GUN owners are completely unreasonable. Besides that, we lack common sense.
Ain’t it wonderful?
Of course, when I talk about reasonableness and common sense, I’m using those words as the hoplophobe community does. You know—as in “reasonable” restrictions on firearms ownership and “common sense” gun laws.
We gun owners have been utterly unreasonable and lacking in common sense for roughly 20 years. And by golly, look where it’s got us! We’ve whomped the enemies of gun rights into quivering submission. These days, they can’t even draw bodies to their rallies or contributors to their bank accounts. Gun haters are reduced to screaming on Twitter about how all gun owners have tiny man-parts (apparently they’d be shocked to realize that millions of gun owners have no man parts).
Anti-gunners have been trounced so effectively—in legislatures, in the courts, in public opinion, in accuracy of information, in economics, in gun and ammo sales, and in the sheer number of new shooters taking up guns as a hobby or for protection—that these days they have to place their only real-world hopes in sneaky, dubious measures like executive orders.
Of course anti-gunners are still dangerous. It would be a huge mistake for gun owners to get complacent. Political tides turn. Elitists make backroom deals with other elitists. Presidents, governors, and even mayors act like dictators. Ultimately, firearms in The People’s hands are so dangerous to authority that those who wish to rule will stop at nothing to disarm us. They will be back.
Heck, they already are back. New anti-gun bills have been introduced this year. And bureaucrats are trying to pull stunts like using PTSD or use of any mood-altering medication as excuses to deprive harmless people of firearms. Yes, we must remain vigilant. But largely these are desperation measures.
So for now, how about a little celebration? It’s been an A-mazing 20 years!
It’s easy to forget how dark the days were at the end of 1993 and into 1994. First the Brady Law was inflicted upon us (in literal darkness one Thanksgiving weekend). Then the pointless “assault weapons” ban. Anti-gun momentum seemed unstoppable.
Even many gun-rights people, especially those who travel with the elites in national politics, acted as if “reasonableness” and “common sense compromise” were the way of the future. The Brady Law instant-check system was the result of one such compromise between antis and supposed pro-gunners. The great gun designer/maker Bill Ruger notoriously fathered the ban on standardcapacity magazines.
Our enemies and our “friends” were on course to compromise us to death! The way things were going, many of us feared it was only a matter of time before our guns—and our historic rights— were “reasonably” and “common sensically” bargained away.
Then … the grassroots grew like the proverbial weed. From 1994 onward, it became ever more clear that while politicians and the “official” advocates of gun rights might be willing to sell their souls for “reasonableness,” We the People weren’t having it.
The first sign of comeback was the thunderous blast of the 1994 elections, when anti-gunners got kicked out of Congress en masse. Oh, it’s not like the triumphal Republicans of 1994 actually did much for our rights. In the long run, they were semi-irrelevant. What mattered was the giant scare that We the People put into politicians everywhere. From that November onward, smart politicians (outside of the very bluest states) have understood that there’s a price to pay for betrayal.
Sure, politicians still act like politicians. But punishment is swift. Just last year a pair of uppity state pols in Colorado got recalled over their new anti-gun laws (and for their blatant attempts to silence opposition while their bad legislation was being debated). Bless the politically inexperienced grassroots Coloradoans who created the recall; their effort was successful despite big out-of-state funding from the Bloomberg crowd.
In state after state, even when Brady and the “ugly gun ban” were new, grassroots activists were unreasonable enough to think that the concealed-carry movement would continue building momentum no matter what happened at the federal level. They won victory after victory—in state legislatures and ultimately in the courts.
Even more unreasonable! Activists in multiple states attempted the unthinkable— legalizing unpermitted concealed carry. Only quirky little Vermont had ever allowed such a thing. It was ridiculous to think anything so radically pro-gun would spread. But it did—to five additional states so far (and more to come).
In the late 1990s and into 2000, the firearms industry was characterized not only by Ruger’s cynical magazine ban, but by a general odor of sellout. Smith & Wesson rushed to sign an agreement with the Clinton Administration granting various hoplophobic concessions. American gun owners boycotted. S&W’s sales plunged 40%. The company was sold—and the new owners renounced the agreement. Ruger now makes an AR variant and outstanding pistols that hold more than ten rounds.
Nowadays, the industry holds the line—sometimes under pressure from customers, but more often as a matter of principle. Ronnie Barrett has long been famous for refusing to sell Barrett firearms to the agencies of governments that forbid citizens to own the same weapons.
When blue states used the Sandy Hook shootings as an excuse to pass even more restrictive laws, gun and gear makers within their borders said goodbye and took their jobs with them. Magpul not only left purple Colorado after that state declared war on its products, but it did so with panache, holding a sort of “Berlin Airlift” to get as many standard-capacity magazines as possible into Coloradoans’ hands before the ban went into effect.
The years between Brady and today have been always upward. Not always steadily upward and certainly not upward in a handful of the biggest nanny states, but upward nevertheless. Best of all, the very nature of the debate has changed. While the ignoramus media may still hold the weary old “reasonable” line, the people who look dispassionately at the facts now see an entirely different reality. A great example of that change can be found in the academic studies that neatly bracket this great 20 years.
On 7 October 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine gave us “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home” by Arthur Kellermann. Kellermann had in 1986 already become a star of hoplophobia for his study claiming that guns are 43 times more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide or accidental shooting than in self-defense. In 1993, on the eve of Brady, Kellermann issued a new study, which he claimed confirmed the first. Neutral and progun scholars trounced Kellermann for his absurdly flawed methods and his refusal to release his data. But back then, nobody was listening.
Nobody wanted to hear statistics demonstrating that guns save lives and gun bans accomplish nothing good. When John Lott (and David Mustard) argued in the mid-1990s that more guns equal less crime, Charles Schumer easily got away with dismissing Lott with the lie that Lott was merely a paid shill for one of the nation’s biggest firearms manufacturers.
Very different today. In January of this year, an academic researcher, Quinnipiac University Professor of Economics Mark Gius, published a peerreviewed study of 30 years of statistics on guns and crime. Gius (who has no connection to the gun-rights movement and actually seemed surprised at his own results) basically confirmed what Lott and Mustard had written. Although Gius cautions that more research is needed, the abstract of his paper couldn’t be more resounding:
“Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level.”
Yep, it’s been an amazing 20 years. We the “Unreasonable” now have virtually all facts and reason on our side, and neutral parties recognize that. We who so foolishly scorned “common sense” have proven to be the sensible ones. And the victors.
Yes, we still (and always) must remain vigilant. But 20 years ago, who would have imagined we’d come so far? Little David really clobbered elitist Goliath— and he sure didn’t do it by being sweetly reasonable.