Thirty Years to a Gun-Free America? Their Prediction; Your Decision

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By Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director,

from Washington Times,

One of the biggest mistakes we can make in the struggle for freedom is to underestimate our opposition. Sure, we can chuckle at their gaffes, like the Bloomberg-backed television ad that convinced several women of “The View” television show that they needed a gun. On the whole, however, today’s anti-gun lobby is increasingly sophisticated and dedicated to its own long-term vision. And while its tactics are often more subtle, its goals remain the same: The destruction of the Second Amendment and the disarmament of the American people.

Two obvious ways in which our opponents have changed strategy are in claiming to support the Second Amendment and in abandoning talk of gun “bans” and gun “control” in favor of rhetoric about “gun safety” and “violence prevention.” For long-time observers of the gun debate, the shift in rhetoric is almost comical. This is because the proposals–bans on guns, bans on magazines, federal regulations mandating “safety” features and curtailing the advertising of firearms, labeling firearms as a public health “epidemic,” registration through “universal background checks,” etc.—are exactly the same.

To the uninitiated or uninformed, however, some of these proposals might seem moderate or even reasonable. That, of course, is how their proponents want them to be perceived. In a 1996 editorial on the federal “assault weapons” ban, Charles Krauthammer described with unusual clarity and candor the assumptions and strategy of firearm prohibitionists:

“Ultimately, a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquility. … Given the frontier history and individualist ideology of the United States, however, this will not come easily. It certainly cannot be done radically.

It will probably take one, maybe two generations. …

Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic–purely symbolic–move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation. …”

Increasingly, anti-gunners have taken this message to heart. In July, the anti-gun and ironically named American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) sponsored a symposium, “The Second Amendment’s Past, Present & Future.” The morning session was entirely devoted to why the landmark Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense and other legitimate purposes, was wrongly decided.

No matter how gun control advocates reshape their message or rebrand their organizations, the principle of an individual right to keep and bear arms based on the inalienable right of self-defense is irreconcilable with their agenda. Today’s proposed measures have a single, unifying purpose: To condition the public for tomorrow’s more severe restrictions. For the anti-gun lobby, the progress of a civilized society inevitably leads toward a disarmed citizenry.

The feeling at the ACS Symposium, however, was buoyant. Michael Bloomberg’s money and the prospect of another anti-gun presidency helped fuel a sense that their time had come. One panelist suggested that the NRA needed 30 years to prevail on its version of the Second Amendment and that their own coalition, using NRA’s own tactics, could follow suit in a similar amount of time.

While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, their focus on the NRA as an organization misses the point.

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