By David Codrea
“[W]hile gun regulations must be unbiased and subject to due process protections, the Constitution does permit limits on firearms sale and ownership,” the American Civil Liberties Union declares in a polemic with the Orwellian title “A Pro-Liberty Case for Gun Restrictions.”
“But we do care about freedom, and I have noticed a growing trend: the wide availability of guns and their misuse leading to restrictions on Americans’ freedom,” author Jay Stanley explains. “Advocates for expansive gun rights who are serious in their concern over expanded government powers might consider how this is the case.”
My reaction to Stanley’s title was to recall the doublespeak INGSOC slogan in Orwell’s 1984:“War is Peace — Freedom is Slavery — Ignorance is Strength.”
My reaction to his central premise was more along the lines of Gary Coleman’s catchphrase from Diff’rent Strokes: “What’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”
Stanley’s trying to make the case that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is somehow responsible for violent abuses and for the resulting responses to try and secure against them. Thus we have increasing intrusions on personal privacy in terms of checkpoints, searches, and the like. We have more surveillance, more watch lists, more databases and more background checks. We have more armed guards and police. And with those come more arrests and more police shootings.
We have more demands to react to tips, to monitor social media, and to devolve into a “snitch” culture beyond Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something” rallying cry. Law enforcement is pressured for not taking someone they “knew was a danger” off the streets, even though at the time a person hit their radar he may not have committed any crimes.
On the surface, the ACLU appears to have a point, at least for those with a weak grasp on cause and effect and a predisposition to not think things though. What they’re recognizing is the reality that rights present more choices than restrictions do. And people can always choose wrongly.
What they’re ignoring is that the reaction of “progressives”—the very faction demanding “common sense gun safety laws”—is the one demanding even more restrictions and taking away even more choices. By force.
The ever-increasing intrusiveness is a reaction to their restrictive policies not working. So as each new incident inevitably happens — and they will until an approach that denies success is adopted — the demands go out for further restrictions. Because something must be done!
What that “something” is, or that it would have no effect on future atrocities, is of no consequence. It just doesn’t matter! We need “red flag laws”! We need “assault weapon” and “high-capacity” magazine bans! We need expanded background checks! We need to close the “boyfriend loophole”!
I didn’t make that last one up. And nothing you give to the gun-grabbers will ever be enough. But don’t just take my word for it.
“They’re going to say, ‘You give them bump stock, it’s going to be a slippery slope.’ I certainly hope so,” doddering House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi let slip at a news conference. That each new infringement will result in an expansion of government power and curtailment free of individual choices seems lost on our “civil liberties” watchdogs.
“As we as a society consider the issue of gun violence, these implications for American freedom also need to become part of the conversation,” Stanley maintains. “In particular, those who support expansive gun rights as a protection against excessive government power should strongly consider how much government intrusion and expanded power they’re willing to trade for those rights.”
If government would heed the clear words of the Founders about what is “necessary to the security of a free State,” we might not have to trade all that much. But let’s follow ACLU “logic” and combine it with gun-grabber demands and see where that will likely lead us.
In order to have any real impact on “gun violence,” we’ll need to disarm the people committing it. While “mass shootings” grab all the media attention, the real action takes place in urban areas via the gang “culture.”
How are you going to do that, and keep them from keeping and getting more guns without expanding police capabilities? And what happens to the hundreds of millions of guns already in circulation? We can’t stop drugs from getting into this country – hell, we haven’t been able to stop tens of millions of people. Did Prohibition not increase civil liberties abuses (among other things)?
Look at the so-called “War on Drugs” and the rise of criminal enterprises it has spawned. Look at the increase in “government intrusion and expanded power,” the surveillance, the asset forfeiture, and the pervasive corruption. Just wait until you see what a War on Guns would do.
And there’s one other major factor the ACLU has been oblivious to that can’t be ignored, the big one and the only one that ultimately matters: What about those of us committed to guarding our rights, who will not comply and who will not disarm? Anyone care to extrapolate on the type of police state you’d need then, and on the likelihood that those who believe “freedom is freedom” would “go gentle into that good night”?