The Essential Paradox of Gun Control

 

On Tuesday, President Obama gave a speech outlining his new gun control program. As is typical for him, the speech was fatuous, disingenuous, and replete with factual errors. It was also warmly received by three group: Democrats, the media, and the shareholders of gun manufacturers.

Shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson jumped by double digits earlier in the week (though they’ve since retreated) in anticipation of a spike in sales. Since Obama assumed office and the end of last year, their stock has yielded compounded annualized total returns of 43 and 38 percent, respectively, compared to 16 percent for the S&P 500 Index. Every time the president tries to advance his gun control agenda, gun manufacturers reap a windfall.Source: http://nyti.ms/1lRcsRC

A desire to complete purchases before new restrictions take effect would explain a sales spike among existing gun owners; i.e., people already in the “gun culture.” However, what we are seeing is much more broad-based. This is not just a matter of purchasing behavior. Since 2009, support for gun control has generally fallen as support for gun rights has risen.

More Important to Control Gun Ownership or Protect Gun Rights?Across the country, people are newly showing interest in learning to shoot, buying their first gun, and enrolling in training courses. In other words, under Obama, more and more people are becoming motivated to acquire the skills and means to defend themselves, their families, and their communities.

Why now? I think this phenomenon is driven by a fundamental paradox of gun control: In their push to restrict access to firearms, the president and his allies are unintentionally highlighting the government’s failure to maintain public safety.

The case for gun control is an emotional one. It is based on a fear of gun violence, and Obama and his allies do their utmost to feed a perception that the world has become more dangerous. For example, consider the following tweet from the White House:

Ironically, the more the White House insists we are unsafe, the more apparent it becomes that we are exposed. If our leaders are unable (or unwilling) to distinguish the obvious sources of recent gun violence — terrorism, mental illness, gang violence, inner-city lawlessness — then there is no way the government can effectively protect us from those threats. Indeed, the White House’s obsession with guns raises legitimate questions about governmental competence. A government distracted by red herrings will be incapable of fulfilling its mission to protect its citizenry from real threats.

So, as our government falls down on the job, the mature and rational course of action is to take responsibility for one’s own self-protection. In no small part, that means buying a gun and learning how to use it.

If the president wanted to improve support for gun control, his best strategy would be to avoid discussing the subject entirely, and to take steps to actually make us safer. That would include actively fighting Islamist terrorism and avoiding its importation; reforming our country’s dysfunctional approach to serious mental illness; sending police into high-crime neighborhoods, stoping & frisking gang suspects, and prosecuting gun crimes.

But these policies are hard. They take sustained concentration, political courage, and a willingness to set aside progressive theory in favor of hard reality, all of which means that the president will not pursue them. Rather, we get more cowbell, as Obama extends his record as the best firearms salesman this country has ever seen.

There are 50 comments.

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  1. Member

    Well said. The mystery is the President’s emotionalism, when he is normally very blase’ when Americans or others are murdered- see Pamela Steinle, James Foley, the Paris terrorist attack victims etc.

    • #1
    • January 5, 2016 at 10:54 pm
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  2. Member

    TeamAmerica:Well said. The mystery is the President’s emotionalism, when he is normally very blase’ when Americans or others are murdered- see Pamela Steinle, James Foley, the Paris terrorist attack victims etc.

    It is not at all a mystery. I wonder which of his actor-fans spent the time to teach him that trick, though… That had about as much sincerity as an Iranian’s peace agreement.

    • #2
    • January 5, 2016 at 10:57 pm
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  3. Member

    If this doesn’t make the Main Feed, nothing should.

    • #3
    • January 5, 2016 at 11:02 pm
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  4. Member

    Son of Spengler: The case for gun control is an emotional one.

    Hence, the unbelievably ridiculous emotional appeal … “every time I think about those kids.” Oh, yeah, Obama? Or servicemen/ambassadors in Benghazi, or aborted babies, or deserted American allies… right.

    • #4
    • January 5, 2016 at 11:15 pm
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  5. Member

    I’d also like to know how many of the guns used in Chicago street violence (which he mentions) are legally purchased; how many are used by urban Blacks (to whom Obama really could give sincere encouragement and a positive message, though he prefers to fuel grievance and outrage ala “black lives matter”); and how exactly his proposals will do anything at all to improve the lot of those destined for the Chicago streets… since “stop and frisk” is out of the question.

    • #5
    • January 5, 2016 at 11:20 pm
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  6. Member

    Did anyone else think it was odd that he was only crying out of his left eye? His entire left cheek was wet and dripping, the right cheek bone dry. Seemed weird to me.

