trump3 gun culture

Election 2016 is radically different than any I can recall in my lifetime, mainly because there are so many unknowns. It’s pretty clear that there is pervasive frustration among large swaths of the citizenry. The fact that a non-traditional politician, Donald Trump, swept the primaries – even though both sides of the establishment put up every possible obstacle – tells us something. A lot of people are really tired of how Washington operates, on both sides of the aisle.

What has the traditional pundits completely stumped is what’s going to happen come election day. Sure, the mainstream media already has Hillary picking out new Lincoln bedroom wallpaper, but it’s also pretty clear that they’re resorting to desperate measures to prop up perpetual candidate Hillary. Why? Got me. Maybe they’re just giddy about the idea of the first woman president. Or perhaps it’s just general agreement with her policy positions. Or, more likely, they’re panicked that Trump will spoil “Hillary’s turn” to be president.

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Whatever the cause, the blatant efforts to discredit one while ignoring the transgressions of the other is somewhat sickening if you still believe in the role of a free press in this country.

Admittedly, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know that this election is going to be harder to predict than any other in my lifetime. On the flip side, I don’t expect too many surprises after the winner is in office. When it comes to the topic of guns and the Second Amendment, both candidates have been pretty clear about what their priorities would be as President of the United States.

With the usual caveat that elected officials often veer off into unexpected trajectories once they win the office, let’s take a look at two different Americas for the firearms owner, one under Hillary Clinton and the other under Donald Trump. While these scenarios are theoretical, I also think they’re realistic.

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Hillary’s America

If we take Hillary at her word (that’s kind of funny I realize, but bear with me for a minute), one of her biggest short-term priorities will be to kill off the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) of 2005. She’s been railing on this law throughout the campaign.

To refresh your memory, this law was enacted to prevent the frivolous lawsuits being levied against the gun industry for the sole purpose of driving companies out of business by making the cost of doing business unsustainable. At the time this law was passed, the strategy du jour of gun control organizations was to file lawsuit after lawsuit, with or without merit, for the sole purpose of driving up the cost for gun companies to defend. If I had a lot of money and wanted to bankrupt you, all I would have to do is launch an endless stream of lawsuits against you. Whether or not they had merit would be irrelevant because you’d be forced to defend your innocence at great cost. The PLCAA was enacted to put a stop to that abusive behavior. Important note: In no way, shape or form does it release gun companies from liability from negligent behavior.

So how will Hillary kill the PLCAA? My bet is in the courts. Her rhetoric about the gun industry being the only industry in existence protected from their own bad behavior sounds logical and even rational – if you pay no attention to facts, details and truth. Yet that’s how the court of public opinion operates and, with hand-picked justices in Hillary’s Supreme Court, they’d likely find a convenient way to support the trial by media. Would Congress address it? I doubt it. Even with a slight Democratic majority, the election backlash after the Assault Weapons Ban is still fresh on the minds of those who dedicate their lives to the important public service of keeping their high-paying jobs and generous pensions.

The net result will be that gun companies will start to shut their doors. The privately owned ones simply won’t be able to sustain the eternal legal bills. Publicly traded companies such as Smith & Wesson and Ruger will experience shareholder pressure to either kowtow to government demands, or move into other lines of business. Shareholders want financial returns, it’s as simple as that.

Next on the list, I see a category gun ban. Again, even with a Congressional majority, which may or may not happen, a sweeping new law banning guns would not be a popular Congressional agenda item. With people opposing a new assault weapon ban by a ratio of two to one, that’s not likely to be a priority in the big voting rooms where legislative deals are made. The process of killing imports of “undesirable” guns, ammo and accessories is fairly easy. What’s harder, but still doable, is finding new regulatory gotchas that re-categorizes existing guns into “more evil” ones. Expect to see an endless list of re-categorizations, where each new rule removes a small set of guns from legal ownership or transfer. Remember the M855 ammo “re-categorization” effort earlier this year? Drip, drip, drip on this strategy.

Even without an outright category ban, it will be easy for Madame President to wreak havoc with executive actions, executive orders, and encouraging phone calls to her new federal employees. Remember, all those agencies that fill the parking lots of Washington D.C. report to the president. Unlike politicians, they can keep their jobs forever, so they’re going to listen to whatever boss currently has a 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address on their business card.

If Hillary wants to create a boatload of new regulatory obstacles to selling firearms, all it takes is a phone call to 1-800-ATF. I can’t even begin to imagine the possibilities. She might dream up dozens of new onerous and expensive business practice regulations for anyone in the business of manufacturing firearms, ammunition or accessories. How about a quick memo or two to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve suggesting extra scrutiny on banks who have customers in the firearms business? In theory, Congress can stop such bad behavior. In reality, they’re not going to be able to deal with a flood of new regulatory garbage, even if they do have the will.

