Any elected Republican discussing compromise over high-capacity magazines needs to quit pussyfooting around and just get a frontal lobotomy. You can’t compromise by giving something away. If I own 10 acres of land, and you want five, we can’t compromise at two. They’re my damn acres of land.
In the gun violence debate, high-capacity magazines are a red herring. Firing 30 rounds with a single magazine or six five-round clips is a difference of about three seconds for anyone proficient with firearms. This debate isn’t about safety. The gun-control fanatics don’t care about safety. They don’t like guns. Does anyone believe that the anti-gun lobby will be satisfied if we surrender high-capacity magazines? After the next atrocity, they’ll have a new list of demands.
These are Alinskyite tactics. For those who still haven’t read “Rules for Radicals,” this is how leftists achieve their goals. They blame an enemy (the rich, big tobacco, the fossil fuels industry, corporations, Wall Street, gun owners, etc. — anyone with something to lose) and they harass that enemy until it offers a concession. Then they ask for more.
What they want is a concession. A concession, however small and inconsequential, says to the world that, yes, guns (or whatever) are evil. Concessions are an admission of guilt without a trial. Once an unsuspecting industry admits guilt, they’ve told their harassers that harassment works. The game is up. And the harassment never stops. Neither do the concessions. Over time, the small concessions become so routine that liberals start demanding larger ones. The end result is the same: less freedom and more government.
And as long as I’m predicting the future, let me look into my crystal ball. President Obama appointed Joe Biden to mastermind his gun grab, replete with buzzwords like compromise and balance and middle ground. This week Joe Biden is going to ask for something ridiculous. He’s going to point to murdered children. Then he’ll ask gun owners to be reasonable. Then he’s going to propose an infringement on the Second Amendment that gun owners can’t possibly accept. If history is any guide, the GOP will throw a high-pitched hissy fit. MSNBC will find a semi-famous gun owner saying something outrageous. The rest of the media will pick up the sound bite and go with the story. When Republican congressmen protest, Biden is going to whine in front of cameras about the intransigence of the far right. After days of vice-presidential histrionics, Biden is going to find his inner Buddha and propose a middle way. He’ll pretend that he’s acquiescing when he merely asks for a federal ban on high-capacity magazines.
That’s how conservatives lose. That’s how we always lose: We rely on reason. The facts about gun violence, common sense, our nation’s history and FBI statistics indicate that an armed America is a safer America. But cool-headed arguments don’t always prevail. Today, emotions trump facts every time.
So how can gun owners win?
Frame the debate. And get emotional.
Conservatives should be outraged about Sandy Hook. This wasn’t a hurricane or a volcano. Those innocent kids were murdered. What happened in Connecticut wasn’t an unforeseeable act of nature. It was preventable. When Biden points at dead kids and mourns, Republicans should point and speak. Ask a question: Why were those kids defenseless? How can this happen? Then answer it: It happened because naïve, utopian lawmakers wrote manifestly stupid laws which restricted guns, making children in public schools an easy target for madmen. Those murders were facilitated by a politically correct, anti-gun culture that pervades the public sector. Republicans must get outraged because what happened is outrageous.
Whoever frames the debate wins. Republicans generally let Democrats do the framing. In the coming debate, the frame could be Guns are bad. Something must be done. But it could also be Bad laws endanger kids.
In the interest of being civil, conservatives typically shy away from getting emotional and pointing fingers. Democrats are shrill and hysterical whenever they are awake, so conservatives see themselves as a natural yin to the liberal yang. But this relationship isn’t natural. It’s just a habit — one that conservatives need to kick.
President Obama was suspiciously silent on guns in his first term, but, as he told Dmitry Medvedev, November 2012 was his “last election.” Now he has “more flexibility.” Obama’s scope has been fixed on “the rich” for the last 18 months, but his aim is now squarely fixed on a new target. Obama’s political arsenal is readying for battle. Gun owners don’t have to lose, but they will if they fight conventionally.
(Yates Walker is a conservative activist and writer. Before becoming involved in politics, he served honorably as a paratrooper and a medic in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)