August 9, 2019
by David LaPell
Gun owners are seemingly on their own right now. In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, the steady and ever-increasing drumbeat to “do something” has been getting louder. The media, and the Democrat party, especially those running to unseat Donald Trump in 2020, are all clamoring that new laws be passed. Sadly, many on the right, some who we once thought were the ultimate defenders of liberty, are now turning on those who voted them into power, saying that we need a change. But what kind of change, and does doing something, mean we should just be doing anything?
Gun owners, of course, knew what to expect from those on the left following these horrible events. We knew that the Democrats, who wasted no time in expressing outrage tinged with the demand for “common-sense legislation”, would be using the blood of the dead to try and get their political goals accomplished.
What we didn’t expect was for so many Republicans and so-called conservatives to join them, trying to beat the Democrats to the punch.
The first call, of course, was for new Red Flag laws, which have been passed in many states across the country, and completely violate due process for gun owners. Having a law that lets someone simply accuse a gun owner of being a risk, with no proof, no crime, so that a judge can sign an order whereby that person loses their guns, only to have a hearing later on, where the gun owner has to meet the burden of proof and show that he is a swell guy, not a homicidal maniac, in order to get his own guns back. If not, then without a crime, or even an arrest, the 2nd Amendment rights of that gun owner are gone.
I have argued with a few gun owners who, surprisingly, have no issue with these laws. Maybe they can understand it a bit better in this way. Imagine you suddenly were fired because someone told you in a week, or a month, you were going to run into a building and yell “Fire!”, causing a stampede wherein someone died. You then had a week to go out, get an attorney at your expense, and fight the charge of something you haven’t done yet in order to get your job back. That’s what the Red Flag laws look like. You’re assumed guilty without an arrest, and you have to prove you are not. The presumption of innocent went out the window when the judge thought you were a threat, with nothing other than an accusation.
The pundits, and those defending the Republicans on this argument, keep saying that it will be so easy for the gun owner to prove that he wasn’t a threat to the judge, and that you’ll get your guns back, like it was that simple. So, what if you live in an urban area and the judge happens to be a liberal Democrat when he’s not on that bench? If politicians think they will get a fair shake from every judge, they haven’t been paying attention to what happens to President Trump every time an Obama appointed judge rules one of his attempts to reform immigration as unconstitutional.
The biggest thing that no one seems to be grasping, on the GOP side of things, is that they’re fixing to turn a right into a privilege. If you have to plead with the powers that be to let you exercise a right, then it is no longer a right, it’s now a privilege, and a privilege can be taken away.
There are now some whispers that the Republicans want to strengthen background checks. This has been what the Democrats have been pushing for some time now, and if the Democrats are happy about a plan that has anything to do with guns, then the GOP and Trump shouldn’t walk away from it, they should run. They’re going to lose support, and that support could cost them the Senate and possibly the White House next year.
I think, shocking as it is to see the GOP caving in so quickly on gun laws, is who else we see caving in. President Trump, who, of course, promised that there would be no greater friend to the Second Amendment and gun owners, is quickly turning into a one-night stand with a promise to call the next day. This is what happens when someone who is not a gun owner or shooter promises to defend the Second Amendment. They have no real skin in the game; they don’t really own guns, so to them, it’s not going to affect them at all. Trump reminded me of the older gun owners in their sixties and seventies when the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban came around; they didn’t mind the ban because it didn’t affect them. Most of those in Congress who are happy to sign off on these Red Flag laws, and possibly an Assault Weapons Ban, aren’t serious gun owners or shooters anyway. When was the last time you think Mitch McConnell hunted or even brought a gun to the range?
One of the biggest disappointments has to be Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas. Crenshaw, who for many was a shining star amongst conservatives, shocked gun owners when in a tweet after the El Paso shooting stated “Let’s start with the TAPS Act. Maybe also implement state “red flag” laws, or gun violence restraining orders.”
The TAPS Act is supposed to be a threat assessment bill that will take information from various sources and try to predict someone’s behavior ahead of time, sort of a Minority Report, in pre-crime jargon, again without a whiff of due process.
Crenshaw was far from the only Republican who suddenly decided that likeability was better than upholding the Constitutional rights of his constituents, but he was probably the most surprising, and his apparent betrayal stung the most.
So, what do gun owners do now? I have talked to several people in recent days and read a lot of comments online, and gun owners feel betrayed. They feel betrayed by Donald Trump, the GOP, some in the conservative media who are now suddenly plugging gun control like it was a good thing, and that gun owners should just accept it because it’s for the good of the country. But is it really? It appears that when gun owners, yet again targets of the Democrats and the left, needed someone to stand up and say that there are other alternatives, other solutions, the Republicans caved in to the screaming and the yelling. Only time will tell how bad this is going to get, but rest assured, when those who support gun control, especially after they swore to defend the rights of gun owners, come up for re-election, they will be remembered for turning their backs on them now.
The real question is, If the Republicans cave so quickly today, what will happen after the next shooting? What will be next to be compromised so that something can be done? Will the Democrats demand confiscation? Registrations? Mandatory buy backs? Gun owners can only wonder what they will be forced to give up next when their elected officials cave in, again. Will the Republicans even bother to compromise next time, or just stand with the Democrats while they run roughshod, and use the Constitution as toilet paper?