Here’s the bottom line: No president can or will execute a door-to-door gun round up and confiscation program. Those who argue that “Obama didn’t take away all the guns, so neither will Hillary!” are either stupid or intellectually dishonest. He’s done everything in his power –  and much outside of his power –  to dry up gun rights, ownership, importation and manufacture. That’s the strategy folks – death by a thousand cuts – not a one-time confiscation. In Obama’s case, gun control is not even one of his top priorities. In Hillary’s case, she comes right out and admits that gun control will be at the top of her to-do list. You can count on the “death by a thousand cuts” strategy to amp up by a factor of 10 under her administration.

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Donald’s America

By all indications, Candidate Trump’s sons have influenced his opinions on gun rights and Second Amendment issues. In Trump’s own words: “I have two sons who don’t just believe in the Second Amendment, they live it. They hunt, target shoot, shoot competitively and carry firearms for personal protection.”

Frankly, I’m optimistic about the gun culture in Trump’s America. In his words, “Over the past 15 years, I’ve learned a great deal about how we can protect the good people of this country from those who mean to do us harm. Gun control is not the answer – protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens is the answer.”

At the top of the list, and very soon into Trump’s term, I believe he’ll nominate conservative (and by that I mean constitutional) justices to the Supreme Court. We have one opening now, and others sure to follow in short order. He’s provided a list of twenty of so prospective candidates already, and the list is stellar. Simply put, I don’t see any upside for him to do otherwise. What possible benefit could he see to publishing a list like he has and then turning around and nominating another Kagan or Sotomayor?

Unlike Hillary, Donald isn’t an ideologue bent on reshaping the Second Amendment to his personal opinions. Besides, he cares about other things far more than gutting the Second Amendment, such as getting the economy moving and dealing with this health care fiasco.

I think Trump would also make some meaningful progress against the existence of gun-free zones. He states his intentions simply, “Gun free zones – we’re getting rid of them.” We live in a Democratic republic, not a dictatorship, so he wouldn’t be able to strike them down via executive order. However, even with an unfriendly media, the President of the United States owns the biggest microphone in the country. A drumbeat that educates the public on the fallacy of gun-free zones would go a long way toward driving state governments, local municipalities, and private businesses to make better decisions.

I also forecast that Trump will exert positive influence against Congress pushing for more national gun control legislation. One thing he has proven is that he’ll say what’s on his mind, regardless of what others think. I suspect he’d be consistently vocal over time about his refusal to sign any new gun control legislation landing on his desk. The odds of a gun control bill getting enough traction to override a presidential veto are about the same as Michael Moore becoming the next national 3-gun champion, so a clear and proactive message of non-support from the White House would likely have the effect of diminishing the number of hours that Congress spends fretting about gun laws.

Make no mistake: It’s very easy for a committed president to cause great damage, mainly because they can stack the Supreme Court and therefore control two of the three branches of government. In theory, Congress makes the laws and can override most anything coming out of the West Wing. In practice, when was the last time we saw Congress make a meaningful commitment to doing the right thing? That’s right, never. That’s why they have an 11 percent approval rating.

On the flip side, a president who believes in protecting Second Amendment rights can do a great deal. Some direct actions are possible, but the real impacts come from putting constitutional judges on the bench and using that big microphone in the Rose Garden.

So think about two Americas, then go vote.

Top image courtesy of NRA Competitive Shooting; candidate images from Trump and Clinton Facebook

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15 thoughts on “Post-Election Gun Culture: Two Americas

    1. Why not, we still have the second amendment but for how long? If liberal progressives manage to destroy our constitution it won’t be the last of the changes. Welcome to the new socialist version of freedom!

    2. I AGREE! I am so fed-up with the sleazy parasites who who populate state and national politics I could vomit. I am from New York State where political corruption seems to be the norm. Lynching is much to good for these vermin.

      1. So what are YOU doing about it except complaining? Your feet nailed to the floor? Move out of New York!

  1. Amusing how trump is now pro gun when not to long back anti gun. Also very amusing how so many want “Change in how DC etc run” yet the return rate for elected is around 80-90%… seems a wee bit of more political silliness and less then integrity… the real issue is the voters who are single issue types who do little in way of fact checks, aka lemming as said amusing about :”Change”… and wee bit hypocritical at best. Do agree this is not the venue for politics…

  2. Re: “So how will Hillary kill the PLCAA? My bet is in the courts.”

    True. The rules of the game were changed with Justice Roberts setting a precedent with Obamacare to adjudicate laws based on what a justice thinks Congress intended to do rather than what they actually did. Hence this election is not about who is going to be the President. There are several checks and balances on the Presidency (The bureaucracy, Congress, and SCOTUS) and the President is only in power for 4-8 years. This election is really about who is going to appoint 1 or more Supreme Court justices in their 40’s who will dominate the court for 30-40 years where there are no real checks and balances other than the life span of the justices. In addition, there are several cases (~7000) that are decided at the Circuit Court level where there are approximately 92 vacancies that are also likely to be filled by the next President. Prior to Obama, only 1 of the 13 Circuit Courts leaned to the left – today 9 do. If Hillary wins, she is more than likely to nominate justices who will legislate her “ends justify the means” progressive agenda with impunity from the bench and essentially rewrite the Constitution. If Trump doesn’t win this election, it won’t make any difference who runs for President in the future because policy will be made by the progressive courts based on the cases they decide to accept and adjudicate.

