Friday, April 24, 2015

30 Ain't Enough

30 pieces rounds of silver were offered to us. Allegedly. Kinda. Maybe. Sorta.

A democrat, none other than ol' "you don't know if you're being raped" Salazar (D-Thorton), mentioned he might go for upping the limit on magazine capacity to 30 rounds. He wasn't speaking on behalf of his party, he wasn't making a solid proposal, he just tossed that out there.

I doubt that the dems would have gone for it. even if it could have passed the house it'd be moot as it would have never passed out of committee to get to a floor vote in the house. And Hick would have never signed it, as Bloomie the Hut would have denied him permission to do so.

But like a scrap of meat dropped twixt two hungry dogs much fighting has ensued over it.

I won't get into the players involved as that's not all that important. What is important is that A: a lot of gunowners fell for it and B: a lot of gunowners don't realize what they fell for.

To start off, supporting an increase in the magazine size available to Coloradans would be cool and groovy, if but for the warning in my heart:

Imagine you're a lawyer and you get to choose which of two legal challenges to existing law you'll pursue: the first is a ban on magazines containing more than 2 rounds, the other a ban on magazines containing more than 99 rounds.

In a perfect world with an actual honest to freyja judiciary, the numbers wouldn't matter. This world is less than ideal, and the courts are not our friends. So convincing a judge that a 2 round limit places an unconstitutional burden on the Right to arms would be much easier than arguing the same over a 99 round limit.

Currently, the 15 round limit affects a good percentage of gun owners. Likely it's upwards of 99 percent. A 30 round limit would take its toll on a much smaller percentage, perhaps as low as 1% or less.

In a perfect world, that 1% would be given the same consideration as the (potentially) 50+%.  Did I mention that the world ain't perfect?

Also, because of those same percentages, getting grassroots support - actually writing letters to congress critters, showing up at rallies, donating money to pro-gunowner groups - would be much harder if only 31+ round magazines were involved. Doubt me? Let me remind you of the intense support gunowners got from the Fudd wing of our culture after the "assault weapon" ban authors assured everyone that their duck and "wabbit" guns would not be affected. That is not an anomaly from our distant past either. Look up "Zumbo" sometime.

The republican party in Colorado has not been a staunch ally of gunowners (except of course when soliciting campaign funds and/or votes). A lot of the GoP here thinks some restrictions are advisable, and I would not take for granted that they'd vote to repeal a ban on magazines that hold over 31 rounds. The 1% or so of gunowners affected by the 31+ round ban wouldn't amount to enough votes for them to spend political capital on, and the reduced pressure from their constituents would be a signal that they can get away with not trying too hard for a complete repeal.. 

If those weren't factors, then there's the principle to consider - by approving any restrictions on magazine capacity, in essence the power of government to regulate magazine capacity is ceded; what we do is mere haggling.

So as attractive as this compromise may appear, in the long run it's ill advised.

What should also be a warning is the source. Salazar.

Here and here are stories pointing out Salazar's musing on 30 rounders possibly being okey-dokey. The gist is that Salazar, who was thought to be in a very safe district, was re-elected in 2014 by 221 votes. He was put on the kill committee by the house leadership possibly as punishment for not doing better, or perhaps as a way to make sure he didn't waiver from the party line in order to better his electoral chances next time around.

The dems have not mentioned any support for any adjustment of the magazine ban, nor has Hickenlooper expressed any desire to sign one into law. In fact a bill to do so would have to originate in the senate as the house has said they would not allow any "late bills" to start on their side of the hall.

Methinks this is Salazar trying to appear more moderate in the hopes his electorate will be appeased enough to give him a job again in 2016. Also it may be a way of diverting attention from either Salazar or the democrats, as it has gunowners at each others throats. Finally, it may be a way to weaken gunowners' political power, as internecine conflicts like this can take their toll on grassroots efforts, such as recalls or attending legislative hearings.

But gunowners fell for it, dividing along two camps - the pragmatists that think any improvement is better than none, and the absolutists, who think a short term gain is not worth the price of long term victory. I'm of course in the absolutist camp, but I don't view this as a productive fight,  because while it's always nice to have an excuse to enlighten folks to the Absolutist position, and it's long term superiority over other approaches, I don't like to be a pawn.

And that's exactly what we are in this one: pawns. For whatever reason the dems wanted us divided. They got it. In general, whatever Salazar wants, or the current batch of dems in Colorado for that matter, is not going to be good for any gunowner.

That is the gist of it: the dems are manipulating gunowners for heir own ends. Hopefully enough gunowners who claim to be reasonable will see that, and stop attacking each other.


Billll said...

I think a lot of Republicans recognized the offer for what it was: Political cover for Dems in dicey districts for the next election. Say the bill was put forward in the House. It passes with half the republicans and all the Dems in competitive districts. Same in the Senate, and the Governor, who is term limited, vetoes it.

Next election, the Dems in the competitive districts get to claim they're looking out for our rights, knowing good and well the bill would fail, and get re-elected. It might even work for a seat or two in the Senate, returning the state to one-party rule.

Dudley is right, but not for the reasons he's putting forward.

Paul Bonneau said...

No matter which way things fall, this whole process has to leave people feeling dirty. Would a person normally want to deal with another individual who he knows will be stabbing him in the back at the first opportunity? No, of course not. Yet somehow people persist in dealing with this scum.

Oh, well, play the game (or not). Lobby and deal with scum (or not). Manipulate, and be manipulated (or not). It's all beside the point of whether one is willing and able to go to war when the time comes for that.