In 1994, President Clinton signed the “Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act,” commonly known as the Clinton Assault Weapon ban. Among its provisions was a ban on “assault weapons” based on cosmetic factors, such as pistol grips, bayonet lugs and flash suppressors, and a ban on magazines of more than ten round capacity. The bill’s proponents claimed it would be a boon for public safety, as such people always do in pushing anti-liberty/gun control legislation. The bill was passed with a sunset clause, and was quietly allowed to expire in 2004 after a ten-year run.
Few Democrats dared try to renew it, because by that time, it was well established that the bill did absolutely nothing for public safety, and it was enormously unpopular. A great many Democrats were subsequently ejected from Congress, making many Democrats decidedly anti-gun shy for years thereafter.
Any rational American could have told them the law would do nothing for public safety. Such laws cannot, and in truth, are not so intended. Many progressives hate and fear guns and those that own and enjoy them, and to varying degrees think society would be better without guns–and of course, without the people that own them. Others do not support American constitutionalism, and accordingly, have no respect for the Constitution. They acknowledge it only when it is politically useful for them, and ignore it the rest of the time. These Democrats, socialists, communists, progressives, etc., want to disarm every law-abiding American because they cannot impose their totalitarian designs on an armed and free people. Just note California, as Fee.org reports:
A joint study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California at Davis Violence Prevention Research Program found that California’s much-touted mandated background checks had no impact on gun deaths, and researchers are puzzled as to why.
I’m not, but let’s continue, gentle readers:
In 1991, California simultaneously imposed comprehensive background checks for firearm sales and prohibited gun sales (and gun possession) to people convicted of misdemeanor violent crimes. The legislation mandated that all gun sales, including private transactions, would have to go through a California-licensed Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. Shotguns and rifles, like handguns, became subject to a 15-day waiting period to make certain all gun purchasers had undergone a thorough background check.
It was the most expansive state gun control legislation in America, affecting an estimated one million gun buyers in the first year alone. Though costly and cumbersome, politicians and law enforcement agreed the law was worth it.
The legislation would ‘keep more guns out of the hands of the people who shouldn’t have them,’ saidthen-Republican Gov. George Deukmejian.
A brilliant surmise, except for the fact that law-abiding people don’t break the law, there is no public safety advantage to be gained, and criminals don’t obey any law, including that one. It’s also fascinating to learn that under US v. Haynes (1968), criminals can’t be required to register unlawfully possessed weapons because it’s a violation of their 5thAmendment rights. Don’t you just love that one? It was an 8 to 1 US Supreme Court decision. Do not, however, blame them. Rather, blame the politicians that try to pass registration laws knowing they will have no effect on criminals.
More than a quarter of a century later, researchers at Johns Hopkins and UC Davis dug into the results of the sweeping legislation. Researchers compared yearly gun suicide and homicide rates over the 10 years following implementation of California’s law with 32 control states that did not have such laws.
They found “no change in the rates of either cause of death from firearms through 2000.
This result was widely reported, right? Right? Right?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings—which run counter to the conventional wisdom that gun control saves lives—have received almost no media attention.
An exception was the Washington Post, which cited the study (buried 20 paragraphs down) in an article in which the American Medical Association calls for stronger gun control laws at the state level.
AMA President Barbara McAneny told the Post in an interview:
‘We see this as an epidemic and public health crisis and we think intervening as early as possible is smarter than just building more intensive care units for people who are either killed or damaged and badly hurt by the violence.’
Well sure, if we consider fully grown adults as germs, and lawfully acquired and used firearms as vectors for disease transmission.
Bizarrely, the Post cited the Johns Hopkins-UC Davis study as evidence that what ‘the AMA is calling for may be needed.
Well of course. Proof such laws accomplish nothing for public safety is absolute proof that such laws, and more, are desperately needed. By the same token, sugar pills are the most effective cancer treatment known to man.
