As I predicted yesterday evening, President Obama's gearing up for a long-term fight over gun control, in which guns are only a small part of the equation - in fact, they're a smoke-screen to hide his ulterior motives and ultimate agenda. Time reports:
The White House does not expect to win many judgments soon. Instead it wants to change the entire conversation about gun politics in America. Republicans in both chambers, resistant to betraying a key constituency, will have to feel the sting of sustained public outrage for the effort to succeed. And Democrats will have to risk short-term ballot-box backlash and take votes they too have resisted for at least 20 years. No one expects either campaign to be easy. “It falls into the larger context of the Republicans’ fighting rearguard battles on immigration and the role of government and on this,” said one Administration official about the coming gun fight. “That’s going to be hard to sustain over time.”
But even some Republicans admit that the Newtown, Conn., massacre may have changed the fundamental chemistry of gun politics in the U.S. Before the end of the year, polls were shifting slightly, showing majorities in the country in favor of new regulations on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and universal background checks. A Time/CNN poll found in mid-January that 55% of the country supported stricter gun control, while 44% opposed it. As Biden put it before his meeting with the gun-owner groups, “There is nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more than the visual image people have of little 6-year-old kids riddled—not shot by a stray bullet but riddled, riddled—with bullet holes in their classroom.” In his meetings with the gun lobbyists, Biden asked his guests to consider the shifting terrain after Sandy Hook. Even evangelical leaders, he said, traditionally a source of Republican influence, were expressing concern about guns. “It’s going the other way,” he told the men across the table. It was a warning and, in its way, a threat.
. . .
“They see this as their best shot, and it is a shot that they are taking, and they are coming right at us,” David Keene, the NRA’s president, said a few days later in an interview with Time. The group, which says it has more than 4 million members and spent about $20 million in the 2012 election cycle, was getting ready—reviewing the polls, keeping in touch with its members and calibrating message strategy. “We’re doing all the things you would do if you were expecting a really serious battle,” he said.
Keene welcomed some of the ideas Biden was preparing, like increased federal funding for school security and more aggressive prosecution for felons who illegally attempt to buy weapons. Keene was even willing to entertain an expansion of the background-check system for gun shows, where roughly 40% of gun sales take place. “I’m interested to see how such a proposal would be workable,” he said. But he expressed concern about the entire approach of the Administration and about anything that sought to limit the types of firearms and magazines available for law-abiding citizens. “We are saying the question that Americans are asking is ‘How do we protect our kids?’ The question is not ‘How do we ban guns we don’t like?’”
Most worrisome for the NRA was the clear sense that something else had changed since the 1990s, something Biden didn’t harp on in the meeting but was counting on nonetheless: leverage. “They, for the first time, have money and coordination that they did not have before,” Keene said. Millionaires and billionaires were stepping forward. Gun-victim groups were organizing. Social-networking campaigns were being prepared. Celebrities had been recruited to carry the message. This new fight over guns would be fought over old fault lines but on new terrain, with new tools, many of which were just proved very effective in the heat of a nationwide campaign. Biden, this time, had backup. “The public wants us to act,” he said.
. . .
“The NRA is only powerful if you and I let them be powerful,” Bloomberg tells Time. He says he wants to force votes on Capitol Hill so he can take the issue to the 2014 congressional elections. “I want the Congress to have to stand up and say, ‘I’m with the NRA and support killing our children’ or ‘No.’ And if the answer is, ‘I’m going to take on that fight,’ I’ve got their back,’” he says. He will not say how much more money he will spend, other than that it will be a substantial sum. “He described the $10 million as putting his toe in the water,” says Howard Wolfson, one of Bloomberg’s political advisers. “I don’t know what the full foot is worth.”
Other groups are also organizing. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence raised $5 million since late December and announced a new ad campaign built around the slogan “We are better than this.” A coalition of liberal gun-violence groups targeted North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp with ads last month after the Democrat criticized the President’s proposals, and California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who authored the 1994 ban on certain semiautomatic guns, is planning her own media push for the end of January. “This is different,” she says. “I did not get calls about ‘How do we organize?’ I get those now.”
