As most of you know, the battle to protect our rights is a war without end. No matter how many wins our side racks up, our adversaries never give up. They regroup; they change tactics; they look for any soft spot in our defenses. But surrender? Never.
Two recent examples are so-called universal background checks and red flag laws. Both of these initiatives have been packaged with innocent-sounding terms (such as “reasonable” and “common sense”) designed to sway the general public. But their clever marketing has also had an influence on some gun owners.
I talk to a lot of gun owners at gun shops, ranges and local gun shows. Lately, what has disturbed me is the number of times I have heard a gun owner express a willingness to consider some of these dangerous proposals. Many of these people simply seem to be terrified of being labeled “unreasonable” or “right-wing” just for opposing bad laws.
I get it; with all of the coverage of anti-gun-rights protestors and the events that feature sympathetic survivors of school shootings, people do not want to feel like they are on the other side of children, even though they obviously are not. After all, we also have children and grandchildren whom we want to keep safe. We just do not agree with the solutions the gun-control activists are pushing. But a disturbing number of gun owners have begun showing weak knees.
This is not surprising. It has long been known that the most effective propaganda is emotional imagery combined with a basic theme. Then, once the template is created, it is repeated over and over until it becomes stuck in the public mindset. A silly but excellent example is that annoying Kars for Kids commercial. You hate it, but you have heard it so many times that you cannot get it out of your head.
Thus, terms such as “common sense” and “gun safety” are endlessly parroted by both anti-gun legislators and sympathetic journalists. They have learned that gun control does not resonate with a large majority of Americans, even those who do not own guns. But the idea of keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them is a theme that is almost impossible to challenge. But challenge we must by repeatedly contacting our local, state and federal representatives as well as law enforcement. Just be sure to keep your arguments simple and short: “Universal background checks will do nothing to stop criminals, terrorists or the mentally deranged from getting a gun. Gangs such as MS-13, the Crips, the Bloods and others will not suddenly decide to buy their guns legally. Such laws will only turn otherwise innocent citizens into criminals.”
Note also that because such registration schemes are doomed to fail, the failure itself will be used as an excuse to up the ante to their real goal: national gun registration.
The same goes for red flag laws, which sound reasonable but are rife with the potential to be abused by police, a hostile neighbor or a vindictive ex-spouse. Just this past month, Colorado began considering House Bill 1436, which would allow family, roommates, household members and law enforcement to have an individual’s guns taken away without a hearing.
So, make your voice heard. Oppose any red flag laws that do not include full constitutional due process protections — no exceptions. Otherwise, you or someone you know might become an unintended consequence of a badly written law.
Stay safe. Stay involved.