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The Power of Narrative: Gun Sales and Obama

HVia Fox News:  Without Obama, once-booming gun industry poised to shrink

President Trump’s election appears to be negatively affecting gun sales in the U.S. and the bubble appears to be bursting despite a staunch advocate for gun rights in the White House and Republicans ruling Congress.

“President Obama was the best gun salesman the world has ever seen,” Karl Sorken, a production manager at Battle Rifle Co. in Houston. Sorken is an Army veteran and self-described liberal who voted for Obama and notes the change for the industry under Trump is a topic of conversation in the shop.

Fears of government limits on guns — some real, some perceived — led to a surge in demand during Obama’s tenure and manufacturers leapt to keep up. Over the decade ending in 2015, the number of U.S. companies licensed to make firearms jumped 362 percent.

What I find fascinating about this observation is that almost all of the fears about Obama and guns were unfounded.  While it is true that Obama frequently raised questions about guns and even called for tighter rules on gun, the reality is a) the chances of those policies ever becoming law were always essentially zero, and b) even if Obama had gotten his whole wish-list, guns would still have been plentiful in the US (although perhaps particular products and models would not have been).

Yet, there was a persistent claim that Obama was going to “to all the guns away.”  I recall a student asking me in 2008 if that was what was going to happen (her question was the result of an NRA editorial she had read).  The notion that people had to stock up on guns was fully a function of believing a specific narrative instead of understanding how government works.

The real irony is that with the Heller decision right before Obama was elected and then with the McDonald v. Chicago case during the Obama administration (2012), the constitutional foundation of gun rights has never been stronger in the US.  Nonetheless, a lot of people though their guns could be taken away.

I am not suggesting, by the way, that this is a phenomenon linked specifically to gun owners or to a specific political point of view.  It does, however, show how narrative can trump reality.

On the gun issue, here is an interesting piece from the NYT with a rather stark visual (click through for the graph):  What Happens After Calls for New Gun Restrictions? Sales Go Up.

 

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    What I find fascinating about this observation is that almost all of the fears about Obama and guns were unfounded. While it is true that Obama frequently raised questions about guns and even called for tighter rules on gun, the reality is a) the chances of those policies ever becoming law were always essentially zero, and b) even if Obama had gotten his whole wish-list, guns would still have been plentiful in the US (although perhaps particular products and models would not have been).

    Guns? I’m from a very conservative law enforcement family and I’m pretty sure that only 1 of my 8 siblings voted Democratic (as did I). For the most part they really do not care about guns at all, but whenever the subject came up, I heard verbatim recitations of the narrative that Obama had no right to take way Americans’ guns. Never mind that there was no such plan, the narrative was that there WAS a plan. Oh, and of course all of them, including my retired father, listen to FoxNews and the conservative radio line-up of Hannity, Levin, et al, every single day.

    And, as you know, it’s not just ‘gun issues’ that are a hothouse of irrational opinions, it’s everything! Climate change, anti-vaccination, crime rates, disease prevention and control, simple military exercises (remember how Obama through Operation Jade Helm was going take over Texas through Martial Law?).

    When half the people are in this vortex, it’s not hard to see how Donald Trump could be elected.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    When a Dem is elected Pres or when the Dems regain control of Congress, the gun industry will recover.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Gustopher says:

    Are there any comparable narratives on the left? I can’t think of any, but I don’t know to what extent that’s my ideological blinders, and to what extent it is the lack of a major “news” network devoted to reinforcing left-wing conspiracy theories.

    The right has BENGHAZI!!!, the Great Global Warming Hoax, Secret Muslim Kenyan Obama, tax cuts paying for themselves, and in person voter fraud. Each completely crazy, easily disproven if not ridiculous on the surface, and each believed by a large number of Republicans.

    We have what? 9/11 Was An Inside Job? That’s fringe crap that almost no one believes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  4. Paul L. says:

    @al-Ameda:

    it’s not just ‘gun issues’ that are a hothouse of irrational opinions, it’s everything!

    Remember when they irrationally said that Democrats like Clinton and Obama were lying about support of same sex marriage.
    “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Gustopher:

    Are there any comparable narratives on the left? I can’t think of any, but I don’t know to what extent that’s my ideological blinders, and to what extent it is the lack of a major “news” network devoted to reinforcing left-wing conspiracy theories.

    There’s only one that comes to mind, and it has none of the weight/energy that any of the conservative dominated fact-free narratives have – and that’s the anti-vaccination movement.

