DID you think we’d have Draconian national “gun control” by now? I did. After the slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook, we all knew that hoplophobes finally had the perfect excuse. I was pretty sure that we’d end up with both a renewed ugly gun-andmagazine ban and nationwide gun registration (aka instant check or instant felony on every transfer).
So far, I’m thrilled to be proved wrong. Yes, the Usual Suspect states made their already-bad gun laws worse. It was definitely alarming when Colorado (precariously balanced between the freedom of the rural west and the leftist enclaves of Denver and Boulder) joined them.
But then came the most magnificent pushback: a majority of Colorado sheriffs came out against that state’s new restrictions. Several states actually improved their gun laws (e.g., Arkansas became the fifth state to legalize constitutional carry). Gun owners resoundingly defied their would-be masters, as exemplified by the illegal magazine exchange held at the Colorado state capitol on the first day of the ban. Firearm-related businesses, most notably magnificent Magpul, publicly, promptly and often with Capital- A Attitude announced their departure from states that screwed them—an act that unaccountably surprised the very politicians who’d driven them away. The defiance was glorious to see.
But of course while grassroots gunnies, local government officials, small manufacturers, and even the usually compromise-happy NRA were saying, “No way!” anti-gunners were also organizing and trolling for funds, pushing as hard as they could to control and curtail gun ownership—and all the while boasting that 90% of the public was on their side.
And what have their efforts—and all that “huge” public support and political momentum—produced? So far, plenty of defeats, screw-ups, and scandal for us to hoot over.
Take the current ugly face of gun banning, New York City’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg. He’s the man behind two highly publicized efforts— Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) and MAIG’s “No More Names” national bus tour. With all his money, power, and connections, you’d think he’d be a formidable opponent.
Yet he’s been so non-formidable that if we didn’t know better from long experience, we could almost imagine he’s secretly working for the pro-gun side by making anti-gunners look like a) idiots and b) the corrupt, elitist control freaks that they are.
Everybody’s heard about one big gaffe. At an early stop on the No More Names tour, Bloomberg activists solemnly reading the names of “victims of gun violence” included Boston Marathon bomber Tamarlan Tsarnaev among those poor, helpless victims.
Turned out that these well-funded, allegedly well-organized anti-gunners were simply reading off a list they’d gotten from a website. Further investigation revealed that Tsarnaev wasn’t the only vicious bastard included on that list. About one in 12 names on the tour’s list were criminals shot by police or armed citizens acting in self defense.
I’ve never understood why the left is so into reading lists of names or holding up photos of dead people rather than discussing how the laws they propose would actually prevent (or not) future deaths. But if they’re going to do it, they should at least do their homework.
It wasn’t just this gaffe that blighted the No Names Tour, though. From its very conception, organizers tacitly admitted that grassroots gun-rightists had already won. Incredibly, tour organizers never published an itinerary. If you wanted to know when or if the bus would stop for an anti-gun event near you, you had to sign up to be personally notified. The only possible reason for such obfuscation was to prevent progun groups from drawing bigger crowds to the events.
But while this was an admission of defeat, it also became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In city after city, hardly anybody turned up. That is, hardly anybody on Bloomberg’s side. Firearms scholar John Lott blogged one typical event: “I was in Raleigh … giving a talk to Grassroots North Carolina. Apparently just that day MAIG was having their bus tour in Raleigh and … the GRNC was able to get more people at the event than could MAIG.”
So awful were matters for the “tourists” that gun blogger David Codrea dubbed the effort “The Magical Misery Tour.”
The media helped Bloomberg with photos tightly cropped to hide the fact that only a dozen or two antis were present at tour stops. But the tour revealed a truth that’s been obvious to honest researchers since the days of the Brady ascendancy: there is no grassroots antigun movement. The “movement” has always been driven by the corporate and government elite.
MAIG provides even more evidence of that fact. So far it has been revealed that MAIG’s website is hosted not on independent paid servers, but on servers owned by New York City and paid for—willingly or not—by taxpayers. It’s a misuse of public funds in serious need of investigation.
We’ve also learned that, when the state of Nevada was contemplating antigun legislation, Bloomberg and MAIG tried to influence the outcome. That’s not necessarily a problem; so did a lot of out-of-state folks. But Politico reported and New York City Hall confirmed that Bloomberg sent Christopher Kocher, “special counsel to the [NYC] mayor’s office” to lobby the Nevada government on his behalf. Although Bloomberg justified this by saying that most guns in his city come from elsewhere, Kocher at one point “scrubbed” his NYC email address from his lobbyist registration to hide his real employer.
Adding embarrassment to scandal, the mayors of Rockford, Illinois and Nashua, New Hampshire both eventually dropped out of MAIG after belatedly realizing that the “illegal guns” part of the group’s name actually meant everybody’s guns. (You’d think politicians would be informed enough to realize going in what Bloomberg’s actual agenda is; but better late than never.)
Most recently as I write this, MAIG has come up with a strange parody of the Declaration of Independence—a “Declare Your Independence from Gun Violence” campaign that asks people to help “form a more perfect [totalitarian] union” by signing an online form. But they are making zero effort to verify that signatures are authentic. I personally signed up as Minnie Mouse, then a few minutes later signed again as Benito Mussolini, both of which were instantly reported online as the latest signatures.
MAIG is listing only first names and last initials, which hides the fact that others may be, as Codrea suggests, playing the same sort of games they’ve played before when antis asked for unverified online “support.” In fact, the omission of last names seems to be yet another admission that the antis understand just how well pro-gunners are gaming them.
So far, instead of the raging success one might expect with “90% public support” and big money, the new Bloomberg- driven “movement” to control gun owners has been one laugh, gaffe, and scandal after another.
Better yet, Bloomberg isn’t the only one fumbling and failing. When Obama’s own Organizing for Action group held an anti-gun rally in San Bernardino, California, a grand total of three—yes, three—antis showed up. When celebrity antis astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, former Democrat congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, dared to take their cause to Fargo, North Dakota, the state Democratic Party never mentioned the event on its web site. In fact, the entire party leadership found a reason to be 200 miles from the couple that day—at a picnic in Bismarck.
Of course, we can never dismiss these people. They may yet get their billionaire-and-taxpayer-funded act together and become very, very dangerous, very, very soon.
But among the many differences between us and them is a biggie: how much we care. Less than a year after Sandy Hook, “gun control” has once again dropped out of public consciousness as an important political agenda. In a Gallup poll taken this summer, it didn’t even make the top 15 concerns. Gallup listed every issue that was mentioned by more than one percent of respondents. “Gun control” didn’t even rank that high.
The bottom line is that gun-rights activists care passionately by the millions, while “gun control” has always been an elitist position whose public support comes and goes as blandly as ripples in a stagnant pond.