Thursday, January 10, 2013

In which I play the contrarian

There's quite a lot of chatter in our corner of the Internet that serious gun control is a' comin' because Obama!!!1!!eleventy!!  It's not happening.  I know that people are really upset and this post will be pretty unpopular, but really, it's not going to happen.  Something else will, and that's the interesting question.  Gun Control is the shell covering the pea (well, the distraction) - that's the interesting thing to keep our eyes on.

First, to the gun ban thing.  Chris Byrne demolished this in a thoroughly satisfying manner.  If you are worried about Executive Orders and that sort of thing, you should go RTWT, but these are the money grafs:
Yes, Obama want's more gun control (though not to the extent that some seem to think), but in order to do so, he needs to deal with CONGRESS.

Obama wants a lot more things, a lot more than he wants gun control; and he isn't going to waste any political capitol whatsoever on a subject he doesn't really care about that much.


What Obama really wants is to raise taxes, cut the military, increase social spending etc... He's not stupid, he knows that he's going to need congress to do it.

What Obama absolutely does NOT want, is to see Obamacare repealed (for which he's going to need to have at least the senate stay under democratic control); and that trying to shove gun control down our throats would just about guarantee all the vulnerable Democratic senators would lose their seats.

There are maybe a dozen truly committed, truly anti-gun senators, and maybe two dozen in the house... plus another dozen completely safe seats in the senate and maybe 50 or 60 in the house. No-one else is going to put their seat on the line over an issue that they either don't care about all that much, or that they don't see any major advantage in supporting.
Also this:
Now, there's some important language I quote above:

"The United States is entirely [354 U.S. 1, 6] a creature of the Constitution. Its power and authority have no other source. It can only act in accordance with all the limitations imposed by the Constitution."
As this applies to acts of congress, it also applies to the executive branch and its agencies.

The substance and authority of the government exists solely in the constitution; therefore no agency of it may act outside of its authority.

Because great power and discretion are given to the president (and by extension the executive branch) in foreign affairs, executive orders can ignore the constitution outside the borders of the country and when acting on non-citizens; but they cannot ignore the constitution inside our borders, or when dealing with American citizens.
Let's talk about everyone's favorite proposal, classifying semi-automatic weapons as Class III.  This would make around two thirds of all currently owned firearms illegal unless they were registered.  It would also (under the terms of the Hughes Amendment) outlaw the sale of semi-automatic firearms manufactured after 1986.  Essentially, most firearms in common use would be regulated to the point where they would be effectively banned.  Dianne Feinstein's dream, right?

Well, there's this teeny-weenie problem.  Heller v. D.C. lays this out starkly:
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.
Emphasis mine.  So Obama is going to issue an Executive Order that essentially bans almost all firearms in common use in explicit defiance of a recent Supreme Court ruling?  Really?

But suppose that he did.  Then what?  Well, you'd have a lawsuit filed in 20 seconds asking for an injunction on enforcement, based on this very paragraph.  It's hard to see a court not issuing a stay of enforcement.  Whether it is expedited to the SCOTUS is quite beside be point, because the order would never happen.  Consider:

1. The case is expedited, which means that the current court that ruled on McDonald which said that this paragraph applied to all 50 states and U.S. Territories.  Obama will lose in this court.

2. The case is not expedited, in which case nothing changes in the short term.  After a couple years it gets heard (maybe; the SCOTUS may simply refuse to take the case, leaving the Executive Order gut shot), or Obama is out of office and the order gets revoked (which makes it moot).

In other words, nothing is going to happen for a long, long time.  Probably ever.

Everybody, please just relax. This isn't where the action is.  The question is: where is the action?  I think that Chris has it right:
What Obama really wants is to raise taxes, cut the military, increase social spending etc... He's not stupid, he knows that he's going to need congress to do it.
Consider: Slow Joe Biden is leading up this whole Gun Control initiative.  Strike One.  Obama said he wants results by end of this month, or better yet January 15.  That's a week from now.  Strike Two.

And the fiscal crisis will come back in full force in 45 days or so.  Does anyone really think that Obama will strong arm 150 Democrats in Congress to ram through an unpopular Gun Control bill a couple weeks before he's going to engage in hand to hand combat with Republicans on the budget?  This is what he's going to burn his political capital on?  This is where he may risk repudiation by his own party a month after his Inauguration?  Strike Three.

Not.  Going.  To.  Happen.

This is all misdirection, to keep his opponents off balance.  Obama isn't trying to keep the NRA off balance and overwhelmed to get gun control passed, he's trying to keep the Congressional Republicans off balance so he can get his spending priorities entrenched.

