By David Codrea
“The murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad,” singer Nancy Sinatra spat furiously on her Twitter social media feed. She was so enraged about the sniper killing of Las Vegas Strip concert-goers on Oct. 1 she failed to notice she was advocating genocide, considering there are millions of us. And she was not alone in her meltdown impulse to blame America’s peaceable gun owners for the evil acts of a killer.
That’s despite the fact his motives have still not been uncovered in an investigation keeping its findings close to the vest. And that’s provoking no small amount of speculation and—understandably if you think about it—“conspiracy theories.” People want to know, especially when their right to keep and bear arms is under attack, as is always the reaction of those employing Rahm Emanuel’s, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste” tactics.
“Repeal the Second Amendment,” an editorial in The New York Times flat out demanded. So much for the other lie gun-grabbers use whenever it’s pointed out they keep coming back for more: “No one wants to take your guns,” generally followed with accusations of paranoia on the part of anyone even suggesting such desires exist.
Of course they do. Handgun Control, Inc. (the forerunner of the Brady Campaign) founder Nelson “Pete” Shields admitted as much in 1976 when he disclosed:
“We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily—given the political realities—going to be very modest…. [W]e’ll have to start working again to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen the next law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal—total control of handguns in the United States—is going to take time… The first problem is to slow down the number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition—except for the military, police, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors—totally illegal.”
“The federal assault weapons ban is just the first step on a slippery slope to ban all guns in America,” The Brady Campaign ridiculed in an “NRA Myths” hit piece from years back when stumping for resurrecting the Clinton gun ban. “Wrong. There is no hidden agenda behind saving the Federal Assault Weapons Act.”
Fast forward to the present, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hawking the Democrat reaction to Las Vegas:
“They’re going to say, ‘You give them bump stock [sic], it’s going to be the slippery slope.’ I certainly hope so,” Pelosi confirmed.
When your entire argument rejects facts and relies on emotion, you don’t have to worry about cognitive dissonance impeding your agenda—especially when a cheerleader media has your back. And what better way to start the slide down the slope than devices that enable bump firing?
It’s always easier to gin up a mob if you can demonize a target for its rage. And even though most Americans (and most legislators) had never even heard of bump stocks, reports that some had been found with rifles in the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel room was enough to establish a point of entry for the “something must be done” crowd.
Never mind that if your object is to run through ammunition and reduce accuracy, bump fire technique can be learned just using your finger. Years ago, ATF even ruled a shoestring could be verboten if attached to a gun in a disapproved way. But no matter, an inanimate object had been found to blame, and it seemed to offer something to everybody who keeps score based on political points.
So it was no surprise to those of us who watch and comment on such things to see a statement from the National Rifle Association.
“Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law,” Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox announced. “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
“Brilliant move,” some said. By relegating the fate of bump stocks to ATF rule-making, Republican legislators had been given an out from having their hands forced, and Democrats had been denied a political victory that furthers their gun owner control agenda.
Not all agreed. Gun Owners of America did not, and said so in an announcement of its own, Some of us argued that the only response was to not give an inch and not surrender any ground from which the next gun-grab (and there will always be a next gun-grab) could be launched.
But bump stocks aren’t a hill worth dying on, shot back those who never seem to identify a hill that is. Incrementalism to the end goal is the strategy, remember? Nancy Pelosi’s “slippery slope”?
Once bump stocks have been given up, what surrender will be demanded next? Will those doing the demanding be emboldened or discouraged by those who cede without a fight? Can a pack of circling jackals be persuaded to leave you alone by offering a compromise and throwing them a scrap of flesh?
ATF won’t go for it anyway. Retired analyst Rick Vasquez, who was part of the original decision that bump stocks don’t illegally alter a weapon’s functioning, properly noted the Bureau does not have the authority to make such a rule by diktat. Their direction must come from Congress (the representatives we gun owners can then hold unaccountable).
So establishment Republican leaders like Paul Ryan, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, John McCain and others have declared themselves “open to considering” new infringements. Seeing that must be a safe position, President Trump promised, “We’ll be looking into that.”
A “bipartisan” bill by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican, seeks “to prohibit the manufacture, possession, or transfer of any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle but does not convert the semi-automatic rifle into a machinegun.”
Perversely, the most influential voice against congressional action—at least for now—belongs to gun owner arch enemy Chuck Schumer, who, per The Hill, “is urging his colleagues to stay away from gun control in the budget debate. Schumer, focused on next year’s midterm elections, thinks it is smarter to focus on economics.”
He knows how gun grabs play at the polls.
The thing is, some of us aren’t playing. We know the goals and we know the intentions of those who would disarm Americans to establish a monopoly of violence. We know they’ll never be satisfied to let what happened in Vegas stay in Vegas. And we know, for all their lying and manipulation, they neglect to consider one ultimate reality: At some point, it all comes down to whether or not American gun owners will obey disarmament edicts from those who would rule instead of govern by Constitutionally-delegated powers.