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Last week’s post by BlinkyPete discussing how we would re-write the background check process generated a fair amount of commentary. That’s fairly nsurprising as whenever a post appears on this site from someone within the gun community that suggests any kind of restrictions, a firestorm usually follows.  There were a lot of good points raised in favor of BlinkyPete’s proposal as well as a lot of good comments discussing its weaknesses. Once comment that stood out in my mind was MarkPA’s challenge to the “absolutists” to propose a solution that would pass muster with the country. I think this point is important enough that it deserves its own discussion . . .

Let’s acknowledge that under the simplest and most literal meaning of the Second Amendment, “shall not be infringed” means exactly what it sounds like. Any law that infringes on the right to keep and bear arms is simply not allowed.  Unfortunately, outside of the absolutist wing of the gun rights community, no one else fully recognizes this definition. Lawmakers certainly don’t. The court system doesn’t either. Obviously the anti-gunners don’t and many who make up the pool of average undecided voters don’t.  Heck, even a fair number of pro-gun people don’t support eliminating all gun regulation.

It would seem that RKBA supporters have their work cut out for them. If we really want to roll back restrictions on ownership and open gun usage for everyone at any time, how do we do it? The antis seem to have a plan to take guns away from the people. We need to have one to take us in the other direction. Unfortunately, I can’t see any way to get to the 2A absolutist position that doesn’t involve repeating late 1700’s history. And that approach is simply a non-starter for a whole host of reasons.

So, this is my question then; what is the plan to change the minds of our fellow citizens in enough numbers to make the absolutist vision a reality? Is there even a way or are we doomed to fight against a countervailing tide with little effect? Can we actually achieve gun rights nirvana or do we need to realize that compromise of some sort will always be part of the deal? Many here say, “No more compromise!” Great. How do we do it? Slogans and empty threats don’t win battles. Well-executed plans backed by ideas do.

Let’s try and make this discussion a good reference for the future. Good, workable ideas are something we can all use going forward. With that in mind, I’d ask that comments discuss the pros and cons of proposed solutions rather than simply degenerating into attacks on each other for a person’s position.

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  1. We need to embrace incrementalism. Simply, roll back one law at a time, and note the lack of blood in the streets. The biggest step forward would be a major rewrite of the NFA.

    • Sadly, incrementalism is the way to go. I think it’d be reasonable to get SBRs, SBSs, AOWs removed from NFA status, followed by silencers and then ultimately machine guns and destructive devices though I don’t think we’ll ever see the latter be removed from registration. I’d argue that putting someone in jail for putting a VFW on a pistol or having a stock on a pistol (especially when Sig braces exist) would be cruel and unusual punishment flirting around loose interpretations and semantics with no improvement on safety or reduction in crime.

    • I agree with the incremental approach, but a major change to the NFA is not incremental. Or at least it won’t be seen that way to the average person. The NFA has stood the test of time for a whole bunch of reasons, so going after it is going to be tough. As I’ve said in the past, the NFA has revenue tied to it, so removing a revenue stream by removing items from NFA control is not going to play well in the houses of power.

      The other issue is that aside from our peers on TTAG and other gun boards, I really wonder how pressing an issue the NFA is to the gun community at large. A number of states have restrictions on NFA items at the state level, so they would not benefit even if Federal laws were changed. Would a move to change it garner the broad level of grassroots support exhibited when the new AWB idea was floated last year? I don’t think so.

      • I think we can all agree that suppressors being sold as an accessory with your pistol kit would be a wonderful thing. I love target shooting, I also love my hearing. It rankles me that the Government decided a useful and practical device for any gun owner should be subject to special scrutiny and taxation. I think there’d be more grass roots support for repealing suppressor regulation than you’d expect.

      • Ah… But federal preemption of such statutes would be a rewrite. As firearms regulation is clearly a function of the federal government, the states should have no power to intercede. With McDonald incorporating the 2nd amendment to the states, most state bans of federally legal items are on very shaky ground.

  2. One mind at a time, take someone to the range talk about gun rights there are way more pro gun people than antis so we just need to get more people into shooting then there will be no need for the debate and a debate with anti gunners is futile anyway as they will always fail to acknowledge facts

    • This is a good, solid approach, but unfortunately, it will take so long, only my grandchildren will benefit (assuming the educational system hasn’t bred any interest in guns out of them). We need something that moves a bit faster. I’m not suggesting that we don’t convert folks one at a time, but it needs to be one of several initiatives, not the only (or even primary) one

      • Jim,

        As far as growing gun ownership goes, we are winning. Same for acceptance of some sort of “gun culture” (whatever that is) as depicted in popular TV shows that *don’t* involve people killing people. The left have followed the New School / Gramsci approach and have seized most of our institutions. Why not have our own long march through the culture (as opposed to the institutions) and let your grandkids benefit?

        I’d personally love to see the NFA repealed, but that’s not politically possible. We have the momentum, our ranks are growing, so a slow and steady push should continue to be productive. The worst thing those who represent us as a group could do is stake out an “extreme” position that’s outside the window of political possibility, opening the possibility of moving the window backwards. Slow and steady will win this race, God help us all.


  3. Jim,

    This is like work. Let me go shoot a few rounds and see if I can think of anything worth putting in print.

    • I’ve read through the comments and have nothing to add. Although I consider myself open minded when I really consider how to approach 2A compromises I realize the only intellectual answer for me is stated in the Second Amendment. As Pseudo states this means I am SOL. And the reason I’m SOL is because the first thing the appellate courts do is reference judgements on similar cases. My position is that the 2A has already been struck down. Over time as more laws restricting firearms pass what is left of the 2A will be an obscure reference to the government issuing weapons to soldiers.

      The anti’s want our guns. They know they can get them. They know they can only get them in small steps over a long time period. They are willing to debate because they know what they want and it’s not to win a debate. What do we want?

      • The Anti’s want our guns. They THINK they can get them. They have been getting them in small steps over a long period of time.
        – – – The slope of the incline of the mountain steepens as the climber approaches the summit. Likely, the Anti’s hit it with the Federal AWB. After it proved to be to ally ineffective I don’t think they have had any major subsequent victories. Conversely, the 2A community has enjoyed Heller and McDonald and a host of State level refinements. The PotG are growing increasingly vigilant. I expect lots of fighting around where we are today. I don’t think the Anti’s have the commitment for major further gains from this point. We have the commitment to wage a war of attrition.
        – – – To quote another wag elsewhere on this blog: “We have the guns; they don’t. Where’s the problem?”

  4. @RF

    Is it possible for us to put together a list of 10-20 things (chosen from posts that we submit) that you can present to the NRA? Then they – if they actually care about continuing to receive our money – can consider some entries and start to *gasp* proactively institute some positive change.

    • You are confusing the NRA, just as the Anti-Gun crowd does, with legislators. The NRA has no direct influence on politics, no matter what organizations or politicians they endorse or donate to. Right now, the NRA’s money and time is better spent on litigation and public outreach, which they are doing both of, heavily. A politician can change their mind after the fact, a group of like minded people 7 million strong does not change their mind so quickly. Support the NRA, but expect the majority of your money to go towards lawyers and advertisement, not what you may expect but effective.

      • Considering how often special interest groups actually write swaths of the legislation that is presented in Congress, the NRA could certainly be an avenue to push legislation.

      • I’m not confusing anything, friend, and please do not compare me to the antis.

        We pay the NRA, they lobby for us, so my suggestion would show them issues that are important to us for which they should be fighting.


  5. I gave up. Now I only “convert” fence-sitters. I put that in quotes since it is less conversion and more explaining. That is, getting them to think.

    Devout people don’t like having their minds opened and perspectives challenged…yet they will challenge yours at every opportunity.

    • If we forget about the rabid, everyone-is-wrong-but-me, the NRA kills children gun control proponents (a and we should – they tend to stick to places that don’t welcome dissenting views anyway), most gun control proponents can easily be either converted or at least softened with calm, factual, logical arguments. I say this based on personal experience.

      • I tried… but it is like playing chess without the pieces (had a much dirtier analogy for this).

        I can only do so much… plant the seed of doubt in their minds. The rest? That’s on them. You can throw someone in the water but it is up to them whether they swim or not.

        Remember, I am deeply embeded in “hostile” territory. Most people are deeply against… They are too many to win against by using logos or patos. They know they are wrong so they will try to attack your credibilty or are simply too afraid.

        That is the common denominator with them… fear.

        • +4

          “You can lead someone to knowledge, but you can’t make them think.”

          “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” ― Jonathan Swift

          “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.” – Michael Shermer

          “Fear is often disguised as moral outrage.” – Judy Blume

    • I don’t know about that, You are right, some will never ever be converted, but their friends and family can. Leaving them alone with only their paranoid fascist illusions to entertain them in the night.

  6. How would I win a gun control debate? Simple – I’d show up to neutral places with a dozen friends and twice as many guns. Once there, I’d aggressively force my rights down everyone else’s throats until all the fence sitting people and organizations simply joined the gun control side out of fed frustration. Debate won – for gun control. You know, because I’m secretly a collaborator.

    And I’m awesome.

    • Except it is working. The intelligent members of OCT have convinced thousands, perhaps millions, of Texans, and the gubernatorial frontrunners for both major parties, to support open carry of handguns. OC will likely sail through the legislature, once they get back in session.

      The Chipotle idiots might have scared a few people in that one store, but that’s about it. The only people who read MDA press releases are the gun grabbers who already support MDA, and RF (and of course Dirk, but he’s waiting for the release that Shannon is leaving her husband and will be available again). How many people who heard the three minute news blurb on the Chipotle request do you think remember it today?

      Overall, I’d call that a win.

      • You’re conflating two separate things here. One is the pending approval of open carry in Texas, something that’s the result of years of legislative grass roots efforts. The other is the relatively recent open carry “protests” in Texas and elsewhere. There is zero evidence that the latter has helped the former, and only barely-there, frankly unreliable evidence that it’s done anything positive for our side. In contrast, there’s a pile of evidence that it’s harmed our side, at least in that it helps Shannon Watts convince corporations to ask us to keep our guns at home.

        • And, arguably, the net effect of open-carry here in Texas is to hijack those years of grassroots efforts and turn open-carry into a tawdry sideshow issue even fewer elected officials will be willing to support. Trust me, Joe Strauss (our very own progressive “republican” speaker of the house) will happily seize upon the Chipotle ninja photos as justification to oppose any modifications of Texas open carry laws.

        • Where’s the evidence that it harmed the pro-gun case? I haven’t seen any. And Shannon Watts doing a victory dance after Chipotle or Starbucks released a press report reiterating their existing gun non-policies doesn’t count. That didn’t harm anyone.

          Now the fact that thousands of people have seen these normal, law abiding citizens carry guns around without going on murder sprees has probably done a great deal to convince those people that guns are not something to be afraid of.

          Shannon and Mike feed on fear. If we eliminate the fear, they lose. Now that’s success.

        • Starbucks didn’t reiterated their existing policy; they changed it to ‘ask’ gun owners to leave their guns at home.

      • You chose to ignore what I actually said.

        The Chipotle Ninja idiots are not “The intelligent members of OCT” … do you think they are?

