Gun control roundup Jan. 16
** President Obama is scheduled to unveil his gun-control wish list at a little before noon today. A breathless nation waits to see which of these measures he plans to allow our representatives to vote upon, and which he will impose through executive order. White House aides told Fox News the proposals would include “a push for universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and renewal of the assault weapons ban.”
The assault-weapons ban was a spectacular waste of time the last time it was tried, but when an idea increases the power of the State, it can never fail hard enough to get sent back to the locker room. As for background checks, let us remember that the existing system did stop Newtown murderer Adam Lanza from buying a gun. He stole his weapons from his mother, who passed any number of background checks, and probably would have passed anything Obama and Biden have in mind. Or is it time to stop pretending that all of this has anything to do with the Sandy Hook Elementary horror?
It is also said that the President will call for increased federal funding to put armed police officers in schools. This idea was the height of gibbering lunacy, denounced by the massed ranks of the mindless Left at the top of their scratchy lungs, when the National Rifle Association proposed it. But now it will become Obama’s idea, and therefore self-evidently awesome.
Rumor has it the President plans to surround himself with children when he announces the recommendations of Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control task force, because “national conversations” are always more measured and reasonable when one side uses human props.
** Resistance to Obama’s idea of imposing gun control through executive order continues to grow. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) compared Obama to a king yesterday, and now Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) is saddling up his turbocharged Paul Revere Limited Edition horse, calling Obama’s prospective abuse of executive power “an unconstitutional and unconscionable attack on the very founding principles of this republic,” which he plans to thwart by “any means necessary – including, but not limited to, eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment.”
Some of Stockman’s GOP colleagues in the House may be surprised to learn they can actually do something to slow down the gun-control crusade, having just been steamrolled by $33 billion in pork barrel spending with $17 billion in hurricane relief loosely attached. (For those keeping score, that means almost all of the potential revenue from Obama’s “fiscal cliff” tax increases for 2013 has been blown in a single spending bill.) But Stockman is correct: you fellows do have some power, and defense of the Bill of Rights seems like a good reason to use it.
** Rep. Stockman deserves his tip of the Paul Revere tricorner hat, because as Erick Erickson points out at RedState, the British were coming for the colonists’ guns. That’s what brought them to Lexington and Concord, where they did manage to secure some of the colonists’ ammunition, but it had to be surgically removed later. Erickson addresses the importance of the Second Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny – perhaps the most difficult aspect of the Bill of Rights for modern liberals to swallow:
Many historians have come to view the American Revolution as a conservative revolution. The revolutionaries believed they were protecting their English rights from the Glorious Revolution of 1688. They were, in effect, revolting to demand the rights they thought they already had as English citizens. It is why, for much of 1775, they petitioned the King, not Parliament, for help because they had, separated by distance and time, not kept up with the legal evolution of the British constitutional monarchy in relation to Parliament. The colonists believed themselves full English citizens and heirs of the Glorious Revolution.
One of the rights that came out of the Bill of Rights of 1689 in England following the Glorious Revolution was a right to bear arms for defense against the state. The English Bill of Rights accused King James II of disarming protestants in England. That Bill of Rights included the language “That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.”
The Americans, however, saw the British government, via Parliament, begin curtailing the rights of the citizenry in the American colonies. When they formed the federal government with ratification of the Constitution, the colonists, now Americans, were deeply skeptical of a concentrated federal power, let alone standing armies to exercise power on behalf of a government. This is why, originally, the colonists chose to require unanimity for all federal action under the Articles of Confederation that the Constitution would replace. Likewise, it is why many early state constitutions gave both an explicit right to keep and bear arms, but also instructed that standing armies in times of peace should not be maintained.
“The 2nd Amendment, contrary to much of today’s conversation, has just as much to do with the people protecting themselves from tyranny as it does burglars,” Erickson concludes. “That is why there is so little common ground about assault rifles – even charitably ignoring the fact that there really is no such thing. If the 2nd Amendment is to protect the citizenry from even their own government, then the citizenry should be able to be armed.”
I would add that gun rights are also a vital expression of trust between the State and its citizens – a gesture of respect for their independence and competence. If we lose those Second Amendment rights that have proven so vexing, and even personally offensive, to the statists, we take another fateful step toward becoming a nation of children that rely entirely upon Mother Government for direction, nourishment and protection. On second thought, maybe it’s appropriate that President Obama will march out some children to unveil his gun control plans today.
** The National Rifle Association has (if you’ll pardon the expression) come under fire for the release of a mobile-phone video game called “NRA: Practice Range.” The game is an entirely non-violent simulation of shooting guns at paper targets on a practice range, with some gun-safety tips mixed in. A lot of people who would otherwise support the concept of education software, and claim they are deeply concerned about “gun safety,” are nevertheless outraged by this game, for three primary reasons:
1. It was released exactly one month after the Newtowm shootings, and we are all supposed to be mindful of such anniversaries. I wouldn’t plan on doing anything that celebrates your Second Amendment rights on the two-month, six-month, or one-year anniversaries, either.
2. The initial rating for the game declared it suitable for ages 4 and up. It was later corrected by the game developer (the software designers commissioned by the NRA) to ages 12 and up. This seems more likely to have been a mistake made by the developer, not the NRA.
3. The NRA is supposed to be shuffling around in sackcloth and ashes, not releasing video games in an effort to promote gun safety.
CNN thinks the “Practice Range” game somehow illustrates the “hypocrisy” of NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who spoke out strongly against “vicious, violent video games” and other entertainment during his first post-Newtown press conference. Perhaps CNN will write a follow-up editorial where they enlighten us on how the simulated perforation of paper targets is “vicious and violent.” The video games LaPierre had in mind are filled with geysers of blood and the screams of the dying, not wobbling targets and the calm commands of a range boss. For some reason, the Left has never criticized a certain other insanely popular multi-platform game that simulates target shooting with birds as ammunition and pigs as the targets, despite the implied cruelty to animals.
It should be noted that some people suspect the “Practice Range” game might not be an authentic product of the NRA, but Bill Keller of the New York Times looked into it, and the developer says they were indeed working with an official NRA license. If the National Rifle Association is unhappy with any aspect of the production, they could easily issue a statement to that effect, but as of this morning they have not done so.
** The NRA is also taking some heat for noticing that America’s Gun Controller-in-Chief and his family are protected by armed security, and recently took steps to ensure that he will enjoy that protection for the rest of his life:
** Meanwhile, someone sympathetic to the cause of gun control has created a video game in which players track down NRA President David Keene and blow his head off with a sniper rifle. The game is actually called “Bullet to the Head of the NRA,” to highlight the delicious irony of violently murdering people who insist on their right to defend themselves and their families against murderers. It all makes perfect sense, if you’re bitter and stupid.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has called on President Obama to denounce this game. “Making threats against public figures who speak out either for or against gun control prevents us from having a reasonable, thoughtful debate,” Sensenbrenner wrote in a letter obtained by Human Events. “Although we may have strong disagreements on the best ways to reduce gun violence, it is my hope that we can both agree that video games targeting specific individuals who speak out on this issue, is counterproductive.”