Tuesday, January 22, 2013

- Obama's Army vs. The NRA

Talk to an antigun zealot and they will tell you that I am not the problem. They look at me, a prosperous middle aged, married suburban white guy, and what they see is not what they believe they need to fix. They hear about my experiences with competitive skeet shooting and hunting, and it doesn't feel like a crisis to them. Even when they hear me talk about how much fun it is to go to the range with an AR15 or AK47, or hear me talk about the imperatives of 'carry gun' selection, they still don't see any need for new law.

I am not who they feel the need to disarm. They may twist around their statistics and cherry pick the numbers (ala the Brady anti-gun group's talking points) to try to defend the progressive position, but after 5 minutes or so when I make it clear that I understand those numbers better than they do, they typically back off. Inevitably they fall back on trying to recruit me to their view by turning me on "them". By them, they mean the people who they see as different than me, who they really do feel should be disarmed.

You need only look at a map of the US by the degree of firearm regulation to know who that is. The people that progressives really want to disarm - the people they feel the absolute need to disarm - are young brown men. They want to disarm young blacks and Latinos, in inner city environments. Those groups are responsible for an inordinate amount of firearms crime - way in excess of their numbers in the general population. But they also represent a key component of the left's 'client constituency' model, for big government, and are therefore a preferred political group.

So they aren't really a good candidate for new gun law. Those young brown men already live in mostly "gun free" zones. Until a recent Supreme Court decision Chicago was totally gun free but still lead the nation in murders by firearm. New York, home to the sugar daddy to the anti-gun movement Mike Bloomberg, is a place where only the rich and politically well connected can get a gun, and the bulk of the population is totally disarmed as well. Camden, and Detroit are free fire zones in spite of their relatively tight restrictions on firearms ownership. And liberals are not so delusional that they don't see what's happening.

So in an effort to 'solve' this problem without passing laws to directly restrict their clients, they have no choice but to 'cut off the flow' of guns to the inner city. And they imagine that if they make firearms ownership harder in the rest of the country, they can diminish firearms ownership among their client constituencies without actually sounding like that's what they're trying to do. If they could figure a way to make guns more rare among criminals without actually punishing their favored political groups they most certainly would. But unfortunately those groups turn out to be criminals more often than everyone else, so direct regulation simply won't fly. Instead, further disarming their political opponents feels like a 'win - win' to them, and represents too tempting a target.

This brings us to our present position in the gun debate. The left wants to disarm non white men without looking racist, and the predominantly white political right wants to keep their guns so badly that they're willing to tolerate the criminal elements continuing their current access. Ironically, the very group that is arguing for blacks and Latinos to have the same access to firearms as whites is the group that is constantly accused of racism, and the group that wants to restrict guns by race, is the group that thinks it's the one best suited to do the accusing.

This is an old story for gun-banners. The first anti-gun regs were designed to disarm former slaves, and it's followed that trend ever since. The only thing that's really different this time is that Obama imagines that he can mobilize his campaign organization, largely unionized public school teachers and non white inner city 'clients', to convince the broader general public to disarm. Displayed in that context, it's obvious that it's not going to happen. In fact if gun sales, NRA membership roles, and permit applications are any indicator, it's having an opposite effect. Displayed in this context, it's what I'd expect.

Years ago, I read a non fiction story written by Robert Heinlien about his involvement in local politics. One thing he did was hire a bunch of surly drunken homeless guys to knock on doors and berate people into voting for the opponent of the man he was supporting. If I recall he said it gained his guy 1% in the election results. That's how I imagine Obama's campaign Army will change the gun debate. Nothing will convince me I'm right about something faster than having a unionized public school teacher make the opposing argument. They aren't intelligent people and do not offer thoughtful criticisms. Many on the right feel the same about them that I do.

Snooki-Americans may not think the way we do, but we don't think the way they do either. And I don't see Obama's army changing this debate.


ikaika said...

Tom, while you have lamented that RFNJ has turned into a 2A/Gun Blog, dinner conversations across America have probably idled on the topic more than ever.
I was invited to a friend's house for dinner with mrs ika.
The daughter of the friend is a successful attorney in the DC fed court system.
She is a tenacious formidable opponant and our own Frithguild would have his hands full. Her father is also a brilliant self-made man, but largely of north east city stock with a cultural and spiritual "lean" towards liberalism (you get my drift?)
Towards the end of dessert and two sambucas later, he declares: "Gun control. Who needs 10 rounds to kill a deer?"
Before I could blurt the automatic - "2A is not about Hunting", his daughter beats me to it while espousing a command of the issue from "our side" or to me the only side of the argument.
I was pleased with her command of the language, but she offered a caveat: "Not that I hold this position".

