What's With Suggesting Moratorium On Gun Sales, Anyway?

What's With Suggesting Moratorium On Gun Sales, Anyway?
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star ran a guest column recently that really took the cake. Writer Michael Cogbill thought it was a good idea to place a moratorium on legal gun sales in the state for the next 20 years. Cam addressed this one already.


Seriously, that’s weapons-grade stupid.

However, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Larry Keane also has thoughts on it.

Stick around long enough and the craziest gun control ideas come out of the woodwork. The latest is to hit a 20-year pause button on the Second Amendment.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star guest contributor and gun control advocate Michael Cogbill suggested law-abiding Pennsylvanians should be hamstrung and cut off from protecting themselves and force a stop to the legal sale of firearms. Twenty years and a pinky promise to give it back.

What’s more is Cogbill’s laundry list of why Pennsylvania politicians should show “courage” and institute a 20-year “blockade on the production and import of firearms” are actually the very legitimate reasons why a record number of Americans chose to legally buy a gun during the past 18 months.

Courage isn’t the word that comes to mind. It’s lunacy and Cogbill would put Pennsylvanians in danger.

No arguments.

But I can’t help but wonder just why anyone would suggest such a thing.

First, there are the obvious cries for attention. Maybe Cogbill didn’t get enough attention at home, so now he’s crying out for it now. So, he says stupid things in an effort to get people talking about him.

That’s probably a good guess as to why he wrote what he did.

However, I’m not sure that’s the totality of it. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn this is an attempt to move the Overton window. Basically, say something so completely crazy and generate some support for the idea, then less insane suggestions sound downright reasonable by comparison.


After comparison to a moratorium on all gun manufacturing and imports–which will effectively shut down any and all gun sales in Pennsylvania–something like universal background checks doesn’t sound nearly so bad, now do they?

That’s kind of the point. As the Overton Window shifts, ideas that were downright insane at one time are now seriously considered. The trick to getting as much as you want is to shift the window as far as possible in the direction you want so you actually end up with what you wanted and maybe a bit more.

Cogbill’s proposal can’t actually be a serious suggestion. No gun control advocate with enough IQ points to actually form human speech would actually believe lawmakers would pass such a moratorium. Further, no gun rights advocate would be stupid enough to believe that once in place, it would end after 20 years.

No, Cogbill did it for another reason, and while attention is a pretty good reason, I can’t help but think that this is a play for far more. And really, after a suggestion like this, almost anything else will look sane by comparison.

It’s kind of hard not to believe that was the goal all along.

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