Diane Feinstein and Joe Biden are empty headed hacks who's only real goal is more power for themselves. But the same can't be said of everyone in the anti-gun movement. Some of them sincerely believe that things would be genuinely better for America if they were able to achieve their political goal of a disarmed populace. They're wrong of course... but that doesn't mean they aren't sincere.
It was "The Derb's" comments on Marxism yesterday (he was actually quoting himself) that got me thinking about this. See the prior post for what I think is one of his better composed paragraphs. The point is that it's possible to be wrong - even very wrong, and still not be the kind of person who deserves scorn and derision like Biden and Feinstein do.
The regular people who are a part of the anti-gun movement aren't very thoughtful, are ignorant of history, and are driven far more by fear and sentimentality than logic or reason. That's not a particularly useful combination of mental conditions. They want to pass a law that punishes millions in order to modify the behavior of a very few people who are already breaking the laws we have now. That's obviously not very smart. But they are not the kind of beltway butt-insky's we're used to seeing on the tube, who want to turn free American citizens into a servant's class suitable only to collecting government cheese and pulling their chariots. They are stupid, not evil.
What horror it must be to be one of those people and to discover that the life-long goal that you've strived for and that you genuinely believe will save the children of America from a life filled with pointless risks, is actually against the law. That's what it means when we say that something is unconstitutional - it means it's against the law. It means that in spite of their best invertebrate wriggling and effort to get between the cracks, the (mostly reprehensible) people that write the laws these days have gone too far. They have stretched the meaning of the words to the point of breaking, and must now have their efforts undone.
Of course the people who make that call are lawyers too, so stretching the meaning of words is also their stock in trade. The original idea was that one group of meaning stretchers would be set against another, but the desire for popularity with the mob infects all men. And that makes that particular governmental construct an imperfect device for preserving liberty. It's flaws have been obvious for some time - most recently in the obamacare ruling.
I myself am not a lawyer. I don't profess to be an expert in stretching the meaning of words. But as an interested amateur with a modest experience in the area, I think I can follow the logic of the debate around the second amendment. And I think there is a perfectly reasonable case to be made that Diane Feinstein's new 'assault weapons ban' is unconstitutional. That is to say, to implement it would be breaking the law.
Free citizens don't need permission from the government to exercise their rights, but she would insist on it. Under her law, free citizens would be forced (ironically at gunpoint) to get fingerprinted, to have their activities carefully tracked, and to seek permission from the government before engaging in willing commerce with their legally acquired property.
She doesn't say so, but in order to implement her law, all gun owning Americans would have to be on a consolidated list, and their firearms registered with the government. Such a list would be very handy later if the government were to decide that some new 'crisis' could be best handled if all those guns were confiscated, and the registration of firearms has always preceded that event in the past. Restrictions like that are supposed to be beyond the limit of what the federal government is allowed to do. But to Biden, Feinstein, and well meaning dolts of the anti-gun movement, that seems like no restriction at all.
My buddy RA and I were out to dinner the other night commiserating with a recently unemployed friend, and the subject of guns came up. RA, as you probably know from his occasional comments, is a 'gun guy' too and although our friend participates in the shooting events I organize, he is not a gun owner or gun rights supporter. He thinks that guns should be kept away from 'poor people' because they commit the crime. It honestly never occurred to him that this view is essentially a racist view, but self awareness is not universal, nor necessarily a requirement for me calling you a friend.
Anyway, at one point the bartender chimed into the debate on the anti-gun side, and that's when I made my big mistake. I've been having this discussion ALOT lately you see and I'm sick of educating people on the same simple facts and principles over and over and over again. So instead of doing like I normally do - staying calm, presenting the facts, and letting them tie themselves in rhetorical knots by trying to reconcile the irreconcilable logic of anti-gun thinking, I just got fed up.
"You want to ban all guns? Fine. Go ahead, propose repealing the Second Amendment. You propose it, we'll debate it and see how it works out for you." "no no no" they say "we only want to ban really evil guns!" "Fine!" was my response. "Propose it. Put it on the table, and we'll discuss it and see how it works out. I'm sick of saving you people from yourselves. You want to try to confiscate a bunch of guns?! Go ahead. See where it gets you! But don't expect people like me to come save you when the shooting starts!" All that made me feel better, but I doubt that it was more persuasive than my usual tactics.
These guys aren't evil or stupid. (well... maybe the bartender was... what do I know) They were horribly ignorant, and a bit self delusional. And at the time we were all deep in the hinterland of liberty, at a French Bistro in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. But I did our side no favors in that argument. After weeks and weeks of being compared to Nazis, accused of racism, mental illness, fanaticism and being spiritually linked to mass homicide, I didn't see any way to convince two more basically thoughtless people they were wrong. They didn't care about facts, so I didn't present any.
My friend at least, certainly had good intentions. In his mind he's not proposing disarming black people, he's finding a 'middle ground' to make everyone in the debate happy. He doesn't think of the right to arm oneself as a fundamental right, he thinks of it as something I do as a hobby, and that it should therefore be subject to whatever regulation our betters in congress decide it should. He's just one more 'low information' liberal. A nice guy who doesn't think about things and doesn't want to. And we have a word for people like that these days... a voter.
But there are still inescapable facts to this discussion. Owning a gun gives me power - inevitably, political power. And that's why the power mad hacks in government so desperately want to disarm me. It's also why I and the people like me won't be disarmed. This is the absolutely inescapable 'end game' of the debate.
There will be legal wrangling and political wriggling. And the politicians will have whipped a basically good intentioned but thoughtless mob into a real frenzy before it's all over. But I don't care about the mob. I'm not persuaded by them. And while they may wear down my ability to calmly educate them, they will not persuade me to disarm under any circumstances or using any method. If you really want me to give it up, you're going to have to come try to take it from me.
I started talking about the horror it must be to discover that it's against the law to ban guns, when you truly believe that a gun ban will 'save the children'. Well here's the thing. As horrifying it must be to discover that a gun ban is unconstitutional, it's nothing compared to the horror that will come on the day that it's found not to be. These days in particular, the law is an unreliable ally. And at the end of the day, a great many gun owners don't care about the law any more than we care about the feelings of the angry mob.