poll after poll on our screens touting some variation of the phrase “A majority of Americans support increased gun control” but cannot prove this. Generally, the poll process works like this:
Pollster: Do you support the Second Amendment
American: Absolutely. No questions. I can quote it to you verbatim.
Pollster: Do you own a gun?
American: You bet. A bunch. And I want more. You should own a bunch, too.
Pollster: Do you think it ought to be harder for people who should not have a gun to get one?
American: Um, well, yeah, obviously.
Pollster notes this person supports increased gun control.
As the Czar speaks to average people from all walks of life, from kids to grandmas to hunting enthusiasts to outspoken liberals, he hears the same sentence: “I believe in the Second Amendment, but…” with some comment following about restricting already-restricted things like gun-show loopholes, fully-automatic AK-16s, cop-killer bullets, or kids buying guns from a Texas Costco vending machine and bringing them elsewhere. The nature of the complaint is immaterial, especially when you explain the reality to them about their fear and they reply with “Oh. Never mind, then.” Although these comments get written up as “favoring gun control” by pollsters, the key takeaway is their first five words: “I believe in the Second Amendment.”
Americans, often based on a faulty understanding of the law thanks to the confusion of tens of thousands of conflicting laws and a sloppy news media, say they want gun control. However, if the vote came to repeal the Second Amendment, the resulting referendum would fail so badly that news media would talk for months about “How did the polls get this so wrong?”
At least we have reached the truth: the only way to increase gun control at this point is to repeal the Second Amendment. And the improbability of that would be laughable if more people understood the incredibly difficult processes to do so. But as long as the pro-control side is finally admitting the truth, the pro-gun side could also admit the truth: gun-control advocates have only themselves to blame.
If you’re pro-gun control, enjoy every day. Because the next day will likely provide you another setback.
*Maybe there’s one exception: bump stocks. People in favor of gun control argue that it practically automates a weapon; people against gun control think they’re a foolish waste of ammunition. Only an extreme minority of Americans want them sold with no restrictions, so introducing legislation to curb or eliminate bump stocks should be easy, right?
You’d think so. In Illinois, the support behind legislation to ban bump stocks was high enough that Republicans practically wrote the language to ban them. This was great, except Democrats in the State Senate—knowing the legislation would pass easily—promptly added a bunch of ridiculous and unconstitutional riders to the bill, assured that Republicans would now vote against it, or the governor would veto it, and thereby the Democrats could say “Behold! Even though the people of Illinois wanted to ban them, Republicans voted against it!” The Democrats found a way to automate a political weapon.