Letting Fear of Dems’ Next Moves Force a Gun Control ‘Compromise’ is Doomed to Fail

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Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., waits to speak to reporters outside the chamber to answer questions about his efforts to reach a bipartisan Senate agreement on gun control. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

There’s a common theme I’ve seen among people who support giving in to Democrats on guns. While the details differ, the basic idea is that we should be afraid that, absent some sort of “reasonable” compromise, Democrats will take action to finish off gun rights for good.

How precisely would they do this? The fear is that they’ll decide that Republicans aren’t working with them, and they’ll feel the need to finally scuttle the filibuster in the Senate. This would lower the threshold for strict gun control laws to 51 votes (which they barely have). Then, when the courts strike these blatantly unconstitutional laws down, they’ll make good on their threats and start adding judges to the Supreme Court who will vote to keep strict gun control laws in place. This, they argue, would mean the fight is over and we’ve lost forever. To ward off this threat, some ostensibly pro-gunners argue that in the face of such grave threats to gun rights, we should give a little as “damage control” to keep something worse from happening.

What these people miss is that we seem to do this every few years, “compromising” with anti-gunners, and could end up with more limits on our rights anyway. They don’t see that the right to keep and bear arms is aways on a salami slicing machine, and that this strategy has done nothing but further the march to civilian disarmament in slow motion.

‘But This Is A Grave Threat!’

Yeah, I get that. I get that as far as the law is concerned, ramming through the Democrats’ gun legislation and rigging the Supreme Court to declare them constitutional would mean we’ve exhausted our last lawful appeal and we’d be stuck with strict federal gun control.

But the law doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Passing strict gun control and getting the top court to sign off on it using a move of questionable legitimacy wouldn’t be the end of the fight. If anything, it would push the fight over gun rights out of the political arena and into other arenas, some of which the Democrat Party knows they wouldn’t stand a chance in.

Where The Fight Would Go Next

The obvious first arena is public opinion. While there are many people who would support such moves, there are many who would consider it a direct attack on their way of life. When even the “Fudds” who think the Second Amendment only applies to duck hunting end up affected and there’s nothing left to do but get laughed at by the dog, the opposition to gun control would coalesce and expand. The next time there’s a “red wave” election, these laws could easily be repealed and the court could either be shrunk back down to size (or packed even further).

we will not comply
Dan Z. for TTAG

Another arena is the simple refusal by gun owners to comply. Even people who deeply care about the rule of law in normal times would probably see the end of the filibuster and a packed court as moves completely lacking any legitimacy. Many people would then simply refuse to follow the law.

Just as during prohibition, many law enforcement officers wouldn’t care too much to help enforce it. In the few places where it was actively enforced, images of police shooting old men and women who refuse to give up their firearms would look just as bad as school shootings. There would be significant momentum to do something and repeal unworkable, unconstitutional bans.

Actual Violence

A third arena that should frighten anyone with an IQ greater than their shoe size is the possibility of widespread armed insurrection. If only a few thousand people decide they’re done with the current system and conclude that it’s time to fertilize the proverbial tree of liberty, the results would be devastating.

Before I go on, I want to make one thing very clear: I’m not calling for what I’m about to describe. I’m not going to engage in this stuff, nor would most readers here. The goal here is to explore something that I think could happen whether we want it to or not, because as anyone knows who spends much time on the internet, people talk about armed resistance to further the cause of gun control.

Yes, as some of our greatest legislative minds have pointed out, the U.S. military has everything from nuclear weapons to stealth fighter jets to tanks. What they never seem to mention, though, is that most of that weaponry was brought to bear in Afghanistan for almost two decades against goat herders with limited education, training, and economic resources.

The result? The U.S. military left in shame and chaos, putting the Taliban are back in charge.

Add in the fact that, if violence broke out here, many in the military wouldn’t go along with orders to do battle against fellow Americans over gun control — in addition to the fact that many of those opposing the government would be veterans themselves — and the federal government has even less of a chance at successfully using a military option.

John Cornyn
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Would law enforcement mop up a rebellion? Anyone who thinks that obviously forgot about the chaos of October 2002. When random people were getting shot near Washington, DC, all hell broke loose. People (wrongly) started calling police every time a white van or box truck parked anywhere, because initial reports said that a van or box truck fled the scene after several of the shootings (hint: box trucks and work vans are always everywhere).

Kids were kept indoors for most of the month. Tarps were put up to block the view of gas stations to avoid more shootings at those. Many people just stopped leaving home altogether.

The whole country was on edge for a month, and people living near DC lived in actual fear for their lives. Hysterical media reports told people that the use of 5.56mm rounds meant the shooter must have come from a military or law enforcement background. Others said it could be the work of Al Qaeda, following up after 9/11.

Some of the media coverage was made up entirely because a reporter for a prominent paper wanted to feed off of the hysteria and mystery.

The truth? The panic was the work of a man and a teenage boy who were firing at people through a hole they had cut in the trunk of an old Chevy Caprice, then driving away to go shoot someone else.

This isn’t the only time a very few people bent on violence have caused so much widespread chaos. Whole cities were put on lockdown during the manhunt for the brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon and got in subsequent gunfights with cops. Violent riots in Minneapolis in the wake of the murder of George Floyd led to lockdowns, and police started shooting random people with paintball guns. The hunt for a cop-killer in Southern California who had declared “unconventional and asymmetric warfare” on the LAPD had area police departments in a panic for more than a week.

If a relatively small number of idiots could cause that much mayhem, what would be the result of more widespread violence? Government officials would have no choice but to either back down on gun control or double down on it in a knee-jerk reaction, putting the general public under lockdown with door-to-door searches, and other oppressive measures that would only magnify the violence.

Gun owners who initially weren’t going to comply, but didn’t want any part in the violence would feel they had no choice. If it got bad enough, people who never cared either way about guns or gun rights would probably enter on both sides.

The truth is, no one knows what that worst-case situation and it would likely spin further and further out of control. It wouldn’t be pretty, and it wouldn’t be pleasant for politicians or anyone who isn’t prepared for hard times.

The Right Answer To Calls For Compromise

When facing a political threat, compromise might seem like the best way to avoid losing entirely. I get that. But, the slippery slope argument seems more and more likely. The gun control community isn’t hiding their desire for more, no matter what happens in the Senate. We can’t assume that even a rigged Senate and a packed Court would be the end of it. They know as well as we do that the push for full civilian disarmament would be far from over, even at that point.

Instead of cast our pearls before the legislative swine, we should realize that they only intend to come back at us again after the next mass shooting. As such, the appropriate response to threats of filibuster manipulation and Court packing shouldn’t be a partial surrender. The only sane response to demands for “compromise” is, No…try it and see what happens.



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