Does the Successful Colorado Recall of Anti-Gun Politicians Mean Gun Control is Dead?

Jacob Sullum wrote the other day about the successful recall of two pro-gun control politicians in Colorado. Molly Ball in the Atlantic sees this as proof that not even a year after Newtown, gun control is once again dead:

Advocates needed to send a signal that politicians could vote for gun control without fear of ending their careers. Instead, they sent the opposite message. Now risk-averse pols, already all too aware of the culture-war baggage the gun issue has historically carried, will have no incentive to put their political futures in jeopardy by proposing or supporting gun-control legislation. Indeed, it doesn't seem far-fetched to think that gun control might go back into the policy deep-freeze where Democrats had it stowed for most of the last 10 years......

The supposedly new-and-improved gun-control lobby was convinced that conventional wisdom was out of date. It set out to convince politicians that the landscape had changed. It had a less inflammatory message and more modest goals than the would-be gun-prohibitionists of the 1980s and '90s. It had a public that seemed galvanized by the shootings in Tucson and Aurora and Newtown, and polling data that seemed to show voters overwhelmingly supportive of its aims....

But there was still one thing they needed to prove. They needed to prove that they could protect the lawmakers whom they coaxed out on a limb. On Tuesday, they failed that test. Future lawmakers facing similar votes aren't going to care about the particulars; they're going to look at John Morse and Angela Giron and think, That's going to be me. No thanks.

I had what seemed to be the crummy timing of having an article headlined "Gun Control R.I.P." appear a week or so before the Newtown shooting, and many correspondents thought it worthwhile to take the time to let me know exactly how obviously wrong and crazy I was. I believed before Newtown, and believe even more now, that the politics of gun control have--rightly--become resistant to whipsawing based on a random outlying tragedy.

Similarly, I'm not as confident as Ball is that local and state politics everywhere re: guns are so similar to Colorado's that this week's recall proves that no politician will dare be anti-gun in the near future. (As she points out, the gun control laws that Morse and Giron were removed over are still in force.)

There is a significant and impassioned group of activist and policy entrepreneurs and politicians who very much want to pass more restrictive gun laws, and they won't disappear, and they might even continue to have small local victories.

But for all the same reasons I wrote about before Newtown, I don't expect them to be very successful nationally or for long. Not because of the unique power of the gun lobby, but because most Americans understand both the constitutional and prudential reasons for allowing individuals to own common means of self-defense and pleasure.

My book on the politics and law of gun control, Gun Control on Trial.

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  • anon||

    Does the Successful Colorado Recall of Anti-Gun Politicians Mean Gun Control is Dead?

    Ahahahahahahaha, yeah right.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It is a religious article of faith for proglodytes. Kind of like the virgin birth or transubstantiation for Christians.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It is a religious article of faith for proglodytes. Kind of like the virgin birth or transubstantiation for Christians.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Bad ideas rarely die. At least, not all at once.

  • anon||

    I'm not really sure they ever die.

  • entropy||

    They just go to hell to regroup.

  • Zeb||

    The idea of a thing and the thing itself are not the same thing. I don't think either the idea of gun control or actual gun control will ever be totally gone, but I don't think we are going to see many more significant restrictions on guns at a national level any time soon.

  • Paul.||

    Now risk-averse pols, already all too aware of the culture-war baggage the gun issue has historically carried, will have no incentive to put their political futures in jeopardy by proposing or supporting gun-control legislation.

    That's why it's called democracy.

  • ||

    One step further:

    Fuck you pols, second amendment.

    That's why it's called a republic.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yep, it's dead a doornail. At least until the next mass shooting. Then it will get up and walk around.

    Tha...That's what dead means right?

  • Lord Humungus||

    Zombie Idea.

  • ||

    "It" doesn't get up and walk around. The BAN BONER crowd stands on the dead bodies instead. It's an important distinction, Hugh.

  • DH||

    Rule #2, Double Tap.