        On the other hand, given how often they are defended around here, that may well be an indication of the low IQ required to be a fanatical OCer who can hardly breathe slowly enough to consider how much harm the idiot OCers, like the Chipotle Ninja types, are doing to the cause

        • I didn’t ignore it. This is what you posted:
          Bingo! Brilliant sir, absolutely brilliant. Because this is so obviously working so well for the cause.

          Nicely played.

          : )

          It seems like agreement with the parent post by BlinkyPete. And his post sounded more like the organized mass protests (“a dozen friends”), not the Chipotle idiots.

        • I was being fully sarcastic in that post. As many haters here have probably already realized, I have nowhere near a dozen friends.

  7. Obviously, the most effective way to assure the preservation of our natural and civil rights to keep and bear arms is to go to Chipotles and hold our long guns in low ready position and pose for pictures.

    ; )

    Incrementalism is they key with a lot of plain old (un)common sense.

    • lol right even I get nervous when not on the range and someone has their fingure inches from the trigger in a non-hostile environment. why not have them unloaded and as far away from your hands as possible, then there would be nothing threatening about it

  8. We lost these rights one step at a time, that’s how we can get them back. Baby steps, folks–and there are some things that are coming whether we like it or not.

    Universal background checks are probably one of those things that we’re going to have to deal with whether we like it or not. But I have an idea to make it workable.
    First, the NICS system needs to be open to anyone, not just FFLs.
    Second, if it’s your first purchase in a while you fill out a simplified 4473 online. Name, address, SSN. No other questions. (The prohibitions under my system–currently in a mental facility, currently in prison for any reason, less than 5 years out of prison for a violent felony). Database is searched to make sure you’re not on any of those lists. Once done you get a temporary PIN, good for 90 days. The rest of the information is dumped, and just that PIN and a “He’s Good” mark are kept. For the next 90 days you present this PIN to a dealer or private owner. They plug the PIN into the system and if it comes back OK, the transaction is approved and Bob’s your uncle. The type or number of weapons you bought are not recorded. Serial numbers are not recorded.

    Maybe while we’re at it, we can get some of the NFA rolled back–take SBRs, SBSes and silencers off. I can handle leaving full-autos on the NFA as long as the Hughes amendment is stricken and the registrations are opened back up. But none of this is going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen at all if we can’t get people on our side. One at a time, here. Every little bit helps. Every person converted is a victory, no matter how small it may seem.

    • “I can handle leaving full-autos on the NFA as long as the Hughes amendment is stricken and the registrations are opened back up.”

      I really, really want this, and I really, really see no way that it will ever happen. As I explained in my piece you’ll get more push back from dealers and owners of pre-86 machine guns than you would from the gun control side. And despite the fact that legally owned machine guns are responsible for fewer deaths a year than toaster ovens (I just made that up and I’ll still bet a toe it’s true), it would still be politically untenable for almost anyone in Congress to support.

      • Pete, I agree that you will get a lot of push back from owners of “investment guns.” Whether those folks will have enough clout by themselves to prevent the repeal of the Hughes amendment is questionable because there simply are not that many. Lots of people who own full auto guns only own one or two, so their investment is minimal. Speaking as one of those owners, seeing my investment in a full auto Uzi largely go down the drain would suck, but the opportunity to trade in my semi-auto ARs for full auto ones would go a long way to assuage my grief.

        On the other hand, I think you underestimate the level of hand wringing amongst the progressive crowd such a move would engender. You’d have the Rachael Maddows of the world bringing the Mike & Shannon show on where they would show full auto weapons at work devastating a mock classroom or something like that. Believe me – if they get their panties in a bunch over semi-auto rifles, they’ll absolutely lose it over full auto ones.

        Then you would have the police who would be very upset if citizens had the opportunity to get the same guns used by their (largely) poorly trained part-time SWAT teams (more on this subject in an upcoming post).

        I think you would find a vast array of interests lined up to stop that from happening. If you want a full auto weapon, figure out how to buy one of the (relatively) cheaper ones now before all prices soar out of reach. That’s what I did.

        • I really do want one, but I just can’t justify it. I’ve fired several Mac 10’s, the only one I’d really be able to afford, and I just don’t care at all for it. I guess I could drop $10k on an FNC, but that’s a risky investment, and one with a reasonably low rate of a return.

          I agree with most of the other stuff you said, but I still think there would be substantial pushback. At least some of that would filter back through the NRA, who likely gets fat donation checks from the kind of people who can afford $20k “investments”, or those engaged in the business of buying and selling them

    • I agree with most of this except you need some way to ensure that the person buying the gun is the rightful owner of the pin, and you need to ensure that anyone who get a hold of my SSN can’t just run background checks on my when they want (invasion of privacy).

      So I think that means limiting the background checks to being requested by “authorized” people (like FFLs) who can see you in person and verify against another ID you are who you say you are. OTOH most of the form 4473 needs to go away. There is no reason why the model of firearm I buy has anything to do with a whether I am a criminal. The background check should come back with approved/not approved for X, Y, Z (say regular firearm vs. NFA). Done.

      The 4473 as written is a defacto gun registration, and needs to go.

      I think if we proposed a system like that as a :universal background check” it would be up to the anti’s to shoot it down, which they can’t do and still say they want universal background checks.

    • The background check should be performed on the buyer without any reference to, or record of, the firearm itself (it isn’t needed, it is the person being checked, not the gun(s)). These “background checks” should be available for a nominal fee at the local post office.

    • I don’t know if we really will have to deal with the background checks. I’m not talking about just saying “screw compromise”, it really can be that we really wont have to compromise, because there will be nothing to compromise on. all violence has been dropping for 20 years. Look at this last “gun debate”. The liberals were smashed, they were smashed on the heels of the single most tragic shooting in the recent history. The gun grabbers themselves have said, “If the tragedy at Newtown isn’t enough to convince people of new guns laws than nothing will.” And they’re right. The American people essentially spoke after Newtown, and sided with us. Because the American people are “us”. I think on this website in particular allot of us over estimate the number of liberals who are willing to go down that road. By “that road”, I mean the ones who really are willing to do what it takes to enforce an AWB or confiscation. Sure, here on the internet, there’s this huge loud voice screaming for gun control, but in the real world, the only liberals that are really making this a concerned effort that they deal with regularly is strikingly low. They pretty much make up the population of suburban dwellers in major cities. And then there’s the fact that most Americans simply don’t care about politics. Most non gun owners simply don’t care enough to really fight against our guns. The debate is mainly fought by political individuals like Clinton, Bloomberg, and Feinstein. If we can concentrate on beating them, keep the heat on them, eventually they can be beaten, or will retire.

      • “The American people essentially spoke after Newtown.”

        This isn’t strictly true. Elected officials spoke after Newtown, and there hasn’t been a national election since. We’ve yet to see what the 2014 one will bring.

        More importantly – Washington State will have a voter initiative on the ballots allowing the general public to decide whether or not to institute background checks designed by the opposition. There is no logical analysis that says it will not pass. It almost certainly will. The idea of “giving them” background checks is to take it away from them. Once we have “universal background checks”, they won’t have the broad based support they have now. There won’t be any more voter initiatives, and most people will simply call it a job well done. The difference is that we would get to write that law, not them.

        • Your right about that, if the democrats somehow came back this election and got more power in congress it would be looking pretty grim.

      • I wouldn’t read quite as much into the post-Newton political events as you have. First of all, absent the Republican filibuster in the Senate, that body might very well have approved Manchin-Toomey. We assumed that the Republican House would have killed it, but we don’t know that for sure and you can bet that there are about 400-odd Congressman who are damned relieved that they didn’t have to go on record one way or another.

        It was more an accident of political timing as anything. Clinton would not have gotten his AWB in 1993 were it not for Democrat control of both houses of Congress. Had the Dems been in control of Congress last year, things could have gone down very differently.

        Furthermore, one need only look at some of the new laws that got passed in places such as NY, CT and CO to see that there were negative repercussions from Newton. Sure, the Dems paid the price in CO, but those laws still stand (at least for now).

  9. All the above seem to be similar in that “inform the country” is really at the base. The problem being, the MSM will continue to ignore the truth and actively promote and even develop lies. Thus, the “incremental” approach described above is our best hope, IMHO. The NFA was the first real national infringement (I think! Correct if wrong!), thus would make a good first target, and within it the silencer provisions, as the absolute stupidest, seems an obvious choice. The only problem I can see there is there would be zero positive results of such repeal, improvements in hearing over 30-40 years would be minimal (lots of other noisy things around), the best we could demonstrate would be no “blood in the streets”, what was the law ever passed for?

    • To quote my German brother-from-another-mother….. slowly slowly catch a monkey.

      Incrementally is the way these limits were installed, the same should be true for their removal.

      And we as the POTG should all focus on, almost exclusively, the ” no blood in the streets” angle.

      For example…. there is now some form of carry in all 50 States and the streets haven’t run red with blood. Let us now go to step 2 which is ______.

      And each step of the way we have to hammer hard on the lack of anarchy, lack of chaos, lack of babies being eaten, all very calmly and all very simply ‘see! No blood in the streets.’

      • Incrementalism, definitely. Slow, but steady improvements.

        I think our next step should be the Firearms Reciprocity Act of 2013. Get that bill passed with majorities that prevent a Presidential veto. Once may-issue states (closer to almost-never-issue) start seeing thousands of CCWs from out of state (with no ‘Blood in the Streets’), then their local voters will force them to go to shall-issue. If the local voters won’t do it, then we should be able to get a Federal law or a SCOTUS ruling to force them to go to shall-issue.

        I also liked Blinkey Pete’s proposed UBC bill (with a little clean up to deal with a few special cases). It doesn’t hurt us much at all (responsible gun sellers should get a BC before selling/giving a gun to a stranger), and it gave us a few things we might never get any other way.

        • If we can get sympathetic legislators to keep putting a National Reciprocity Amendment into every must-pass bill then we can be a force to be reckoned with. Let’s suppose, for sake of discussion, that we NEVER quite get this amendment into any must-pass bill. We always fall 1 – 2 – 5 votes shy. And, let’s suppose this goes on forever. Got the picture? What does that mean?
          – – – To the Anti’s it means that we are consistently just a few votes away from getting national reciprocity into a must-pass bill; and, therefore, getting it into LAW! I don’t think any other measure could cause any more boxer-bunching in among the Anti’s then to live for year-after-year with the threat of national reciprocity hanging over their heads. What would they do? What could they possibly do?
          – – – Bloomberg to the Rescue!!! Redirect that $50 million grass-root effort to explaining how DC, NYC, NJ, MD, CA would instantly be turned into blood-in-the streets; just like . . . Whoops; put that tape on pause for just another minute. We got to get all the data of CCP-holders from Alaska to Florida who have gunned-down women and children in the streets of Juno to Orlando. Got that video yet? When can you get your hands on most of it? Some of it? Newspaper clippings? . . . I can’t wait for the signs: “Mothers Against National Reciprocity!” All thirteen of them!
          – – – What does this take? Let’s see. We need ONE Representative and ONE Senator from any of the 40 free States to move the amendment on every damned bill. Then, we need vote counters in every one of the 40 free States to track every Senator; and, in in each of the free-districts of those 40 free States to track every one of the Representatives in their district. Those legislators are either there for us supporting the amendment to every bill; or, they are not. If they are not, then the respective vote counters go to the recalcitrant legislator and tell him that his reelection depends upon his getting his act together.
          – – – Why should a legislator in one of the free States be reluctant to shove the 2A down the throats of 10 slave-States? How many Maryland residents vote in the State of Virginia? How many gun-owners in Virginia travel – from time to time – in Maryland. What part of representing your own constituents’ interests does a Virginia legislator not understand? Are lots of gun-control sympathetic voters in Virginia going to pay enough attention to a legislator’s votes on an amendment to cause that legislator to lose his seat? More than the number of gun-owners in Virginia who what to know where this legislator stands on the 2A? Which constituency will understand the meaning of “National Reciprocity”? Ask the average voter: What do you think about National Reciprocity? Are you F’r it or again’ it?

