John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Slow Down on Guns

Posted on January 15, 2013

The Obama Administration is making a huge mistake if it wants to pass significant gun legislation in this Congress.

I understand the impulse.  They want to strike while the iron is hot.  They believe that they have to pass something before people start forgetting about Sandy Hook.

The Vice President unveiled his proposals from his task force yesterday prematurely.   By moving so swiftly, the Biden task force didn’t have time to come up with anything really new or really interesting.  It basically went down the same well-traveled road taken by anti-gun activists for the last 30 years.

By doing the same thing, only faster, Mr. Biden and his allies may think that they can bull-rush the National Rifle Association and its supporters in Congress.  But House Republicans, especially those from reliably safe seats, won’t suddenly turn on some of their strongest supporters.  It wouldn’t be wise politically, and it wouldn’t be the right thing to do for our democracy.

Policy-makers need to tread carefully on the gun issue.   This nation is in no mood for quick movement on issues of personal security.

Just take a quick glance at our popular culture.   The top show on NBC is about world in which the power goes out and only those with automatic weapons have any power.   A couple years ago, “The Road”, a post-apocolyptic novel about the end of civilization and a journey of a man and his son to find sanctuary.  Automatic weapons sure would have come in hand for those two.   “Doomsday Preppers” and “Doomsday Bunkers” are some of the top reality shows on television, detail the lives of people who are preparing for the end of times.

The first decade of the 21st century, starting with the 9/11 attacks and ending with biggest fiscal crisis of the last seventy years, has shaken the confidence of a generation of Americans.  And a whole industry has arisen to take advantage of that security.  Gold prices have soared exponentially.  Gun sales have gone through the roof.  People are buying bunkers and preparing for the day that society completely breaks down.

Are these people completely crazy?  Well, some of them are.  And some are folks who are just covering their bases, just in case.

And a lot of these people vote and vote often.

Taking the long view, it is not surprising that people are basically freaking out.  The Mayan apocalypse is just the tip of the iceberg.  According to Wikipedia:
“Millenarianism (also millenarism) is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming major transformation of society, after which all things will be changed, based on a one-thousand-year cycle. The term is more generically used to refer to any belief centered around 1000-year intervals. Millenarianism is a concept or theme that exists in many cultures and religions. One well-known form of millenarianism is the Christian concept of Millennialism. A core doctrine in Christian eschatology is the expectation of the Second Coming and the establishment of a Kingdom of God on Earth. According to the literal interpretation of prophecies in the Revelation of John, this kingdom of God on Earth will last a thousand years or more (a millennium).  Although Christian Millennialism is the most well-known example of a millenarian belief system, the application of 1000-year cycles to the establishment or changing of the world has happened in many cultures and religions, and continues to this day, and is not relegated to the sects of only major world religions.”

Sound familiar?

Policy makers who try to take guns away from people who believe that the final battle between good and evil is expected any day now are in for a rude awakening.

As my Uncle Bob might say, it might be a bunch of superstitious mumbo jumbo, but then again, a lot of people really  believe it.

And our national culture is more than willing to make some money off of the true believers.  Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, make some money off of ‘em.

This is why I believe the Biden Commission has moved too quickly to be successful.  Instead of taking a thoughtful approach that would require deliberation, debate and real intense study, the Vice President is moving as quickly as he can to get as much gun control legislation as possible done.

It’s won’t work.  Republicans won’t and can’t bite.  And a good portion of the American people don’t want it, especially as they are preparing for the final countdown.

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