Throughout history, we have seen at warp speeds dramatic political winds cause major shifts in public policy, public sentiment and in the behavior of politicians.
The temperance movement in a few short years gained political traction enough to usher in a constitutional amendment that prohibited the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol. It lasted 13 years before it was repealed.
As late as 2012, President Barack Obama espoused his belief that legal marriage should only be between a man and woman. In describing his self-admitted “evolution” on the topic, Mr. Obama helped usher in rapid and sweeping changes in most states, changing traditional-marriage laws in just a few years, followed by a dearth of LGBTQ equality laws and even transgender bathrooms.
The Berlin Wall for 28 years stood as the symbol of the Cold War. Recognizing the failure of communism, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev took a hands-off approach to the Soviet satellite countries in order to save his Russian administration. This prompted leading East German officials to suddenly relax travel restrictions to West Germany. What began as a tentative trickle of citizens who approached the wall carefully later turned into — when it was evident people were free to cross — a frenzy to destroy that led to the destruction of the wall and, ultimately, the reunification of Germany.
Brexiteers in the United Kingdom, in swift and dramatic fashion, voted to throw off political and economic ties to the European Union — ties it had had since 1993.
Dylan Roof entered a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and killed nine African-American parishioners. His crimes resulted in an unprecedented, all-out assault on Confederate monuments and history in the name of extinguishing racism. Even in the Deep South, monuments that stood for more than 100 years were eviscerated, vandalized and removed in the name of a new sense of cultural terrorism and enlightenment. GOP politicians, fearful of being branded “racist,” stood by and let it happen.
The No. 1 mantra of the smart politician is to understand the direction from whence and to where the political winds are blowing.
The left has been largely ineffectual at chipping away the Second Amendment. When they have been effective, it has been done at the local and state levels and primarily in blue regions. The only meaningful federal gun-control measure accomplished by the left was the Clinton-era “assault” weapons ban, in which study after study had mixed results and led to its eventual repeal. Two of the weapons used in the 1999 Columbine mass shooting were, in fact, banned and were used with other non-banned weapons to kill 13 people.
The frontal assault on the Second Amendment by the left has largely not worked. The monumental U.S. Supreme Court Heller decision reaffirmed a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. However, the recent mass shootings are having an effect on public opinion and, therefore, subject Americans to politicians either capitalizing on the tragedies — in the case of the Socialist Democrats — or to vulnerable Republicans capitulating on what many consider to be the main cog in the Bill of Rights.
It’s possible that never before has the U.S. seen so many calls to repeal the Second Amendment. Republicans know they need to do something, even if they are well aware that many of the measures being discussed would not have prevented the latest mass shootings. With the intense pressure mounting, Republicans are caving on “red flag” laws, which contradict the America principle of “innocent before proven guilty.” Instead of a person being judged for his or her crimes, someone is condemned for a crime he or she “might” commit. Imagine the bureaucratic quagmire one has to wade through if wrongly accused of a thought crime.
Imagine being prescribed an anti-psychotic drug that has other medical uses only to be denied a firearm purchase. Worse yet, imagine local law enforcement or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms showing up at your door to confiscate your weapons. It’s easy to draw the correlation and similarities between those who have had the IRS seize their bank accounts for the wrong reasons and experienced the bureaucratic nightmare and expense entailed to get the funds back.
Universal background checks are now willingly being offered by Republicans as a solution. In these types of background checks, government bureaucrats insert themselves in a private non-firearm-dealer sale or the simple act of passing down a hunting rifle from a father to a son. It doesn’t matter that the statistics don’t bear out that these measures have or would prevent mass shootings.
The gun-control advocates are quickly becoming gun-confiscation proponents and outright Second Amendment-repeal advocates. It is estimated there are more than 350 million guns in private citizens’ hands in the United States with 11 million new guns manufactured per year. Forty-three percent of American households have firearms in the home.
No matter how successful the left is at winning all the recent gun-control measures being proposed, rest assured it will never be enough. If firearms sales were stopped today, millions of guns will remain in America and we all know that those with criminal intentions find ways to acquire guns.
Add the fact that the National Rifle Association (NRA), the leading advocate for Second Amendment rights, is a victim of its own success, with record membership and the revenue largesse from the best gun salesman in history (Mr. Obama) find themselves in an internal battle over expenses and control of the organization — things that have arguably weakened it in the short-term.
Intentionally or not, the left has used a backhanded but effective approach to achieve the same goals. Unable to achieve their desired results with legislation, the decades of progressive ideologies that have directly resulted in the moral decay of American society may give them their ultimate prize: Repeal of the Second Amendment.
The political winds are blowing. For these winds to turn into hurricane-force winds, we would only need another similar tragedy in the near-term. Without a spiritual and cultural renaissance in America in a hurry, gun confiscation could be upon us — and with it the likelihood of a second American civil war.
• David Thomas Roberts resides in Houston, Texas, and is the author of “The Death of Liberty: The Socialist Destruction of America’s Freedoms Using the Income Tax,” and the CEO of Teligistics, a telecom financial management company.