  10. The only issue I see with the absolutist’s view are felons convicted of violent crimes or those with histories of domestic abuse. With absolute zero restrictions; those who have abused their 2A rights to harm other people, would still be able to own weapons. I don’t know about you but knowing a convicted murderer can just walk in to a gun store in an absolutist’s world and buy a gun unrestricted is unsettling.

    • I think you managed to miss the “absolutists” point completely. Under the libertarian system, the convicted murderer does NOT get released from prison to prey again. He STAYS in prison until he dies, or PROVES( by his actions over a long period of time) that he is no longer a threat to society at large. Just think about it. If a felon is too dangerous to possess a firearm, then he is also too dangerous to release, yes? Perhaps we would be better served by releasing the 70% of “felons” who are “guilty” of only non violent “offenses”, and make all that prison space available for those who commit violence upon another? Justice and prison overcrowding both solved? And it would cost nothing.
      I think you have been too conditioned to think that this “revolving door” system of injustice in the US is normal. It is not. It is a travesty of justice. Under a proper system of Just punishment, this violence problem we face would never have existed to start with.

      • “Under the libertarian system, the convicted murderer does NOT get released from prison to prey again. He STAYS in prison until he dies, or PROVES( by his actions over a long period of time) that he is no longer a threat to society at large.”

        What Libertarian system? It’s certainly not the platform of the Libertarian party. I read an article a few weeks ago arguing for compassionate release (something I don’t agree with, for the record). It honestly sounds more like old fashion GOP/Tea Party stuff than anything else.

        Realistically, I do want murderers in prison for the rest of their lives, but if we’re talking about criminal on criminal 2nd degree murder, I’m honestly not sure I want to spend $35,000 a year on them for the remainder of their breathing time. I am sure, however, that I don’t want them possessing a firearm or ay other weapon for that period of time in almost any scenario. You might suggest they’d only break that law, and you might be right, but at that point I’m fine with turning the meter back on and sending them back to the P.

      • Ken, I agree with you and I disagree.

        I think you would start giving violent offenders their gun rights back, Even Though the courts are still releasing too many violent offenders back into our communities. That would be a disaster!

        FIRST we need to fix the way we deal with violent offenders. Either they are rehabilitated or they don’t get out of prison. Then if they get released (because they have shown that they probably will never re-offend), then they can have their gun rights back.

        Don’t put the cart before the horse.

        • I sympathize with the circumstances of the reformed or non-violent felon. Every night I pray for relief of Martha Stewart’s 2A rights; along with all the other repentant felons.
          – – – That said, now, how can we ENSURE that none of them ever gets any relief? How can we GUARANTEE that none of the infringements on the 2A never get rolled back?
          – – – The surest way is to have the Mothers parade a “Willie Hortan” photo with the legend: “Do you want this man to have a gun?” Now, talk your way out of that red herring.
          – – – We want to dress up in our go-to-meet’n cloths and explain to the American voter that we are all – or virtually all – law-abiding peaceful people who are just as concerned as they are about keeping guns out of the hands of those who have been adjudicated as unworthy of their 2A rights.
          – – – At the same time, we are a just and fair Christian (for the most part) nation that is prepared to reverse a mis-carrage of justice, correct a paperwork error, and – ultimately – give penance in the rare case that has a truly meritorious case. To this effect, we merely want to restore funding to the DoJ program that implements the standing law that authorizes relief from 2A disability. If we can’t trust the DoJ to exercise discretion in enforcing the law then which other agency of government could we possibly trust? (You couldn’t possibly be casting dispersions on the impeccable reputation of Eric Holder; or, is that what you are worried about?)

    • … evil people will do evil things. They can instead walk into a hardware store and get all the fixings for an IED.

      • That is a favorite argument of the gun rights proponents and while there is some validity, I’m not so sure how accurate it really is. Let’s face it, its not that hard to make a pipe bomb (or a bunch of pipe bombs) and walk into a public place and start tossing them. It could even be argued that the effects would be even more terrifying on the masses than a psycho with pistol.

        Oklahoma proved that when you are really pissed at the government, fertilizer and fuel oil is the way to go to make your point.

        I don’t believe that every psycho who shoots people with a gun would simply kill them some other way if deprived of those guns.

        I’m not promoting an anti-gun agenda. All I’m saying is that we need to be careful with our own statements as the antis are looking for place to punch holes in them whenever possible and we need to make sure what we say is factual and supportable.

      • I agree – hell, all the worst cases of non-terror mass murders in the last 100 years were fires and bombs. That’s not my point though. My point is that I’m fine telling someone that they can come out of prison, but that they can not own weapons of any kind. This, logically, will lead to a ‘what’s a weapon’ debate, and that’s cool, but I’ll skip straight to the end for you. For someone who killed someone in the heat of the moment or through gross negligence, a weapon is a gun. If they get caught with a gun for any reason, I’m cool with sending them back to the cooler.

        The second amendment acknowledges the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and the fifth and sixth amendments give us a framework by which, through due process, an individual can lose or have suspended those rights. I’m cool with all of that.

    • Knowing that a convicted murderer who can’t be trusted with a gun can walk around anywhere is unsettling. The gun store part isn’t the problem I have with your scenario.

      Should convicted murderers also be prohibited from owning knives, axes, chainsaws, gas cans, and baseball bats? Wouldn’t it just be easier to keep them in prison until they’re not dangerous anymore?

  11. I am not an absolutionist. Not. At. All. However, I think there have already been too many restrictions put in place. That is the reason for my die-hard no compromise stance.

    Anything we give them, any further concession, just makes the other side think they can still push something through. As others have said, we will have to incrementally take back our rights, but we have to be just as willing as the other side to compromise. In other words, not at all willing.

    I’m a realist. There is no way we will get to absolutely no infringements on the 2nd Amendment. We should be working towards something more reasonable than the 20,000 laws already on the books. In the meantime, we cannot afford to give up any further ground on the issue. We walk back the laws until we reach a tolerable limit or we hold our ground. There should be no further restrictions.

    • Agreed! The simplest method to roll back restrictions is to examine what has worked successfully in the past. Heller is one example of this. As gun owners we need to look at not only the instance where the 2cd Amendment rights were upheld but to look at the CONDITIONS which led to the victory. Politics matters, just as being very vocal with our politicians matters. The recalls in Colorado are a good example of this. Yes, I know that DC still refuses to accept the Heller decision and Colorado still has those despicable laws on the books but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day (It burnt in 3). Every victory is a step toward the top of the mountain.

    • Completely agreed!

      The climate is changing in Washington in favor of gun rights. We should try to make some forward progress and I think now is the time to do it. However, we absolutely should not take one step backward. NO Compromises. We have given up too much ground already and we will not give up any more. NOT ONE INCH!

      • Depending upon how you construe it, this could be an “absolutist” position. Suppose a trade-off confined to background checks. Merely for illustration, suppose that:
        – we “give in” and allow a change in the law making NICS checks end-user accessible to any buyer who wants to print a certificate to show a private seller that he passes a background check. Purely a voluntary measure. Buyers can background-check themselves and print a certificate. Sellers don’t have to ask for the certificate and aren’t penalized for not asking for them. Sellers don’t have to keep the certificate.
        – – – in exchange,
        – we require that FFLs be exempted from running a NICS check on holders of a CCP/FOID from any State law that requires that State-licensed dealers run a State/Federal background check on each purchase.
        – – – Let’s prescind from whether this is a fair exchange from our viewpoint or whether any such deal were Constitutional or politically merchantable. Instead, let’s examine the deal from the viewpoint of “not-one-inch”. One or a few of us could articulate an argument that if a buyer could get access to the NICS system and print a certificate showing he cleared a BC that sellers would to some small extent refuse to sell to a buyer who refused to show his certificate. Thus, such a “concession” to the Anti’s on a background-check on private transfers is giving them a full “inch” toward their totalitarian goal of eliminating guns from civilian hands. To the extent that we take the principle of “not one inch” to be well founded, will we turn-down such an exchange as I’ve suggested because an argument – however weak – can be articulated as to why it gives just one inch?
        – – – I will respect the absolutists’ argument that the exchange of “just one inch” is – in principle – unacceptable even at the gain of one mile in a related aspect of the issue (BCs.) If principle means anything then it means defending to a great extent.
        – – – Even so, we are playing a political game to a great extent. Our opponents are not so principled as we are. Are we willing to let them take victories off the gaming table while we refrain from doing so out of an absolutist adherence to principal? If that is our consensus – or overwhelming majority view – then I’m on board with you. Conversely, if we can see exchanging an inch to get a mile, well then let’s play the game more cleverly than we have been playing it.

  12. I had no knowledge of or opinion of guns until a year ago, and before then I never saw any ambiguity in “shall not be infringed”. The part I questioned the meaning of was “well-regulated militia.”

    Specifically, “well-regulated” sounds a lot like gun laws, and “militia” sounded like it’s referring to armed forces. Clarifying *those* ideas seems like the ticket, as well as restating why the founding fathers thought people needed guns in the first place (self defense AND protection from government). I don’t think anyone misunderstands “shall not be infringed”… I think that simply leaves them assuming people don’t need guns, so the amendment is outdated in general.

    • Yes, I agree that we need to clearly explain to the masses the prefatory clause of the Second Amendment. I have heard many people stumble over its meaning. While its meaning was crystal clear 200+ years ago, it is not today.

      For reference the prefatory clause of the Second Amendment is, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,”.

      • I’m with Ralphie on this one. I think the entire perspective changes if the Repubs take the Senate in November.

        • Meh. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so I guess I’m with you on November 2014. Sending a message and all that. Ralph’s whole ‘Republicans = Good, Democrats = Bad’ paradigm, not so much. The GOP, as it stands now, is deeply divided, almost leaderless, and totally unsustainable over the next 20 years. When a gun loving gay, Hispanic or pro-choice person votes Democrat I don’t support them, but I also don’t wonder why the way many pro-gun republicans bewilderingly do. If you want someone to respect your rights, you’ve got to respect theirs.

          Also, it would be swell if the GOP dropped the whole war on drugs, war on the world thing.

    • Yeah, like Mitt Romney is so very pro gun right?
      “After throwing his support behind several gun control laws… most notably, the Brady Act” -
      Just check out his record! We need to move beyond this left/right; conservative/liberal, mindset. It needs to be realized that historically WHICHEVER party is in power, liberties and freedoms get screwed.
      Just think about this: WHO is it that owns and controls BOTH parties, and pays all their bills with giant “contributions”????

