Dylan Matthews, a contributor to Vox.com, has tweeted his desire to see the president ban sales of firearms to everyone. His exact words were that “this is not Dems’ sales pitch but I’m totally down with letting the prez unilaterally ban people (hopefully everyone!) from buying guns.”
On a daily basis, I’m told by advocates of gun control that no one is coming for our guns. How “no one” is defined apparently differs by the person using the term. To me, someone who writes for the New Republic isn’t a nobody. Neither is someone who is taking part in the writing of the Democratic National Committee’s party platform. And given the the way that digital media is overtaking traditional print sources, one of the founders of a popular on-line magazine is also not no one.
Does it matter that Matthews is calling for something that would be unconstitutional? As I’ve written about before, gun sales were found by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to be a part of gun rights. This is a logical conclusion. Exercising gun rights requires guns. And the Heller ruling protects the ownership of guns in common use, suggesting that even a prohibition on buying some guns wouldn’t legally include rifles like the AR-15.
But advocates of more laws, more restrictions, and more bans will continue telling us that no one is coming for our guns. They’ll say that Matthews is just wanting to stop new sales. They’ll say that as long as we’re still allowed to own an approved list of guns, kept at licensed ranges in a disassembled and unloaded condition, our gun rights have not been violated.
Why do gun control supporters keep repeating the claim, despite the evidence presented over and over to the contrary? Some are probably hoping that we won’t notice. Say enough words rapidly enough, and your opponents won’t have the chance to answer every false claim or half truth, leaving the impression that you won. The technique is called the Gish Gallop. Dealing with this is a challenge, since careful reasoning isn’t done in a hurry. Those of us who stand up for gun rights have to spend the time necessary to learn the subject and to get to know the arguments typically thrown at us by those who would curtail rights. And then we have to insist that our opponents focus on one topic at a time, not allowing the discussion to bounce around from point to point, leaving some unaddressed.
The majority of people who favor gun control are not professional advocates, though, and are expressing their genuine beliefs. And no matter how often we show such people example after example of calls for bans on guns, they will continue to claim that no such thing exists. This is called confirmation bias, the tendency to notice only such things as support what we believe, while subconsciously rejecting any contrary information. When confronted with someone whose beliefs have been carefully walled off from any counterarguments, expect a lot of PRATTs—points refuted a thousand times. As trying as it can be to your patience, offer time number one thousand and one to people who are sincere
The claim that no one is coming for our guns at this point is maddening in how blatantly false it is, but if we are going to keep the desires of anti-rights advocates from becoming reality, we have to drive home the point, day after day after day, that yes, too many in this country do want to ban guns—perhaps not all of them right away, but enough of them to make future bans feel easier. And that is something that good people can never tolerate.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.