Like I said, I expect that people will be unhappy with this contrarian sort of post.  People are passionate on this subject (and quite frankly, I'm happy that they're passionate about this because it makes gun control pretty much impossible these days).  But Obama is really good at thinking three steps ahead of the GOP.  Stop and ask yourself what you'd do if you were him.

Gun Control ain't it.  Chris is right that it would never pass, or stand if it were.  I'd go further and say that it's not useful to him if it did.  As a distraction?  Sure - that's useful.  Keep your eye on the shell covering the pea.


Teke said...

I hope you're right. However I think right now they want to Track Private Transfers and possibly get a capacity ban.

But the slight of hand crap has had me worried.

Matthew Walker said...

The Constitution means whatever the SCOTUS says it does, which is to say, nothing. The President can order US citizens killed without trial, on secret evidence. Obamacare was declared constitutional on literally insane grounds.

Byrne's faith in the Constitution is like expecting criminals to obey gun laws. We can't afford to retreat into comforting fantasies here.

Also, I recall you were equally confident that Obama couldn't win the election.

And the fiscal cliff bullshit is a political winner for Obama, because he controls the media. He WANTS a rerun in 45 days. He gained by it.

Anonymous said...

All well and good BP, and correct for the most part as far as the legalities and formalities go.

But most gun owners are not redneck hicks - they are thoughtful intellectuals like you and I. They prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Could a scenario like Germany's occur when America goes off the fiscal cliff? If it does we are talking about soup kitchens and flop houses - for people that have never known a day of hunger in their lives. Civil disorder is almost certain. Tough times make for desperate gov'ts and they can do anything when the crap hits the fan.

I disagree with Byrne on one issue though - Obama IS stupid. He grew up in a bubble of leftist idiocy, he lives in a democrat stupidity chamber and he isn't hearing the people he leads - and those people are taking precautions.

The soap box and the ballot box didn't work - and there will be no doubt of that in the days ahead.

bluesun said...

And whatever you do, DON'T FORGET YOUR STATE GOVERNMENT. Here in CO the (now D-controlled) congress already has like 34 new gun control proposals out there...

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

If this is just a thing that keeps the GOP off balance and nothing will come of it... Why is Bloomberg so invested in it? Do you think he wants nothing, in the end, to happen?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And if everything is going to be ok, I guess we should relax our vigilence and not bother writing our Representatives repeatedly? No, I don't think relaxing is a helpful thing.

Think of it this way... If Obama wants to use this as a cidgel to get other agenda items dones, we can ALSO use it as a cudgel to get OUR concerns looked at.

Leftists have been screaming at me, "Shut up! 20 kids died." and my reply is "You have that backwards. Because of YOUR policies, 20 kids were left defenseless and unprotected."

Anonymous said...

"I disagree with Byrne on one issue though - Obama IS stupid. He grew up in a bubble of leftist idiocy, he lives in a democrat stupidity chamber and he isn't hearing the people he leads - and those people are taking precautions. "

Amen. I think you are giving him too much credit, BP.

Jay G said...

I'm going to file this right next to your "Romney by a landslide" prediction, I hope you don't mind...

eiaftinfo said...

If you use spending as a yardstick to measure Obama's willingness to engage congress, keep in mind this will probably be his 4th consecutive year that he failed to submit a budget to congress for approval . . . . a direct violation of the Constitution.

I think Obama will "go there" . . . . for the children . . . . to protect us all from the deranged Tea Party members . . . . because you don't need 10 bullets to kill a deer . . . . because the American people deserve "reasonable gun control" . . . . .

I pray you're right . . . . but his success rate is uncomfortably high.

aczarnowski said...

You knew you'd get a s**t storm on this post. Thanks for doing it anyway.

But I also disagree. We heard similar things about how Obamacare was too over the top to make it. Fast and Furious is/was illegal but there have been no repercussions. Insert any of a million other "they did what they wanted" examples here.

O has to follow his ego. His ego needs to be one of the few presidents people remember. "Healthcare" was term 1. If "Guns" is term 2 he'll be able to coast through the rest of his lame duck tenure.

If gun control doesn't reach the appropriate level of monument, then onto whatever is next. But nobody wants to be remembered for "Economy." Carter proved that even to progressives. Guns is a good candidate for political saint hood. I don't see another progressive brass ring nearby.

Jay G said...

And please allow me to expand: I certainly hope you're right on this one.

I agree with you that Obama doesn't want to expand the political capital. Where I disagree, though, is that I think he's going to push *others* to expend *their* political capital on gun control.

Obama's done in four. Nothing that happens is going to change that. When he leaves office in January 2017, there's nowhere left for him to go, no higher office to which to aspire.

He's concerned, now, about his legacy - he's not as vocal about it as Bill Clinton, but if there's anything we've seen the past four years, it's that Obama is a narcissist to the nth degree. I mean, the man made a Pearl Harbor memorial about him.

