I don’t know who is sad enough to spend their Saturday evening watching MSNBC, but those few Americans with nothing better to do were really in for a treat on October 19th, as the cable channel aired Michael Moore’s 2002 anti-gun control flick “Bowling For Columbine”, followed by an interview between MSNBC’s Ari Melber and director Michael Moore. Moore was asked how the culture has changed in the decades since his movie was made, and of course Moore replied that things have gotten worse.
Asked whether gun control will make progress, Moore answered, “The 78 percent of this country that does not own a gun are going to get the legislation passed.” He understands that progress will take time, activism, action.
“We can fix this,” he said. “We have to take care of each other, even if we disagree with each other.”
That comment by Moore is actually worth paying attention to, unlike most of his movies. Moore gets his numbers wrong, at least according to a Gallup survey from earlier this year, which found that 30% of respondents own firearms, and 43% live in a gun-owning household. Moore’s assumption is that people who don’t own guns, and don’t know much about them, will be the ones who enact gun control laws, and he’s largely correct. This gets to the heart of the anti-gun agenda at the moment; reduce the number of legal gun owners to make it easier to pass more gun control laws.
It’s a fundamentally unprogressive and frankly un-American point of view, to be honest. Moore’s attitude is simply that the majority can pass laws imposing their will on a minority, and there’s nothing the minority can do about it. Of course if that were really the case we wouldn’t have seen the success of the civil rights or the LGBT movement over the past decades. One of the beautiful things about our system of checks and balances is that it helps to prevent the tyranny of the majority. From a bi-cameral legislature to the Electoral College, the founders understood the importance of protecting the people from guys like Michael Moore, as the Heritage Foundation’s Ed Feulner recently pointed out.
The Founders were determined to forestall the inherent dangers of what James Madison called “the tyranny of the majority.” So they constructed something more lasting: a republic. Something with checks and balances. A system of government carefully balanced to safeguard the rights of both the majority and the minority.
That led, most notably, to the bicameral structure of our legislative branch. We have a House of Representatives, where the number of members is greater for more populous states (which obviously favors those states), and the Senate, where every state from Rhode Island and Alaska to California and New York have exactly two representatives (which keeps less-populated states from being steamrolled).
Gun control activists are working hard to remove the checks and balances protecting our Second Amendment rights, from attacking statewide firearms preemption laws that serve as a check on the anti-gun politicians in big cities, to threatening an independent judiciary by promising to pack the Supreme Court if it strikes down a New York City gun law that’s currently under review. They want to allow local chiefs of police to declare you “unsuitable” to own firearms, and to have your guns seized without so much as a court hearing or even formal criminal charges filed. They want red flag laws that empower states to confiscate your firearms with little to no due process protections.
In short, they want to make it as easy as possible to deny as many people as possible the opportunity to exercise a constitutionally protected right. Michael Moore and other gun control activists think they’re on the right side of history, but they couldn’t be more wrong. They’re the descendants of the men standing in the schoolhouse door to prevent black students from entering Little Rock High School. They’re the ideological offspring of those who shut down the public schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia rather than allowing black children to sit next to their white kids in class, those who poisoned industrial alcohol during Prohibition and killed thousands with their commonsense booze safety ideas, and even those who once burned down the Ursuline convent in Charleston, Massachusetts in a fit of religious intolerance and a fear of the unknown.
It may be that gun owners are a minority in the United States. That doesn’t make the Second Amendment any less important, or their efforts to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms any more constitutional. It does make it vitally important that every gun owner and American who values their civil liberties, even the ones they’re not currently exercising, get involved and active in protecting their rights. The tyranny of the majority is the mob, and Mobs Demand Action.