Wednesday, August 20, 2008 where's this "majority," Mikey?

Via 45superman at Armed and Safe, we have this whopper from Michael Beard, the chairman of the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership:

Right now, the gun lobby holds a tremendous amount of power in this country, and legislators are doing its bidding because they are not hearing often enough from the majority of Americans who want sensible gun laws and safe communities.

Actually, I'd argue that the "gun lobby" holds the power it does because the people behind it -- you know, we gun owners, who have spent untold amounts of our hard-earned money on guns, ammunition and training -- have a vested interest in preserving our right to keep and bear arms. And we finally got off our asses, showed our political muscle and got on the offensive. What he won't remind you of is that for a good 15 years at least, the gun control movement had gained a sizable amount of traction, culminating in the first two years of the Clinton presidency, which resulted in the two biggest gun control laws in more than two decades, since the Gun Control Act of 1968 -- the Brady Law and the semiautomatic rifle ban. And what happened then? The party that passed those laws got their asses handed to them in the next election, and no less a Democrat than Bill Clinton -- the Gun-Grabber-In-Chief himself -- acknowledged the biggest reason for that was the party's push for more gun control. And we haven't had any more really big gun control laws since then, even with all the high-profile shootings such as what happened at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Could it be that the politicians HAVE heard from a majority of Americans and that those Americans have said, in effect, "no more gun control"?
Poking around over at Kevin Baker's place, I found this great essay from Michael S. Brown:
Prior to 1934 there were no federal gun control laws. There was only an odd assortment of gun laws in various states and cities which were intended to disarm racial minorities and immigrants. As far as the federal government was concerned, anyone was free to buy a machine gun or even a cannon, and the level of gun crime was relatively low.

Since the National Firearms Act was signed into law in 1934, the number of gun control laws at all levels of government have multiplied exponentially. So has the overall crime rate, which some argue is a direct result of gun control laws that discourage self-defense.

Although none of these laws reduced crime, each new law creates another way that a well intentioned gun owner can inadvertently end up in prison or ruined by legal costs. Some have been killed in raids by government agents. Much like laws passed to promote the failed war on drugs, each new gun law gives the police additional powers that threaten basic constitutional rights.

America's lawful gun owners are painfully aware of these facts. Since gun laws don't reduce crime, they wonder, what is the real purpose? This question has led to numerous theories that attempt to explain why the "ruling elite", which includes the media and many politicians, would want to eliminate civilian gun ownership in America. American gun owners feel as if they are being slowly crushed. One writer recently described this decades-long campaign as a slow motion hate crime.

Frustration has been building in the gun culture for thirty years and has been accelerating with the faster pace of anti-gun attacks and the dramatic improvement in communications. Stories of outrageous persecution by government agencies now circulate like wildfire via the internet. Anti-gun bills introduced in any legislature are instantly made known to millions. Gun owners know the major players in the anti-gun lobby as well as they know the villains in their favorite movies.
Some observers of this cultural war wonder why large numbers of gun owners have not yet resorted to violence to preserve their way of life. Civil wars have started over less. Almost every gathering of lawful gun owners has a deep undercurrent of anger. They see each new gun law as a way to harass them and make it more difficult for everyone except criminals and the government to own guns. Solid, productive citizens complain bitterly about how good people have been arrested for unintentional violations of the myriad of gun laws. Each wonders if he could be next.

Although this group has been involuntarily radicalized, there are several things holding back a violent response. One is the fact that gun owners are a very law abiding group of people. They have a deep faith in the Constitution and are willing to give the political process a chance to balance itself. The second is that leaders of gun rights organizations, such as the NRA, are promising relief through the political system. The third reason is that the leaders of the anti-gun lobby are masters of propaganda and would gleefully exploit any minor incidents to further harm gun rights. It would take a massive wave of violent protests to affect any positive change.

Nobody knows if, when or how this group will reach its breaking point, but one must question the wisdom of infuriating millions of armed citizens.
Indeed. Michael Beard and his organization do advocate the government having a monopoly on force, indeed...but just how stupid (or evil) are they that they'd risk pissing off such a large group of (armed) people even more than they are already?!