This may come as a rather rude shock to many of my Gun-control Nation friends, but I am increasingly convinced that the best thing which could have ever happened to the folks who want to see an end to gun violence was the election of Sleazy Don Trump. The reason I say that is because the pro-gun noisemakers had a field day when they were behaving like attack dogs against the so-called Obama regime. But now the Red Team offense is being forced to play defense and things are no longer what they seemed.
To begin with, gun sales are in the toilet, there’s simply no other way to describe what’s going on. Want to buy a new, brand-name AR? It used to set you back $700 and change to get one from DPMS, now the asking piece is down around $400 bucks. One of the guns which the kids love to carry around in the street, the Kel-Tec 9, is running around two Franklins; it used to cost three.
Here are some interesting numbers: 1,186,000 – 903,000 – 839,000. Those are the FBI-NICS handgun and long gun background checks for August 2016, 2017 and this past month. That’s a month-to-month drop of 30 percent. We used to have a joke in the gun business that if you wanted to make a million, start with two million. Guess what? It’s all of a sudden not such a joke.
And last but not least, we have the boys in Fairfax, who all of a sudden find their membership dues dwindling away, with a decline from $163 million in 2016 to $128 million last year. And since annual dues are now $40 and a certain percentage of members paid a one-time Life Member fee at some point in the past, there is simply no way that America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ has 5 million members, or even 4 million dues-paying souls.
Although we won’t really know how this will play out until November 6th, what may be giving the real impetus to the decline in the fortunes of Gun-nut Nation may be the degree to which the narrative promoting a lessening of interest in guns and shooting is clearly strengthened by the opposition to Sleazy Don Trump. No matter what my gun-grabbing friends may believe, Brett Kavanaugh’s comments about assault rifles during his confirmation hearing was straight out of the standard, Republican playbook on how and why assault rifles are nothing other than a legal type of gun.
And before everyone in Gun-control Nation goes ape over adding another pro-gun conservative to the Supreme Court, let’s not forget that it was a conservative Supreme Court which refused to overturn the AR ban enacted by Highland Park. And the Highland Park law wasn’t one of those grandfather deals like the 1994 assault weapons ban; the law said that either you got rid of your AR or you got out of town. And by the way, the SCOTUS upheld the Highland Park ban by a vote of 6 – 2, not some kind of 5 – 4 ‘thank you Justice Kennedy’ swing vote.
Don’t get me wrong, okay? I’m no friend of the Federalist Society and if Kavanaugh turns out to be a drunk, a liar, a serial abuser or all three, he can do us all a favor, pack up and disappear. Or better yet, his Republican sponsors can tell him to go take a hike in Rock Creek Park.
But let’s make one thing very clear. You could have nine Supreme Court justices with the temperament and political savvy of my personal hero – Ruthie B. Ginsburg – and such an alignment wouldn’t change the reality of gun violence one, tiny bit. We didn’t get to the point where 125,000+ gun injuries each year have become the norm because the Supreme Court is tilted this way or that. And my gun-control friends shouldn’t lull themselves into thinking that opposing Kavanaugh (or opposing Sleazy Don, for that matter) represents a victory for what is referred to as ‘gun sense.’ Because at the end of the day, the guns are still out there….