There’s been a steady drumbeat of gun control supporters demanding action from Joe Biden and the White House over the past couple of weeks, as well as a fair amount of grumbling over the inaction that we’ve seen so far. Earlier this week POLITICO highlighted some of the voices in the gun control movement who are frustrated that Biden has yet to enact any executive actions on firearms, and now New York Times columnist Gail Collins is adding her voice to the growing chorus of grumbling anti-gun activists who want to see the White House start to move on its gun control agenda.
To be sure, Collins’ criticism is fairly muted. This is the New York Times after all, and Collins knows that even if Biden has yet to act, his heart is with the gun-ban crowd.
There’s not much doubt Biden is eager to get some serious reform underway. “His heart is on his sleeve when it comes to this,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Sadly, there often seems to be a gap between the issues Biden really, really cares about and the ones he’s actually going to do something about. But even if he charges ahead, there’s only so much he can do by executive order, and whatever it is won’t have the staying power of real legislation.
Eleven days ago Biden issued a statement calling for Congress to get to work on his gun control agenda, vowing that his administration will “take action” and demanding that Congress “enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
Since then, however, we’ve seen no new gun control bills introduced in Congress and no executive orders issued that deal with firearms. Gail Collins and other gun control supporters are getting antsy, and their demands are growing as the delays continue.
If we’re lucky, sometime this year a gun bill — at least a modest one toughening up background checks — will make it to the Senate. In between paeans to the Second Amendment, opponents will tell the nation that their constituents want to have weapons on hand to defend themselves and their families from evildoers.
You do wonder how the founding fathers would have felt about the right to bear arms if they knew their nastiest neighbor had just installed a printer that manufactures guns in his basement.
I think the founding fathers would be pretty intrigued by 3D printers, to be honest. I certainly don’t think that there’s any evidence to support the idea that they’d be trying to ban 3D-printed guns or the materials used to make them. After all, in the pre-Industrial Revolution days of the founding fathers many firearms were locally produced, so they’d most likely view 3D printing as an amazing and (no pun intended) revolutionary way of ensuring that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Of course, Collins doesn’t appear to be a fan of armed citizens, regardless of how their firearms were built.
The stories about how a Gun Saved The Day aren’t generally all that convincing. The Heritage Foundation recently ran a list of 11 incidents in which “a gun stopped matters from getting worse.” One case involved a robber who threatened employees at a pizza restaurant in Georgia. The workers won the day by grabbing another gun and catching him off-guard. It was indeed good news. But the fact that the workers were able to get the gun because the holdup man decided to use the restaurant bathroom before leaving with the money was … kind of a help.
One problem with our gun debate is that it has the wrong starting point. Let’s raise the bar. Demand that nobody be able to purchase a gun without passing a test demonstrating she knows how to aim it. You’d be astonished at how many enthusiastic owners that would eliminate from contention.
Eleven incidents highlighted by the Heritage Foundation, and Collins chose to talk about only one of them. Wonder why that is. Could she not find anything snarky to say about the ten other defensive gun uses? If Collins doesn’t find the story of the Georgia restaurant employees defending themselves against an armed robber, what about the 12-year old in North Carolina who defended his family after a pair of home invaders shot his grandmother? Or the woman in Philadelphia who shot a man after he broke into her home? Maybe the man who stopped a machete attack at a staffing office in Florida is a more compelling defensive gun use for Collins.
The truth is that every day Americans are using their firearms in self-defense, and even if their stories don’t matter to Collins, the fact that they were able to protect themselves matters a lot to the gun owners and their families.
As for Gail Collins’ demand that nobody be able to buy a gun before they can pass a test, that would be a great way for the government to discriminate against those who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. Maybe Collins would like to impose a literacy test on voters as well. I mean, if she’s going to call for Jim Crow-style gun control laws as Collins has done, she might as well go all in on turning our civil rights into privileges.
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