As the firearms industry gathers here in Las Vegas for the opening day of the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show, there are quiet conversations all ending with the ultimate question: Just how much more are we going to accept?
“We” is a nebulous term because to anti-gunners it might refer only to gun makers and retailers, and the leadership of organizations like the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and other groups.
In the firearms community, however, it refers to the more inclusive “all of us” that applies to the estimated 80-100 million gun owners in this country. Today, New York State gun owners are waiting for a shoe to drop on their right to own the kinds of firearms that Judge Andrew Napolitano argued convincingly the other day should specifically be protected by the Second Amendment: Firearms one would equate with militia/military service.
Napolitano is on to something, and gun prohibitionists know it. The Second Amendment, as SAF’s Alan Gottlieb and many others have often repeated, “ain’t about duck hunting.”
Sometime Tuesday, the Obama administration is likely to announce several steps it will take to curb so-called “gun violence,” a term that is offensive to those gathering this week in the Sands Convention Center because it deliberately links firearms to violence and demonizes guns as an exclusive tool of violent criminals. It has been a clever deception because the national press has swallowed it without first checking the label. There is much speculation about what may be coming.
The national press is descending on the SHOT Show, perhaps with some hopes of seeing gun makers and dealers squirm uncomfortably. They may be in for a surprise.
One question they may not have the wherewithal to ask is “How much more regulation, restriction and infringement are American gun owners going to accept before they fight back?”
That is a reasonable question because 19 years ago, the nation did get a hint after the Democrat-controlled Congress seemed to willingly commit political suicide for Bill Clinton by passing the Brady Law in 1993 and the Clinton ban on so-called “assault weapons” — another term of demonization — in 1994. In November 1994, gun owners reacted and threw out dozens of politicians who voted for that ban, including House Speaker Tom Foley of Spokane.
Clinton subsequently blamed the NRA, but instead should have blamed himself for the loss of Congress to Republicans. He pushed hard for the ban, using a lot of political capital. It cost him dearly, but it cost his fellow Democrats a lot more.
As this column noted yesterday, one Texas congressman is already talking about impeachment if Mr. Obama uses executive orders to ratchet down on firearms owners. If Mr. Obama wants to waste a major part of the next year fighting an impeachment process, that’s up to him. After November 2014 — when angry voters with lighter paychecks may do to Democrats what gun owners did 20 years before — Obama could easily have a two-year lame duck period with a Republican Congress that will exact some payback.
Another counter-offensive could easily be in the courts as firearms makers could sue for injunctive relief from onerous executive orders while SAF and NRA fight other legal battles. The most likely target of a major legal fight will be in New York against the gun legislation that now threatens Empire State gun owners.
An executive order affecting firearms imports could be devastating to various companies whose products are manufactured overseas, in Germany, Austria, Italy, Turkey, Israel and the Philippines. There are financial fortunes at stake, not to mention questions about restraint of trade.
And there will be the legislative battles at which the NRA has proven time and again it is masterful.
All of that could begin today. A line in the sand must be drawn sometime, and as Captain John Parker — dying of tuberculosis at the time — told the Lexington militia members he commanded on the morning of April 19, “If they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
Mr. Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other anti-gunners including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, seem intent on starting a political war over gun rights. Some people think it is no coincidence that all of this is happening as the SHOT Show opens here in Las Vegas.
It promises to be an interesting week.