There are now two Americas. The first features high taxes, heavy regulations and massive government expenditure. The second has relatively lower taxes, fewer burdensome regulations and more limited government. “Right to work” America (e.g., Georgia) is growing more prosperous while rolling back gun control regulations. Nanny State America (e.g. New Jersey) is sinking under the weight of its bloated bureaucracy, placing new restrictions on its citizens’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. As poet William Butler Yeats wrote in The Second Coming . . .
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” Many gun owners see this dangerous dichotomy in bold relief. They know that America cannot be two things at once: a country where the government’s endless pursuit of “reasonable regulations” makes a mockery of citizens’ Constitutional rights and a country where individual freedoms are, as they should be, sacrosanct. Hence rumblings about Civil War 2.0.
There are gun rights advocates who echo Thomas Jefferson’s admonition that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” But the vast majority of liberty-loving gun guys and gals are peace-loving patriots who abhor armed conflict. They want the increasingly obvious two Americas situation to be resolved without bloodshed.
Many place their faith in the federal court system. They believe that the ongoing courtroom crusade to strike down draconian gun control legislation will lead to a Supreme Court victory that will force the states’ statists to return to the Founding Fathers’ Constitutional construct. The recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court to strike down California’s and Hawaii’s may-issue [non] permitting process gives them cause to hope.
Other gun rights advocates would like to see the two Americas reconciled at the ballot box. They reckon that if a sufficient number of anti-gun, big government Democrats can be booted out of office, these political proponents of civilian disarmament command and control can be stopped in their tracks and their gun control legislation rescinded. The recent recall of pro-gun control pols in Colorado gives them cause to hope.
In both cases, their hopes are destined to remain unrealized.
History tells us that the courts will not offer the relief gun rights advocates seek. The McDonald decision – a limited and Pyrrhic victory that opened the door to unreasonable “reasonable regulations” – indicates that the Supreme Court will not make huge leaps towards firearms freedom. This quote from Federal District Court Judge Alfred Covello upholding Connecticut’s patently unconstitutional post-Newtown gun laws tells you all you need to know about courts operating in gun averse states:
“The court concludes that the legislation is constitutional . . . While the act burdens the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control.”
Nor will pro-gun activism at the ballot box “reunite” the two Americas. Polls show that residents in states with “tough” gun laws support civilian disarmament by an overwhelming margin. Back in September 2013, a Rutgers – Eagelton poll found that 70 percent of respondents favored a measure requiring that firearms purchase permits be recorded on driver licenses. The Garden State’s latest assault on citizens’ gun rights – an ammunition magazine capacity law – sailed through the legislature.
More worrying still: the federal government is closerthanthis with the part of the country that sees nothing wrong with government intervention in all things. Should another nanny state statist capture the presidency (e.g., Hillary Clinton), should that CIC find support in Congress or end-run the legislature through executive orders, the feds will continue to consolidate and increase governmental power (i.e., erode gun rights and curtail liberty).
Even in the best case scenario – the country elects a [small “c”] conservative president to work with a Republican led House and Senate – he or she will not be able to “make” pro-gun control states abandon their civilian disarmament agenda. Anti-gun America will continue down the path of curtailed firearms freedom unmolested by court edict or [small ‘d’] democratic blowback.
In short, the gulf between the two Americas will widen. The question: how, when and where will the actual fracture occur? Right now the vast majority of Americans are blissfully ignorant of the divide. Until their lives are affected in some dramatic, personal way, they will continue to pursue happiness in condition white.
In that sense, American gun owners are the canary in the coal mine. They are awake and alert to the danger posed by the statist states, and they’re chirping like crazy. The mine owners couldn’t give a damn. The workers busy hollowing out the Constitution are completely oblivious to the stench of tyranny. When the proverbial shaft collapses in some spectacular way, then they’ll pay attention.
What then? What rough beast, its hour come round at last, will slouch towards Bethlehem to be born? God knows. But the more people who are armed against it, the better.