As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2014. For gun owners, gun-rights advocates and the entire gun community as a whole, what can we expect to see this coming year?
Well, here are five, not so shocking, rather obvious political predictions for 2014.
1. There will be mass shootings.
This isn’t so much a prediction as it is an inevitability. But there will be mass shootings in 2014.
In his USA Today column published following the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., criminologist James Alan Fox summed up the trend on mass shootings over the past three decades.
“Whatever the political response, it is important to dispel the widely held notion that mass shootings are on the rise,” wrote Fox.
“Over the past 30 years, there has been an average of nearly 20 mass shootings a year in the U.S., each involving at least four victims killed, but with no upward or downward trajectory.”
We shouldn’t expect things to change much this year. However, what we should pay attention to is the circumstances surrounding these events and whether the victims were ready to deal with the shooter.
As we all know, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has put everyone on high alert. But has our increased vigilance and collective resolve to save lives actually translated into tangible preparedness?
I hope it has. Either way, we’ll soon learn what new laws, safety measures and strategic responses to Sandy Hook have actually had a meaningful impact and which have not.
2. There will be a push for a federal law requiring universal background checks
A federal law requiring universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including private transactions made via the Internet and at gun shows, remains the chief goal of gun-control advocates.
In 2014, we can expect that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will do everything in their power to bring a UBC bill up for a vote.
In various talks and speeches throughout the year the two lawmakers vowed to do just that after a UBC stalled in the Senate in April, falling six votes shy of the 60 votes required to overcome a GOP-led filibuster.
“I think sometime next year we’ll revisit that issue,” Reid told members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots organization 100,000 members which recently joined forces with Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, back in August. “I’m almost certain of it.”
Pelosi was even more forceful about her desire to “finish the job” on UBCs, speaking at a November press conference to honor the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.
“I’m ashamed to be here to face all of you [and] not have finished the job yet,” Pelosi said to the crowd. “We must be relentless in how we pursue this, how we protect and defend the American people.”
Pelosi believes that the onus is on the House to push through an expanded background check bill. She argued that if the House passed a bill, the Senate would then follow suit.
“I believe if the bill were taken up in the House that it would pass. And when it passes the House, some senators … would no longer have the excuse, ‘It’s no use my risking my political career because it’s not going anyplace in the House,’” Pelosi explained. “Let’s turn that around, pass it in the House and just put the pressure on to take up the bill. Why not?”
The only question is: will they have the votes in both chambers to pass a UBC bill?
3. Bloomberg unleashed!
This coming year is setting up to be the year of billionaire and pro-gun control zealot Michael Bloomberg.
Given that his third and final term as Mayor of New York City is coming to an end, one can expect him to devote even more time to curtailing the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“Rest assured I’m going to devote extensive resources of my own and work very hard,” Bloomberg said at a Mayors Against Illegal Guns press conference last month.
“We will keep fighting. Maybe we’ll keep fighting even harder because we have more time to work on this,” he exclaimed, adding “This organization is not going away.”
No, MAIG is not going away. In fact, one can argue that following the decision to merge with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots organization 100,000 members strong, the organization’s only gotten stronger, more poised for a fight in 2014.
From the perspective of MAIG and MDA, that’s exactly how they feel.
“Combining the legal and policy expertise of mayors with the passion and determination of moms will create a force for change that political leaders will not be able to ignore,” the new, super gun-control organization said in a press release.
“And by uniting a broad coalition of millions of Americans, we intend to take the fight for common-sense gun safety measures to a new level. It’s a fight that can be won, and— unless we are willing accept that 33 Americans will be murdered with guns every day—it’s a fight we must win.”
To this point, Bloomberg’s only scratched the surface and he’s been effective. He was behind the NY SAFE Act, the election of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, the magazine ban and UBC bill that passed in Colorado, in addition to similar legislation in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and California.
I fear that 2014 we will see the full wrath and fury of Bloomberg’s gun-control agenda. My prediction, it won’t be pretty (and I wouldn’t be surprised if his double-down approach turns out to be the tipping point for the passage of a federal UBC bill).
4. There will NOT be a Supreme Court ruling on whether self-defense extends beyond the home.
The Supreme Court has been dodging this issue for years. And I predict it will continue to do so in 2014, unfortunately.
Essentially, the high court needs to rule (1) Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns for self-defense outside the home; and (2) whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by denying handgun carry licenses to responsible, law-abiding adults for lack of “proper cause” to bear arms for self-defense.
It cuts to the core problem that many gun owners have living in ‘may-issue’ states. They’re denied concealed carry permits for arbitrary reasons. That is to say, their reasons for wanting to protect themselves and their family in public doesn’t pass muster with anti-gun bureaucrats. It’s total B.S. And it’s got to change.
However, don’t expect it to happen anytime soon. For whatever reason the justices lack the temerity to rule on this issue. Over the past few years, they’ve passed up at least three relevant cases dealing with this problem.
In the meantime, responsible citizens in states like New York, Maryland, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey Hawaii, among others, will continue to be prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
I know, this is a pretty lame prediction, one that I’m only mentioning for the simple fact that I hope it doesn’t come true. In a weird way I’m hoping to double jinx myself, if that makes sense. See, I sincerely hope that the high court has a change of heart and elects to hear a case focusing on this issue in 2014 and maybe because I brought it up they will, miraculously, decide to rule on it.
I guess we’ll see if this double jinx works.
5. U.N. Global Arms Trade Treaty falls by wayside
I think there’s a good chance that the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to regulate the world’s annual exchange of $70 billion in conventional weaponry, will fall by the wayside.
While Secretary of State John Kerry has signed the agreement and President Obama strongly backs it, the ultimate decision on whether it is adopted by the U.S. falls to the Senate, which must pass it by a two-thirds majority.
Given that 50 senators have promised to vote against the ATT, it’s pretty much dead in the water, a fact that was made readily apparent in a recent letter written by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
“As members of the Senate, we pledge to oppose the ratification of this treaty, and we give notice that we do not regard the U.S. as bound to uphold its object and purpose,” stated the letter, which received bipartisan support.
Harry Reid is aware of this opposition to the ATT, which is precisely why he won’t bring it up for an official vote in the Senate. He knows it will be outright rejected. So, the reality is that the ATT is somewhat in limbo, approved by the Obama administration but opposed by the lawmakers that would make it U.S. law.
On top of the opposition from the Senate, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attached a bill to the 2014 Defense Appropriation Bill that prohibits the government from spending money to implement any of the ATT’s provisions. In short, no funding equals no ATT roll out for the U.S.
Broadly speaking, if the world’s largest arms dealer does not adhere to the ATT what are the chances that the other major players in the global arms industry, e.g. Russia, China take it seriously? Moreover, what are the chances that troubled states like North Korea, Iran, Syria follow suit?
Bottom line: the ATT’s doomed if the U.S. doesn’t officially approve it or fund it.
We’ll those are my predictions for 2014. Again, I didn’t really go out on a limb with any of them. Now it’s time for your predictions and prognostications for this coming year. How do you see things playing out?