This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 18, 2016:
Nicholas Kristof certainly has all the credentials to be such a spokesman. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College with a degree in government, he studied law at Magdalen College in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated with first-class honors and won an academic prize.
He joined the staff of the New York Times in 1984, eventually being promoted to associate managing editor responsible for the Sunday edition. He has more Twitter followers – 1.5 million – than any other print journalist in the world.
Another establishment voice, that of Jeffrey Toobin, called Kristof the “moral conscience of our generation of journalists.” Kristof serves as a member of the board of overseers of Harvard University and a member of the board of trustees of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.
His Sunday Review column expressed his chagrin at the failure of the establishment to enact more draconian gun control laws, which some took to be an apology for being wrong all these years:
We liberals are sometimes glib about equating guns and danger. In fact, it’s complicated: the number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993 and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped in half.
Kristof referred to a study published on Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s website back in 2004 which claimed that Clinton’s assault weapons ban (passed in 1994) had little measurable effect on crime. Wrote the authors of that study, Christopher Koper, Daniel Woods and Jeffrey Robb:
We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence … it is thus premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence….
The ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.
The Clinton gun ban was not renewed in 2004 and no major federal firearms restrictions have been passed into law since then. Instead, major court rulings have expanded and clarified citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment. Wrote Kristoff in dismay:
So why does nothing [more gun controls] get done? One reason is that [we] liberals often inadvertently antagonize gun owners and empower the National Rifle Association by coming across as supercilious, condescending, and spectacularly uniformed about the guns [we] propose to regulate.
There’s little doubt that “nothing” is getting done not only because of the elite’s supercilious holier-than-thou attitude towards average Americans “bitterly clinging to their guns and Bible,” but because those “bitter clingers” are changing the culture more and more to favor the Second Amendment. This is measured by the number of law enforcement officers (LEOs) openly promoting the right to self-defense.
For instance, Florida Sheriff Grady Judd was blunt in speaking to criminals considering invading a citizen’s home in Polk County:
If you are foolish enough to break into someone’s home, you can expect to be shot….
In speaking to his constituents, he was equally blunt:
It’s more important to have a gun in your hand than a cop on the phone.
Brevard County (Fla.) Sheriff Wayne Ivey told Florida Today that his constituents must be “that first line of defense” against the criminal element in his jurisdiction, while Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff Chris Blair told the Tampa Tribune, “If you’re certified to carry a gun, I would like to encourage you to do so.”
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was equally supportive of his constituents exercising their Second Amendment rights: “I want as many law-abiding citizens to arm themselves in this county as we can get so that I have the partner that I need to beat back this sort of violence.”
Detroit Policy Chief James Craig has publicly promoted an armed citizenry while a California police chief is backing having teachers in his district carry firearms while at work. A Maryland sheriff is pushing his state’s legislators to make it easier for his citizens to obtain a handgun permit.
All of which makes perfect sense to Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation:
Historically, sheriffs have been very pro-gun. But they’ve stepped out of the box and they’re now publicly making it known that firearms are good for self-defense….
There’s no doubt [that] it’s consumer-driven to a large extent. Because they’re elected, [sheriffs] have to make their constituents happy.
We’ve seen a record number of firearms sold. And people come in to get permits to carry, and [sheriffs] want to be customer-friendly, and you want to make it easier [to get a permit], or you might not get re-elected.
So, recognizing that the frontal approach to gun control was losing traction, Kristof suggested a different approach: remove gun rights from those under restraining orders. Wrote Kristof:
More than 10 percent of murders in the United States, for example, are by intimate partners. The riskiest moment is often after a violent breakup when a woman has won a restraining order against her ex.
Prohibiting the subjects of those restraining orders from possessing a gun reduces these murders by 10 percent, one study found.
Whether this is the voice of the establishment, expressing a change in direction in the New York Times (long considered the transmission belt for the left), remains to be seen. What it does is confirm that the war against the Second Amendment may be taking a different direction, as the frontal approach is not working.
The New York Times: Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals
An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003
Fox News: Growing number of police chiefs, sheriffs join call to arms
Background on the Second Amendment Foundation