Gun control advocates are throwing up every argument they can think of in an attempt to put new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms in place, though the Senate continues to be the stopping point (at least for now) on any gun control bill that might pass the House. Over at POLITICO, two former members of the National Security Council during Barack Obama’s administration argue that Joe Biden needs to reframe his gun ban efforts in the name of national security; particularly the “growing, and heavily armed, American militia movement.”
Generating bipartisan consensus for an effective crackdown on firearms will always be difficult. While gun control is now unlikely to lose existing supporters, it is also unlikely to win many new ones. But reframing the issue as a national security imperative could galvanize passive backers now focused by the assault on the Capitol on maintaining political stability in the United States. A plausible objective would be to impel the U.S. government to take further substantial regulatory steps and to lay the groundwork for effective legislation should the Democrats consolidate their Senate majority in 2022.
Where to begin with this nonsense? I’m not sure why Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson believe that gun control is unlikely to lose support, given the fact that we saw record high numbers of gun sales last year and millions of first-time gun owners. In Maryland, for example, the number of residents applying for a gun permit grew 100% last year, and I doubt all of them were hardcore Second Amendment supporters who’d just never gotten around to purchasing a gun before.
The idea of pitching Biden’s gun ban and confiscation plans as a way of “maintaining political stability” in the United States is even more laughable. Have Simon and Stevenson seen any of the headlines about states becoming Second Amendment Sanctuaries and declaring that they won’t help enforce any new federal gun control laws? Banning and confiscating tens of millions of lawfully acquired rifles and pistols would lead to a further deterioration of our political system, with dozens of states and millions of Americans vowing to resist Biden’s gun ban plans.
Large-scale confiscation and deradicalization and are not realistic prospects in the near future. But an assault weapons ban does seem within the Biden administration’s political grasp. If the president wants to follow through on his desire to rebuild American democracy, a push to curb gun violence offers an invaluable opportunity and a potentially persuasive argument.
Not unconstitutional. Not morally repugnant. Not a sign of authoritarianism. Just “unrealistic.”
Whether Simon and Stevenson understand this or not, the fact remains that their ideas would lead to the radicalization of millions of “normies” and would make things far worse in this country than they already are. You don’t “rebuild democracy” by stripping Americans of their rights. In fact, I’d argue the opposite is true. By respecting and taking seriously the Second Amendment rights that we possess, we could start to rebuild the broken bonds and the deep divides in our current political system. The problem is that the vast majority of Democrats have no interest in doing that.
Instead, they want to repackage their moldy old ideas in a shiny new box; in this case “national security.” That the argument is weak and suffers from obvious flaws is unimportant to Simon and Stevenson. What really matters to them is that Biden and his allies on Capitol Hill keep pushing to turn the Second Amendment into a dead letter, even if it makes our current political situation even worse.