    • #6
    • January 5, 2016 at 11:25 pm
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  7. Member

    Ryan M:

    Son of Spengler: The case for gun control is an emotional one.

    Hence, the unbelievably ridiculous emotional appeal … “every time I think about those kids.” Oh, yeah, Obama? Or servicemen/ambassadors in Benghazi, or aborted babies, or deserted American allies… right.

    What about the corpse-men?

    • #7
    • January 6, 2016 at 12:36 am
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  8. Member

    Judge Mental:Did anyone else think it was odd that he was only crying out of his left eye? His entire left cheek was wet and dripping, the right cheek bone dry. Seemed weird to me.

    Glycerin?

    • #8
    • January 6, 2016 at 1:30 am
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  9. Member

    Arahant:

    Judge Mental:Did anyone else think it was odd that he was only crying out of his left eye? His entire left cheek was wet and dripping, the right cheek bone dry. Seemed weird to me.

    Glycerin?

    I saw another replay and noticed he also did his patented flip the bird while wiping my eye move. Once again, like every other time I’ve seen that, he was talking about someone he didn’t like (the NRA) and paused what he was saying at the moment he did it. I refuse to believe that is coincidence.

    • #9
    • January 6, 2016 at 1:40 am
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  10. Member

    Judge Mental: I saw another replay and noticed he also did his patented flip the bird while wiping my eye move. Once again, like every other time I’ve seen that, he was talking about someone he didn’t like (the NRA) and paused what he was saying at the moment he did it. I refuse to believe that is coincidence.

    The man may be petty and he may be a criminal, but you have to admit that he’s no petty criminal.

    • #10
    • January 6, 2016 at 1:47 am
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  11. Member

    Judge Mental:

    Arahant:

    Judge Mental:Did anyone else think it was odd that he was only crying out of his left eye? His entire left cheek was wet and dripping, the right cheek bone dry. Seemed weird to me.

    Glycerin?

    I saw another replay and noticed he also did his patented flip the bird while wiping my eye move. Once again, like every other time I’ve seen that, he was talking about someone he didn’t like (the NRA) and paused what he was saying at the moment he did it. I refuse to believe that is coincidence.

    Isn’t the lack of movement on one side a possible result of a stroke?

    • #11
    • January 6, 2016 at 3:20 am
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  12. Member

    Has anyone probed control advocates to try to learn what drives the issue with such passion? My pro Obama liberal is also a hunter and dismisses the issue as just anti Obama hype pushed by gun manufacturers; that there is no threat to gun owners. But Obama rattles the anti gun cage every chance he gets. Is it diversion away from the chaos and racism he is fostering? Preparing the ground for going after dangerous right wingers? Just politically useful hype?

    • #12
    • January 6, 2016 at 4:05 am
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  13. Member

    I watched the White House press conference after the speech. They reiterated the statistics on how many kids are killed with guns each year, how many gun deaths total, etc. Not one reporter asked the obvious question. “If the rules Obama is implementing had been in affect during that time, of which is covered by your data, how much difference would it have made?” The answer of course is virtually none.

    • #13
    • January 6, 2016 at 4:58 am
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  14. Member

    I actually like that Obama has brought gun control to the front of the political debate. It will now be one of the main topics of the election. Last time that happened, the anti-gunners got slaughtered. Based on the first graph in this post, it is likely to happen again.

    • #14
    • January 6, 2016 at 5:01 am
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  15. Inactive

    This is a unique situation for conservatives, where the system is working for us. Let’s not fix it.

    • #15
    • January 6, 2016 at 5:12 am
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  16. Inactive

    By my estimation, Obama personally, through his rhetoric and actions, has increased the number of guns in America by 50 million above and beyond what the trend suggested it would have been. 

    NICS background checks are done during the purchase of a gun. From 1998 to 2007, firearm background checks were in the range of 8.5 to 11.1 million per year. A fairly tight range for a decade. THEN, we get the O in 2008. It immediately jumps to 12.7 and last year it was 23.1 million.

    You can see the numbers yourself direct from FBI records: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/nics_firearm_checks_-_month_year.pdf

    • #16
    • January 6, 2016 at 5:14 am
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  17. Member

    Brilliantly done, as usual, SoS.

    • #17
    • January 6, 2016 at 5:39 am
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  18. Moderator

    Judge Mental:Did anyone else think it was odd that he was only crying out of his left eye? His entire left cheek was wet and dripping, the right cheek bone dry. Seemed weird to me.

    He is a lefty, in both senses.

    • #18
    • January 6, 2016 at 6:14 am
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  19. Moderator

    Pony Convertible:I watched the White House press conference after the speech. They reiterated the statistics on how many kids are killed with guns each year, how many gun deaths total, etc. Not one reporter asked the obvious question. “If the rules Obama is implementing had been in affect during that time, of which is covered by your data, how much difference would it have made?” The answer of course is virtually none.