What I noticed is that liberals (and these folks have Obama Buyers remorse) are want to remain liberal no matter how much it pains them. And it pains some of them that it manifests in "tells".
When I was able to assess her uneasiness with a God Given Right, and her disclaimer, I asked if she fealt the same way about the entire Bill of Rights?
I offered a compromise:
Eliminate the Second and restrict the First and erase 4 & 5.


The question was posed to my diminutive yet formidable spouse:

She replied rhetorically if a woman should endure a rape or a phyisical attack while the cops were on the way.

That effectively shifted the debate from Gun Control to "how bout those Niners?"

chess said...

Missouri Sheriffs Pledge To Not Enforce...

Come on over to the land of common sense.Ahhhh.

Plus you can marry your 1st cousin and people wont think you are abynormal

frithguild said...

I have written here before that I view the time of the Civil War so soon after the Colt Revolver as no coincidence. One of these days, I will have to really lay that argument out in greater detail. As I see it, that war was really about gun control, because it is absolutely impossible to keep armed people as slaves. The Colt was cheap enough and could be mass produced.

Sometimes I think my ideas for a post here is like a baby alien that runs around the room avoiding capture. Eventually, it attaches to my face completely consuming me until it bursts out of my chest going "eeeerrrrhhhh!" as a finished post...

Tom said...

It's an interesting thought, and I can't dismiss it entirely. But the revolver wasn't as breakout a firearm as you imagine, nor was it particularly cheap for the time.

It did represent a landmark in 'repeating fire', but it was one of several that happened just before the civil war. Repeating breach loaders were being innovated everywhere at that time. And that makes it tough to attribute too much to that particular breakout technology.

Also, if anything I would imagine the role of repeating long arms to be more relevant, since a handgun was not much of a threat to anyone. And not just because of it's very limited effective range.

Soldiers enforce order, and soldiers carry long arms. 100 trained soldiers with Winchester repeaters could easily subdue 500 with colt pistols. Range of fire plays that big a role in military tactics.

Baron Scepter said...

1856 - S&W Model 1 using a bored through cylinder with a self contained metallic cartridge.
1855 - Rollin White patents the bored through revolver cylinder.

frithguild said...

As far as repeaters vs revolvers, repeaters would win, yes. VHS won out over Betamax, long after shock waves of a disruptive technology changed the entertainment industry.

An interesting study would be to look at the incidence of arms prohibition for slaves and people of color in the Kansas and Nebraska territories.

Tom said...

I could be wrong - pre-civil war firearms regulation is hardly a specialty of mine. But I don't think there were any restrictions that specifically applied to slaves. If I'm not mistaken Dredd Scott was the first relevant slave/non slave distinction drawn in firearms regulation.

But again, not my area.

And I don't mean to fully discount your theory. I think it may very well be that the idea of the colt revolver was a nagging concept in the heads of the men who eventually made the decision to secede. I just think it will be difficult to prove.

ikaika said...

I can't say the Civil War was about gun control. The south had the ability to procure and manufacture firearms almost at equal footing.
Conceptually - wars were still fought in skirmish lines with volley formations regardless of rifle or musket.

I will suggest that the developement of the paper-hulled shotgun shell served as a liberating follow-through and on a much more individual level.

The side-by-side 12 ga or 10 ga replaced the musket over the mantle in households black and white.
It was much easier and far less expensive to procure a shotgun and a box of shells after 1880 or so.

frithguild said...

But I don't think there were any restrictions that specifically applied to slaves.

Nearly all of the colonial militia statutes prohibited slaves to be armed. So it was common.

Kansas and Nebraska changed the free/slave balance in the Missouri Compromize. Border Ruffians and Jayhawkers were fighting it out in the late 1850's Kansas with guerrilla style warfare - conditions that favored modern firearms - probably using Sharpes, but a little before Sharpes Carbines used the metallic cartridge.

Interesting thesis is that the people in Kansas and Nebraska intuitively knew that it would be impossible to keep slaves as weapons got better - so they leaned toward the free state point of view.

frithguild said...

"Beecher's Bible" - the Sharpes Carbine

Luke said...

John Brown wanted to arm the slaves. An armed slave revolt was the south's greatest fear. Yes, a unit of 100 soldiers armed with long arms would outfight a group of 500 slaves armed with revolvers. That group of slaves, however would not be likely to face a unit of trained soldiers. More likely would be the local militia made up of bully boys who had never faced armed opposition.

ikaika said...

John Brown understood the psychological impact of arming the slaves.
The threat of an armed slave insurrection perhaps is the reason why Brown was always portrayed in Art and Film as some Wild-Eyed Terrorist.