There's much more at the link. Essential reading.
Those of us who support the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms had better keep one thing firmly in mind. We are now in a minority in America. The last election proved that. We may be a very strong minority, with a significant political voice if we work together; but changing demographics, and the tidal wave of leftist influence that's taken over our educational and other institutions over the past few decades, has fundamentally changed the situation on the ground. We can no longer take victory for granted in many states, as their electorates become more and more dependent on government handouts and largesse.
"He that pays the piper, calls the tune". Nobody has a bigger purse than the US Government - and under President Obama, that purse will be used to influence the debate. So will very large contributions from extremely rich progressive and left-leaning individuals and organizations. For the first time, the amount of money available to gun-control advocates will probably exceed that available to Second Amendment supporters. Over and above that, of course, they'll have the enthusiastic, unthinking, knee-jerk support of the mass media, who don't give a damn about the facts of the situation. They never have.
Last week, I advocated political measures to oppose gun control measures. I hope someone in the NRA was listening, because measures of that sort are going to become unavoidably necessary. We can no longer rely on winning the fight on our own turf - that of gun rights supporters. There are now less of us than there used to be, and more on the other side who've never handled a gun, and see them only as threats. We're going to have to take the fight to the enemy, and fight on his turf and his terms - and win. Only if we can pose a significant threat to what they hold dear will they realize that they can't threaten what we hold dear with impunity. That's going to take lots of organizing, lots of money, and a new approach. To apply military metaphors to a political donnybrook, we'll have to break out of the trenches and learn to fight in open country, seeking targets of opportunity.
I'm not saying the fight can't be won - but I am saying we're going to have to fight very hard, and very smart, and on more than one front, for a very long time. This fight is no longer over gun rights. It's over the future of America. Gun rights are only a small part of that . . . and if they're dragged down to defeat, everything else we hold dear in our Constitution will follow.
Expect gun control legislation to be introduced that is explicitly and clearly un-Constitutional; and if it's passed, expect it to be applied at once, despite the legal challenges that will undoubtedly follow. In the time it'll take us to get them before the Supreme Court (let alone win there), enormous - perhaps irreversible - damage to our cause can and will be done.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, President Obama will probably have an opportunity to appoint further Left-leaning justices to it during his next term. He'll certainly appoint people who'll vote to overturn the Heller decision and other pro-gun rulings. Despite the Democratic Party's insistence on the importance of stare decisis during nomination hearings for conservative SCOTUS justices, they won't lift a finger to observe or enforce it when they're in control. You can take that to the bank.
I note that local activists are already implementing measures against gun-grabbers. I was encouraged to read today that a shooting range in Burlington, Vermont, has told the local police department that it may no longer train there, after the city council voted to implement gun control measures. Ronnie Barrett's long-standing refusal to sell his rifles to municipalities and states that demonize them is already well-known (several examples of his letters to such authorities may be found in this discussion thread - scroll down to read them). We need to encourage other firearms manufacturers to follow his example, although some - for example, Glock - probably make more from law enforcement sales than they do from commercial transactions. We also need to encourage firearms manufacturers to move out of states with explicitly anti-gun-rights legislation. Many of the largest such firms in the USA are in 'enemy territory' - Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, etc. Personally, I'm at the point where I'll deliberately seek to spend my firearms budget (for guns, ammo, accessories, etc.) with companies whose taxes and other imposts don't 'provide aid and comfort to the enemy'.
Finally, we need to confront the bigotry and senseless stupidity so often exhibited by the other side. Heaven knows, we've got enough problems with it ourselves, as the recent brouhaha over James Yeager has illustrated; but they have just as many. (The lovely Phlegm ran into one of them today, which I find quite disgusting.) We also need to point out the inconsistencies of their position, as Tamara did the other day.
We're in for a very long fight, people. We will suffer setbacks and losses, but I refuse to accept defeat - because that would mean the country that has become my home is no more. That's too ghastly to contemplate. I guess I'm going to have to do a Martin Luther in terms of the Second Amendment. "Here I stand, I can do no other."