Thursday, October 23, 2008

Musings on Anti Strategies

Reader Bob S., in comments here:

I think the push will come not in bans or restrictions but economics. Imagine excise taxes on the level of alcohol or cigarettes.
Since it doesn't affect the majority of the population, antis will probably be able to sell it as a "way of making the sport pay for itself", etc; stating the moneys raised by the taxes will go to wildlife preservation.

They could do that, but they'll only be able to get away with that if no one points out what's already there in the form of taxation — the Pittman-Robertson excise tax, which imposes an 11 percent excise tax on “sporting” firearms and ammunition, a ten percent tax on handguns, and 11 percent sales tax on archery equipment. I would really hope that any more taxes on guns or ammunition would be seen as the blatant attack on the RKBA that it so obviously is. And I would bet that any more taxation on ammunition would mostly if not entirely be imposed on the smaller handgun calibers that are by and large used only for self-defense, such as the big three autopistol calibers plus .380acp, .38 Special and maybe .357 Magnum. I almost hope they'll take that route, as it could be tied to Heller v. D.C., which was brought about in the first place by the fact that D.C. resident Shelly Parker was denied permission by the D.C. government to keep a handgun for self-defense. And then there's the fact that the antis have tried it before, including outspoken enemies of the right to arms such as Teddy Kennedy.

Another approach will be environmental, all that lead, copper, etc can't be good for nature. So let's ban it and use "green" ammo. Nobody wants to harm the environment, right?

This is the the one I would worry about. They've already done this in California, and of course, as they say, as goes California, so goes the nation. But then there's the whole matter of the potential black market for leaded ammunition. I don't know just how easy it would be to make copper-jacketed lead ammunition, but I guarantee you there are some machinist-engineer-shooting enthusiasts out there who could easily figure out how to do it. As the old saying goes, where there's a will, there's a way. And I would really hope that particular strain of California plague could be contained. It has been for this long, and I am pretty sure that reps from the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation would be letting RKBA-friendly pols in on the facts of the matter, on both taxation and lead-free ammunition. Honestly, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find that the environmental lobby was indeed overstating the effects of lead ammunition on the environment. People have been hunting with lead ammo for decades, if not centuries, and as far as anyone can tell there hasn't been any widespread deleterious effect on the environment. If there was it would surely have come to light by now. In any event, I guess we'll see what happens.