      • Okay, so you say Mitt Romney was bad and I list every stinking Democrat in Congress. Four Republicans voted in favor of Manchin-Toomey. Four. Guess how many Democrats voted AGAINST Manchin-Toomey?


        Do you get it now?

        • I don’t think they will ever “get it”, Ralph. I see a headline, “Democrats call on major retailers to ban guns in their stores”. Not “Senators”, not ” a bipartisan group of Congressmen”, just plain “Democrats”. No way in hell , at this time, will you ever see a headline like that featuring “Republicans”. You can quote party platforms till you’re blue in the face, you can record votes, you can reference stump speeches from each of the parties’ major candidates for national office–it just doesn’t sink in for some folks. The closest they will come to admitting that Dems are bad for gun rights will be to throw up their hands and fall back to that “there’s really no difference” fallacy.

        • I just picked Romney as a quick example, because he was the last big name guy. Republicans have been conspiring with the dems since I have been following politics, and that goes back to pre Reagan days. Just search how all the gun restrictions since 1968 got passed. All with republican help. They always TALK about being for “gun rights”, but then the talk is always followed by the opposite action. I think you should research some of that. It might break you out of the left vs right paradigm you seem stuck in.
          Or you can just watch this from an insider who KNOWS!

          Or you could read “Democrips and Rebloodlicans”, or, or, or,… on and on and on the rabbit hole goes….

        • @Ken, it’s as if I said that basketball players are tall and you responded “Spud Webb! Spud Webb!”

          You may not trust the Republicans because you can’t be sure where they stand. I get that. But I don’t trust Democrats because I know exactly where they stand, and I don’t like it.

          The Republicans aren’t the ones coming for our guns. I’ll say it again — only four Senate Repubs voted for UBCs. Only four Dems voted against it. If that tells you nothing, then so be it.

        • And if you choose to ignore the sources provided and educate yourself then so be it. Turn instead to Foxnews, they will be glad to reenforce your biases. Or CNN and MSNBC, should you be on the other side of the fence. They will both be glad to feed the biases, after all, they created them. They have vested interests, you see. That is just the way it is. And so be it….

    • Not buying it. After reading Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop (review coming soon) I’ve come to realize that where rights restrictions are concerned, the Dems have nothing on the Republicans. Nixon and Reagan created massive militarized police infrastructures that are largely answerable to no one. Gun Rights would threaten their absolute control, so while they may pay lip service, you are not likely to see any really meaningful change come from the Republicans. The best one can hope for is that things don’t get any worse.

  13. Gun control advocates run on pure emotion. We use facts and logic

    You can’t use facts and logic to argue someone out of a position that they didn’t use facts and logic to get into.

    • “We” do?

      I guess, Rabbi, it depends on whom you number among the “we.”

      There have been a number of frequent participants on this blog site who appear, to me, to be incapable of any sort of factual and reasonable conversation about tactics, but who will resort to the worst possible kind of gutter talk to defend the idiot Chipotle Ninja crowd.

      But, as I said, all depends on who is numbered among the “we” in your sentence.

  14. The hard-core must be written off — but REASONABLE DOUBT can be instilled in people in the “middle” who lack very strong views. My “job” in the VT Pro-Gun movement is to “talk to the other side”.

    The ONLY thing that I have found that really gains any ground is to re-frame the debate into one involving OVER-INCARCERATION. Take ACLU members — their (national) org is mostly committing sins of omission as opposed to commission — but clearly have a lot of common ground with ANY pr-constitution movement. BOTH People Of the Gun AND “civil liberties types” should both be wildly opposed to: ALL mandatory minimums (denies trial by jury) + (destroys context and “the interest of justice”) ALL zero-tolerance polices (judgement? what’s that?) ALL “get tough” laws that include non-violent offenses, ALL “over-felonization:, ALL over Federalization, ALL serious charges that do not require criminal intent (“possesary” laws) ETC, ETC.


    Armed civilians are a bulwark against Fascism and a Police State.

    If the argument can be re-framed AWAY from the Culture War (which we may lose) and toward common ground of gov mistrust and civil liberties — there is a LEFT-RIGHT fusion opportunity here much like the beginnings of the Libertarian Party.

    • How does that make any sense to you? Are you suggesting that even the presence of an opposing viewpoint is enough to concede defeat?

      • I think his point was more in line with if we have to fight, in essence, we’ve already lost…

        The only fight won is the one you never had to have, more or less.

      • I think Paco has arrived at the same conclusion as many 2A supporters have. There is no debate when your opponent:

        1. Lies
        2. Ignores facts
        3. Relies solely on emotion
        4. Concedes their plans will have zero effect on crime
        5. Controls the media
        6. Will not compromise.

        Seeing as the commonly accepted rules of debate are centered around facts, statistics and data, one can not have a debate with a group that relies only on emotional pleas.

        “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser” – Socrates

        We’ve already won the debate, the science and data have settled that. Its now an ideological war, and until the 2A side accepts that, and acts accordingly, we will suffer defeat by 1000 cuts.

        • Or, to put it another way (which I’m stealing from someone else here I think), you can’t win a chess game against a pigeon. The pigeon will just knock the pieces over, crap on the board, and then strut around like he won. Just like MDA. OTOH, maybe we aren’t necessarily debating with MDA and the like.

        • Except that those aren’t the people we should be debating. Everything you’ve accused them of doing is absolutely dead on, so the ‘debate’ needs to be framed around this and exposing the truth to the 60% of the public who are essentially fence sitters. That is where the debate needs to happen, or more accurately, the battle for hearts and minds.

          As to the pigeon remark, I’m inclined to let him strut around like he won, so long as he did not in fact win. In that vein, I have no problem letting Shannon Watts tell her mindless followers that the background bill, so long as it’s exactly as I wrote it, any more than I have a problem with her telling them winter is perfect beach weather or they can fly if they flap their arms really fast.

        • Blinky: You cant debate the fence sitters. They don’t care. They will remain neutral most likely unless they are converted or radicalized to either side by some life changing event. It could be trip to the range, but probably would be some other life altering event.

          They are exactly the same as the people who don’t go to church, believe in god, but also wont be offended if you say “I’ll pray for you”. They may even have a bible in their house but have never read it. Neutral, apathetic.

          The other side is completely undebatable for the reasons stated above. We are in a war of attrition with that side.

          The only place the debate needs to happen is within the 2A movement itself. The fence sitters (the non absolutists) need to see the light and understand that it is a war of attrition that we will eventually lose if they continue to compromise. The real threat is from people who “support” the 2A movement but are willing to barter with the right. Until anyone who claims to support the 2A can say with unity “shall not be infringed” we cant win. Again. Still.

        • “You cant debate the fence sitters. They don’t care. They will remain neutral most likely unless they are converted or radicalized to either side by some life changing event.”

          I must have imagined all those “holy crap, you’re right” moments I’ve had with many, many people. I’m not saying everyone suddenly goes out, buys an AR and turns into a staunch defender of all things 2nd amendment, but helping someone understand how convoluted gun law really is, and how disingenuous the gun control movement really is. It certainly gives them pause the next time they hear about legislation so common sense that we must pass it now… for the children.

  15. How? Invest heavily in firearm exposure and education for children. The more kids that are raised believing that there is nothing wrong with firearm ownership, the more the antis will be marginalized out of existence. This is how all successful ideologies are fulfilled.

    You don’t waste your time trying to win an argument. You systematically replace the participants with those who are brought up to believe in the cause.

    • +1. In friendly state legislatures we need to tie state funding of schools to inclusion of gun safety and use training in school curriculum. Imagine if you had to score 170 on the AQT to graduate! If the kids are exposed to guns in school it will be nigh on impossible for liberals to convince kids that guns are not safe and not “normal”.

  16. I like the idea of company (or a nonprofit) that raises money to give a budget priced home defense gun (ie. a pump action shotgun) one or two boxes of ammunition, as well as other accessories (ie. a case, a gun lock, a cleaning kit, eye and ear protection, a manual, etc..) to low income people who live in high crime areas. All adults living in the home would need to pass a background test and take a gun safety course, which would also be provided for free. This would help deter crime in those areas and give the home owners a means of defense that they may otherwise not be able to afford. It may also serve the purpose to get more people, including minorities, interested in guns. If there is any upward mobility in the family it would increase the chance that they would purchase more ammunition and accessories to practice with and possibly more guns too. Even if the home owners never bought another gun in their life, the goodwill of the organization that gave them the gun may help sway their opinions when it came time to vote.

    If you went to your local gun range or gun store and they asked if you would be willing to round your purchase up to the nearest dollar to put the change towards a program like that, would you be willing to do so? I would.

    • I like the idea, too. Better have some serious legal backing, though. Such an org would get sued constantly for any and no reason.

      A purely legal question: How would you deal with the straw purchasing laws? Seems like the ATF would at least try to go after such an org using those regs.

      • Straw purchasers will always be a problem, so will too would be the case if someone who received a gun used it in a crime. I think if the company/organization went through the process of making the recipients pass background checks, take gun safety courses, and also fill out a firearm transfer document that they would already be going above and beyond what any gun store requires. Also, if they only gave out shotguns it would be less likely to be used in a crime since most criminals prefer handguns. That being said, a crook will usually use any gun they can get their hands on. You’re right, it could result in a crime being committed with one of the guns. I think the chances of that happening would be low and I don’t think the group that put this together really couldn’t be held anymore liable then a gun store that had legally sold a gun to the recipients. Obviously they would need to hire a good lawyer before implementing a program like that.

        • A gift (with no funds changing hands) is not a straw purchase. Neither is buying a gun to be given away in a raffle, even though money does change hands (payment for the raffle ticket). You can find both these cases in the regulations.

          I believe that when the Armed Citizen Project gave shotguns to poor women, it required background checks. Naturally, this does eliminate some good people who might have been pinched twenty years ago for drug possession etc., but the ACP wanted to play it safe.

    • I believe Eric’s idea has a lot of merit. It would involve a demographic that traditionally has not had any positive exposure to firearms. And it would show everyone that People of the Gun honestly care and actually did something about the crime and violence that plagues people in that demographic. I cannot think of a better way to bring that demographic into the fold.

  17. I used to think that pointing out the obvious facts that gun control doesn’t work and why would be simple enough for any politician or gun grabber to understand and agree with. Unfortunately I realized very early on, that it isn’t about the guns, it is solely about control.
    The politicians can’t run over an armed public, and Mr & Madam gun grabber that is unarmed cannot control their surroundings with the pro gun public running around with their favorite arm on their back or in a holster. Until they back up and realize that the average gun toter is NOT out to kill them, there will always be fear, and fear as we all know is the prime reason for gun grabbers wanting to control their surroundings. Problem, the gun toter is the one that is most likely to have first chance to DEFEND the gun grabber if they ever get in a situation to need it, but they will never admit it until they experience it firsthand

    In short there will always be those that fear guns, there will always be those that want to have guns. As long as both sides exist, there will always be problems. As for how to deal with it and maybe win the gun debate, I don’t think there is a clear solution, just like there is no clear solution to gun violence.

