Sunday, January 06, 2013


The Washington Post floats a White House trial balloon suggesting that the Obama administration may go somewhat bold on guns in the next few weeks:
The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation's gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration's discussions.

A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.
I think all but the national database would be received quite favorably by the public. That doesn't mean that any of it can pass -- I think the most likely outcome is that none of it will pass, thanks to gun lobby pressure. The database, I think, is dead on arrival -- it will be portrayed as a nightmarish Orwellian intrusion on personal freedom, even though it would give the government about as much information about your guns as it already has about your house or your car (and, probably, less information than the average corporation has about everything you buy and everything you think, if you spend a lot of time online).


There's an item in the Post story that's inspiring faux-horror among right-wingers:
One potential strategy would be to win support for specific measures from interest groups that are normally aligned with the NRA, according to one person who works closely with the administration on gun-related issues and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.

For instance, this person suggested, Wal-Mart and other major gun retailers may have an incentive to support closing a loophole that allows people to bypass background checks if they purchase firearms at gun shows or through other types of private sales. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.
Right-wingers should be cheering, no? They love Wal-Mart! They sneer at the sandal-wearing hippies who boycott it! They root for it to make more and more money!

Well, no -- not if this happens. Groping for the fainting couch, Weasel Zippers and Joel Gehrke of The Washington Examiner rail against "crony capitalism." Gehrke:
President Obama plans to ally himself with big business once again by using crony capitalist tactics to pass gun control just as he used them to pass Obamacare. In this case, Obama reportedly plans to make sure that the new gun control law benefits big businesses that sell weapons....

Obama used the same tactic when passing his health care law, when Jim Messina (the White House deputy chief of staff, at the time, who went on to manage the 2012 presidential campaign) negotiated with the drug industry to get them to pay for pro-Obamacare television ads.
Yes, "ally[ing] himself with big business" is now a bad thing, according to the right! According to Weasel Zippers, it's "the Chicago way"!

Personally, I don't like this approach -- but our political system is profoundly plutocrat-driven, and the American people have so much more respect for capitalists than they ought to, so I reluctantly accept the fact that such deals with devil will be made. The righties, by contrast, aren't fooling anyone: they love crony capitalism as long as their guys are practicing it.

And "the Chicago way"? Seriously? I thought "the Chicago way" was breaking the thumbs of businessmen if they refuse to pay protection money, not begging them to form coalitions.


It doesn't matter, of course, because the Wal-Mart thing isn't going to happen. Wal-Mart will never go along with it, because it doesn't want to be the next Smith & Wesson. Remember?
In March 2000 Smith & Wesson was the only major gun manufacturer to sign an agreement with the Clinton Administration. The company agreed to numerous safety and design standards as well as limits on the sale and distribution of its products. Gun clubs and gun rights groups responded to this agreement by initiating large-scale boycotts of Smith & Wesson by refusing to buy their new products and flooding the firearms market with used S&W guns. After a 40% sales slide, the sales impact from the boycotts led Smith & Wesson to suspend manufacturing at two plants.... [This] ended with the sale of Smith & Wesson to the Saf-T-Hammer Corporation. The new company (Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation), which publicly renounced the agreement, was received positively by the firearms community.
(From Wikipedia; go to the link for sources.)

Will the gunners boycott Wal-Mart if it plays ball with the administration? Oh, hell yes. There's no way Wal-Mart will risk that. The idea is a non-starter. It's still the NRA's world; we just die in it.

(Post story via Memeorandum.)


aimai said...

You want to really get cozy with crony capitalism pass a law that guns can't be inherited or sold by the owner privately--they can only be turned over to the police and destroyed once the original lisence holder is dead or incapacitated or choses not to hold them securely. This will increase the market for new guns since each generation will simply have to buy new. The gun manufacturers will pretend to complain via the NRA but in reality they will be thrilled since it means that they can sell new guns to new owners rather thanpermittinga secondary market to flourish.


Victor said...

Since they object hysterically, shriek, wail, tear at their hair, and rend of their garments, get their tit's ge in an uproar and knicker's in a knot, over ANYthing a Democratic politician wants, maybe President Obama and the Democrats ought to try an "Opposite Approach" for the next 2 to 4 years!

Democrats want gun control?
They can tell people that there's no reason recent immigrants, and ghetto bro's and ho's, who can't get as many unlicensed semi-automatics with a huge clip, like the 'white folk' do at gun shows, without feeling like there are hundreds of cross-hairs aimed at them, then some gun shows must be held in barrio's and ghetto's.

Want to increase taxes on the rich?
Tell people they want to lower the taxes on the rich and corporations to nothing, so they can create more jobs, and pass that tax burdon on the poor, middle, and upper-middle classes.

Essentially, become Republicans.

Go down the line, with whatever they want.
If nothing is accomplished, at least it'll be good for sh*t's and giggles, watching Conservatives flop around like a fish in a boat.

Ten Bears said...

WalMart shoppers, low information bare footed kool-aid guzzling rubes (tea baggers), will remain WalMart shoppers. Like religion, it's an addiction. Am oft reminded of the dystopic goverment store of Orwell's '84, that propaganda we of the Cold War "duck amd cover" era grew up with, when "looking at" WalMart.

Ten Bears said...

Follow up: a month or so ago there was a hoopla ore some asshole down in the welfare states promising to make a spectical of itself the next time it* encounters someone using food stamps at WalMart... to which I could only reply "if you're so fucking special why are you shopping at WalMart?"

*Yes, "it". Insufficiently evolved, less than human.

Philo Vaihinger said...

They can refuse to shop at Walmart but they can't flood the market with what Walmart sells to kill demand and starve the company to death.

Philo Vaihinger said...

The database, while obviously useful for police purposes, scares the heck out of gun-rights supporters because elsewhere in the Anglosphere introduction of such a gun registry was step one, promptly followed by step two, confiscation.

Though we may hope for such an outcome eventually, nothing like that would actually be on the cards for any time soon in the face of conservative courts and the 2nd Amendment.