For most of us, for our whole lives we have lived with some sort of gun control. Unless you were born before 1934 we have always had limitations to our rights. Why? There are several reasons but the biggest one is that a group of people have decided that they want to disarm the USA for whatever reason and have a really long game strategy to do it.
That last sentence sounds nuts. Who has a 100 year strategy to do anything? The progressive movement started during the reconstruction period following the civil war. The principals of the movement were a focus on science and reason and less focused on religion. They saw the great destruction of the war and knew that going forward a new society would need to be disarmed. This is also the era of “government regulations”. Up until this point the idea was to “limit” the government and allow freedom of the people. This new era would flip that and start to allow the government to tell us how we could live our life. The terrible working conditions of the industrial revolution would give them their foot hold.
With new laws seen by many as a boon to the average person, society started to see how the government was a good thing. They were looking out for us. They were protecting us. The 1890’s to 1920’s were known as the “Progressive Era”. The world was changing fast and it was shaped by one guiding principal, the government was our friend and we could trust them running our lives. This is also when the Women’s Suffrage Movement began and Prohibition was enacted. It was the era of Jim Crow and the start of racial oppression against the freed slaves. So there were some good parts to this era but mostly bad. Freedom belongs to everyone, not just white men. Women got more rights but the black community got destroyed. These were progressive democrats AND republicans working to change the world to their vision of how things should be. The problem was the People, who were merely in their way, would at some point rebel and take up arms against them. This had to be stopped. Enter disarmament.
In 1837 the first gun control laws was enacted. It banned handguns in the state of Georgia. That was ruled unconstitutional in the courts. In 1865 new “black codes” were enacted to try to keep freed slaves from taking up arms and going after their former owners. Gee, I wonder why they would want to do that?
Side note, Simple rule to live by. “If you treat people well they generally won’t want to kill you the first chance they get.” OK, back to my point
Fact, Gun Control is rooted in racism. Look at the cities with the strictest gun laws today. These are all cities with or at one time had large black communities. A coincidence? For the progressive movement little is by chance. Obviously these early laws were struck down eventually but the seed was planted and this movement would grow. With the Prohibition Of Alcohol (another progressive agenda item) we saw the rise of organized crime. The mafia was running the underground booze industry and money was being made. Power and control are always taken at someone else’s expense. This gave birth to the roaring 20’s and the “Chicago Typewriter” was the perfect weapon for the era. The Thompson, also know as the “Tommy Gun” was designed during WWI but after the war was available at your local hardware store. The BAR was right next to it on the wall. Crooks would use these new guns to rule the streets and a lot of people died. It also brought about smaller pocket pistols that everyone could carry. The semi auto pistol was starting to take off. Derringers and small pocket revolvers were everywhere and suddenly everyone could carry a gun. Enter the Great Depression. The 1929 Stock Market crash would wipe out huge chunks of the economy and desperate people will do desperate things.
The 1930’s were a crazy time. The gangsters who ran the underworld were loose on the streets and looking for cash. The newspapers were full of fresh college educated progressives and they knew exactly who everyone should be mad at. It was the business men and those greedy banks. Those ideas would spark a whole generation to think the banks should be sharing their money with everyone else. Bonnie and Clyde and many more like them would rise up. Anarchy was front page news and something had to be done. The 1934 National Firearms Act was signed into law and the progressive movement was back on track.
FDR was one of the biggest progressives of the day and his plan was a total transformation of our nation. Seen today as a hero of the movement and heralded as the greatest president of all times by some, the folks back then knew a different version of history. When the Supreme Court struck down some of his new agenda he tried to stack the court to push through his ideas. The Great Depression lasted right up until WWII. Looking back we can see that this should have not been the case. What FDR was doing was actually making things worse, not better. Perhaps that was the plan all along. Finally the people were relying on the government for everything. Now, with the NFA in place the government would take over public safety as well. Only THEY could have these powerful weapons. This was challenged in court in 1939 in the Miller case and the court ruled in favor of Miller but he was dead by then and his defense team did not even show up to argue the case. The banning or limiting of weapons was upheld to some extent because a sawed off shotgun had no military use and was “Not in Common Use” in the day. Also, it was upheld on the notion that it was a “Tax”, not a restriction and the government had the right to enact any tax they wanted. The other aspect of the progressive movement was to shape the beliefs of the people by controlling their education. Places of higher learning were quickly adding the progressive agenda to their curriculum. Government had rights, not the people. Judges were an important part of that plan and some really radical judges were in place back then, as they are today. Did you know that back then you didn’t even need to be a lawyer to be on the Supreme court? Many were friends or wealthy donors back in the day. It wasn’t really until modern times when judicial temperament became an issue at confirmations.
In 1938 the first restrictions on where you could buy a gun were enacted and they started requiring a license to sell a gun. The Federal Firearms License was a tax paid to the government so you could have the honor of selling a legal product. They had to keep us safe after all.