  18. I am in Illinois (gasp!) and I was involved in our fight to get concealed carry passed. I wasn’t one of the founders of the movement nor was i one of the decision makers but I was inside that group that got it done.

    Illinois Carry attacked the problem with the goal of having it done within ten years.

    It only took them nine.

    The decision was made early on to attack on three levels, public opinion, legislative and judicial. And by “attack” I mean exactly that, attack.

    The first started with letters to the Editors of newspapers around the State, followed by Op-Ed pieces and at the same time, town hall meetings were held to get people used to the idea that we would eventually win. Over time, those town hall meetings became standing room only and they happened in virtually every county in the State. Often paid for by a single supporter, they all generated a little more cash to further the fight.

    The Democrats rule Illinois and have for decades. That meant we had to have a Democrat legislator to fight for us and we found one ‘downstate’, that is, away from the Chicago machine.

    make no mistake, the Republicans didn’t support us en mass because if you scratch an Illinois Republican you will always find at the very least a RINO if not a Democrat in sheep’s clothing.

    But, we found one and he turned out to be a great one and with his ‘downstate blue dog democratic allies, he started to make progress and was able to introduce bills that almost, but not quite, made it.

    Meanwhile, the search was on to find a perfect test case. We did luck out and we found a 76 year old Church secretary who was viciously beaten by a parolee in a robbery and who ended up in a hospital for five months. Why was she perfect? Because she was feisty, wanted to fight for her denied rights and she already held concealed carry permits from PA and FL. The only reason she wasn’t able to defend herself in her chut=rch office was because Illinois denied her the right.

    So, we won. We didn’t win by hammering one area and then attempting to hammer another area after the first was won.

    We attacked from all sides.

    We got good people, backed by good organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association and Illinois Carry and we had really good, well versed spokes persons like Valinda Rowe and a proven streert brawler like Todd Vandermyde, the NRA lobbyist for Illinois.

    You want to know how to change things, how to turn them around?

    Then fight. Get good and mad and join with others who feel just as passionate as you do and fight. Attack from every side you can. Don’t ever stop because if you do, even for just a moment, we will lose.

    • A universal background check alternative like Jim R. mentioned above could be a good place to start.

      Propose a genuine, workable background check system that doesn’t involve de facto gun registration and is fully accessible to individuals. Get not only Republicans, but a handful of committed Democrats to champion it in state legislatures and at the federal level. And go all-out with the grassroots approach you used in Illinois.

      The bonus here is that we could take one of the antis’ favorite shibboleths and point it right back at them. Any Democrat/liberal/progressive who opposes it would have to answer why they suddenly dislike this thing they’ve been telling us we all needed — and the more they attempt to defend their opposition, the more ridiculous they’ll make themselves.

      Incrementalism is the only way to do it, and proposing a “universal” background check that actually increases freedom and efficiency (while deep-sixing their dreams of registration) could be a pretty good start.

      • Propose a genuine, workable background check system that doesn’t involve de facto gun registration and is fully accessible to individuals.

        There’s no reason that NICS can’t be an open system, accessible to private sellers. If it was available, I’d use it. But the thing about “background checks” is that the Almighty State doesn’t care about the check, just the 4473. They want the registry, and that’s that. So an open system will never fly.

        • True, the state *really* wants those forms. But there are cracks in the monolith.

          A well-coordinated grassroots effort could convince key legislators to take up the reforms — and if the R. establishment perceives that enough election votes are riding on this issue, it could easily become a matter of common agreement. Getting a few key Democrats on board for bipartisanship would be the most difficult thing.

  19. slightly related to another post a couple days back that attacked both interpretations of “militia” from the left and the right (it does imply obligation to the community and applies to all the people). The only proposal that I would be ok with is: offer training and require training.

    Not require me to go spend still more of my money and time to go out and take a course where I have to sort through legitimate veterans offering useful training and “Operators” cashing in on their military training. No. Screw that.

    You. The government. Police and Military. Offer training aimed at civilians. Charge 200$ for a 10 session class and then pay that back in increments of 20$ for each completed class. Have tiered offerings: “Home defense 101” “Concealed Carry 101” “Beyond the basics 115” “Shoot, Don’t Shoot 201” “Protecting a group from a mob 300” “Moving your family through hostiles 360” “Advanced force on force 450”.

    Offer the training first. Teach us how to do the things that everyone agrees is morally acceptable (Home Defense and protecting your family). Teach us things that would make us useful in the event of an emergency.

    And then perhaps say “Completion of the Concealed Carry course required before issuance of a concealed carry permit” .

  20. How about this:

    Work with the opposition on a law that would require safety training to purchase a firearm from an FFL, but as part of it (to make it fair for those who cannot afford to pay for such training), require schools who receive any federal funds to offer firearm safety training in high schools, including trips to the range to fire .22 rifles? We give up something, but suddenly many more kids get to have positive exposure to firearms.

    I guess two realistic pitfalls would be 1) The government would enforce the training requirement for purchasing but not the requirement for offering training in schools, or 2) school training would warped into anti-gun propaganda.

    But, if it could work, imagine the value of getting access to so many young minds and normalizing gun ownership. I think many NRA certified instructors would jump at the chance to volunteer some time to do this.

    • late edit: didn’t see the post above me when I posted; related, and that’s interesting too.

    • I’m glad. It’s total gibberish on my part that’s somehow stuck during the past few years of commenting here.

  21. I fail to comprehend why everyone takes background checks as a given, as though it is some unassailable wisdom handed down from The Ancients that was, is, and always will be.

    Background checks have only been around for twenty years, and it’s a process that’s shown itself to be all but entirely useless in its purported aim – keeping guns away from criminals.

    B..but… what about the mentally ill?

    A favorite tactic of leftism throughout the last hundred or so years is to paint those who do not worship The State with the requisite fervor as mentally ill. Countless millions were sent to work- or prison-camps during the 20th century to suffer and die because they questioned the authority of The State.

    You give these people a mental illness restraining order against one protected right – arguably the one that keeps us just barely hanging on to all the others – and it won’t be long until we’re all up a certain creek without a paddle.

    • “A favorite tactic of leftism throughout the last hundred or so years is to paint those who do not worship The State with the requisite fervor as mentally ill.”

      Zing! That has to be the best comment on the InterTubez today.

  22. First, I ask an Anti what their goal is. They usually respond with ” get guns off the streets” or “save lives”. THAT is where I have them…their goal is actually to save lives. I make sure that they admit to that. Even if it is child deaths by firearms, I have the Anti where I want them. There are a dozen or more clearly identified causes of death (other than disease) that kill more people, particularly children each year than firearms. So at this point I direct them to spend time raising funds for bicycle helmets and parent/child bicycle lessons to save many MORE lives each year.
    If they revert to the gun argument, then they are simply a moronic gun hater and I ask why. By the way, 85,000,000 gun owners did not kill anyone today.

  23. If the cops have it,
    If Homeland Security has it,
    If NOAA has it,
    If the IRS has it,
    the People should have it.

  24. Our best strategy is to:
    (a) Normalize responsible ownership, possession, and use of firearms.
    (b) Apply our efforts wisely.

    That second part is the sticky wicket. I believe the three ways to apply our efforts wisely are to invite newbies to a range, produce movies and television that portray responsible firearm ownership and use in a positive light, and expose the public to firearms at casual family friendly rallies at public parks, city halls, or capitol buildings — especially with news coverage.

  25. Drop them off in groups of 20 in Peshawar, Lagos or Khartoum with just what they had on them. Pick them up two weeks later and debrief the experience.

  26. Perhaps the hardest to implement and yet the simplest, would be supporting legislation and court cases based on one of pillars of the Civil Rights movement. That is opposing taxes placed on civil rights
    Eliminating the Poll Tax, and special taxes on the press are now settled law. So you are now probably thinking, yeah lets get rid of “right to carry taxes” called carry permits or the whole NFA tax scheme. No, this is one that hits even closer.

    It is time to withdraw support for the 1930s era Pittman-Robertson Act excise taxes on firearms and ammunition! Yes this tax supports the hunter-conservation constituency with millions of dollars every year for conservation, wildlife projects and some range construction programs. Why that is crazy, some will say. However, support for a tax benefitting the shooting sports will virtually guarantee the future passage of other special taxes that infringe on the Right to Bear Arms, will get both constitutional and public opinon passes from the legislative bodies and the courts.

    We canot have it both ways – or can we?

  27. I like the title of the blog: “How Would You Win the Gun Control Debate?”

    We need the same as the anti-gunners, access to PAC, access to Lobbying, access to media. With this we may properly ‘debate’, which in my mind is to destroy the other argument for all to see.

    BTW if you know of such a media orientated group out there (Not NRA) let me know.

    The goal should be to stop the arguments cold not play a neverending back and forth. The spokespeople must be great debaters and not necessarily mainstream pro-gunners. They need to recognize an argumentative tactic (strawman argument), recognize it, and ruin the validity of the other speaker(s). This includes a pulpit to do the same to politicians that are running for office.

    For instance. Why wave a flag for the second amendment as our platform for debate? The premise of life, liberty, and the pursuit happiness would be a better stance. “You choose not to own a gun, I do. So…what’s the issue?”

    Government should not be left off the hook either but addressing the ills there needs a different set of tactics.

  28. Take someone to the range , then take someone else, then take a truck load of people, then take a school bus full of people, including kids with their parents!! That is how you beat this. It will not be a quick fix and you can’t stop at one trip but trust me they are more than willing to go again and again. When they ask if they owe you something for the ammo, tell them to go but the next box and meet you at the range again. Because they won’t ask a second time. They will own their own gun and then tell them to take someone else to the range.

    This is a proven method. There has been a big push the last 5-10 years to take someone to the range and look what happened. Gun ownership at an all time high. First time gun buyers at an all time high. Less public outcry and quicker cool down after a public shooting. More youth shooting events. Manufactures can’t keep up with demand. Gun ranges opening up in new places. Recall elections because of anti gun votes. Shows following the shooting sports or industry. And the BIGGEST indication that it is working: even the most rabbid gun grabbing politican has to start his/her speech about gun control with “I believe in the second amendment, I own a gun”-that was not the case 15 years ago.

    Taking people to the range is the first and most important step because it makes people realize guns do not mean death. The next step is to keep them involved in guns.

    And the critical part of all of this is the last part- keep talking to them about gun news. I know a lot of gun people who are not NRA members because “that’s the evil gun lobby” Teach them that the NRA money comes from the members wanting to unite like a union to have their voices heard. Even if the NRA membership is a non starter keep them informed of what their politicians are doing right or wrong. Help them speak up and know how something could effect them. How when a politican critizes the NRA or says that we should be “ashamed” that is directed towards them and ask what they did to be “ashamed” and what they can do to punish that politician in November.

    Trust me this stuff works. It’s how I got started. I am a single issue voter now, because someone took me to the range!

  29. Living in a restrictive state (NJ), where I have to live with a FID card, Aa purchase permit for each handgun I wish to buy, having to show the FID when I buy ammo and having the purchase recorded and Mental Health and Criminal background checks done each time I apply for purchase permits, I’d settle for shall issue, an end to the stupid one handgun a month rule and the equally stupid magazine capacity restrictions. The rest of the crap I can live with.