    Here in the funky suburban reaches of the Bay Area, and in Los Angeles, the anti-vaxxers are definitely middle to upper middle class liberals. But, compared to the super-fund sludge narratives of the Right, the anti-vaxxers seem so ‘niche-y.” and dispersed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Paul L. says:

    @Gustopher:

    Each completely crazy, easily disproven if not ridiculous on the surface, and each believed by a large number of Progressives.We have what?

    Something happen in the Duke Lacrosse and UVA Frat Gang Rapes.
    Nothing happened in the Fast and Furious Gunwalking and IRS Tea Party Targeting.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  7. Argon says:

    Wait, even with the market for sales to the mentally ill now opened up, gun sales are down? Why the heck doesn’t the NRA set up a PAC for Democrats? They can hide the contributions and it yields much more return on the dollars spent, compared to supporting the GOP, in terms of increasing sales.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Remember when they irrationally said that Democrats like Clinton and Obama were lying about support of same sex marriage.
    “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,”

    That’s very cute, it really is.
    Well of course that is the same as Trump and many conservatives asserting that over 3 million illegal votes were cast in the last presidential election, and that Trump would have won the popular vote if illegal votes are accounted for.

    And, those comments are clearly equal to the hothouse conservative conspiracy belief that President Obama, through Operation Jade Helm, was going to use that military op to declare martial law and confiscate guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  9. teve tory says:

    Nothing happened in the Fast and Furious Gunwalking and IRS Tea Party Targeting.

    Nothing did happen with the IRS ‘targeting’, and F&F gunwalking began under GWB.

    You’re just proving the point that conservatives are in a loony bubble.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  10. teve tory says:

    Gunwalking started in the Arizona field office of the ATF in 2006.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  11. @Gustopher:

    Are there any comparable narratives on the left?

    I think that the human capacity being discussed here does not have ideological limitations. I do think that in terms of mainstream conservative views the problem is more acute than for mainstream liberals because of the Conservative Entertainment Complex.

    I would add the threat posed by GMOs as an example of a liberal narrative that is not particularly rational.

    Some Bernie support responses to the HRC win in the primaries also fits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. Paul L. says:

    @teve tory:
    Wrong, your talking point is out of date.
    Even Eric Holder admitted differences between F&F, OWR.
    Jay Carney pretty much flubs everything about Operation Fast & Furious.

    *Operation Wide Receiver is the administration’s desperate excuse/distraction from their gunrunning activities; it was a Bush-era program that was supposedly identical to Operation Fast & Furious… except that attempts were made to keep track of the guns being sold (Operation Fast & Furious did not), OWR was conducted with the awareness and cooperation of the Mexican government (OF&F was not), and – contra the earnest attempts of the Obama administration – the program ended two years before Bush left office. So, in other words, it wasn’t particularly identical to Operation Fast & Furious at all.

    I love that progressives claim Eric Holder ended the Gunwalking that had been ended two years before Bush left office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  13. @Paul L.: My question with F&F is why it is considered a scandal of earth-shattering detail rather than a stupid policy choice.

    Some talk about F&F as if it is evidence of a special kind of corruption in the Obama administration and I have never fully grasped the reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  14. teve tory says:

    Anti-vaccine and anti-GMO attitudes are pretty much equally distributed among liberals and conservatives.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2013/06/do-liberals-oppose-genetically-modified-organisms-more-than-conservatives/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. teve tory says:

    @Paul L.: So your claim is that it’s obama’s fault because Bush did it, but then quit doing it.

    FAIL.

    (It wasn’t ‘particularly identical’ LOL)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. Paul L. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    F&F as if it is evidence of a special kind of corruption in the Obama administration

    At the beginning, they lied about it occurring until whistle blowers came forward..
    That and the Obama Administration invoking Executive Privilege .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  17. Pch101 says:

    Modern American conservatism is a consumer product that includes nutjobs as one of its targeted demographics. It attracts nutjobs because it goes of its way to say the types of things that disenfranchised wingnuts want to hear.

    It’s fair to observe that conservatism per se need not be conspiracy driven. But American conservatism is a specialized product and should be viewed accordingly, in large part because its leaders encourage such thinking.

    The Dems don’t shape their platform in ways that are intended to appease the crazies. The Democratic leadership generally repudiates the anti-vaxxer movement, even if there are some Democratic voters who reject vaccines — those voters are not accommodated in any way by the Democratic leadership.

