John Foster Way’s Way: Ignorance, Red Herrings And Straw Men

“On another issue, Republicans claim Democrats want to confiscate your guns. That’s not true. It’s a scare tactic used for decades with the help of the National Rifle Association and American Legislative Exchange Council, a Federalist think tank pushing their radical agenda.” That’s John Foster Way regurgitating the oft-heard whopper in soothing tones of reasonableness. Not that there isn’t a kernel of truth to it when it comes to the whole NRA fundraising thing. But slap a polygraph on any “common sense” gun controller and deep down, under all those layers of fear, distrust and loathing lies the gun grabber within . . .

As with a prior chief executive, it depends on what the meaning of “confiscate” is. If you mean the Dems want to send blue-helmeted UN troops to kick in our doors and take our guns, then yes, it’s kooky talk (well, except for the odd moron’s suggestion).

If, however, you mean implementing “Goldilocks gun control” (some guns are too big (“vest busters”), some guns are too small (“pocket rockets”), some guns don’t have a “sporting purpose” (“assault” weapons), some guns are too cheap (Saturday night specials), etc.), and ever expanding lists of “prohibited persons”, and “safe storage” laws (all guns must be locked up with ammunition stored separately) . . . but let’s look at that last one for a moment.

I know people ridicule us slippery slopers (this despite the evidence from England and Australia, despite the characterization of so many gun laws as “a good first step” and despite the incrementalism shown by the ATF with their “temporary emergency” multiple sales reporting requirement which now seems not only to be permanent but is being prepped for a national roll-out). But let’s look at a logical (from the antis viewpoint anyway) “safe storage” progression.

We need to keep guns and ammunition locked up and separated (for the children, of course). Except that more than a third of kids in “safely stored” households knew how to access their parents’ guns and almost a quarter of them had handled those guns. Obviously we need to get guns out of the house and somewhere safe. You can’t argue that you need your guns for protection because, after all, how much protection can an unloaded and secured firearm offer? So we might as well lock them up in an armory. That way you can still shoot them when you want to (as long as it is between 9 and 5, Monday through Friday except holidays) but at least the children are safe.

So no, your guns won’t be confiscated, they’ll just be safely stored in a .gov armory until such time as you want to shoot them…or you become a prohibited person, or those models are outlawed. And ammunition may be kind of expensive when the government decides to de-mil all their surplus brass. And buy 450 million rounds for DHS and ICE. On top of the 200 million DHS had already ordered. And the 100 million ordered by the FBI. And another half-million for the Department of Agriculture. Yes, Agriculture.

The interesting fact that Mitt Romney left out about President Barack Obama at the recent NRA convention in St. Louis is that he hasn’t done anything, either pro or con, about any Second Amendment issue.

Well, except for the Obama-Biden Urban Policy agenda to Address Gun Violence in Cities.  That’s the proposal to renew the Clinton-era AWB (with a new version which was much more restrictive), closing the gun show “loophole” (by imprisoning show organizers if a single attendee attempted to make a private sale) and making guns “childproof.” Never mind the long gun registry in effect for border state sales. Oh, and Question 59 on their employment questionnaire.

And then there’s DHS’s report, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment which said (in part):

The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.

And the administration’s support for CIFTA which would require a gov’t license to attach a scope, replace a trigger or even load a weapon. And their reversal of an already approved plan to import 800,000 U.S. M-1’s from South Korea. And the CDC’s sudden (Congressionally prohibited) re-entry into the “gun research” field by calling it research into “the surrounding web of circumstances” of gun violence. And Fast & Furious. And the ATF’s reversal of a forty-two year old ruling regarding the transfer of firearms which made it much more difficult to conduct business. And the DoD’s (quickly rescinded) plan to de-mil all their brass.


But aside from that, yeah, Obama hasn’t done anything about the Second Amendment issue. And look, out comes the bloody shirt!

The Trayvon Martin case has brought the insane Stand Your Ground law into the forefront of the debate. The NRA and ALEC are still pushing these vigilante “shoot first, ask questions later” Wild-West-type laws in other states.

Okay, for starters, “shooting first” is a good way to wind up in prison or dead. When Florida passed SB436, it did nothing to change the standards for use of deadly force. Before SYG, someone was only allowed to use deadly force if . . .

He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony

After SYG passed, someone was only allowed to use deadly force if:

[H]e or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

What SYG did do was explicitly remove the any “duty to retreat” and, based on witness statements, that single change was completely irrelevant to the case since Martin was sitting on Zimmerman thus rendering moot the idea of retreat.

Oh and John? Since when is defense of self or another person from what’s reasonably believed to be a violent, deadly attack considered “vigilantism”? And since vigilantism is the use of extralegal action in defiance of existing law, how does defending yourself as allowed by law constitute “vigilantism”? Just wondering.

But John is on a roll, let’s not interrupt him.

The only thing Democrats are guilty of is being the voice of reason. Fighting for stringent gun laws that make it more difficult for those such as the gunman who killed six and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords to buy a gun is not being anti-gun ownership.

What stringent gun laws? The Tucson shooter had never been adjudicated a threat to himself or others, so unless John wants to start up a Department of Pre-Crime, there really isn’t much that could have been done. Wait. I take that back, there was something that could have been done to stop the Tucson shooter. Sheriff Dupnik could have arrested the loony S.O.B. when he started making death threats!

Banning certain ammunition, such as the 33-bullet magazine her assailant had in his Glock 19, is sensible, but it was shot down — pardon the pun — by Republicans lobbied by the NRA and ALEC.

No John, confusing ammunition and magazines is actually nonsensical. But given his problems reloading, if the Tucson shooter had been limited to smaller mags, wouldn’t there have been a lower toll? Maybe so, maybe no. If he’d been limited to low-cap mags, he might have practiced fast reloads, and as we all know, practice makes perfect. As for Rep McCarthy’s bill, it wasn’t “shot down,” it was referred to committee and is awaiting action like about 95% of all other bills introduced.

The Bill of Rights was written in a time when the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms included a one-ball musket and maybe a long bayonet, or a one-shot handgun.

Or bear a six-shot handgun. Or bear a 9-shot handgun. Or bear a 14-shot carbine. Or bear a 20-ball musket. Or bear a Puckle gun. Well, maybe a Puckle gun is a little too big to bear, but you get my point.

At least John isn’t a hypocrite; he’s all in favor of trashing the First amendment along with the Second (which says something about gun nuts’ belief that a disregard for the Second Amendment indicates a disregard for all civil rights):

Our forefathers could never have imagined today’s weapons and how far their subliminal rhetoric could go.

Billboards, newspapers, computers, radio and endless 24-hour opinion channels affect almost every citizen’s thoughts. Surely, if they had known of today’s weapons, and the reach of one person’s rhetoric, something a little more invasive may have been written, don’t you think?

Actually no. I think the Founders had sufficient intelligence and imagination to foresee that technology would continue to advance; from matchlock to wheel-lock to flintlock, from horse-power to water-power to steam-power (Watt having introduced his engine some 6 years before the Bill of Rights was drafted) and were firm in their belief that the freedoms to speak, publish, worship, or own and carry the weapon of your choice, are natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional rights, subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.[1]