According to the media, I am the evil “gun lobby.” Far from being a shill for gun manufacturers, however, I – and thousands like me – don’t get paid for advocacy. So widely ridiculed are media fantasies about “the gun lobby” that Neal Knox, who made the NRA a legislative juggernaut, drew standing ovations from adoring throngs by opening speeches with, “Hello, gun lobby!”
Ironically, it’s usually anti-gun organizations that hire lobbyists, typically using limousine liberal money from such as the Joyce Foundation, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and billionaires George Soros, Andrew McKelvey and Michael Bloomberg. Because grassroots action beats big-buck lobbying nearly every time, however, Bloomberg purchased the illusion of popular support through “astroturf” fronts like “Moms Demand Action” and “Everytown for Gun Safety.”
Alas, illusion won’t win the day. Real grassroots organizations, plus gun-control greed, are killing the bump stock ban, and gun-ban advocates have only themselves to blame. Despite immediate NRA capitulation, grassroots Second Amendment groups are busy thrashing Congress. Accordingly, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recently demurred on congressional action and even perennial gun banner Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) advised his party to back off.
Why kill legislation to ban devices virtually nobody likes? Before Las Vegas victims were even identified, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) drafted legislation ostensibly banning bump stocks. But by banning anything that “accelerates the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle,” Feinstein’s language covers muzzle compensators, trigger jobs, optical sights and other common accessories enabling shooters to hit targets quickly, potentially making criminals of competitive shooters.
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Feinstein’s over-reaching is neither new nor accidental, but rather the latest in a strategy, stretching back to the 1968 Gun Control Act, to incrementally end private gun ownership.
Consider the 1994 Brady Act, which requires the FBI to expunge transaction records from the “National Instant Background Check System” (NICS) to prevent it from being used for gun registration. Yet Bill Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno, ordered transaction records be retained in violation of the law – a practice reversed only years later by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Barack Obama further abused NICS to deny gun rights to 260,381 veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and, later, to Social Security beneficiaries who designated “payees” to handle finances. Slavering for the day they can turn NICS into a proper gun-registration system, gun-control advocates now assure us we need “universal background checks” to record all gun transfers in the system.
Why registration? Because they can’t confiscate what they can’t find. Consider Upstate New York retired veteran Don Hall, who registered guns per state law. Then New York passed the “S.A.F.E. Act,” further restricting gun ownership. One day, as Hall sat in his living room, deputies showed up to confiscate his guns, informing him he’d been (wrongfully) deemed a “mental defective” by the state.
But gun control doesn’t sell with voters. Having lost national elections largely over support for gun control in 1994, 2000 and 2016, gun-ban advocates learned to camouflage their agenda behind benign-sounding names like “gun safety” (from “safety experts” who couldn’t tell you which end spits out the bullet) and “universal background checks.”
When overconfident, however, they let slip the truth, as when former Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told reporters, “They’re going to say, ‘You give them bump stock, it’s going to be a slippery slope.’ I certainly hope so.”
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence director Becky Ceartas demonstrated similar over-eagerness in saying, “Of course, banning or heavily regulating bump stocks is an important first step, but it barely scratches the surface of what’s needed to address our gun violence epidemic.” (Worry not, she assures us, “We are not embarking upon some slippery slope toward gun prohibition as the gun lobby alarmists will claim.”)
Her most transparently absurd ruse, however, lies in advocating “reasonable steps to strengthen our freedom and liberty by enacting common-sense regulations on weapons.”
Yes siree, that’s the ticket: Unconstitutional infringement of your right to bear arms in the interest of “strengthening liberty.”
When you hear gun-control advocates clamor about “closing loopholes” in order to keep guns out of the “wrong hands,” understand that “the wrong hands” are your hands, and the “loophole” they intend to close is your right to bear arms.
F. Paul Valone is president of Grass Roots North Carolina and radio host of “Guns, Politics and Freedom.”