On February 26, a New York Times op-ed by Mary Lewis Grow of pro-gun control organization Protect Minnesota, cited terror attacks in heavily gun-controlled Europe and Australia as proof for why we need more gun control in this country too, and they claimed the refusal to pass more gun control was an outgrowth of the NRA’s opposition to restricting “terror suspects’ right to arm themselves.”
Instead of taking the time to see that the NRA and other pro-Second Amendment groups oppose expanding or broadening background checks for the danger such expansion poses to liberty, the NYT tries to paint opposition to gun control as support for terror suspects’ rights.
The argument works like this: Gun control failed to stop terror attacks in Europe yet we need more gun control here. If you oppose more gun control, that means you must support the right of “terrorist suspects’ to arm themselves.”
The NYT observes: “None of the current efforts to prevent homegrown terrorism in the United States will be sufficient without addressing the ease with which would-be terrorists in the United States can obtain firearms and explosives.” Strangely absent from their presentation is the fact none of the “restrictive” gun control measures in Paris, Copenhagen, or Australia prevented terror suspects from having the weapons they needed to carry out the heinousness they planned.
Nevertheless, a few paragraphs down we read:
Gun lobby opposition has…played a part in earlier failures to address the problem. A small, extremist sliver of the gun-owning population (including the the leadership of the National Rifle Association) opposes any limitations–even a restriction of terror suspects’ right to arm themselves.
By now, the incrementalism of gun control should be evident. But in case it’s not, consider this: If current background checks are expanded to include new lists of persons ineligible to buy guns, what is the next step once those expansions fail to stop terrorists from arming themselves, as we saw in Europe and Australia? The next step will then be a the push for universal background checks which will necessarily outlaw all private gun sales in the US going forward.
If there are people in this country who are believed to be so prone to terror attacks that we have to keep them away from firearms–or keep firearms away from them–the solution is not to punish the hundreds of millions of law-abiding Americans via the passage of more gun control. Rather, it is to deport or lock up those who pose a threat to society, whatever the case may be.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.