Thursday, April 5, 2018

Prospects for future gun control - reasons for pessimism, reasons for optimism

Sebastian has a pretty insightful - and disturbing - post on why the gun grabbers will be stronger in the future.  Essentially, it boils down to the gun grabbers don't have a lot of support but they have lots of money and organization, and the Media is shamelessly on their side.  His point isn't so much that they will be getting stronger, but rather than we will be getting weaker over time.  He lays out this argument clearly and efficiently.

On the optimistic side, The Czar of Muscovy thinks we've seen the high water mark of gun control:
Here’s why: we’re presently pruning gun control restraints back, nationally. More states than ever allow “Constitutional Carry,” and more are in line to adopt it. Even Chicago, epicenter for bad management decisions, is begrudgingly accepting the reality of legal concealed carry. Gun ownership is up, the number of gun stores is greater than it’s been in two generations, and overall, gun-related homicides are down.
And yet we still have 20,000 gun laws on the books. Or 50,000. Or maybe 15,000…no one really knows because indexing gun laws at every level of government in this country is like counting dandelions in a field: as soon as you tally up a section, new ones blossom in areas you just counted.
Yes, there's a web of useless and stupid gun laws - a web that just increased in size a little with the stupid and useless ban on bump stocks - but your Czar points out that these are useless and really the only way to satisfy the gun grabbers is to eliminate the Second Amendment and the American people are very not on that page.  Your Czar points out that the gun grabbers have let the mask slip, with proposals to repeal the Amendment being made all over the place.

The one thing I would add to his excellent analysis is something related to Sebastian's analysis: intensity counts.  While the leaders and financiers of the gun control movement are firmly committed, support among their expected voting base sure seems awfully weak.  The Czar rightly points out how the polls (likely intentionally) skew "support" for gun control to an artificial high.

On our side, though, the story is different.  Gun supporters have been pretty thoroughly radicalized.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard "no more gun control, ever" comments.  You never hear this in the Fake News, but Washington politicians seem to have got that message pretty strongly - the Democrats could have done something radical here in 2009 and 2010 when they controlled the White House, the House of Representatives, and had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  They didn't because the political calculus didn't show them a payoff.  It wouldn't bring may more of their voters to the polls, but it would bring a lot of Republican voters to the polls.

Intensity counts, and is on our side.  I don't see that changing.  If anything, we probably can expect more support as older people die and younger people grow up and start to vote:
Over the last several weeks I've talked to several people about guns. Without fail, every one has been surprised to learn that young people are the less supportive of gun-grabbing than old folks are. Reuters-Ipsos polling shows it and the GSScorroborates. The major media's mendacity strikes again--though in fairness, NPR (!) has given it some attention.
He has charts and data and stuff.

So while we need to make sure that we don't get cocky, I find pretty good reason to land on the optimistic side of things.  And remember, the toothpaste isn't going back into the tube.


Kinnison said...

I'm sorry, I'm not quite ready to believe that. Witness two of our "formerly" pro-gun states.

"Vermont Legislature Passes Sweeping Gun Restrictions"

"Florida Governor Signs Gun Limits Into Law, Breaking With the N.R.A."

LSP said...

Excellent intensity point. Off topic but you might enjoy Paisiello on the wicked Bonaparte. I lost the album somewhere in London and must find it again...

LSP said...

...and by way of counterpoise after that shrieky Frenchmanship:

Sorry. Enough.

Eagle said...

The SCOTUS has been refusing to hear locally instituted gun control law cases, preferring to defer to lower courts' decisions that have invariably been *against* the right to keep and bear arms. Most of those cases have to do with semiautomatic rifles that look evil but are no different than other semiautomatic rifles that can fire mostly the same caliber round (.223 isn't that much larger than .22, after all).

I think the SCOTUS is waiting for a clear-cut wide-swath prohibition on owning *any* type of firearm. California's laws, although draconian, don't clearly forbid the ownership of any and all firearms. Those laws make it nearly, but not completely, impossible. Unfortunately, Heller did not *clearly* define how far states can go when regulating the right to "keep". Likewise, McDonald didn't define how far states can go when regulating the right to "bear".

New gun control laws are being narrowly targeted at specific types of firearms. We can expect additional lawsuits to be filed to oppose and attempt to overturn such laws, and we can expect state-level courts to support those laws.

The SCOTUS will eventually have no choice but to accept one of these cases as representative of other cases. Both the briefs and the oral arguments will prove that these draconian laws are an attempt to legislatively overturn the 2nd Amendment by forbidding a class of firearms that is explicitly permitted by federal law.

At this point, we can hope for at least one retirement from the SCOTUS, possibly two, and that both are from the "liberal wing" of the court - thus leaving the court with the ability to make a clear decision regarding the meaning of "shall not be infringed".