  • Paul.||

    It had a public that seemed galvanized by the shootings in Tucson and Aurora and Newtown, and polling data that seemed to show voters overwhelmingly supportive of its aims....

    Bzzzt! Thanks for playing.

  • playa manhattan||

    Re: Alleged voter suppression in Colorado:
    It does seem to have happened, but not in the way DWS claims. From HotAir:

    "As it turns out, Morse and Giron sealed their fates on March 4, the day that the anti-gun bills were heard in Senate committees. At Morse’s instruction, only 90 minutes of testimony per side were allowed on each of the gun bills. As a result, hundreds of Colorado citizens were prevented from testifying even briefly. Many of them had driven hours to come to the Capitol, traveling from all over the state.

    That same day, 30 Sheriffs came to testify. They too were shut out, with only a single Sheriff allowed to testify on any given bill. So while one Sheriff testified, others stood up with him in support…"

  • Paul.||

    Morse and Giron had the full support of Bloomberg. Clearly, someone was suppressed.

  • Irish||

    They were also ludicrously arrogant about how 'superior' they were to their competition and those dumb rubes in their districts.

    Morse called his challenger an 'unemployed plumber' even though the guy actually co-owns a plumbing company with his brother. Now, in a district with a lot of blue collar workers, is it really a good idea to go around mocking your opponent for not having an elite degree and for having a job where he works with his hands?

    Giron, apparently not learning from Morse's mistakes, claimed that people in her district were 'easily confused.' Now this happened after she'd already lost, but what does it tell you about the mindset of a person that they lose an election and blame voter suppression, which clearly had nothing to do with it, and then insult their former constituents?

    They were both arrogant fools who didn't realize the kind of hornets nest they stirred up. That's why they lost.

  • Paul.||

    Morse called his challenger an 'unemployed plumber' even though the guy actually co-owns a plumbing company with his brother.

    Democrat: A plumber... what on earth is that?

  • MJGreen||

    I thought that was a member of the Royal family.

  • playa manhattan||

    I think people were pretty pissed at the way Morse conducted the whole process as well. If there had been a full and complete debate before the initial vote, he might not have been recalled.

    Link to full article:
    http://hotair.com/archives/201.....g-it-well/

    And Volokh:
    http://www.volokh.com/2013/09/.....explained/

  • Paul.||

    there are plenty of Democrats who cling to their Second Amendment rights.

    Bitterly?

  • Steve G||

    "cling" I just love that word; so condescending.

  • ||

    The best part is that they lost over a cosmetic ban. They're that stupid. They really are that incredibly stupid. It's kind of amazing.

  • ||

    Oops, this was supposed to be below. H&R has been being a mite fidgety this morning.

  • Paul.||

    It's like dying on Acupuncture hill.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Morse called his challenger an 'unemployed plumber'...

    Coming from a disgraced ex-cop.

  • Carolynp||

    Just saw the head of the CO DNC (Palacio?) saying "These voters haven't changed anything. The laws we passed still stand." Any enterprising conservative should be using that interview to show how hopelessly out of touch these dipsticks are. You fire a warning shot across the bow and they moon you? The next shot should be structurally damaging or the dems will be right in thinking they can simply ignore the voters.

  • Irish||

    No. Gun control is to Democrats as bizarre discussions of rape is to Republicans. It's a terrible idea that is bound to make them lose, but they just can't help themselves. The Democrats got beaten in the 1994 midterms at least partially because of how energized the Republican base was by the assault weapons ban. If losing the Congress of the United States over your gun control stupidity isn't enough to get you to shy away from the idea in the future, then there's no way that losing two state senate seats in Colorado will.

    They'll keep pushing gun control. They'll keep losing because of it.

  • Paul.||

    The longer I live, the shorter other people's collective memories seem to get.

  • PapayaSF||

    I hope they'll keep losing, but I'm not so sure in California. They'll try some workaround, like heavily taxing ammunition, and might get away with it without triggering recalls.