    1. Far more important is if the CITIZENS accept their Constitutional rights going away. ‘Soap box, ballot box, cartridge box’ – Abraham Lincoln.

  3. Re: ” You can count on the “death by a thousand cuts” strategy”

    True. Hillary acknowledged she is a progressive and the progressive philosophy is more subtle, insidious, and incremental than immediate confiscation. You can see examples of the philosophy reflected in laws that have been implemented by like minded individuals at the state level where they don’t confiscate firearms, ammunition or magazines, they just pass laws that say you can’t keep, sell, transfer, get them repaired, purchase ammunition, loan, share, inherit or shoot them. The Colorado magazine ban is a good example where the “owner” can keep them but not share or transfer them to anyone he is living with like his/her children, spouse, roommates, significant others, domestic partners, employees, house guests, or other acquaintances you have known for years. Another example is the CA SKS Sporter ban in 2000. CT required owners of certain types of “assault weapons” to register them then later passed a law banning them which required the now known gun owners to sell the now banned firearms to an FFL, turn them into the police or take them out of state. Some local governments have similar laws that prohibit the ownership of certain firearms within their geographic limits and several other states (NY,NJ,CA,MA,MD) have in effect “confiscated” some types of firearms from new users by grandfathering those that are currently owned and registered but prohibiting any new ones from being purchased or retained by people moving in from out of the state.

    Note that Hillary has said she wants a ban on so called “assault rifles” and when you read any of the legislation that has ever been proposed at the federal level, it goes way beyond “assault rifles” and applies to almost every semi-automatic, magazine fed rifle. This is essentially confiscation as new users reaching the legal age of ownership (21) would not be able to buy one and in 21 years it would be impossible for a 21-year old to possess one unless it was transferred or obtained illegally. She also said she would consider a program like the one implemented in Australia where gun owners were forced under penalty of law to sell their guns to the government so they could be destroyed. In addition, she wants universal background checks on all gun sales. When you read any of the federal or state laws passed or proposed, they go way beyond “gun sales” by prohibiting temporary loans, transfers or inadvertent access of firearms to anyone but immediate family members.

    So basically Hillary does what her mentor Saul Alinsky and all progressives do – they lie because they believe the ends justify the means. If she was honest, she would say “I want to abolish the Second Amendment because I believe only the ruling class should have guns”. But in a disingenuous sense – she is correct – the police didn’t show up at your door to take your guns, ammunition or magazines away – at least not yet – they just make it onerous, legally hazardous, and nearly impossible to own them which is the way the anti-gun folks implement their incremental strategy that will allow them to smugly claim things like ” I understand and respect the tradition of gun ownership “ and “I support the Second Amendment”.

    1. You don’t need to go door to door if you bankrupt the companies making the arms, ammo, and magazines; there will be nothing left to buy.

  4. Supposedly there are 109 million gun owners in the US. If Clinton wins this election it will indicate or be spun that that number is a myth and be interpreted as a green light to pursue her anti-gun agenda

  5. Hillary Clinton Delegate Explains Her Deceptive Propaganda to Ban Guns

    Of course, much of what she said is no mystery. It has been common phraseology to say that one is for “common sense gun legislation.” The reality is that kind of talk is actually “communist gun legislation.”

    “Saying you want to ban guns altogether, that’s going to pi ss everybody off,” Clinton alternate delegate Mary Bayer told the undercover Project Veritas reporter.

    So, she reveals openly that this is the ultimate goal, not some common sense legislation. She realizes that it will not only upset people, but it is unlawful and this is the reason they try to deceive the people.”You have to take that sort of moderate… ‘We just wanna have common sense legislation so our children are safe!'” Bayer added. “You say sh it like that, and then people will buy into it.”

    The real issue is that the Constitution gives absolutely zero authority for those in government to write legislation that restricts or bans the ability of citizens to keep and bear arms of any kind, including warships and tanks. So, Congress can write all the words they want to write and in the end, they are simply acting unlawfully and treasonous against the people they are supposed to be serving.


  6. The TRUTH about the “supremacy clause” – our Constitution does not delegate to the national government authority to restrict our arms, ammunition, regulate firearms dealers, do background checks, etc. The national government may not lawfully circumvent this restriction by means of a treaty wherein the signatory governments agree to disarm their Citizens or Subjects.

  7. WE WON!! Now, the real work begins. Now, we need to lay the groundwork for our challenges to unconstitutional gun laws after the Supreme Court is populated once again by Constitutionalist Justices.

    This election may turn out to be the most consequential election since Lincoln beat Douglas. And Donald Trump is well positioned to become the greatest American President since Abraham Lincoln. Time will tell.

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