Tuesday, February 27, 2018


I guess National Review doesn't offer David French enough opportunities to hold forth about the wonderfulness of guns and the gun culture, because he now has an essay at The Atlantic on the same subject. I won't attempt a point-by-point rebuttal -- I'll limit myself to a few words about this:
It’s a myth that gun owners despise regulation. Instead, they tend to believe that government regulation should have two purposes—deny guns to the dangerous while protecting rights of access for the law-abiding. The formula is simple: Criminals and the dangerously mentally ill make our nation more violent. Law-abiding gun owners save and protect lives.

Thus the overwhelming support for background checks ... and the openness to solutions—like so-called “gun violence restraining orders” that specifically target troubled individuals for intervention....

Many gun-rights supporters were appalled to learn after the Sutherland Springs shooting that the military was systematically underreporting disqualifying convictions to the federal background check database. Under pressure, the military has added more than 4,000 new names in just three months.
Yes, the gun community cares so much about removing guns from the mentally ill that the only gun bill passed by the GOP Congress and signed by President Trump overturned a regulation meant to deny guns to severely mentally ill people. The NRA response: "Promise Kept."

And I'd be more impressed by the gun community's "overwhelming support for background checks" if the NRA hadn't spent years fighting to the death to prevent universal background checks. The gun community might support universal checks, but it never expresses that opinion with its wallet, by denying dues money to the NRA, or with its vote, by opposing politicians who won't support background check expansion.

And while it's swell that the military has provided a few thousand new names to the feds since Sutherland Springs, why hasn't a bipartisan bill to fix the system been passed in the months since that massacre? Why isn't the NRA demanding swift passage? Why isn't the gun community doing the same thing?

Because Republicans in Congress are playing games with the bill, just as the NRA wants, and there isn't a peep of protest from the gun community:
HOUSE SPEAKER Paul Ryan on Tuesday would not commit to bringing up a clean version of a bill to strengthen the gun background-check system if the Senate is unable to pass a version already approved by the House.

"We obviously think the Senate should take our whole bill, but if the Senate cannot do that, then we'll discuss and cross that bridge when we get to it," the Wisconsin Republican told reporters.

In December, the House passed the bill called "Fix NICS," which offers incentives for states to improve reporting to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System....

But the House tied the bill to another measure that would allow reciprocity of concealed carry permits across state lines. That proposal is considered a non-starter in the Senate, where Democrats who oppose the legislation have the ability to block it.
House Republicans have linked background check reform to the requirement that anyone who has a concealed-carry permit -- which in blood-red states is pretty much anyone with a pulse -- must be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Times Square, with New York State unable to do a goddamn thing about it.

I don't care if the gun culture thinks that's a swell idea. The gun culture knows that there aren't enough votes for that in the Senate. If the gun community really cared about closing the loopholes that made Sutherland Springs possible, it would accept this reality and support a clean bill to fix NICS.

But the gun community cares much more about drawing a line in the sand, and making liberals cry. David French, I'll believe your pals are acting in good faith when that's no longer the case.

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