On at least two occasions here at Townhall, I’ve addressed the likelihood that, despite the severe apocalyptic scenarios presented by some on both sides, any resistance to the long-term implementation of a Democratic-led gun confiscation plan will involve a lot less ‘bang’ and a lot more ‘whimper.’ (If you haven’t checked them out yet and would like to, you can read both columns here and here.) While I’m not always able to read the comments on my columns, I do try to give the more controversial ones a closer look, mainly to get a feel for the overall consensus and look for any flaws in my logic which would inevitably be pointed out by multiple commenters.
As expected, my feelings on this drew plenty of both agreement and disagreement. However, one theme that kept coming up was the seeming pessimism displayed in the columns. To be fair, they were written to be a sobering reminder of why we have to fight the Second Amendment battle – and indeed the battle for all our freedoms – on the legislative front BEFORE laws are passed taking them away. Once that happens, regaining any freedom lost becomes exponentially more difficult.
But suppose it does happen. Suppose, despite our best efforts, the left manages to seize complete power and, regarding gun control specifically, outlaw everything except single shot rifles and shotguns. What then? Well, as I contended in those columns, armed revolution is unlikely to happen for all the reasons described and more (several commenters did a great job adding a host of other reasons to support my hypothesis). America will likely go the way of places like Australia and England, and individual gun owners will be driven, one by one, into either hiding their weapons – thus rendering them useless – or, should they use them to defend themselves or someone else, into the criminal justice system.
But wait, this is America, you say, not Australia or England. We’ve got the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and a national tradition of self-reliance and resistance to tyranny unlike any other nation. And you’d be right, to the extent that the spirit of those things remain, which is why several factors that do NOT involve some sort of apocalyptic armed conflict could restore hope to freedom-lovers even if the left is able to someday win their seemingly inevitable legislative victories. Here are three:
Like “Fight Club,” the one rule of jury nullification these days is: “Don’t talk about jury nullification.” What was once perceived as an important and valid tool for making sure the law didn’t go too far into the realm of unjust tyranny has become feared by judges and lawmakers terrified of losing control to the one thing they really have absolutely zero control over – an American jury. In truth, a jury can, in theory, declare someone innocent of a crime regardless of what the law says, regardless of actual guilt or innocence, but simply on the basis that a particular law is unjust.
The establishment doesn’t want you or anyone else to know that, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less true. When it comes down to brass tacks, how many small town red state juries will vote to convict, say, a mother who used her AR-15 to defend herself and her small children from a home invader, or an elderly man for keeping the gun his grandfather passed down to him?
Sure, such injustices happen today and will happen then, and all-too-many juries are sadly all-too-unaware of their power, but in such an environment as we’d be facing in this scenario, it wouldn’t take long for word to spread. Nullify these laws enough times, and lawmakers might be forced to change them or continue looking like the ridiculous tyrants they are.
The 10th Amendment to the Constitution, included in the Bill of Rights, states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It helps lay out federalism, the relationship between federal and state governments, but it also provides a legal underpinning behind states and local governments asserting their rights over an increasingly growing federal leviathan.
Since conservatives have the White House, we’re already seeing various blue states push back on issues like federal drug laws with marijuana legislation and immigration policy with sanctuary cities and states. We can argue about whether the Constitution actually gives those powers to the federal government, but the point is when Democrats regain the White House at some point, as they certainly will, it will be red states’ turn to use both the Second and Tenth Amendments to push back against absurd liberal notions like the inevitable overreaching gun legislation.
That said, being particularly fond of intellectual consistency, I tend to be more forgiving of blue states going their own way today on issues, because I know full well we’ll probably need the same consideration in the future. To that end, California can keep their marijuana and choke on it, as far as I’m concerned, but they’d damn well better let Tennessee be Tennessee when the time comes. That’s true federalism, and going forward that’s likely the only thing that could maintain the uneasy truce between liberals and conservatives in America.
Technology & Social Media
It’s easy to think that leftists, when and if they get total control, would resort to the practices of their 20th Century ideological forebears – leftist ‘heroes’ like Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao – and just start killing people willy-nilly, particularly those they disagree with. And don’t get me wrong, they likely would if they could. However, in an age where the slightest injustice can be recorded and broadcast to billions in an instant, any future leftist overreach will be met with condemnation of freedom-loving people worldwide.
Why do you think Big Tech is so hellbent on curbing the free speech of so many on the ideological right? Thankfully, technology itself is ideology-free, and alternatives to the platforms currently controlled by the left are likely to continue to develop. Stories of any injustices committed will become increasingly difficult to hide, and technology will continue to allow like-minded people to work together and know they aren’t alone.
Just look at what’s happening in Hong Kong now. I don’t know what will ultimately happen there, but it’s hard to imagine things going down like 1989, and the main difference between the two eras is the emergence of technology. If the Chinese conducted a Tiananmen Square-style massacre, imagine the images and videos that would emerge. The Chinese may be Godless Communists, but even they don’t want to be global pariahs.
Obviously, it’s impossible to predict the future, much less all the variables that could affect how any future leftist control is mitigated. But things don’t necessarily have to end with a whimper OR a bang. Things could end with an uneasy truce and, however difficult, the clawing back of freedoms once lost.