Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The 2A Game, Part 2

In response to yesterday's article The Omnivore was given several links to rebuttals. Rather than go nuts on Facebook, The Omnivore will address them here, in one place.

The Omnivore's Position: There is not--and has never been--a serious proposal by any substantial politician for a "complete gun ban."

To qualify those statements:

  • A substantial politician: Senator, Governor, or President
  • A serious proposal: A bill or even white-paper that is designed to become a law
  • A complete gun ban: a law outlawing the manufacture/sale of guns to civilians and a mandatory collection program. Note: a lot of partial gun-bans would almost as bad but an Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), especially with a sunset clause on it doesn't count.
Let's do it.

Exhibit A: Clinton Delegate Explains How Democrats Will Ban All Guns

This YouTube has a spokesperson showing contradictory Clinton statements (about coal mining and trade deals) and then goes to a conversation with some woman in a bar who says that Hillary projects moderation but would like to ban all guns. The woman in the bar is (allegedly) a Clinton delegate.

Substance: The Clinton Delegate is supposed to have, what? Been to secret meetings with Hillary? Have access to unpublished policy documents? Be a close personal friend of Clinton's? No case is made that she is reliable or that the conversation is presented in an in-context manner (it's in a bar, which is not confidence inducing).

Secondly, we have, for example, Donald Trump saying on tape that Hillary would be a great president. If we are to assume that anything a candidate has ever said is their real position then the entire argument collapses.

Finally, if delegates are assumed to speak for their candidate, Trump picked at least one white-supremacist delegate for his nomination.

Exhibit B

The New Republic from December 10, 2015 has an article titled: It's Time to Ban Guns. Yes, All of Them. Written by Phoebe Maltz Bovy, the article is an impassioned call to end gun violence with a total ban. Who is Pheobe? According to her by-line, a writer living in Toronto.

The article makes various moral cases for a ban but has absolutely zero in terms of how a bill to do so might be implemented. She also does not, in the article, endorse Clinton. 

Substance: If we are to take what various writers say about positions as policy statements that their preferred politicians hold, The Omnivore gives you the American Nazi site The Daily Stormer endorsing Donald Trump.

Exhibit C: Feinstein, 60min, Ban Them All (1995)

This favorite of Breitbart is an interview with California senator Dianne Feinstein where she says if she'd had the votes to make people turn-them-all-in she would have pushed for it.

Substance: Firstly, the conversation is in context of the Assault Weapons Ban. Secondly, it is from more than 20 years ago. Feinstein certainly deserves her 'F' from the NRA but she has not advocated a complete gun ban.

If we are going to take positions that candidates have stated at any point in the past, we can start with Donald Trump's statement that women who have abortions should be punished under law.

Exhibit D: Rep Jan Schakowsky AWB 'Just the Beginning'

In this video Jason Mattera (a conservative activist) tries to get the representative to say she's going to ban all guns. He presses her, saying that handguns do most of the killing. She, thinking she is talking to a liberal constituent, says that there has to be stuff to start with--like the AWB--that more gun control can come later.

Substance: What people say on hidden camera to activists should always be viewed with caution. Schakowsky, like Feinstein, deserves her 'F' From the NRA--but she has never proposed a complete gun ban and was not even tricked into saying she would.

If positions that House Reps ascribe to are taken to be secret positions of the party then The Omnivore will point to Todd Akin's position that if a rape is somehow 'legitimate' a woman cannot get pregnant off it as the top-line Republican stance.

Exhibit E: Popehat Supports A Total Ban On Civilians Owning Firearms

The Facebook friend links to this article which has a tasty title--but appears to be a case of did-not-do-the-reading (combined with catastrophic ignorance of Popehat). The article says that the author (Ken White) supports a total-gun-ban argument because it is honest and not vague or misleading like Assault Weapon Bans which can be morphed to mean all kinds of things.

He does not support the ban itself.

Substance: Like all (almost all?) of these, it is a case where the 2A person reads into the article what they want to be there rather than what is actually there. The Omnivore thanks his Facebook friend for posting the article one since it's far more clear about this dynamic than The Omnivore would feel comfortable accusing him of without this evidence.

Exhibit E: How to Ban Guns:  A step by step, long term process

Written on The Daily Kos, a liberal blogging site, writer sporks proposes a plan to ban guns. It starts with a general registry for all guns. It then makes private sales illegal--you have to update the registry. After that? Well, he suggests no new gun-sales and an end to concealed carry.

This isn't so much a policy proposal as a screed, When was it written? December 21, 2012. That was 7 days after the Sandy Hook massacre.

Substance: If we are to take screeds written on various blogs as policy positions, The Omnivore will give you The Camp of the Saint's argument for repealing the 19th Amendment--clearly Republicans want to make it illegal for women to vote! Needless to say, the Daily Kos article does not meet The Omnivore's standard for a serious proposal.

Exhibit F: Cuomo says Confiscation Could Be An Option

Hannity plays a clip of Cuomo saying all options are on the table. When asked if confiscation could be an option, he said 'yes.' His actual proposal in the clip was "keep your gun but permit it." Notably, this too, was right after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Substance: In the week after Sandy Hook, Cuomo refused to rule out any potential action. In the end, of course, nothing happened. In the days after the San Bernadino shooting, Trump announced he would be "so tough" he would get us into all kinds of trouble. While he failed to rule out what he might do, it is not a stretch to say that his previously advocated war-crimes (going after families of terrorists) or first-use of nuclear weapons could be in that category.

Exhibit G: Holder says People Need to See Guns As Not Cool

A young Eric Holder talks about a cultural change similar to what happened with smoking to make guns less cool to young people. Despite the headline, he does not want "brainwashing" but rather anti-violent messaging from schools and TV.

Substance: The idea that we might culturally want voices telling young people that carrying weapons isn't cool is "brainwashing" when we, in fact, have young people committing a lot of un-cool violence speaks volumes.


Where these rebuttals are not just flat out wrong (the Popehat article or Holder) they are either hypocritical or use marginal voices. Furthermore, these greatest-hits span a period of time over 20 years. If this is the best that can be done, it is an awful rebuttal to The Omnivore's position.


  1. Replies
    1. ← Fails to resist the urge to hyperlink a dictionary definition of naïve...

      Ommie may be a lot of things, but that is assuredly not one of them. Pay attention to what's actually being said, not what you want/need to see.

      And yes, he said that first, in almost exactly those words.

      -- Ω