In my lifetime, the gun control debate has shifted considerably. For the years of my young adulthood, gun control forces had the upper hand. Concealed carry was rare and reserved, virtually everywhere, for the wealthy, celebrities and the politically well connected. The idea of “shall issue” concealed carry was laughable, and the advocates of liberty were fighting an often desperate holding action.
Then came the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act of 1986, which was helpful to the cause of liberty, but at the last minute, anti-gun legislators snuck in a provision banning the ownership of all new machineguns manufactured after the date of enactment. Few Americans owned machineguns, and when you’re fighting for the ability to carry a concealed handgun, the necessity of establishing obtainable priorities ensures that machinegun ownership is somewhere down the long list. That gun banner accomplishment remains in effect, a greater infringement on liberty than many realize.
The Clinton gun ban of 1994 with it’s ban on “assault weapons,” and magazines of more than 10 round capacity, might reasonably be considered the moment gun banner got their cake and ate it too. It was their high water mark, but the water receded steadily, and when ten years had passed, and not even the most ardent anti-freedom advocates could not even convincingly lie to prove that the law had in any way impaired criminals or improved public safety, and when Democrats assessed the horrific cost in lost seats in the House and Senate, and the fact that Al Gore’s anti-gun bluster helped to cost him the White House, it was allowed to sunset. Significant gun control bills have remained essentially radioactive for smarter Democrats since.
Gun control tactics and rhetoric, have, of necessity, changed. Now anti-liberty advocates call for “common sense,” “reasonable” dialogue about gun control. They plaintively ask why those that support the Second Amendment won’t talk about things. I explain at The Truth About Guns, where those nice folks were kind enough to publish my most recent article: Liberty and Levels.
If you have a few spare minutes, it may be worth your time.