My colleague Robert Tracinski recently re-instituted the Democratic Party Death Watch, an alert that signifies the donks are “betting everything on the far-left base while driving away their own blue-collar and middle class constituents.” The modern Democratic Party being a clumsy amalgamation of economic buffoons and social justice warriors, a death watch is an appropriate vigil to keep, although I wouldn’t bet against Elizabeth Warren making fiscal insanity and dimwitted neo-Marxist philosophy a mainstream policy platform. It has been done before.
Nevertheless, the Democratic death watch sounds fine with me, and while we’re at it we can celebrate one of the other victories of the past year, a triumph that is not-coincidentally contemporaneous with the imploding prospects of the Democrats: 2014 was a year in which gun control became more of a liability for the Left than an asset.
To be sure, there are still plenty of politicians out there who are interested in restricting and curtailing gun rights: they will always be there, constantly mumbling about background checks and “loopholes” and 30-clip military-style magazine-rifles. Ignore them. In the main, gun control has become a distasteful subject and a losing prospect for many who seek it. Early in December, Pew released a poll showing that, for the first time in more than two decades, a majority of Americans support gun rights over gun control. Across the board these numbers have risen from just a couple of years ago after the Newtown shootings: the share of Democrats who believe in protecting gun rights rose 6 percent, the same as Republicans generally; among “conservative/moderate Democrats” the jump was a startling 12 percent. Urban, suburban, and rural Americans all increased their support of gun rights over gun control; blacks did too, by a whopping 10 percent.
The Signs of Desperation Abound
This isn’t to say that everyone who sides with gun rights believes in no gun regulations at all, only that the gun controllers have suffered a decisive and, frankly, humiliating defeat: for all the fearmongering, all the nasty and deceitful scare tactics that the Left has used over the past few years to convince more Americans to give up their gun rights, a majority of Americans have largely ignored this advice and even turned against it.
And what about that fearmongering? For all its bombast and high-soaring rhetoric, the gun control movement’s efforts over the last year have exposed a campaign that is deeply distressed and perhaps terminally irrelevant: unable for years to achieve their goal of widespread citizen disarmament, the gun-control wing of the Left has grown more desperate and more angry as its influence has waned. Earlier in the fall, the gun control group Moms Demand Action, along with a few liberal senators, mounted a campaign to get openly-carried weapons banned from Kroger. They provided zero evidence that guns openly carried in Kroger were a danger to shoppers; indeed, so flatly pointless was their campaign, they were reduced to counting shootings outside of Kroger by criminals as some sort of mark against weapons openly-carried by law-abiding citizens. Needless to say, Kroger has appropriately ignored this nonsense, preferring to base its business decisions in reality rather than gun-control fever dreams.
Signs of desperation abounded elsewhere. In my home state of Virginia—a state with so deeply-embedded a gun culture, it has a gun fashion named after it—newly-minted Gov. Terry McAuliffe has proposed a set of gun-control measures that are, to say the least, absurd: he wishes to re-enact the one-gun-a-month limit, a law that did nothing to prohibit violent crime in Virginia, he wants to revoke concealed carry permits for people who are behind on their child support payments, and he wants to close the “gun show loophole” in spite of gun shows’ tenuous link to gun violence. Given that these measures would arguably have no effect whatsoever on gun crime, it’s easy to conclude that McAuliffe is, like the rest of the anti-gun movement, desperate to gain at least some ground in the gun control battle. In the face of an indifferent and perhaps even hostile constituency, you can understand why the governor would resort to such pitiable measures.
Gun Control Advocates Become More Loose-Cannon
The list goes on. A recent anti-gun public service announcement was released on YouTube showing a young child stealing his parent’s gun, taking it to school, and handing it over to his teacher: “I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house,” he tells her. The child in the video violated virtually every gun safety measure we teach children: he steals a gun, brings it to a school with nobody’s knowledge, and lays it on the teacher’s desk with the barrel facing toward her. “Our children deserve a safe world,” the PSA announces. Of course they do—which is why responsible gun owners teach children how to be safe around firearms. The gun control movement knows this and is determined to hide it—hence the unserious and comical “public service announcement.”
Earlier this year, Georgia passed a bill that greatly expanded gun carry rights throughout the state; the response was predictable. Cliff Schecter at the Daily Beast announced that Georgia’s new law “flies in the face of all public health statistics, common sense, and modernity.” He provided no evidence whatsoever for these histrionic claims, but then again the gun control movement is not lately interested in facts or empirical evidence. As more and more Americans come to support a robust regime of gun rights in the United States, commentators like Schecter will probably grow more and more shrill, insisting that liberalized gun laws are dangerous and refusing to engage in any actual research.
2014, in other words, was a banner year for the Second Amendment, at least if we are to judge it by the collapse of the gun-control movement as a serious voice in political society. Gun rights enthusiasts may point to 2008, the year of D.C. v, Heller, or 2010, the year of McDonald v. Chicago, as the landmark years of the Second Amendment in the twenty-first century. Yet 2014 has, in its own way, provided a more satisfying and visceral rebuke of the gun-control movement: its relevance waning and its influence all but exhausted, the anti-gun crowd is flailing for pertinence in a country increasingly annoyed with and uninterested in its fraudulent message. We should all go into 2015 aware of, and grateful for, the robust state of the Second Amendment in America today. Happy New Year.