Gun control advocates seek to "tighten" gun laws

By Gerard Valentino

Over the last few months, the anti-gun movement, with help from the establishment media, has started a new attack campaign with their usual flair for the dramatic and lack of concern for the facts.

Every article on gun-control during that time period mentioned that America has "loosened" regulations on buying, carrying, and owning guns over the last three decades. It is as if media outlets from Fox News to Politico.com to Philly.com to The Washington Times all got the phrase from the same place.

We've seen this play before. The anti-gun movement has used terms such as "Saturday night special" or "assault weapon" to get the media to define a type of gun or type of law in the most provocative way possible. Usually, the anti-gun talking points are welcomed by the establishment media because anything provocative increases television ratings and newspaper circulation rates.

You can also bet that by defining our current gun laws as "loose," the anti-gun leadership is setting up the debate so they can claim the need to "tighten" regulations, not enforce an outright ban on private ownership or repeal concealed carry laws. Instead, they will be repackaging the old argument for reasonable gun control with a new, less threatening catch phrase.

Many Americans will believe that "tightening" gun laws won't infringe on the right to bear arms, but instead will help keep criminals or the mentally ill from getting their hands on a gun. Pro-gun advocates immediately see through the tired tactics, but the establishment media knows that the gun issue is a ratings bonanza, so they will quietly look the other way when our adversaries repackage old arguments.

After all, in the last few months, the "loose" gun laws in Texas and Florida were supposedly responsible for high profile spree killings. In both cases, the accused shooter allegedly had mental health issues and used the "loose" regulations to bypass the process designed to keep certain demographic groups from buying a gun.

Transferring responsibility to the gun laws instead of keeping it squarely where it belongs – with the shooter – is another long-used tactic of the anti-gun movement.
With the total failure of gun-control since the early 1990s, you would think the anti-gun crusaders would change their strategy to stay relevant. However, they have an accomplice willing to put the same tired arguments on the front page, so a complete revamp of their strategy is unnecessary. The anti-gun leadership is surely praying for a few more spree killings to further cement their message.

Still, whenever our adversaries make any change to their marketing campaign, it requires our attention. The simple fact is we won't lose our gun-rights during an honest debate because honesty exposes the anti-gun movement's utter lack of relevancy, and the complete lack of validity on their side of the issue.

We will lose only when ambushed, or when we don't catch on to the new tactics being implemented by our adversaries. So, diligence is required to predict the next move our desperate enemy might make.

Their desperation isn't something we should celebrate, however, because a desperate enemy is a dangerous enemy. Luckily, they continue to try to find new ways to exploit the same old tactics - which makes their antics easy to anticipate.

In this case, it's clear they are trying to define future schemes to destroy gun-rights as a way to "tighten" regulations on gun purchase and gun ownership. While we know that "tighten" is really a way for the anti-gun leadership to demand new gun-control laws, the general public might buy into the argument. It might resonate with every day Americans that "tightening" the gun buying process so that criminals and the mentally-ill can't buy a gun is good public policy, regardless of the fact that laws banning ownership of firearms by criminals or people adjudicated mentally defective are already on the books.

Remember, their argument is that gun laws don't need to be changed drastically, they only need to be "tightened." Surely, "tightening" the law is a small price to pay if we want to stop the scourge of workplace shootings. On the surface, everything the anti-gun leadership is proposing makes sense. After all, the evil gun lobby doesn't care if innocent people die as long as the right to own non-sporting "assault weapons" and "Saturday night specials" is not infringed.

It took years to overcome the anti-gun mantra of "reasonable gun-control" because it was one of the few times people obsessed with ending private ownership of firearms came up with well thought out propaganda. We knew it was a way to destroy gun-rights while seeming to be cooperative, but the average person thought the anti-gun groups were being reasonable.

Claiming gun buying regulations only need to be "tightened" is even more powerful because it implies a very small change to the status quo. Obviously, once they get their foot in the door, reverting to their long standing goal of total gun confiscation is inevitable. They will also claim a mandate for gun-control if they are able to put a few anti-gun candidates in office.

While it may seem like the pro-gun movement has won the war, nothing is further from the truth. All we've done is win a few decisive battles. Still, there are many more to fight and defining the current tactics of the anti-gun movement is the first start.

Gerard Valentino is the author of The Valentino Chronicles and Treasurer of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.

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