  30. ALL Background checks should be voluntary, with a stiff penalty for an illegal sale. No more mandatory checks.

  31. 1. Be out of the closet regarding gun rights.
    2. Don’t let gun rights be the only thing that defines you or the only thing other people define you by.
    3. Don’t exclude yourself from places or activities because people who are prejudiced against you are going to be there.
    4. Be ready and willing to extend your hand a farther than half-way when trying to shake with people who are prejudiced against you.
    5. Work small and locally and build up from there. When you go out for national media attention, do so deliberately as a part of your overall strategy, and only when you can do it on YOUR terms and when you can reasonably control the message. Coordinate with other groups to build your national network before you try to act nationally or be seen nationally.
    6. Let people who are prejudiced against you spew their vitriol, and remain stoic. Let them make an example of themselves. Don’t do the same.
    7. Don’t take concessions. Don’t make concessions.
    8. Be very careful about your image and the image you present (it’s not right but you have to do it). Hold yourself to a higher standard, even if it’s onerous to do so.
    9. Very carefully choose the public champions for your cause. Any possible hole that can be poked in their character will, so be careful.
    10. Celebrate who you are apologetically without rubbing it in other people’s faces. It’s a fine line and changes based on context.
    11. Do not stop short of anything but full legal equality.
    12. Be someone others would go to the range with for their first time, but don’t be pushy. Let people know there is a standing invitation.
    13. Participate in the shooting sports.
    14. Support the gun rights organizations, even if you don’t 100% agree with every detail of every one of them.
    15. Be consistent when it comes to supporting all individual freedom. Vigorously support any individuals right to be who they are and do as they wish and have full legal equality so long as they don’t interfere with others doing the same, regardless of whether or not you agree with their lifestyles.

    • I agree. I have seen remarks to the effect that one should not display signs on their home-doors or car windows identifying themselves as gun owners. The arguments against doing so include attracting the attention of burglars or inviting the wrath of a condo association. This troubles me.
      – – – Suppose in 1930 I advised my Jewish neighbor to remove the minora from his window or the Star of David from his VW. To do so would be to play into the hands of the totalitarians. Could the Nazis have pulled-off their stunts if Christians put minoras in their windows?
      – – – As for burglars, why did God create gun safes if he didn’t want us to secure our guns? As for our condo associations, won’t some more of us stand up and be counted?

  32. There is only one way to have background checks AND at the same time meet the strict definition of “shall not be infringed” and I’m surprised no one’s ever mentioned it. Free instant computer background checks. If your legal, your walking out of the store in 10 min. with your firearm. I think that background checks should be free because they would actually be paid for thru taxes which means EVERYBODY helps pay to keep firearms out of the wrong hands. If anti-gun people want to be assured of their safety then they need to chip in on the protection. Everybody pays for police and fire even if they never use them, everybody should chip in for firearms safety.

  33. I think if people were really serious about background checks, rather than passing new laws criminalizing ordinary behavior, they could make the NICS system available online to any individual wishing to sell a firearm. That way, an individual could run the check on their computer or smartphone, verify the person’s status, and go on about their business.

    The fact that “background check reform” doesn’t make this kind of option available, and instead relies on an unworkable requirement to go through an FFL, just shows that they aren’t serious about getting background checks done. The point for them is to make it more difficult to buy and sell guns, not to ensure background checks.

  34. Its pretty linear – you don’t get from B back to A by proceeding to C. I want fewer regulations not better ones.

  35. +1000000 Bud. I too live in Illinois. Thanks to people like you I can exercise my rights( only been at this 3 years). I’m really not trying to win any debates or convert people. Sometimes folks need a kick in the head( crime) to change their minds.

  36. Much of what has been written in previous posts are activities or tools (means) by which we need to accomplish this task. They are part of the plan. But, individually, they are not the plan. I would propose the following as a long-term approach:

    Incrementalism is key. This isn’t going to happen overnight and we all need to accept it will be a long road with a lot of small victories and some setbacks. The following points are just an outline of a plan, as it would be easier for me to portray this in greater conceptual detail in Powerpoint, as we do with almost all of our planning in the Army. Under this plan, there would be four overarching lines of effort (LOE):

    1. Cultural shift. Just as there has been a cultural shift away from an appreciation of and respect for firearms, it is our responsibility (every gun owner or supporter of the 2nd Amendment) to turn that around. The activities that will bring this about are the ones geared at gaining widespread cultural acceptance and appreciation for firearms ownership (such as bringing someone who is on the fence over firearms or who is anti-gun to the range and have them experience it first hand in a safe, respectful, and fun way). This will be a very long road, but one that is necessary. We need to change the direction of American anti-gun culture. Will we convince everyone? Not a chance. But it needs to happen. Obviously, the target audience for this LOE is the American people. Once you start making progress with public opinion and perception, it will be easier to achieve your objectives in the next two LOEs. (Note: this also includes getting the pro-gun crowd off their backsides and to the voting booths to vote for candidates that are pro-rights and pro-gun (I don’t want to get into the single issue voter here, as that is a completely different subject from this plan).

    2. Influence Media influencers. There needs to be a cultural shift in the left-leaning media as well. Activities in this LOE DO NOT INCLUDE things like open carrying long-guns at Chipotle. As a matter of fact, activities that are the extreme opposite of those open carry activities designed to elicit a response are what we need. Gun owners must be portrayed as reasonable, measured, well-centered, and respectful. Anything that deviates from this type of messaging works against us. The target audience for this LOE would be the media program directors and media moguls (not that there is much of a chance of changing their outlook, but hey, what the heck? Right?)

    3. Command State and Federal Legislatures – they work for us. Continue to engage your state and federal representatives and encourage your friends to do the same. The drumbeat on this one needs to be loud and steady, not just at those times when a vote is coming due (that’s when we should increase the noise and the tempo of the drumbeat). Without it, legislators will think they can vote with their party (i.e., mostly democrats) and there will be no personal consequences during the next election cycle. Your primary instruments on this front are your individual voters, as well as well-organized pro-gun groups, such as the NRA, GOA, etc. And don’t forget your pro-gun groups at the state level as well. They are critically important. The target audience for this LOE is, obviously, the state (how many of you know your state representatives?) and federal legislative branches.

    4. Clean the Courts. This includes the Supreme Court, and by extension, the Executive Branch (this goes back to voting habits and the cultural shift that needs to occur – we need to get pro-gun officials into office over the long-term). This will require gun owners to do a lot of research on their elected judges to make sure they are voting for pro-gun, pro-rights judges at the local level. If we are not doing our homework, it’s largely our fault that these anti-gun judges remain in place. A central site should be set up (if one exists I have not seen it and would love to see it if it does exist) for each state that provides a transparent record of how judges decide cases (the outcomes). This will also require work at the Executive level to ensure good, pro-gun candidates are installed in office.

    This is just a rough draft and can be fleshed out with quite a bit more detail from other people’s posts and other peoples’ ideas (there are a lot of good ideas in this blog post already). I would say this framework above could become the start of a framework for a long-term plan that focuses gun rights folks’ efforts on turning the ship around.

  37. As much as it pains me to say it, incrementalism will have to be the way forward. At least in the near future, IMHO.

    I’ve already won the gun control debate so many times with so many now-deprogrammed Statists I can’t be bothered to keep score anymore, and with nothing but the facts — the real facts mind you — and undeconstructable logic.

    It means precisely what it says and literally absolutely nothing else. “Shall not be infringed.” There are no “ifs”, “and”, or “buts” about it. Period. All gun control laws are, in point of fact, unlawful and should have been stricken from the books ages ago. ALL of them. The right to keep and bear arms is not now, has never been, and shall never be tied to any service obligation. We will eventually get to a point where this is well-understood, but that certainly be any time soon. Perhaps not even in my lifetime.

    In the meantime, a slow and relentless rolling back of any and all gun control laws as far as is Humanly possible at any given time, every time it can happen, and everywhere it can happen, will have to be the way forward for now.

    Oh, and STOP voting R and D for crying out loud. Even feigning to pretend to dream of thinking that the “two” parties are in any significant way, philosophically or operationally, any different from each other only displays a level of willful ignorance that is far and away beyond laughable at this point. It’s just sad.

  38. Between the Luty, the Liberator, and things like the Pirate Bay, gun control is already dead. The specs are on the Internet, and they won’t go away. Anybody who really wants a gun can just build one. New laws will stop no criminals from obtaining guns. The horse is dead, stop beating it.

