By Tim Underbakke
All too often in the comments sections of gun blogs, YouTube videos, or any other online community where people of the gun can come together, you will see a common trend. Someone from a state that is more restrictive in their citizens’ firearm rights will lament being unable to obtain a treasured item, or will ask if it will soon be shipping in a form that remains compliant with their state’s laws. The most common response from those who reside in a free state where such restrictions are not a factor is something like, “quit whining and move.” Some may consider the idea that one should be expected to uproot their family, give up a full-time job, and relocate to a new state, incredibly selfish. However, there is something far worse about that argument. It’s exceedingly short-sighted . . .
When a state passes a law violating firearms rights, and the citizens choose to leave the state to avoid the law, there are less gun owners left to fight the next gun control law that comes across that state’s legislature. When most politicians are met with less resistance on an issue, they are more likely to pass legislation that matches their agenda. There are always the rigid ideologues, but most politicians value their salary and position of power more than their agenda and can reach a compromise with a large enough pushback from the voting public. Without that voter base pushing back against them, the laws will continue to become more and more draconian. We have seen this outcome in states such as California, New York, or Connecticut.
Trying to isolate the states unfriendly to the Second Amendment has been an approach used in the past. Letting some states go in order to shore up freedom in other states may seem like a valid strategy, but it may well end in disaster. Every state that is “forfeited” to the anti-gun politicians is two more seats in the United States Senate and several United States Congressional seats that will likely be filled by someone who is either indifferent to firearm rights at best, or openly hostile to them at worst.
If gun owners keep losing states, we will ultimately lose the Congress. And when anti-gun politicians have enough of a majority where the politicians don’t fear a backlash back home in their voting districts, they will be able to simply pass whatever legislation they desire at the federal level. When that legislation is passed, it won’t matter what your local state’s politics are on firearms. And if you think your home state will secede from the union at that point, think again.
This leaves gun owners with a choice. A state embroiled in a gun control law debate is one of the places gun owners should be rushing toward, not away from. If we leave, we get instant gratification of not worrying about gun laws for the moment, but we may gamble away our freedom forever in the long run. Gun owners in states whose laws are less than ideal should be working to change that rather than planning on leaving.
Now that the Sandy Hook craze and the election cycle are behind us, gun control is not in the forefront of many minds. This is the perfect opportunity for gun owners to go on the political offensive. Don’t just settle for preventing the next bad gun law, work to repeal the bad laws on the books in your state. Washington residents should be fighting against I-594. Minnesota residents should be planning to fight their state suppressor ban. Remember, if we lose too many states, we may as well have lost them all.