    Well, as he even said during his rant, the actual results are effectively irrelevant.

    • #19
    • January 6, 2016 at 6:15 am
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  20. Contributor
    Son of Spengler Post author

    I Walton:Has anyone probed control advocates to try to learn what drives the issue with such passion? My pro Obama liberal is also a hunter and dismisses the issue as just anti Obama hype pushed by gun manufacturers; that there is no threat to gun owners. But Obama rattles the anti gun cage every chance he gets. Is it diversion away from the chaos and racism he is fostering? Preparing the ground for going after dangerous right wingers? Just politically useful hype?

    I think it’s a cultural thing. Big-city liberals are convinced that you can end war by making it illegal or outlawing weapons, and the same goes for crime. Only the hoi polloi do things like own guns and go to church. If you want America to be better, you have to make it in your own civilized image, and that means making it gun-free.

    • #20
    • January 6, 2016 at 6:55 am
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  21. Contributor
    Son of Spengler Post author

    Wiley:This is a unique situation for conservatives, where the system is working for us. Let’s not fix it.

    I don’t think we’re in any danger of Obama following my advice.

    • #21
    • January 6, 2016 at 6:57 am
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  22. Contributor
    Son of Spengler Post author

    BTW, as I think more about this, I keep coming back to Rudy Giuliani’s New York. He was a forceful advocate for gun control there, and it worked in NYC because simultaneously he took politically unpopular steps to radically reduce violent crime. He said, you don’t need guns, because the police will protect you — and they did. I disagree with Rudy on this issue, but politically he showed how to make it work.

    • #22
    • January 6, 2016 at 7:02 am
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  23. Contributor

    Ryan M: I’d also like to know how many of the guns used in Chicago street violence (which he mentions) are legally purchased;

    They are usually legally purchased, but then illegally transferred. It is already illegal to sell or give a gun to someone who you know is not allowed to own one.

    Relatives of convicted felons will buy them a new gun and give it to them. This can be prosecuted, but few prosecutors bother.

    Existing law is perfectly sufficient to go after those who practice straw buying. But that’s hard work, and lacks the sex appeal of new regulations and bans.

    • #23
    • January 6, 2016 at 9:02 am
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  24. Thatcher

    There’s another reason people are buying guns in record numbers – it’s insurance against inflation or societal collapse that’s better than gold.

    Think about it for a minute . . . if economies collapse and we’re out scrounging for food, what would be more valuable in a barter situation – gold or guns? At the same time, what could also be used to fend off those who would steal your food or take over your shelter – a gold coin, or a gun?

    Again, think about it . . .

    • #24
    • January 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm
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  25. Member

    Son of Spengler:

    Big-city liberals are convinced that you can end war by making it illegal or outlawing weapons, and the same goes for crime. Only the hoi polloi do things like own guns and go to church.

    This is one of the keys to the liberal mindset. They actually do believe that if only they pass enough laws, rules, and regulations, nothing bad will ever happen again. Sometimes I’m actually embarrassed for them.

    • #25
    • January 6, 2016 at 3:01 pm
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  26. Member

    RightAngles: This is one of the keys to the liberal mindset. They actually do believe that if only they pass enough laws, rules, and regulations, nothing bad will ever happen again. Sometimes I’m actually embarrassed for them.

    Yes, they don’t even have to enforce the laws. If people aren’t doing what they want, they just pass the law again, and this time with exclamation points.

    • #26
    • January 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm
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  27. Member

    I’d bet anything those tears were faked somehow, like with glycerin, and that every movement was carefully rehearsed with regard to the placement of cameras and lights. He so carefully turned his head just at the right angle where the lights hit the tears just so, and he carefully wiped only SOME of them away, making sure he left enough of them to glisten in the lights. It was stomach-turning. Why do people not see through this disgusting display.

    • #27
    • January 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm
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  28. Member

    obama gun control

    • #28
    • January 6, 2016 at 3:24 pm
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  29. Member

    RightAngles:I’d bet anything those tears were faked somehow, like with glycerin, and that every movement was carefully rehearsed with regard to the placement of cameras and lights. He so carefully turned his head just at the right angle where the lights hit the tears just so, and he carefully wiped only SOME of them away, making sure he left enough of them to glisten in the lights. It was stomach-turning. Why do people not see through this disgusting display.

    sounds conspiratorial, but I agree with you. In all seriousness, I’d also bet money on it.

    • #29
    • January 6, 2016 at 4:37 pm
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  30. Member

    obama GunControlMeme

    • #30
    • January 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm
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