  39. “. . . that doesn’t involve repeating late 1700′s history.” I am reminded of a T-shirt that read: ‘The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt you; but, remember, it’s still on the list’. (I offer this T-shirt purely for its humor value; not that I take lightly the implications of a repeat of history.)
    We need to make the point with the uncommitted that the PotG have been pushed to the limit. There are now way to many of us for whom the words: ‘I will not comply’ resonate. The uncommitted voters need to decide whether they will support politicians who will bring (what remains of) civil order to the brink of widespread noncompliance; or, give sincere respect for the 2A. Do they really want (heretofore law-abiding) gun-owners to horde large-capacity magazines and finish 80% receivers in response? Do they want to pay taxes to build new prisons without us paying our proportional share? Such an argument ought to engage the uncommitted voter.
    And, we should thank Bloomberg for spending his personal fortune to raise the consciousness of the uncommitted voter to the importance of this topic. Now, it’s up to the uncommitted voter to decide what conclusion s/he will reach.
    – To be dis-armed as Bloomberg says; or,
    – to be armed as Bloomberg does.
    My sentiments oscillate between favoring a stalemate vs. seeking compromise. The SCOTUS Abramski decision quickly pushed me to favor stalemate.
    I think that we need to seize control of the agenda. An agenda there WILL be; theirs; or, ours.
    Each bill constitutes some combination of 1+ elements:
    1- exclusively new measure(s) unrelated to any preceding measure;
    2- only new measure(s) that replaces previous measure(s);
    3- only repeal of a previous measure(s);
    4- a trade of multiple related, or un-related new measures and repeal of old measures.
    The gun controllers want onerous measures of type 1 and 2.
    We PotG want type 3; forget about it. Until every gun-owner goes to the polls and votes as a one-issue voter, #3 can’t happen. Until we double our numbers and half of us do so, #3 can’t happen. I fear that there are altogether too many of us who can neither slide-down from the bar stool nor stand-up from our kneelers to go to the polls with a list of candidates to support. Perhaps I’m mistaken; I wish it were so.
    The normal course of business in Washington is #4. This is why the Kaiser compared law-making to sausage manufacture. I thought we should pursue the normal course of business; #4. We get a package of proposals; to illustrate: BlinkyPeat’s revised Background-Check give in exchange for SBRs, SBSs and national-reciprocity. For sake of discussion, suppose we could all agree that this were our position. Would our organizations (NRA, GOA, CCRKBA, SAS, etc.) succeed in negotiating this package (that I’ve invited you to suppose we had agreed upon)? Or, would they cave-in? Would they agree to a 4473 form on private transfers and toss-out the SBSs? Would Congress pass a #4-type bill that was one that we would NOT have agreed to? (We should concede this risk to the absolutists.)
    What would the public make of this outcome? Nothing. They could not conclude anything in particular that the PotG had made a reasonable compromise; nor that the PotG refused to submit to still more “reasonable regulation” of guns. The gun-controllers would leave the negotiating table with their victory in-hand and cry-out that the NRA won again! The gun-controllers would vow to be back again.
    I propose – for discussion – that we pursue a very-NARROWLY-tailored #2 strategy. We pick – first – some fairly high-profile and manageable issue. I think the background-check is an issue that fits this description. We craft a proposal tightly confined to this particular issue. Keep-OUT any trade-offs of SBRs, SBSs, national-reciprocity.
    Now, we are out of #4 territory. It will not be possible for the gun-controllers to negotiate some different mix of sausage, claim the NRA won-again while we are all shouting that the NRA sold-us-out yet again.
    Instead, we go to the table with a “clean” simple bill that any layman could understand. We send this clean-bill to our organizations (NRA, et. al) with the instructions: get this; or, O-deal whatsoever. (Some people with Washington experience need to weigh-in on whether this would work.) Our bill needs to be incrementally better. Some aspects less onerous than those they replace; some new regulation that we think we can live with that will make the public feel like the “gun show loophole” has been closed to a substantial extent.
    Now, then, we come to the table with the following proposition. It’s our bill or no bill. If you gun-controllers block our bill then we will take the public stage and show you to be a fraud. We will explain how reasonable our bill is; and, but for the opposition of the gun-controllers who want to ban guns altogether or make gun ownership a social stigma, our bill would-have passed. It wouldn’t have been a panacea; but it probably would have helped. If it saved one child, we would have been willing to live with this reasonable control.
    The next time we hear the cry for a background-check reform we will bring a new bill; but, it will be LESS acceptable to the gun-controllers than was our first bill. If there is to be stalemate on gun regulation it shall be a new game. We PotG will have control of the ball; we will play offense; the gun-controllers will take their turn at playing defense.
    Under this strategy it would be our objective to ask for NOTHING particularly controversial. E.g., we would avoid asking for SBRs. Then, there would be no piling on of quid’s pro quo’s turning our bill into a #4 – where the Anti’s would settle for nothing short of taking meat out of our hides.
    Suppose we do this two or three times successfully. We would get some voting booth cred’ that legislators could rest their case on. We PotG are the common-sense gun people. We are NOT categorically opposed to every gun regulation; we are categorically opposed to infringements that:
    – impede criminals and crazies not-at-all; or,
    – represent serious threats to peaceful gun users.
    Moreover, we are categorically opposed to any regulation (i.e., registration by any means) that would enable any government to deprive the People of the means to defend the Constitution and maintain public order in case of emergency.
    Once we have successfully moved the ball a few times in OUR direction, then we try to score some real points. Just by way of illustration, we go for something like the following. An NFA Modernization Act. First, we call for an independent audit of the NFA owner registry. (No witch-hunt here; we don’t want to punish any ATF employee who made a mistake decades ago; nor do we want to prosecute the widow of an NFA owner who neglected to file a paperwork-only form.) We suspect it is not complete, accurate, and up-to-date. If that were proven to be true then there should be a lot of legitimate questions the voters should be asking. If the ATF can’t get their act together after 70 years on a simple paper-work problem (funded by a tax of $200 per piece of paper) then why should the public trust any government agency to keep a registry of any other guns? Next, the ATF can’t issue a tax stamp in 9 months? After decades in the DoT, they don’t know how to collect taxes? This is the public revenue we are talking about here! Maybe FFLs should sell tax stamps in our bill. Now, with the ATF letter on the Sig arm brace, it’s time to take SBRs off the NFA list. (Leave SBSs alone; we don’t want the Anti’s saying that we want to deregulate sawed-off shotguns.) Take some stuff like forward grips off of AOWs. At this juncture, nobody breaths a word about repealing the Hughes Amendment.
    Stockman proposed a bill called the Safe Military Bases Act. In my opinion, he wrote it precisely backwards. In my most cynical moments I wonder if he wrote it that way so that it could easily be objected to by everyone. I wrote to Stockman and most of the co-sponsors with my criticisms and suggested my opposite approach which should make such a bill unassailable. No word from any of the sponsors; a couple of kind thoughts from a couple of cosponsors’ staff. (If anyone cares, I’ll explain what was wrong with Stockman’s language and how I would have fixed it).
    After a few such clean bills such as an NFA Modernization Act and a Safe Military Bases Act we should have prepared the soil for a national reciprocity bill.
    HERE – in this post – I don’t so much want to advocate for any particular issue nor any particular provisions. Rather, I invite comment on a candidate strategy to try to seize the playing field for ourselves. I respectfully suggest that we abandon the absolutists’ position of “One for us, none for you; . . . ” (I’m prepared for the responses ‘What part of shall not be infringed don’t you understand?’)
    This thread seems to invite ideas on alternative strategies as well as ideas of provisions we might include in bills.

  40. Real question, why have so many ardent 2A supporters sat silently while many of the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights have been flushed down the toilet?

    • Are you talking about the third one? Well, I guess I just don’t see the point. If a soldier comes by my house I’m more than happy to give him quarters, even though I do use them for tolls. I guess it’s the least I can do, even if the constitution says I don’t have to. I only draw the line on pre’63 silver quarters. I like saving those.

      I’ve been quite noisy about all the other amendments.

    • Because I don’t have the time or the energy to fight all the infringements of all my other rights too. Therefore, I will let others fight for those rights, and I will concentrate my efforts on the one right that is most important to me, the 2A. Besides, fighting for the 2A requires all my energy, because there are such strong anti-2A forces fighting against it.

      I think we are slowly starting to win this war, as public opinion is turning in our favor.

  41. The problem with incrementalism is when we make 2 steps forward, we then make 1 or 2 steps back in certain states while others are just going in one direction or the other. That’s the nature of 2 party politics. On the federal side, I think we need pro-gun control over the legislative and executive branches consecutively for multiple terms.

    The only way for that to be possible is to have pro-gun constituents. Like others have mentioned, that involves us just taking our friends to the range. The majority of the population does not have strong feelings for or against guns. While the left can try to sway them with rants and scare tactics, we can take the moderates to the range and show them how good of a time they can have for themselves. And since guns have been in the political spotlight over the past 2 years, I’ve changed the opinions of a lot of my more moderate friends. My strong liberal friends will continue to know guns are evil with absolute certainty and convincing them is impossible until they are saved with a gun….if they are lucky enough for someone else to be armed at the time.

    If enough constituents are swayed to positively affect federal gun laws then state laws will innately be changed by their now pro-gun residents.

  42. We should STOP justifying our natural right to keep and bear arms based on cost-benefit statistics. First of all, many people do not understand or have no interest in statistics. Second, there is no way to immediately confirm statistics during a casual face-to-face real time discussion with someone. Finally, many statistics are misleading or even bogus and it is very difficult to explain the fault with the presentation of the statistics or the statistics themselves.

    Rather, we should keep it simple. I have told people that it is patently offensive and degrading when they or politicians tell me what personal property I can own and possess in public. It is an affront to my humanity. That illustrates their actions for exactly what they are: an attack on my human dignity.

    In summary we need to get straight to the point and go on offense in our interactions with the people who endeavor to infringe on our natural birthright to keep and bear any objects — including firearms — of our own choosing.

    • Let me say it another way. Historically, our debating tactics have been awful and ineffective. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to hear Ben Shapiro’s video essay on “how to debate a liberal”.

      When I address gun control with a gun grabber, I tell them that their attack on my right to acquire and possess any object of my choosing is an insult to my human dignity. And I also tell them that their desire to see violent criminals successfully rape, beat, and/or kill my family is despicable and obscene. When I do that, I make their position and actions obvious on a visceral level that rattles them to the core. It immediately puts them in a position that they cannot, no matter what they say, defend. More importantly, it really hits home with fence sitters.

  43. I’d be willing to register myself and one gun for national concealed carry reciprocity, 50 states for basic level the same-

    and even submit to initial and annual retest every 5 years, for safety, basic handling, and ability to hit what you aim at standard, if the NRA were appointed the training and standard setter, and local gun ranges were allowed to be tested and certified once every five years as qualifed sites.

    That sets a simple best practices standard across the country, saves money by keeping the FedGov out of the regulatory business, and rebuilds trust by partnering with a very experienced and trusted national firearms education group, and enables local businesses to compete for fulfilling the training.

    To encourage adult citizen participation, I would incentivize participation with the following:
    a) one time 100% tax credit on approved handguns, not to exceed some reasonable dollar amount, say- $500, indexed by inflation over the years

    b) 100% tax writeoff on first and subsequent recertification courses. (you fail once you pay on your own, no writeoff)

    c) 50% write-off on the cost of store bought ammo, up to 100 rounds a month, with receipts.

    This would single handedly
    a) make national partners out of the NRA and FedGov in good training.
    b) reduce crime, as proven in multiple studies, by arming the responsible citizens who take time to be trained and practice to stay capable. Just like driving a car, registered concealed carry is a privilege, not a right.

    Call it the National Safety and Defense through Responsible Armed Citizen Training Act.

    The states could get in the act by adopting the federal standard as the basic level, and save money by eliminating their own state background checks and registration schemes for CCW. The money saved could be used to better train LEOs in how to respond and evaluate mentally disturbed folks, when requested by family and therapists via judicial order.

    School districts could partner with the NRA to improve school safety, and local LEOs with their own ranges could make some money on the side by offering training, in particular for local principals and school teacher volunteers, if the school district voters and Boards can pull their heads far enough out of their lower regions enough to allow their hearts to stop beating their brains out of any common sense.

    Any citizen not wanting to CCW could simple opt out, and open carry, where permitted, state by state. The standards for Open Carry should be easier, and ideally, regulated by the State, where those are better able to determine culture and context determinations. Some states, like AK and AZ would not change anything- others, like CA and NY would have to sit and think about all the whining liberals and union members who dont want anyone but cops to have a gun on their belt openly.

    • Hey, if NY can give illegal immigrants amnesty and access to welfare and other state benefits after 3 years of paying taxes, its only fair for legal citizens to have legal ccw rights, by spending our own money to be trained.

  44. Ya, I don’t mind slippery-slopes, as long as they start out reeeeally gradually. duh.

    Move the flag the other way, make us like Switzerland and compel each household to own and maintain an automatic rifle.

  45. What does one say? Incrementalism , the same way the anti’s took rights from us all? Perhaps smaller government at all levels, defunding law enforcement and eliminating the BATFE? There are many approaches, some more and some less likely to work but in the end we may not have the guntopia we want. What is sure is that the antis will never have the gun free world they want either. It might be that neither side will ever have it ‘just right’. What is sure is that before there is ever disarmament the question will be decided by gunfire. The IRA, a ‘terrorist organization’ but composed of some people who know a thing or two about civilian disarmament and oppression have a slogan that resonates here: ‘Not a bullet, not an ounce!’ As in their compliance with gun control would include surrendering no guns, no bullets and not an ounce of semtex or gelignite.

