Following the attacks in Orlando, and because it has become the deadliest mass shooting in US history, there has been a deluge of information and (naturally) political posturing since we last met. This week, we start with a brief rundown of the attacks, then move to how gun controllers are hoping to reignite their agenda. We will move on to self-defense advocates looking to help defend those in the LGBT community and the other efforts to preserve the right to self-defense after this latest attack.
We will wrap with a look at whether gun control can survive in the present environment politically, and what lessons can be learned from the attacks.
Incidentally, before we go any further, a brief word about editorial here. We do not name mass shooters. They are not worth the time, and it is pointless to give them the infamy they crave. Throughout the Midnight Run’s Tactical Review series, the goal has been not to give the attacker(s) infamy or make them seem like monolithic masterminds, but rather to take their acts and use them only to further learn how to defend against future attacks. It is oddly satisfying to take a shooter who wanted to make history, and wanted his name to be known….only to reduce him to a clinical profile on how to stop future murderers.
I can’t control whether the news sources linked to name the shooter, but around here, the shooter only serves as an example, not as a major figure.
What follows is the result of near-constant feedback and links from the InSov team over the last week and my own work. I can not and will not take full credit for this week’s discussion, as it would not be nearly as large (or frankly, as good) without their feedback.
1.) Baseline. At 2:00 AM Eastern on June 12, a man walked into Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The man killed 49 and injured 53. Further investigation revealed that he had pledged allegiance to ISIS, which itself would later claim responsibility for the shooting. It is being investigated as an act of terrorism for this reason, although there is as yet no direct evidence that the shooter was part of ISIS.
The shooter was background checked to the hilt prior to the shooting, holding both a Florida concealed carry license and a Private Security Officer license (in other words he was background checked twice before he even had a gun). The FBI had interviewed him in the past, but could find no reason to press charges.
2.) Anti-gun. Despite this, for some unknown reason, gun control advocates have reheated calls for background checks. That is the almost mechanical reaction at this point. What is more concerning however, is the idea of banning people added to a controversial “terror watch list” that both has no public criteria and no recourse for someone who is on the list to prove they don’t belong there. In other words, banning someone from owning guns without due process of law.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) essentially complained that such gun control was, as Mediaite explains, difficult because of “constitutional protections against depriving citizens of their rights without due process of the law.”
In other words, they can’t pass gun control because of the 4th and 5th Amendments standing in their way.
In the interest of balance, it’s worth noting that the GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump, is also in support of this measure despite its blatant unconstitutionality. He even wanted to meet with the NRA, who had endorsed him, to get them to follow suit. The NRA has said that they favor due process for American citizens and that their position had not changed.
Democratic Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has proposed a revival of the Assault Weapons Ban from her husband’s administration, as well. (Trump did support an AWB back in 2000, but has since disavowed the idea as ineffective. Statistically, he is correct.)
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) has taken the anti-hate crime angle, proposing a ban on people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning firearms.
Representative Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX) has proposed background checks on “high-capacity” magazines and “assault rifles.” The term “semi-automatic assault weapon” has seen a revival, although nobody seems able to define what that actually is. There have also been calls for banning the AR-15, although that doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere, either.
3.) Pro-gunners. The reason gun control legislation faces such an uphill fight is due in large part to the active resistance those efforts have been facing in recent years from an ever expanding self-defense movement. Of particular note in this instance, of course, are two pro-gun groups focused on the LGBT community, namely Pink Pistols (easily the most well-known such group, who also released a statement on the matter), and the Facebook page LGBT for Gun Rights. Both groups have argued that LGBT people need to carry a firearm for personal protection, and should have the right to do so if they choose. This response to and by LGBT people has shown up in West Hollywood, with rainbow signs carrying the hashtag “#shootback” popping up throughout the city.
In Texas, CJ Grisham’s group, Open Carry Texas, has offered to provide an armed escort “for any event, rally, or large outing in which people within the LGBT community need or want some peace of mind.” Texas’ Attorney General, Ken Paxton, told The Glenn Beck Program that Texas would go to court over any legislation they saw as infringing on the rights of Texans to defend themselves.
In Missouri, Bates County Sheriff Chad Anderson announced that he is waiving CCW license fees for the rest of June in response to the Orlando shooting.
But, at least in my opinion, two of the best responses to the shooting have come from NRANews contributors Colion Noir, and Dom Raso. On his personal YouTube, Noir delivered a blazing monologue on the tendency of gun control advocates (or “gun safety advocates” as they suddenly call themselves) to exploit tragedy for the purposes of advancing their agenda rather than supporting people’s ability to protect themselves and their families.
Former Navy SEAL Dom Raso, on the other hand, zeroes in on the obsession over the AR-15, and draws from his own experience to explain why the rifle is an excellent tool for home defense, and how its critics simply do not understand its purpose or even how it functions.
On the slightly more humorous side of things (though, frankly, the ultimate evidence of Raso’s monologue), is a New York Daily News article about a reporter, Gene Kuntzman, who apparently was neither ready for nor aware of what occurs when an AR is fired. His article has become the (rifle) butt of many jokes for its hyper-dramatic (and stunningly ignorant) interpretation of what happens when an AR-15 is fired. From the AR apparently bruising the reporter’s shoulder (despite the AR having almost no recoil to speak of), to the follow-up from the author on whether a handgun could carry a nuke, both articles have become case studies in the gun control movement’s over-reliance on drama.
4.) Bottom Line. Regardless of anti-gun efforts, there is almost no chance of gun control succeeding in the present environment. The current proposals by anti-gun Democrats in Congress are so bad progressive outlets like Mother Jones can’t stand them. Additionally, CCW permits have surged over the last few years, and NICS checks consistently set records, indicating a very healthy market for firearms. Stand Your Ground laws have expanded across the country as well, as self-defense becomes more accepted as a natural right (and a responsibility).
Additionally, I would note to you that when we meet on July 2nd, Georgia’s HB60 will have turned two years old. This is despite the promises of the end times we had to deal with when it was first passed.
Reuters has noted that there is “scant hope” for any real “reform” from Congress, as well.
The simple reality is that the anti-gun movement is now based purely on emotion, and its main advocates seem to be willing to play that last card to the hilt, as we saw with the 14-hour filibuster.
But gun control cannot stand on any other level. It certainly cannot fight terror. (Fighting is the antithesis of gun control, which is based entirely on disarmament and defenselessness.) It certainly cannot provide reasonable solutions for a person’s own defense, and it most definitely cannot, therefore, provide reasonable solutions for defending the rights of others.
What is most shocking here is the desperation with which the anti-gun talking points have been paraded. This is the movement’s attempt at another Newtown. They want to reignite what they had hoped would be enough emotion and fear to make just about any gun control legislation sail through after the tragedy in Orlando.
That isn’t happening, and with naked attacks on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments as the main focus of this new effort, their actual motives could not possibly have been more clear.
Gun control isn’t going anywhere, the right to self-defense is expanding everywhere.
Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.