Apparently, to the Washington Post, California’s failure to effectively enforce background checks that had no discernible impact on gun deaths is evidence that more gun control laws are needed.
Essentially, the study’s authors, the AMA, and the Post appear incapable of seriously entertaining the possibility that sweeping gun control legislation might not have produced the results desired and expected: fewer deaths.
And this is surprising because…?
More than a decade ago, the writer Louis Menand, in a New Yorker article, explained the rationalizations experts make when their theories fail to hold up in our real-world laboratory:
When they’re wrong, [experts are] rarely held accountable, and they rarely admit it, either. They insist that they were just off on timing, or blindsided by an improbable event, or almost right, or wrong for the right reasons. They have the same repertoire of self-justifications that everyone has, and are no more inclined than anyone else to revise their beliefs about the way the world works, or ought to work, just because they made a mistake.
California’s failed gun control law appears to be yet another example of experts, to quote the great Milton Friedman, judging ‘policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.’
I’ve often written that progressivism cannot possibly be wrong. It is, by definition, non-falsifiable. Even when it’s wrong, it’s right, because Friedman is right: intentions and feelings matter most, but not nearly as much as power and control over the lives of others, as the invaluable Kurt Schlichter notes:
And this year ends with our loser ruling class shedding any pretense of legitimacy in its quest to reclaim the power we took back from it in 2016. The reaction to Donald Trump by our alleged betters – SPOILER: They are much, much worse than us – is instructive. They have abandoned all the principles they once claimed to support – democracy, civil rights, due process, and equality. None of those principles help them to keep or regain power anymore, so they are expendable. As are you.
Liberalism was always a lie and a scam, right from its sordid beginnings among the progressives with their creepy messianic fervor, their infatuation with ‘expertise’ (and hence, their embrace of evils like eugenics), and their contempt for the Constitution. Liberals consider themselves the anointed, divinely entitled to rule over us lesser folk, and they aren’t going to let anything get in the way of retaking the throne.
And this time, they mean never to give it up again.
The arguments for the reinstitution of an “assault weapon” ban illustrate the point. The Clinton ban didn’t really fail, it just wasn’t as effective as it should have been because:
- Non-progressives were allowed to exist to oppose it;
- There wasn’t enough time for it to work its wonders;
- Not nearly enough money was spent;
- iI wasn’t strict enough; we didn’t give it to the deplorable normals good and hard enough. If only we can absolutely and completely disarm the law-abiding, then everything will be grand.
That’s what Schlichter is talking about. Democrats are eternally the party of “gun safety” a euphemism for gun grabbing–until they get a little more power, then they’re the party of gun control, and when they get absolute power they’ll never have to surrender, they’ll be the party of gun confiscation. They want to give it to normals good and hard; they’re just not yet able to do it. Ban ‘em all, and we’ll establish universal public safety!
They know it’s a lie. They–most anyway…maybe–know no gun control scheme will make anyone safer. But that’s not the point, and it never was. They want complete control, and when they have it, the Constitution will cease to exist. All of its protections must be swept away for universal gun confiscation to begin and succeed. Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment? Forget that nonsense–we’re talking public safety here
Of course, they’re wrong. They will never succeed in disarming the law abiding, and when they try, they’ll provoke the Second Civil War, as I noted earlier in December:
Lest anyone suggest I hope for such destruction—well, let’s just acknowledge they’re probably the kind of people that might provoke it, or support those that would. No sane person hopes for war. I pray it never becomes necessary. The Founders knew it could happen, and with stunning ease. All that is necessary to avoid such horrors is for every American to willingly embrace American constitutionalism.
That’s why I fear a second Civil War is all too possible.
All gun control schemes are a repudiation of American constitutionalism, of individual rights and of the unalienable right to self-defense. Rejection of these fundamental principles and rights is the foundation of totalitarianism, of socialism/communism, of genuine fascism.
That’s why Leftists can’t admit gun control can never succeed in increasing public safety. They want to make Americans unsafe–from them.