Since I truly believe in the Mafia adage, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” I tend to watch Fox chat shows from time to time. And I have to admit that in all my wildest dreams I never believed I would see Sean Hannity being as polite and well-spoken to someone like Dan Gross who, as head of the Brady Center, must rank pretty high on the Fox Top Ten Enemies List. After all, in addition to being an outspoken gun-rights advocate, Hannity promotes gun products on his radio show and by putting his face and name on various gun websites. But there he was last night introducing his “personal friend” Dan Gross for a five-minute chat on where they agree and where they disagree about guns.
Well it turns out that Sean and Dan don’t seem to disagree, or at least I didn’t hear much last night that struck me as any real difference of opinion about the ownership and use of guns. Both stated that they supported the legal ownership of guns, both stated that they wanted everyone to lock their guns up or lock them away, and both stated that they wanted to keep guns out of the ‘wrong hands.’ Of course the devil’s always in the details, and if you got Wayne-o to calm down for a minute and stop worrying about Obama’s secret plan to disarm America before January 20, 2017, he’d be happy to come on the Hannity show and basically say the same thing.
But nice-sounding platitudes aside, I find it interesting that someone as pro-gun as Hannity would give Dan Gross an opportunity to appear before a large Fox audience to prove, if nothing else, that he’s not Lucifer in disguise. Because although Hannity threw in a couple of red-meat comments that are de rigueur on Fox when anyone mentions guns, such as his fear of the ‘slippery slope’ of gun control, he basically let Dan tell the audience how much gun owners had in common with supporters of the Brady Campaign, which is entirely contrary to what usually erupts from the NRA.
Ever since the Brady law was voted in 1994, the NRA and other pro-gun groups have kept up a steady drumbeat of anti-Brady commentary designed to convince gun owners that any expansion of background checks is nothing short of a conspiracy to take away all guns. Here’s a typical comment from the NRA in 2013 after Brady mounted a video to mark the 20th anniversary of the original background-check law: “The Brady Campaign’s proposed expansion of federal background checks would force even many family and friends to get government permission for firearm transfers amongst each other and subject all lawful gun transfers to federal paperwork and recordkeeping requirements, the prerequisites for a national registry.” Of course this statement is simply untrue, but it plays directly into the old slippery-slope gun control nonsense that Hannity found necessary to mention on the show.
I have been saying recently that the smartest thing Brady and Everytown have done is to move into the safety space which until now was owned lock, stock and barrel (pardon the pun) by the NRA. But while everyone’s in favor of safety, there’s one safety issue which puts the two sides as far apart as the Brand Canyon’s rims, and Hannity gave it away when he said that no matter how many laws were passed to prevent guns from getting into the ‘wrong hands,’ criminals wouldn’t obey laws anyway, so what was the point of passing more laws?
The pro-gun community falls back on this argument every time that any new measure is proposed that would increase regulation of guns. The problem is that if we only passed laws that criminals would obey, there wouldn’t be any laws at all. Which is actually what the pro-gun community would prefer as regards gun ownership, particularly when a Democrat happens to be renting living space at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.