I think aczarnowski hit the nail on the head: "Healthcare" was his term 1 "success"; he's got his sights on "Gun control" as term 2.

Never forget that "universal health care" was widely opposed and vilified in 1993, yet Obama got it passed. As much as we might think that gun control is taboo, no progressive issue is ever *really* dead...

Anonymous said...
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TerriLiGunn said...

I would have to disagree, he has become emboldened and reckless.
He will push this, and honestly I'm thinking he is planning on a hot head. Some that will poorly choose to fight now, oh like james yeager.
That will be his excuse to double down even more. From there I have no clue what will happen.

Ruth said...

I'm more concerned about the idiots on the state level than the federal, but I can totally believe Obama is stupid enough to think he'll get away with doing whatever he wants for gun control, after all he got his healthcare package. How well it'll hold up in court isn't likely to bother him.

Borepatch said...

The issue isn't Obama. It's the Senate (and the House). How will be convince Democratic Senators like Manchin (from West Virginia) to spend his political capital for Obama's sainthood?

How will be convince Boehner in the House to spend his political capital fopr Obama's sainthood?

It doesn't make any sense.

B said...

Yeah, and Obamacare wasn't gonna pass and Romney was gonna be our new president.

It ain't over until the next president is elected and takes office.

Until then, it *IS* a possibility.

Do't stop fighting it.

RG said...

What do you make of articles like this one, then?

The Forgotten Man said...

They won't get the outrageous items they are asking for, but they don't have to. This is their chance to move the needle in the opposite direction it has been going for years. Ask for the moon, and then just calmly say "well lets just compromise then. Unless you are being unreasonable. Obstructionist!" That will get them concessions... to start with.

As for Obama not spending political capital on this - He has made too much noise over this already. If he doesn't do something fast, he won't have any capital left to do anything else the rest of the year.

Boehner spending his capital? Just find a "reasonable compromise" among the bills and he gains in his colleagues eyes.

Remember Obama is the "reach across the aisle guy" and the master of compromise (or so he wants us to think)

And then of course there are the local legislators going to town on rules that will take years in court to unwind.

Bob S. said...

t's the Senate (and the House). How will be convince Democratic Senators like Manchin (from West Virginia) to spend his political capital for Obama's sainthood?

Is this the same Senate that pulled an incredible slight of hand (bordering on outrageously unconstitutional) in order to pass the Affordable Health Care Act?

Is what you are pinning your hopes on?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

What The Forgotten Man said. The problem is not really that they can get a ban, but that they will continue to push for one - maybe dropping a couple of smaller points as "compromises" - until they can paint the Republicans as "unreasonable". At that point someone will float a magazine restriction and /or a private sales ban and enough Republicans will cave to get it passed.

Ragnar said...

Heller won't stop anybody.

The 5th Amendment says no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law", but the government has asserted the right to kill non-combatants without trial.

The 6th Amendment says that we have a right "to a speedy and public trial", but the government has asserted the right to hold alleged terrorists without trial.

The 4th Amendment has been shredded with warrantless wiretaps, e-mail intercepts etc.

Holder refuses to comply with subpoenas, and nothing happens.

So why would Obama be afraid of the courts?

As to Congress, maybe you are right and maybe you should review what happened with Obamacare, the NDAA, Patriot Act and its renewal. You have a lot more faith in Congress's fear of the voters than I do.

knottedprop said...

He doesn't need to pass any laws all they have to do is keep on raising taxes until you can not afford to buy ammo and have to make choices between food or heat. At that point a wonderful gun buyback program would be initiated with guns for food vouchers. Don't believe me check out your next paycheck it's going to be a lot less with the increase in social security deducted.
Such a policy should get 90% of weapons over 5 years, poverty and hunger can be powerful weapons when applied correctly.

Six said...

I don't know BP. IIRC 53 Rs voted in favor of the 94 AWB. When you consider the 77 (I think) who voted in favor of the Fiscal Cliff Bill I'm not as sanguine about Republican resistance to a new AWB as Chris seems to be. If a new AWB is enacted (whatever form it may take) with the current hysteria added to any new atrocity that may occur it's hardly beyond the pale that outright bans and maybe even confiscation are at least possibilities. You've said it many times; Republicans are not the answer. Depending on Boehner and company to halt anti gun legislation in the House is an eggs/single basket situation. The balance of power between We The People and the .Gov is awful precarious these days. It would only take a small nudge...

Anonymous said...

I assume he's going to pursue several avenues simultaneously, and follow up whichever ones produce movement.

This is the classic tactic of "throw everything at the wall, and we'll start with whatever sticks..."

