Another year is unfolding with state legislatures and Congress back in action, and there is no doubt that anti-gun lawmakers — virtually all of them Democrats — will once again push proposals designed to erode the Second Amendment, all in the effort to “get guns off the streets.”
Here is a piece of advice for the “party of gun control,” the nickname by which Democrats have come to be known.
If you’re concerned about the number of firearms in the hands of an increasing number of law-abiding citizens, stop promoting legislation that smacks of regulation, registration or outright bans. If that’s not clear enough, to “get guns off the street” you must first take them off the table.
Take the subject off the grid. Stop trying to squeeze a headline out of symbolic gestures that are bereft of substance.
Knock it off. Give it up. Walk away. In case you haven’t figured it out, every time in recent memory that some gun prohibitionist in your ranks has launched a new gun control measure, firearm and ammunition sales go up.
Recall when the Democrat-controlled Congress instituted the Clinton administration ban on so-called “assault weapons” and standard capacity magazines? There was a rush on gun stores, and a 10-year supply of firearms and magazines was sold in less than a year. A couple of months later — in November 1994 — angry gun owners descended on the polls and took Congress and a number of legislatures away from your party, and it took more than a decade to get some of them back.
This past year has seen record sales of guns and ammunition in response to gun control legislation pushed by Democrats from the White House on down to state legislatures and even local city councils.
Look what happened in Colorado in 2013. Two Democrats were thrown out of office by their furious constituents and a third had to take a hit for the party in order to avoid losing the state Senate majority. If you honestly believe that cannot happen elsewhere, you’ve forgotten the sage advice of the late Tip O’Neill, who reminded his fellow Democrats that “all politics is local.”
Simply put, gun laws backfire, and in the process Democrats create new enemies and Republicans make new friends. Do that enough times to shift sentiment in each precinct by one or two percent, and you create a tidal wave. There are a handful of smug Democrats in safe districts, but a lot more are in swing districts where people are seething over issues including the economy, their jobs and their health care.
Do you honestly want to add gun control to that volatile mix with a campaign season just months away?
These perennial assaults on the Second Amendment will only result in a backlash that your party didn’t see coming in 1994, and what happened in Colorado should be a warning sign. So long as Democrats continue pushing measures that penalize law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to stop crime, the nation’s firearms community will conclude that the party is at war with the people, and the people will eventually fight back.
Alan Gottlieb is chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.