At least one of the joyless scolds that predominate in gun control circles thinks they’ve stumbled onto a novel anti-gun tactic. According to Colorado Newsline Editor Quentin Young, gun control supporters should try to shame gun owners into foregoing their Constitutional rights.
In a piece titled, “Stop tolerating gun extremists. Shame them,” Young argues that gun rights supporters can be nagged into submission. The harridan explained “The project must start with a shift away from tolerance of gun extremists.” Judging from the rest of the piece, Young’s definition of “gun extremist” appears to include anyone who objects to whatever gun control measures Michael Bloomberg’s front-group Everytown for Gun Safety is pushing at the moment.
Young promotes a raft of gun control measures, including a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms (which he terms “assault weapons”) and the criminalization of private firearms transactions (sometimes termed “universal background checks”). The columnist also claimed that after “slavery and discrimination against women” the Founding Fathers’ “biggest mistake was the Second Amendment,” adding, “[t]he amendment should be repealed.”
According to a February 2023 ABC New/Washington Post poll, a majority of Americans oppose a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms.
Electoral data suggest the public is divided on the criminalization of private transfers. In 2016, Mainers rejected a so-called universal background check ballot measure 52-48 percent and Nevadans approved a similar measure by the narrow margin of 50.45-49.55 percent. In a 2022 piece titled, “Voters Say They Want Gun Control. Their Votes Say Something Different,” the New York Times acknowledged that the 2016 “results suggested that a national referendum on background checks would have lost.”
According to a 2018 Quinnipiac University Poll, 79 percent of Americans oppose repealing the Second Amendment.
Is it Young’s contention that more than half of Americans are “gun extremists?” If so, the “journalist” would do well to employ the use of a dictionary. Unlike opposing these gun control measures, the writer’s call to repeal the Second Amendment is decidedly fringe.
Elaborating on his plan in mawkish tones, Young stated,
Acceptance must cease of these murder-mongers in the media, government, public gatherings and the home next door. No longer can their fanaticism be indulged or their rigidity accommodated. Society must stigmatize them, and they must be rendered culturally odious. Only when gun absolutists become social pariahs can the nation start to establish comprehensive reform.
Castigation must befall anyone who obstructs gun violence prevention. Lawmakers should continue to enact measures to protect constituents from the daily massacres their communities suffer. But members of those communities can participate in the greater reform project by shaming gun proponents wherever they show themselves.
There’s nothing new in Young’s maudlin whining. People far more powerful than this self-important blogger have attempted to demonize guns and gun owners.
There’s a case to be made that President Joe Biden has attempted to paint most American gun owners as “sick,” with his inflammatory anti-gun rhetoric.
In 1995, then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder gave a speech in which he stated, “What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.” The future Attorney General went on to add, “We have to be repetitive about this. It’s not enough to have a catchy ad on a Monday and then only do it Monday. We need to do this every day of the week, and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”
The CDC’s chief gun control advocate, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Director Mark Rosenberg, pushed for a cultural anti-gun campaign in the early 1990s. In a 1994 interview with the New York Times, Rosenberg said, “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes.” The taxpayer-funded activist added, “It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol, cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly and banned.”
So after at least three decades of shaming, how much “progress” have gun controllers made?
Since Rosenberg’s comments, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrice recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bears arms, the Clinton semi-automatic firearm ban expired and hasn’t been renewed, gun owners in all 50 states have a recognized Right-to-Carry, half the states allow concealed carry without a permit, and Americans have purchased a record number of firearms.
It should come as no surprise that this anti-gun strategy hasn’t worked. The Second Amendment right is an extension of the natural right to self-defense. As a natural right, it is informed by human nature. To contend that there is something shameful about the natural impulse to defend oneself, family, freedom, home, community, and country using arms is perverse.
Rather, it can be argued, as it was in Jeffrey Snyder’s famous essay “A Nation of Cowards,” that there is something inherently shameful about a society that would encourage its members to simply acquiesce to criminal violence and deprivations of liberty instead of recognizing the right of citizens to confront these threats through the use of arms.