What we are facing in the Great Bump Stock is a war of attrition. In a war of attrition, each side is doing their best to wear down the other side because he who gives in last, wins. After repeated tragedies, Republicans, gun owners, and conservative thinkers are giving in. Unable to defend their beliefs to even themselves, they have become susceptible to the slow, grinding tactics of the “Do Something!” crowd calling for meaningless gun control.
Without having fully tried the pro-gun solutions (armed teachers, staff, and parents in schools) or properly treating the epidemic of mental illness, too many gun owners are starting to wonder if the hoplopaths (gun haters) are right. The tone has changed. Without any counter-balance explaining the pro-gun position, these supposedly “reasonable” folks succumb unconsciously to a form of peer pressure.
Yes, Trump’s bump fire memo is something to worry about. His vague statements have become fact. He has been worn down into “doing something.” He has given the ATF the cover it needs to ban bump fire. Leading by example, the President has shown the public that compromise is okay and by answering the question in the public’s mind as to whether or not the people of the gun should begin giving rights away.
Make no doubt about it, we are headed for a gun control disaster in the near future. Public opinion is shifting away from the staunch “come and take it” attitude under Obama. Today, it is bump fire stocks. Tomorrow, it will be something else. What is happening is that media and social pressure, combined with the NRA’s stance and Republican rhetoric, is signaling to the public that it is time to become more “reasonable” about guns.
Steadfast belief in a conflicting opinion creates psychological tension that only inner conviction can overcome. Without close-held beliefs or detailed knowledge about the contrarian position, the mental conflict between self and society is best resolved by changing one’s opinions. This quiets the inner voice that is asking “Why do you believe X when everyone else believes Y?”
Two other major issues of our time went from “unthinkable” to permissible. If everyone else says gay marriage or marijuana isn’t a big deal, then why should anyone else think differently? Uncritical thinkers and uncurious minds don’t seek out reasons to defend their beliefs because those beliefs are ultimately based on public opinion. They are going along with the flow. But as the public opinion shifts, an ideologically ungrounded person will be pulled and finally shift with the tide.
What we are witnessing is the slow wearing down of gun-receptive public into accepting gun control. Media and hoplopathic (antigun) forces are actively encouraging this via propaganda. Sadly, those who are less susceptible to television brainwashing are being victimized by their reflexive need to mentally “fit in.” Neutral parties can only hold out so long without being pulled one way or the other and the AR-haters are louder.
Unfortunately, Republicans are being worn down as well. A president who truly grasped the slippery slope of appearing “reasonable” on gun control would never have asked the DOJ to essentially propose a bump fire ban. Under congressional and media pressure, the President’s memo, with the NRA’s blessing, amounts to a green light to ban bump fire stocks with political cover.
Many stalwart Trump defenders are saying that this is just a stratagem to appear like he is taking action. It is just that, but with the added danger that he doesn’t care if bump fire stocks are actually banned. If bump fire stocks aren’t banned, we can call it “masterful, 3D political chess.” If they are banned, apologists will excuse it as being necessary to save the rest. Excuses will be made because bump fire isn’t something that most gun owners care about.
Uncritical thinkers, gun owners included, don’t want to admit that their great orange hope isn’t their savior, but just another politician willing to do what is politically expedient. Donald Trump is not a man of deeply-held convictions; rather, he is a negotiator willing to compromise because closing a deal defines success, even if it is ultimately a losing deal. Temporarily mollifying the “do something” crowd with a sacrificial win gives Trump the illusion of success.
The sacrificial lambs could be offered up to the gaping maw of the starving gun control demon. That demon is always hungry and is always calling for more. As these horrible acts of violence continue, the calls will grow more intense. Compromises and acquiescence to anti-gun bills will snowball, making it easier and easier each time for unprincipled politicians to do what is popular, not what is right.
Fudds who will give up bump fire stocks to make the controversy go away are too ignorant and cowardly to stand on principal. They are perpetuating an “eat me last” philosophy that feeding the monster will make it less hungry; no—throwing meat to the monster only gives it a taste for blood. If the public abandons the gun, then the politicians don’t need to support it. And as compromise becomes the norm, it becomes easier and easier each time to mentally justify giving in to compromise so one does not feel uncomfortable as a contrarian outlier.
Gun owners are getting scared and giving in. In the face of persecution, they are abandoning the faith. Like the boastful St. Peter who said he would never denounce Christ, by dawn, these folks with “molon labe” stickers on their pickup truck will betray the Second Amendment three times. If a mere fun accessory is being thrown under the bus, what will gun owners do when persecution begins? Will they stand firm when the ATF is kicking down doors, or will they meekly hand over their guns and criticize those who resist by force as making hunters look bad?
Think I'm nuts about the tone changing? The calls for "common sense gun safety" is being replaced by "repeal the Second Amendment." The rabid hoplopaths are the ones calling to do away with the right to keep and bear arms, but just as every major gun-hater jumped on the Everytown "gun safety" bandwagon, repealing the Second Amendment will be more commonplace until it seems reasonable.
The high tide of gun rights is beginning to go out. The wheat is being separated from the chaff. Over time, as tragedies continue and we focus on guns rather than a sick society and broken people, more and more restrictions will we face. Stock up now. He who panics first panics best.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West