    I don’t think that more ‘compromise’ is called for, one doesn’t compromise the rights of another from a position of righteousness but rather from the cowardly shadows of force, oppression and deceit. Let’s just keep giving what we’ve been getting and see how it plays out. In most places, most of the time it seems that the legislatures and the courts are on our side. I think all we need to win is the pugnaciousness to keep at it the way we have been, and never forgetting or letting the anti’s forget the other side of the coin, if they want to our guns, they actually have to come and get them.

  46. We need to encourage independence and self-reliance. If these values become the norm, gun ownership will be completely normal. But if we become dependent on the state, it is only natural that the state would have the duty to protect us, just as it has the duty to clothe and feed us. In this environment, gun ownership would be an anathema.

    It is a cultural problem.

  47. “Dear Anti-Gun Theater Friend:

    Attached are CAD files for the LULZ Liberator, an AR lower receiver, and a 30-round AK mag courtesy of Pirate Bay, which has never pulled anything from its site. One does not simply remove things from the internet.”

  48. The one thing that has always been missing from standard CCW and gun ownership in general has been access to affordable legal representation.

    In Texas there is Texas Law Shield which has a specialized legal representation for a monthly fee.

    The police have protection even though half the time it’s abused.

  49. I think winning the debate happens one convert at a time…

    1. Trap and skeet. Start them there. They get wrapped up in the activity and forget they are using a shotgun.

    2. Introduce them to black powder. It’s loud and smoky and fun.

    3. Then punch holes in paper and go to the ARs and AKs.

    4. The self realization will come in time.

    5. Recognize there are some folks you won’t convert. Don’t waste your time or theirs.

  50. The citizenry’s natural right to bear arms was recognized by the government so the nation would be able to raise an army when the need arose, in cases such as throwing off an unaccountable form of government, as is monarchy.
    “No taxation without representation,” led to armed revolution and the vote, previously denied by the monarch.

    Eighteen year-olds and blacks were given the vote because they carried guns in support of American wars, and in recognition both of the service they gave and the government’s need to appeal to them for their consent, through the vote and in armed conflict, in future constitutional declarations of war.

    The right to bear arms is inextricably bound with the right to vote.

    Now that there is no longer a draft, and no longer a passionately recognized constitutional need for the government to declare war before war is made, nor the government’s need to obtain the consent of an armed people to make war (along with war’s disposition of the people’s blood and treasure) perhaps the right to vote—given the vote’s irrelevance in determining whether or not to make war, lacking government’s formal declarations of war—the vote may now be considered as superfluous as some would like to make the right bear arms.

    Of course, if denial of the right to a meaningful vote, one consequential to the making of war, and the end of government’s recognition of the right to bear arms results in an unaccountable quasi-monarchical government, then we have gone full circle.

    The abolition of the government’s recognition of the natural right to bear arms, and the abolition of government’s need to obtain the consent of an armed independent people, a people independent of government’s standing army—a standing army loyal only to itself and answerable only to the government—in its declarations of war is the diminution of the vote and the weakening of the people’s voice by removal of the root from which it springs.

  51. The question is: Why do some want to take this right away? Would doing so prevent sick, sick people from inflicting mayhem on the innocent ? No. Infringing on the 2nd amendment would merely strengthen government and weaken freedom. There are risks with freedom. We accept those risks. Well, not all of us.

  52. Could someone please clear this up for me? I’m one of those crazy ‘liberal gun owners’ and there is one thing about universal background checks that I don’t understand. I read BlinkyPete’s article and I agree with him on a lot of his points, but there is a fundamental unstated assumption: universal background checks infringe upon our right to keep and bear arms. OK, in BlinkyPete’s case an institutional failure actually IS infringing upon his rights, but that isn’t a structural problem with the law and it’s something that should be rectified as soon as possible. How does requiring me to exercise due diligence to make sure the person I am supplying (BlinkyPete bastardizes the meaning of ‘universal’ in his proposed bill by mincing words over loaning, selling, transferring, whatever) with a firearm is not in an excluded class infringe upon my or the other party’s right to keep and bear arms? Argue all you want about how effective such background checks would be, I don’t see how this is infringing. BlinkyPete fixes a few other problem like the ability to restore ones rights after demonstrating that they’ve reformed after past criminal offences. Also, while I’m in complete agreement about NFA items like SBRs, SBSs, and suppressors, that part feels a little ‘tacked on’ and has nothing to do with the actual subject of background checks. Argument against that change (which I’d imagine would be voluminous and poorly informed) doesn’t need to be part of a discussion on universal background checks. I disagree with the notion that automatic weapons should be moved to NFA items, but, again, that has nothing to do with universal background checks. Make BlinkyPete’s universal background checks actually universal and I’m game. But again, where is any part of any proposed UBC (that actually pertains to background checks) actually violating our rights? We live in a society that is a (poorly executed) attempt at optimizing between personal liberty and public safety. If you’re a hard-line absolutist on the 2nd amendment to the point where no restriction on any arms are permitted then I’m sorry to say you’re SOL. The overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to unfettered access to Stinger missiles and Tunguskas. Frankly, I think such hard-line arguments in the gun rights community hurt the cause, damaging our chances of ‘winning’ the debate on gun control. I don’t want to lose access to an arbitrary class of ‘assault weapons’ for no substantial reason. I don’t want to see ‘high capacity’ original manufacture magazines banned. These things make no sense and ACTUALLY infringe upon our rights. I hesitate to use the word ‘concession’ because I don’t think we’d actually be losing anything, but a concession on background checks would go a long way to placate people who are frustrated by the high profile killings and feel that something should be done. Would a UBS have prevented any of them? Some almost certainly not, but I could easily contrive a situation in which they would. It doesn’t matter, though. We’re talking about winning the gun rights battle and if that placates the grassroots, uninformed, reasonably frustrated anti-gunners without ceding any rights then that’s one victory we’d have in the bag. What am I missing?

    • You make a lot of points; and a lot of them are good. I’ll address one of them.
      – – – Do I have a right to transfer a gun to a dis-abled individual? Suppose an individual has renounced his US citizenship and he asks me to transfer a gun to him. Does he have a natural right to keep and bear arms? Absolutely. Does he have a right guaranteed under the 2A? Alas, no. Though he may be a perfect specimen of humanity in all respects, he has no such right under the Constitution. (Suppose he renounced his citizenship to be appointed by a country to be its ambassador to the US. He is immune from any law baring his possession of anything. Still I don’t have a right to transfer a gun to him if that is forbidden by law.) If this argument is legally reasoned (however devoid of morality) then I’m afraid that Congress does not infringe on a guaranteed right if it regulates my conduct in transferring a gun to a Constitutionally disabled individual. (Here, I’m ducking whether a convicted criminal or committed crazy is Constitutionally disabled; that’s not the question.)
      – – – Congress could make it unlawful for me to transfer to a dis-abled individual; and, then, make it impossible or onerous for me to ascertain that he is not so dis-abled. What if I can not have access to the list of former US citizens who have renounced their citizenship? Here this guy has a driver’s license from the State of Confusion. He has a birth certificate from a US State or one of its possessions. The guy talks like a citizen and has yearbooks from Kindergarten thru Highschool with his name and picture. Is it Constitutional for Congress to put me in jeopardy of trial and conviction for unknowingly transferring a gun under such circumstances. I believe it is unconstitutional.
      – – – Congress could pass a law making it easy for me to ascertain that this transferee is not-disabled. By way of illustration, we are prohibited from doing business with Cubans under the Trading With the Enemy Act. It is reasonably possible for me to ascertain that I am about to deal with a Cuban; there are lists of Enemy citizens whom the Treasury department has identified; and these lists are distributed to banks and other financial institutions.
      – – – – If Congress passed a law that made it unlawful for me to transfer to a dis-abled individual and then made it easy for me to ascertain that an individual were NOT dis-abled, would that constitute an “infringement” on MY being able to keep and bear arms? Let’s see, the moment after I transfer I’m no longer keeping that arm. Nor am I bearing it. It’s tough to see how I can maintain that my right is being infringed. The transferEE’s right might arguably be said to be infringed.
      – – – Suppose – and I know that this scenario is really far-fetched in the 21’st century, but please play along with me. Momentarily, you might find this interesting. Suppose a black man expresses an interest in buying my gun. He is clearly an adult; well over 21. Alas, he has no birth certificate. He claims he was born in a remote – let’s say precinct – of the country a long time ago when the archives of the civil registry of vital statistics were not kept complete and correct according to modern standards. Think of some WV or NM county. Would it be Constitutional to deprive this deprive this man of his right to vote – or maybe even run for President some day – on the grounds that no government (Federal, State or municipal) will lift a finger to aid him in establishing his citizenship? His eligibility to exercise his rights?
      – – – I hold that our nation owes each citizen the obligation to bend-over-backwards to establish his eligibility to exercise his rights. If our nation can’t be bothered to help such an unfortunate citizen the, I suppose that anyone claiming to be a citizen – not disabled of his rights – is entitled to unfettered access to all his rights on a presumption of good faith.
      – – – No access to his background check data – other than through a capitalistic money-grubbing FFL – well then, we really aren’t committed to guaranteeing this man’s rights. Let’s just admit it.
      – – – Give him access to his background check at a computer in a public library – he prints a certificate of non-disablement – and he can use that certificate to exercise his rights. I can live with this. It doesn’t infringe on my rights whether I’m in my shoes or his.
      – – – Let’s be clear. This isn’t the only solution to the problem of background checks. Nor have we explored every other related consideration. We need not wonder whether a computer check through a public library might aid someone to register to vote or to buy a gun many times without becoming traceable. These may be interesting questions in their own rights; but, they don’t run to the question of establishing ability (basis for a claim of citizenship) nor dis-ability (conviction of a felony or renunciation of citizenship).

  53. The way to win the gun control debate is to insist on having one.

    The “anti’s” got nothin, but you’re not going to convince them. You can convince the folks watching, the as yet undecideds.

    If you make your points, and require the anti’s to make theirs, you have a better argument, and most likely come off as a better human being. That “wins” several for the good guys.

  54. At it’s very core the question asked here is neither about making or repealing of laws nor about execution of existing laws. “What is the plan to change the minds of our fellow citizens in enough numbers to make the absolutist vision a reality?”

    As 2nd Amendment proponents we too often get caught up in the “shall not be infringed” part and stop there. Facts, figures and the constitution are completely on our side. PR too often isn’t. We need to broaden our message – supported by those facts and figures – into one of societal value.

    Just a few ideas:
    – Frequent reminders that the gun owners are often the ones who defended our freedoms, often at great sacrifice to them and their families.
    – Profiles of gun owners to show that we’re next door neighbors, soccer coaches, coworkers and generally good people.
    – Positive examples of gun ownership. Not just defensive gun use of the day, but the impact of those uses and the noting how discipline in any form creates character.
    – Reaffirming our history and heritage. Most don’t understand the heritage that gun ownership had in the revolutionary and civil wars. Removing the heritage doesn’t make us stronger and safer, it weakens us as a society.
    – Safety is a crucial component of gun ownership. The NRA, the boy scouts, and many other organizations have huge training programs which are completely unknown.
    – Meet a gun owner, handle a firearm events to help others get over their fears – fears that come simply through ignorance.

    The message needs to be broad and done at a grass roots level. It needs to be done in media that is consumed by everyone. Just as Christians have rediscovered that films are the way through to the masses, gun proponents need to.


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