This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 10, 2015:
No wonder ATF head Todd Jones bailed. With the monumental failure of his “framework” proposal to ban the popular “green tip” ammo in the US, he saw little reason to stick around. Surely he must have known that his agency would have to report, reluctantly at the very least, the firearms manufacturers’ data that came out earlier this week: those gun makers produced 10 million guns in 2013 (the latest year for which the ATF has reliable data), twice the number they produced just three years earlier!
What the ATF is facing is a “sea-change” in Americans’ attitude towards guns, defined by Collins as “a seemingly magical change as brought about by the action of the sea.”
There’s nothing magical about it. The shift was perceptible back in 2004 when Clinton’s “assault weapons” ban expired and no amount of heavy lifting by the ATF, Michael Bloomberg, or the Brady Campaign could revive it. In retrospect, that ban was the last piece of federal legislation restricting gun ownership the politicians were able to enact.
That change was helped along, no doubt, when John Lott updated and revised his monumental study, More Guns, Less Crime, in 2010, which showed simply and plainly that in a dangerous world increasingly populated by criminals and thugs, both local and federal, being armed makes nothing but good sense.
The Supreme Court helped, too, with its 2008 Heller decision, ruling that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, and then extending that ruling to the states in its 2010 McDonald decision.
A Gallup poll, taken in 2014, reflected that sea change in attitude. Back in 2000, more than half of all Americans believed that having a gun in the home made that home a more dangerous place to live. By 2014, 63 percent said that having a gun in the home makes that home safer!
To some like Brandon Combs, active in gun politics in California for years, it’s a complete mystery: “There are no big gun bills [pending], there’s no big scare.” He tried to explain the upsurge in concealed carry applications and background checks for gun purchases in the state by blaming it on income tax refunds that people were spending, or on recovery from post-Christmas holiday spending binges, or the weather. Regardless, at the end of 2014 there were about 70,000 Californians already licensed to carry concealed in the state, with another 15,000 to 20,000 applications pending. Combs said, “California is working its way toward its first 100,000-license year ever.”
Any listing of pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment victories during the Obama administration will be incomplete, they are occurring so rapidly. Washington, DC, dropped its appeal of a court ruling that its handgun ban is unconstitutional in order to prepare to defend its unconstitutional concealed carry application process. In February, the infamously liberal Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a similarly unconstitutional requirement in California that applicants for permits must show a “need” beyond just an interest in self-protection.
The surge in pro-gun legislation being enacted at the state level was first reflected in 2009, when both Arizona and Tennessee passed laws allowing citizens to carry concealed in places serving alcohol. In 2010, Louisiana approved a bill granting its citizens the freedom to carry side arms in churches, while Arizona passed a law letting people carry concealed without a permit. Wyoming passed a similar law in 2011.
That same year, Mississippi enacted legislation allowing its citizens to carry firearms on college campuses, in bars and churches, later expanding that law to include sporting events, polling places, airports, courthouses and other government facilities.
So-called “stand your ground” laws are commonplace in the states: an individual has no duty to retreat from any place where he has a right to be. And, if necessary, he has a right to defend himself with lethal force if he “reasonably believes he faces an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death.” How far those states have come, when requirement to retreat in the face of such danger was the law.
Forty-six states have now adopted “Castle Doctrine” laws, which hold a homeowner innocent in cases where he is forced to use lethal force to defend himself against an intruder in his home.
Last November’s elections also reflected that change. The NRA’s Political Victory Fund celebrated victories across the country, concluding that connections to “anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg [were] proven to be a political liability.” The NRA counted off victories in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. It bragged:
The NRA was pivotal in re-electing pro-gun governors in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Texas, and Wisconsin, and in ousting a Bloomberg-backed anti-gun governor in Maryland.
In addition, the NRA had great success in races for the U.S. House….
The NRA estimates that it spent just $20 million in political action in 2014, while it is reported that Bloomberg spent many times that. Once the sea change takes place, no amount of money can turn back the flood.
Politicians have taken notice and are offering bills to dismantle the ATF altogether, shifting some its legitimate responsibilities to the FBI, and defunding the others. The ATF is standing in front of a tidal wave. That wave might just be strong enough to wash it away entirely.
The Washington Times: Obama gun control push backfires as industry sees unprecedented surge
Second Amendment Foundation: District of Columbia drops appeal of SAF Concealed Carry Victory
Talking Points Memo: How Pro-Gun Laws Swept The Nation Since 2009: A Guide
The New American: Kansas is the Next State to Allow Permitless Open Carry