Well, if there are people Democrats should ignore when it comes to the Second Amendment fight, it’s former Obama officials. For all the haranguing, they got nothing done. We stopped them. And it wasn’t just us; western Democrats joined us to gut what became known as the Manchin-Toomey bill, which aimed to expand background checks in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. It was at a point where the NRA and the gun rights movement were at a critical juncture. In the end, support for gun control post-Sandy Hook, as always, tapered off. It’s a losing issue, though former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer seems to think that Australian style-gun control is the path to victory for his party that’s regional and heavily reduced to its urban strongholds. That’s not the best ground for winning this argument. Forget the usual talking points, its urban, over-educated liberals trying to tell rural Americans what to do. It’s an extension of the hamburger problem, in which the Left has become so insufferable that people are averting Democrats altogether. The “hamburger problem” is the situation when liberals slam you for eating meat and contributing to global warming, another issue that only Democrats cares about. Normal people just dig in; enjoy whatever events they’re at, and crack open a few beers. Yet, this is the hallmark characteristic of the American Left: overregulate everything—to the point where it does make people hate them. Bill Maher, a liberal, aptly noted that his party’s incessant, and one could argue fetishistic, push to regulate everything has turned the Democratsinto the “party of poopers,” doing and pushing for things that even make him hate his own party, but I digress. Here’s’ what Pfeiffer thinks are bold solutions to our so-called gun problem (via Crooked): [emphasis mine]
The interpretation of the Second Amendment that prevails on the far right today was reverse-engineered to pander to fantasists. If it takes hold nearly all gun regulations will eventually be overturned, and once Democrats resign themselves to that interpretation, the fight will be over. That’s not what the Second Amendment imagines, and it is clearly not what the founders intended, but it is where the political fight over guns is taking us. (As an aside, what the founders likely did intend has become outmoded. The Second Amendment is in many ways an anachronism, framed before the age of drones and cruise missiles, when a well-armed civilian militia have actually been capable of turning back a foreign invasion. Times change. This is not Red Dawn. You are not Patrick Swayze. Chill out.)
The 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which interpreted the Second Amendment to confer an individual right to own firearms, leaves Democrats rhetorically and substantively behind the eight ball in the fight to stop mass shootings. But that should not tempt gun control supporters to despair. It is certainly true that our short-term policy positions must pass the Heller test, but it is also a major strategic error to confine our vision to a Supreme Court decision that many legal scholars find ridiculous and many generations of judges would find astonishing. Just as Republicans organize themselves around efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats should run on changing the balance of federal courts in ways that will make it less likely that citizens will be slaughtered simply because they went to the wrong concert, movie theater, or school.
Democratic politicians have been brainwashed by political hacks like me to begin all of their statements about guns by declaring support for the Second Amendment and a deep affinity for the cultures of hunters and sportsmen—even if they themselves have never fired weapons. We call them “gun safety” proposals instead of “gun control” measures because pollsters and consultants divined that “gun safety” would be less alarming to gun voters, and that gun voters were to be coddled at all cost.
The Democratic gun control strategy fails because it is defined by this poverty of ambition—the determination never to look beyond fear of political repercussions. Universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines are good ideas and we should seize the opportunity to enact them if it presents itself. But they won’t come anywhere close to making gun violence in America a tolerable problem. We are nibbling around the edges instead of proposing bold, meaningful solutions such as:
- A national gun registry, so law-enforcement officials can know when someone is compiling an arsenal. The government can track purchases of allergy medicines that can be used to make methamphetamine, and fertilizers that can be used to make bombs, like the one used in Oklahoma City in 1994, but not deadly assault weapons. That’s absurd.
- Tracking and limiting purchases of ammunition.
- Requiring that guns use smart-gun technology, which would dramatically reduce accidental deaths, particularly among children, who, according to a 2016 study, are dying accidental deaths at the hands of guns at the rate of one every other day.
- A national gun buyback program similar to the one Australia instituted after a mass shooting that killed 35 people. That incident was in 1996. There hasn’t been another one since,
These proposals are essentially omitted from the national conversation largely because Democrats are scared that the NRA will spin them disingenuously to inflame gun owners.
And here we go with the regulations. Doesn’t this whole screed read as if the Left wants to regulate…evil? We tried to have that hyper moralistic approach to alcohol and drugs and the government’s response has done more damage to the American public than either substance could have ever inflicted. Tracking and limiting the purchasing of ammunition, smart guns, a gun registry, and praise for the Australian gun confiscation scheme—could they be any more transparent? Pfeiffer admits high-capacity magazine bans and universal background checks won’t work, so we have to destroy the Second Amendment. That’s what’s prescribed here. The limitation of a constitutional right, the compartmentalization of those who exercise that right, and the praise of a gun confiscation program from the Land Down Under. Oh, and of course the Left would push to make the latter point a mandatory one and guess what—the federal government has every one’s gun on file. If you think this is confined to the Second Amendment, think again—the Left is drifting towards the same rationale towards conservative speech because it could be construed as an act of violence. The advocacy for smaller government, less taxes, fewer regulations is now an act of violence.
A simple Google search will show liberal praise for Australia’s gun control program. Yet, there’s little application for it here. That’s from a pro-gun control FiveThirtyEight writer, Leah Libresco, who admitted in an op-ed in The Washington Post that when she analyzed the data, the support for the pro-gun control positions she favored simply collapsed. Oh, and here’s what she found about Australia and the United Kingdom:
I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.
The data crunching site also had a good post about how viewing gun control only through the eyes of mass shootings is bad for analysis and policy, mainly because they’re not the majority of gun crimes, nor are they responsible for the majority of gun deaths in America. All it does is lead to potentially bad social policy. In Australia, their gun confiscation and ban policy has led to a violent black market.
If Pfeiffer wanted to be bolder, don’t beat around the bushes. Just say you want to gut the Second Amendment. Ban it. Eliminate it. He already called it an anachronism. It never ceases to amaze me how the liberal mindset ignores the dangers of only allowing agents of the state to have firearms, and how they’re the only ones who can be trusted (you know what kinds of governments have that dynamic), despite ATF agents losing their guns…everywhere.
What Stephen Paddock did in Las Vegas was evil. It was savage. And it was wholly unpreventable. He bought all those guns legally. He went through background checks. He had no history of mental illness. He had no past run-ins with the law. What could have stopped him? Nothing. I understand the urgency to do something, but new laws that won’t save lives just so politicians can go home and fundraise off the fact that they did something seems to be a waste of time, no?
As for the child deaths at the hands of guns, these incidents are tragic. They’re also rare. In fact, accidental death dropped 17 percent between 2014-2015, according to the National Safety Council. We can thank the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and other pro-gun groups that stress firearm safety. They’re just wrong. Now, it’s time to show explicitly to the whole country how wrong they are.