The world would change once again after WWII but this time NOT in the favor of the progressives. A lot of great Americans who fought for a free world were not really too keen on the government telling them what to do. Prosperity abounded and the American dream was in full effect. There was also the “red scare” and everyone needed a gun to protect the homeland from the soviet menace. With so many people having guns and so many having so much knowledge and experience handling them it would be another generation before the progressive movement could get back on track. In the 1950’s there were actually shooting an marksmanship classes in public schools. Imagine that today…
Enter the start of the 1960’s. Elvis was the king of rock and the Beattles and Stones were about to invade the US. A new generation was fresh out of school, full of new ideas and we had a space race. The Ruskies were still out to get us but the youth of America didn’t really want war. They heard the stories from they Dads and Grandfathers and they were taught the old guard was evil and corrupt. The Republicans were your parents party, the Democrats were new and fresh. JFK was president and a new era had begun. Then the French had a problem big in Vietnam. They were losing to the new communist North Vietnamese and needed help getting out. Globalism, I mean NATO says we all stick together so America troops were sent in to help. Seriously, this is how that crap started. The commies were taking over Asia and suddenly it was our job to stop them. I guess the issue here is that progressives and communist have far too much in common. This war could also derail another generation that was just starting to get “woke”. It had to be stopped.
The counter-culture and antiwar movements started largely at college campuses. This was not by accident. This is where the progressive movement had gone for the past several decades. They were indoctrinating the youth with their ideas, spreading their message and creating a new generation to take up the torch. The clashes that were seen on our TV’s shocked the world. Military troops opening fire on unarmed college students at Kent State was pretty much the height of that. Add to that the University of Texas Clock tower shooting in 1966, the assassination of JFK, RFK, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King jr. and it was time to start restricting who could have guns. We need to be safe from criminals and crazy people. The feeling of, “These radicals and hippies are dangerous and need to be stopped. They can’t just rise up and tell the government what to do! How dare they! Who gave them this right?”, began to become common in society. That was why they specifically added the part about “user of illegal drugs” as a disqualifier to purchasing a firearm. With the uprising there were also a lot of bombings and other violence going on. In 1972 the ATF was created to deal with this new era of gun control.
After Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981 gun control would again become a hot button issue. James Brady was shot in the head on that day but survived. He and his wife would make it their life’s work to make the world safe from gun violence. The violence in South Florida from the drug trade was getting out of hand and spreading to the rest of the nation. More gun control was the thing that would save us all. This time it was a bit of give and take. Several restrictions on handguns and ammo were eliminated but we got the full auto manufacturing ban in 1986.
Another tragic event would move the needle of public opinion further towards more restrictions. The 1989 Stockton, CA schoolyard shooting would leave 5 children dead and 32 wounded. The nation was shocked so deeply that we got the 1990 Crime Control Bill that outlawed the importation of semiauto rifles (the AK) and gave us “gun free zones” and the 1994 Assault Weapons ban. That law restrict what guns we could buy, build and import as well as add a 5 day waiting period for a handgun purchase. It also limited all magazine capacities to 10 rounds. The 1994 bill had a 10 year sunset and in 2004 expired. In 1997 the handgun waiting period was found to be unconstitutional and was struck down. The NICS part of the law was finally implemented in 1998 and our current system of background checks was put in place.
Since that time we have been able to see a ground swell of support for the freedoms guaranteed by the second amendment. States started taking back their rights, repealing restrictions and passing laws that ensure the 2A rights of it’s citizens. Several states have instituted “constitutional carry” which allows those not prohibited under the law from possessing a handgun to carry it concealed without a permit. This has been a huge success and crime stats prove that. The Assault Weapons ban did nothing to improve safety or prevent crimes. In the Heller decision, the Supreme court once again determined the second amendment is an individual right and outright gun bans are illegal. McDonald brought us the idea that states do not have a right to violate the second amendment. The 14th amendment makes federal rights universal to all people, in all states. Finally there is hope for the future.
The biggest driver of the gun control debate these days is mass shootings and school shootings. Red Flag laws started popping up after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida. If only law enforcement had the tools to deal with dangerous people. These laws seek to protect us from people who are crazy or violent. Police can swoop in and take their guns away without having to go to trial to have the person convicted of a crime or ruled mentally defective. Funny how these are people who need help but they government only cares about their guns, not their problems. No provisions are established to find out “why” they are acting this way. Just guns are bad!
The gun rights movement is focused on Virginia at the moment but really, this is a national fight. 17 states plus DC have Red Flag laws, Universal background checks are on every docket and Assault Weapons bans are moving like hotcakes! California is really the epicenter of every wet dream the gun grabbers have. Behind it all is the progressive movement and their plans to fundamentally change this country and assume complete power. Michael Bloomberg, George Sorros and the Gifford’s gun control groups are in the driver’s seat now but it has always been about the Progressive Movement. They will stop at nothing to disarm this nation and have proven to have the patience of Job to get it done. A loss is just a setback for them, maybe the next generation will do it. That sort of thinking is powerful and hard to stop.