  • ||

    Perhaps they can even influence the rest of the country by imposing CA ammo emissions standards.

  • PapayaSF||

    There you go. Save Gaia by cracking down on ammo emissions.

  • Robert||

    Heh...triggering...heh....

  • ||

    The best part is that they lost over a cosmetic ban. They're that stupid. They really are that incredibly stupid. It's kind of amazing.

  • playa manhattan||

    They don't have statistics or evidence on their side, so it is all about appearance. And man, those guns sure look scary!

  • ||

    The best part is that the politicians and the BAN BONER crowd they are playing to are equally stupid. They're perfect for each other.

  • Carolynp||

    I keep hearing them toss around that 80 percent of the public stat. You think they really believe it? I'm not convinced we could get 80 percent of the public to agree the earth isn't square.

  • Paul.||

    It's like dying on Homeopathic Hill.

  • Rich||

    Does the Successful Colorado Recall of Anti-Gun Politicians Mean Gun Control is Dead?

    Not after Slide Fire gets more air play.

  • Paul.||

    Huh, a company which has made a gun which bump fires. Interesting...

  • anon||

    They've been around for a little while; my co-worker was telling me last year about a mod for a .22 that used the stock to fire subsequent rounds, which is essentially what slide fire is doing.

  • playa manhattan||

    I have the AR-15 version of that stock; it is just a toy. With the right kind of ammo and a trigger job, you can generate enough recoil to use it in a .22lr.

  • playa manhattan||

  • Irish||

    The gun costs $6,000. I'm going to laugh so hard when liberals start freaking out about the possibility of people shooting up a school with a $6,000 gun.

    This thing is going to be used exclusively by collectors, enthusiasts, and as a show piece at gun shows. I will be shocked if one is ever used in the commission of a crime.

  • Rich||

    "Anyone who would shoot up a school will not be deterred by the cost of a gun!"

  • anon||

    The gun costs $6,000.

    That's just the fucking gun. To buy enough ammo to enjoy it, you'd really have to be a millionaire.

  • Brian D||

    At least, not until the police get their hands on some.

  • playa manhattan||

    Police in my neck of the woods already have select fire MP-5s and M-4s. They don't need to mess with this nonsense.

  • Swiss Servator, Spare a Franc?||

    Never fear for your rights! Not while that fierce supporter of the 2nd Amendment is in the White House!

    /shriek-derp

  • UnCivilServant||

    But they canecelled the public tours! How is he supposed to get in?

  • R C Dean||

    Gun control isn't dead so long as the President has the power to limit the RKBA via "executive action."

  • playa manhattan||

    Some of the executive actions would be downright hilarious if they weren't so stupid. The most ridiculous is the move to close the "loophole" so they can prevent incorporated entities from purchasing firearms.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    risk-averse pols, already all too aware of the culture-war baggage the gun issue has historically carried, will have no incentive to put their political futures in jeopardy by proposing or supporting gun-control legislation.

    If that means they might be somewhat more reluctant to tell their constituents to just go fuck themselves on some issues... maybe.

  • ||

    Does the Successful Colorado Recall of Anti-Gun Politicians Mean Gun Control is Dead?

    No. There is still a lot of momentum out there for the (what in this day and age is called) liberal brand of social engineering: i.e. Bloomberg, Obamacare, Governor Moonbeam. So, it will probably lie dormant until there is an opportunity to try to raise the dead.

    What I hope this shows is there still might be some among us that have some backbone. Enough backbone and ambition to engage in some push back against the state.

  • Steve G||

    THIS. They are not done at all with the social engineering piece. The liberals will continue to run the 12 rules playbook and ridicule gun ownership (i.e.,"gundamentalist") until this comes to a bigger head or they get to 51%

  • Floridian||

    No it isn't dead. They just need to explain it better to us ignorant rubes.

