By Larry Keane
Call it gun control brain freeze. The Democratic presidential candidates pained themselves into contortions on the New Hampshire debate stage last week in what was clearly symptomatic of sucking on the straw of the same ice-cold talking point concoctions.
It hurts the head just thinking about it.
Democratic candidates were finally forced to take questions on their plans for gun control. None of the answers were original and offered only ignorance of facts, vilification and double-speak. It would have been preferable to have a carnival barker at the far end of the stage shouting out the answers for them. Except they did it themselves, harping for a ban on modern sporting rifles, continuing to conflate the semiautomatic rifle with the military’s M-16.
Sen. Sanders Changing Views on Rights
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took the first question about how he was once pro- but is now anti-gun and how did he reconcile his conversion. Sen. Sanders’ answer was simple.
“The world has changed,” he said.
Sen. Sanders explained that law-abiding Americans should be forced to surrender fundamental rights over crimes committed by individuals. Sen. Sanders argued that since he and other gun control advocates can’t bring themselves to hold the actual criminals responsible for the crimes they commit, then the rights of all Americans aren’t worthy of Constitutional protections. They should be altered, chipped away and rewritten to match popular moods. This, of course, doesn’t make them rights at all, but privileges granted by a ruling mob, only to be yanked when the winds shift and the group thinks differently.
On Sen. Sanders’ list of changes, he said he’d end the “straw man provision.” Sen. Sanders should already know that lying on a background check form by stating the firearm is for you when it is really for someone else is already a felony punishable with a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for 20 years to educate retailers and warn the public of this danger through the Don’t Lie for the Other GuyTM program.
Former VP Biden: Sue the Industry
Former Vice President Joe Biden tried to burnish his credentials as being a “middle ground” guy by saying he was from a “major gun owning state,” without clarifying if that was Pennsylvania, where Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is calling for more gun control even as he slashes budgets for school security, or Delaware, where the former vice president was once a senator and from which he proudly laid claim to authoring the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
His answer to confronting criminal misuse of firearms, though, was as predictable as it is wrong. It’s hardly surprising, since he previously called the firearms industry “the enemy.” He again attacked the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
“First thing I’ll do as President is work to get rid of that,” said the former vice president. “We ought to be able to sue the gun industry.” By that logic, GM and Ford should get ready to defend themselves against lawsuits for drunk driving crimes.
SEE ALSO: Delaware Senator Refuses to Apologize for Saying Gun Control Could Cause Another Holocaust
Sen. Warren: More Gun Control to Fix Failed Gun Control
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) admitted that every other attempt at gun control failed and what’s really needed is more gun control.
“We need to think of this problem not as one and done or three things and done,” Sen. Warren explained. “We just keep coming back. We treat it like the public health emergency that it is.”
Sen. Sanders agreed. He said reinstating the failed ban on semiautomatic rifles was just the start.
“We make certain that we end the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country, and we go further,” he said. “We go further, but at the bottom line is I will not be intimidated by the NRA.”
Except there are two immediate problems with those argument. First, it admits that every gun control law shoved down the throats of law-abiding Americans is a failure. That would suggest each candidate is only offering a circular path and leading to unending calls for more gun control until confiscation happens. Second, it ignores the fact crime fell even after the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expired and sales of the most popular centerfire rifle climbed to more than 17.7 million in circulation today. The FBI just reported the 2019 preliminary reports showed crime continues to fall. Violent crimes fell 3.1 percent while property crimes fell 5.6 percent. Those aren’t off years. Those are continuing trends over several years of falling crime rates.
Mayor Pete: Go After Criminals, Except Not for Guns
But Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former mayor for South Bend, Ind., accidentally made sense. Except he didn’t know it and won’t admit it. Buttigieg was defending against accusations his policies on drug enforcement were racially imbalanced. He countered that South Bend law enforcement focused “cases where there was a connection to the most violent group or gang connected to a murder.”
So, Mayor Pete would go after those who commit the crimes in the name of drug enforcement, but when it comes to guns, the law-abiding must surrender their guns and their rights.
That’s gun control brain freeze. It’s what happens when you drink up the gun control too quickly. None of it makes sense and it just hurts.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.