There’s an old Chinese curse that goes, roughly, “may you live in interesting times.” The Obama years are clearly going to be interesting times, in many ways — perhaps some good; certainly many bad.
Let’s take a look at how . . . interesting they’re probably going to be, at least in terms of issues around the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. I’d rather talk about Heller, but let’s save something fun for the future.
This won’t be fun. Except for right now, for some.
The election returns are in: the coming Presidency of Barack Obama has been a boost to the firearms industry the likes of which has never been seen before. Cheaper Than Dirt, the online purveyor of ammo and accessories, had their biggest sales day ever, the day after the election. Here in Minneapolis, as elsewhere, guns — particularly Evil Black Rifles — are not so much moving as flying off the shelves. A salesmen at the Rogers MN Cabellas who might, in a good month, sell as many as half a dozen such reported that he sold seven in the week after — and would have sold more, if they hadn’t run out.
In Minnesota — and all over the country — carry permit classes, including mine, are filling up, fueled by both panic (“Get grandfathered in now!”) and by folks more sensibly wanting to combine getting around to something that they really intended to do anyway with a bit of fear.
Which is understandable. Whatever else can be said about Barack Obama, he’s the first President-elect to have served on the board of a major funder of astroturf anti-gun groups.
While there’s issues much, much nearer and dearer to my heart, I’m going to focus, this time around, on the one I personally care least about.
And am going to fight like hell for. It’s the ugly guns.
It’s right in the Obamanifesto, right here, and that’s not a bad place to start, stripping out the vaguenesses and weaselry, and leaving what Obama says he wants to do:
…. mak[e] the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
Probably the most iconic representation of “gun violence” are those guns that look kind of like the ones that soldiers carry. EBRs — Evil Black Rifles — or “assault weapons” or “semi-automatic military-style rifles” were one of the whipping boys of the Clinton Era “Assault Weapons Ban”. The notion was, as I understand it, that since nobody has a need for a firearm that looks sorta militaryish, there’s no real problem in banning them, and some benefits to be gained.
Except, of course, there aren’t — except as an argument for more gun control. It seems that somebody intent on Doing Bad Stuff With Guns is vanishingly unlikely to give up the idea if they find it more difficult to do said Bad Stuff with a gun that they probably weren’t going to use anyway; an almost preposterously small proportion of crimes are committed with large, kind of military-looking semiautomatic rifles.
After ten years, the ban expired with, as even Josh Sugarman, one of the honchos de tutti honchi of the gun control movement observed, not much impact; large, military-looking weapons aren’t often terribly appealing to criminals, as walking into a stop-n-rob with one tends to draw a lot of attention, as does walking out.
So, who would want one?
Which one? you ask. An “assault weapon” or an “assault weapon” ban?
Well,manifestly: lots of people, for both. The .223 caliber AR15 (the single-shot-per-trigger-pull, civilianized version of the military’s M16) and its clones dominate certain kinds of target-shooting competitions, and while they’re not my cuppa tea, particularly, are useful for some hunting; in the variants that shoot the .308 round, instead, they are reliable, relatively low-recoil big-game guns. The Chinese and Soviet SKS makes a terrific, low-recoil deer rifle at a terrific price — my hunting partner’s daughter got her first deer with an SKS. And for plinking — recreational shooting at things like targets and tin cans and such — they’re a whole lot of fun.
But they are, well, scary-looking, and the first few steps along the path from
“gun control” commonsense gun safety laws to UK/Chicago/DC type bans start with prohibiting scary-looking things, and cries of, “Why would anybody need . . . ?” Obama will, as he’s promised, push a toward reinstituting of the Clinton-era gun ban . . . except, of course, it’ll go further.
And it’s going to be a tough fight. EBRs just aren’t particularly useful poster children for the RKBA, despite the efforts of folks like Oleg Volk.
This will be at least among first major antigun initiative to come from the Obama White House; it won’t be the last.
Beyond that, we can expect the institution of a stealth, nationwide gun registration scheme via combination of the repeal of the Tiahrt amendment and the closing of the “gun show loophole” , followed by an an assault on the right of the people, in at least forty states, to keep and bear arms for their own protection. You can’t blame Obama for that; he comes from Chicago, where only the police, the criminals, and the political fixers can have guns, and thinks that ugly situation is natural.
And if you think that’s ugly, wait until you see the fight.
Much as I hate to raise the “H” word, I can’t help but think that if that activist judge, Scalia, hadn’t so badly botched the decision by inexplicably incorporating all the existing limitations into the individual right under the Second Amendment, there would be no issue. Perhaps you could invent a word for Scalia, like some wags have done for Obama, to characterize how his acitivism has thrown open the gates for the Obamabarians.
Joel Rosenberg says
Well, I’m not pleased with that one paragraph, as you know. For those who don’t, I’m talking about where Scalia says that the decision
I’m all for judicial modesty, and all, but I think that’s full-tilt-boogie Uriah Heep.
As to it throwing the door open for the Obamabarians, I dunno.
The door’s open, sure. Imagine a Harry Turtledove novel where Brown v. Board of Education had been immediately followed by the election of Strom Thurmond as President, with a Dixiecrat majority in the House, sixty-five Dixiecrats in the Senate, with two races pending (it took 66 votes for cloture back then). How well would desegregation have gone?
That said, there’s at least some reason to think that Obama and Emanuel and Kerry, among others (although not Pelosi and DiFi, among others) are smart enough not to overreach. David Hardy posted on the issue today; I’ll have some thoughts, at some point.