Early in his presidency, I thought he'd feel bound by constitutional legality. But all those czars, Fast and Furious, and loads of other actions of his have totally destroyed that illusion.

And when the next Supreme goes, all Constitutional restraint goes, too.

He's a disaster for the country, and the next four years are going to be continual struggle.

Anonymous said...

Are you using the same show your work methods and metrics that predicted massive Obummer loss in the election?

Anonymous said...

Well, BP, speaking of false flag operations......

Jester said...


Assuming of course this all is right by the way of the electorate and of course following the laws. Right now is there anything that's going to be more than a hair brained scheme? Perhaps not but that does not mean it gets play time. I think this is currently just playing the field. After this last year there have been enough "events" that it is very much in the front of America's mind. And yes I'm sure much of it is posing so that they don't have to actually tackle any real work like a budget.
Keep in mind that enough people voted for Obamacare supporting politicians in the middle of a terrible economy. This is a concern that enough folks are willing to give up rights as it is, what happens if things worsen?

Of a deeper concern to me is this is all a game indeed. Consider that likely nothing will get done with the budget or any other of the fiascoes going on right now. What happens if things worsen, and say in 2014 (Unlikely) or 2016 things are to the point that the Demorats in congress -know- they are getting voted out?
Or what happens if so be it, as stated someone does something that runs in to a court challenge. The court is a 4-5 or a 5-4 split on most things of late. Say in the next two to four years a justice is replaced? Or Obama hints if he does not get his way he will add more justices to tip the balance?
As it stands now we have several events that should have had people held accountable but no one is doing so. The American people have not demanded it to be so because it just does not matter to them.
Even with firearms owners. Look at NFA items, many of those that have them don't care about the law being in place because their firearms are worth more now, or they already have them.
I saw a lot of this personally during the last half of the last AWB. "Would you help get this repealed or kept from being renewed?" -nope, I already got mine so it does not effect me.
The panic buying concerns me most of all because this shows people are trying to get things done -before- a ban. What are these hundreds of thousands or millions of people doing besides that?
Just getting the getting while the getting is good.

Don F said...

Here's hoping you're correct. But he still scares me.

Don F

kx59 said...

I see this proposed gun control legislation sailing through the Senate and stalling out in the House, after which, Obama will pen a few executive orders. These, of course will violate the constitution. What I don't see is any backbone in the legislative or judicial branches to provide the appropriate checks and balances to impeach the kenyan imposter when he does so.
Then we get to find out how many of the LEOs and members of the National Guard take their oath seriously. This is where the rubber meets the road.

ASM826 said...

There may be no pea under that shell.

Borepatch said...

ASM826, bingo.

Jester said...

We can hope so that its all a shell game. The question is who gets burned for grabbing the wrong shell if it is a shell game?

Mark Alger said...

Seriously? You're counting on provisions of the (already shredded) Constitution to protect you from a would-be tyrant?

Good luck with that.

Seriously. I hope you're right. I fear you're not.


TOTWTYTR said...

Gun control is dead in both Houses of the US Congress.

In the Senate Harry Reid is not going to push it. In the House, it is DOA.

While Obama might not care what happens in the 2014 mid terms, you can be sure that Boehner and Reid do. Both want to keep their positions and passing incredibly unpopular gun control measures is not in their best interests.

selsey.steve said...

I have what is both an advantage and a disadvantage with regard to what is happening in US politics. I'm in the (what was once) the United Kingdom. I have the advantage of being able to look in on the US situation from the outside. The disadvantage is not knowing over-much of what is going on in the inside.
However, I must agree with Borepatch. Whilst everyone in the USA is on one vociferous side or the other with regards to anything to do with gun control, your President (I hesitated when using the upper-case 'P' when considering the present incumbent)is going to be busy making ground to cover his financial disasters.
The MSM in the USA is being of inestimable assistance with this ploy. Everyone wanting to make political capital out of banning any form of firearm is helping in the obfuscation of Obama's real purpose which is to hide the forthcoming financial avalanche which is going to hit the USA.
How many Americans know that the US dollar is no longer the preferred currency of exchange in most of the sub-Saharan African countries or in the Far East? They don't want the dollar because they, the rag-tag street traders, no longer trust the dollar. That lack of trust now permeates wide swathes of those trading around the world, including Governments. The Euro is never considered as it is soon to disappear. The Pound Sterling seems still to be holding its own, but a wide variety of other currencies, including the Russian ruble (which is non-too steady), are now preferred to the US Dollar.
Think about that. The once-almighty Green-back has already lost its premier position amongst those whose livelihoods depend on the stability of a currency's worth.
The loss of faith in the US Dollar is what Obama is trying to hide. When, not if, this becomes more widely known, both in the US as well as world-wide, you, in the USA are going to be in big trouble.
And it is going to happen.