    "Guns are dangerous you back woods hillbilly. I hope that helps clear it up."

  • Pathogen||

    "All right America drooling inbred simpletons, put down your crack pipes machine guns and your beer bongs school annihilators and pay attention, as I sign a historic peace accord with ambassador Kong of planet Nintendo 64 this death warrant for my own political career...."

    The pols are kinda like jihadists, desperately seeking progressive martyrdom, and to go to lefty powerbroker paradise with all 72 sycophantic interns...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It has been pointed out elsewhere that Giron had successfully pissed off a lot of people by pushing a broad panoply of urban Democrats' pet social engineering schemes, in addition to her anti-gun activism.

    I think Pueblo's historic support for Democrats is related to the steel mills, not because it represents some progressive outpost in the Colorado wilderness.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The Gun Control movement is like the Saw series. It relies on cheap, gruesome shock, its story is utterly nonsensical, and it seems to keep coming back, no matter how badly done its last effort was.

  • Robert||

    I saw the 1st on video, but I can imagine movie audiences rising to give a tear-filled, cheering standing ovation (to the projectionist, but for the writer) when the surprise was revealed. It'd've been boffo on stage too, maybe better, but that was one of the best moving-image moments I've ever experienced.

  • DH||

    Im on TTAG(truth about guns) as well, and this was an article just covered today.

    http://nocera.blogs.nytimes.co.....013/?_r=1&

    Which leads you to this.

    http://guncontrollogjam.blogspot.com/

    What you peeps think of this shit.

  • Paul.||

    However, in deciding that membership in a militia was not necessary, the majority appears to have created, unnecessarily, Constitutional protection for some of the most dangerous guns in existence. The majority held, and I am not joking, that any gun of a type that is of a type "typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes", no matter how dangerous it has been found to be, is protected under the Constitution -- it cannot be banned from sale to civilians nor can it be required to be safely secured in a manner that would prevent quick access to it when in the home. In other words, a successful sales campaign by the gun industry can create Constitutional protection!

    Veering straight into retard.

    We are allowed guns in common use. The cops use assault patrol rifles, so are we. Period the end, es todo, no mas, the fat lady done sang.

    Because we have a well regulated militia that's allowed to carry and point guns at me, I'm allowed to carry and point guns back.

  • DH||

    I was just hoping for some of your guys and gals colorful comment on this fuck who went full retard, and you never go full retard.

  • Robert||

    It's the same as for cruel and unusual punishment: The outliers are not protected.

  • ||

    Between this and the recent elections in Norway and Australia, I'm seeing a lot of people who are normally all rah-rah about "democracy" as an end in itself suddenly screaming that the government should dissolve the people and elect another.

  • UnCivilServant||

    "It's not democracy if they vote the wrong way!" - Shorter them.

  • Irish||

    A lot of countries are really starting to get so sick of government coercion that even historically socialist countries are electing more conservative governments. Even though America is fucking itself up, globally I think we're headed in the right direction.

    You'll also notice that all of the countries tending rightward are the ones with relatively low unemployment, low debt, and decent economies. I'm sure that's just a coincidence though.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    There is a significant and impassioned group of activist and policy entrepreneurs and politicians who very much want to pass more restrictive gun laws, and they won't disappear, and they might even continue to have small local victories.

    No kidding. Those bright young staffers at the Brady Campaign and Mayors Against legal Guns, with their Ivy League law degrees and Joan of Arc stares, aren't going to just go work for Goldman or Citibank helping them navigate the intricacies of Dodd Frank and SEC filings.

  • wingnutx||

    Like communism, gun control just hasn't been properly implemented yet.

    We'll get it right this time, and then we'll build utopia.

  • Carolynp||

    I think we should take away that you can't trust the Democrats on this issue (or most others). They look you in the eyes and tell you they'd never take your guns away, but once they're elected, their thinking "evolves" or some other such and suddenly they're full Hitler.

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