    When Kim Davis, who was elected as a Democrat, refused to respect the Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage, the only support that she was received was from the GOP. Nobody should be surprised that she switched parties — the Democratic leadership was not going to come to her aid just because of her affiliation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Gustopher says:

    @teve tory: At the risk of sounding like a crazy man, there are reasonable concerns about GMOs — allergic reactions, and all the problems of a monoculture. They are both low-risk/high-consequence problems, so the fact that we haven’t seen them as of yet doesn’t mean they aren’t problems.

    Adding octopus dna to tomatoes could create tomatoes that an unsuspecting group of the public would be allergic to, since people don’t usually eat octopus, and aren’t routinely exposed to octopi. So far, we don’t have any well documented cases, and certainly nothing wide-spread (there are cracks in the safety testing, so we might not discover that people of Tibetan descent have huge problems with that part of a octopus)

    There are also problems with containing GMOs, and preventing them from getting into the wild — cross pollination is nearly impossible to contain 100%. So, if we do accidentally create giant tomatoes with tentacles hellbent on killing us all, there is a chance that they will keep popping up forever, strangling farmers, and then scurrying off into the woods to cross-pollinate with someone else’s. (note: example has been made much more dramatic than is at all reasonable).

    (Huh, they actually put fish dna in tomatoes — I thought that was an urban legend… I went with octopus for the tentacles)

    Monocultures are a bigger problem, and one we have seen consequences of in the not-too-distant past. All of the supermarket yellow bananas you eat are clones of the Cavendash cultivar. Cavendash became the standard cultivar after the Gros Michel cultivar was wiped out by disease. This all happened before GMOs.

    Now, imagine something happening on a similar scale to rice, soybeans, corn or wheat — rather than a few years of almost no bananas, you have famine. Because of how they are made, genetically modified crops are going to be a much more narrow monoculture than simply selectively bred crops, and more susceptible to a sudden crop failure due to an emerging pestilence.

    (Apparently I felt the need to ramble)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  19. Kylopod says:

    The real irony is that with the Heller decision right before Obama was elected … the constitutional foundation of gun rights has never been stronger in the US.

    Keep in mind, also, that Obama praised the Heller decision when it came out:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2008/06/obama-likes-heller/53633/

    You can chalk that up to an attempt to pander to the center during the campaign, but it remains true that even Heller wasn’t equivalent to an endorsement of the NRA’s entire agenda, and Obama’s anodyne proposals while president weren’t anything close to an elimination of an individual’s right to bear arms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. teve tory says:

    @Gustopher: I almost died when I was about 5 years old, from eating peanuts. Ordinary, natural peanuts. I went into anaphylactic shock and had to be rushed to a hospital. When a GMO crop nearly kills people we’ll have to yank it from the market. I’m not really worried about GMOs at all. They’re tested more than ‘natural’ crops. But my point above was just that some people (I’m not saying you) try hard to find some liberal silliness to fit into a both-sides-do-it frame in order to pretend that the GOP isn’t really abnormally, uniquely, anti-science, and they can’t really find anything. GMO and vaccine fears are distributed across both parties. The GOP has an agenda at odds with reality, and so they have to deny basic science in multiple fields, as they deny economics, and history.

    Right now people like Lamar Smith and Scott Pruitt are ordering government scientists not to talk about reality, budgets are being cut, EPA grants are frozen, etc. And they won’t even win. they’re just doing it to buy their donors a few more years of profits at our expense. Anybody who cares about reality needs to work to get rid of these assholes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. teve tory says:

    I have to correct this one bit:

    Because of how they are made, genetically modified crops are going to be a much more narrow monoculture than simply selectively bred crops

    Not necessarily true. The cavendish banana you mentioned is the most severe monoculture possible–every cavendish banana is literally an identical clone. There is virtually zero genetic diversity. Most GMOs have some little variability in the seeds. The cavendish banana does not. They’re all clones. Fusarium is certain to destroy them. And if we have bananas in 20 years it’ll doubtless be thanks to GMO technology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. DrDaveT says:

    @Gustopher:

    Are there any comparable narratives on the left?

    In the past, I would have said “Liberals have an irrational fear that every GOP administration is going to shut down the EPA and let the polluters turn all of America into Love Canal, because profits.”

    That doesn’t seem so irrational any more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  23. Tyrell says:

    I remember the infamous Jade Helm military exercises of two years ago. There was a lot of talk and chatter on various radio waves and internet sites. Even WalMart was mentioned as possible sites for detention camps for people who resisted the so-called Obama emergency power measures which included gun confiscation and internet control. All sorts of rumors and conspiracy ideas abounded. People claimed they saw black ops vehicles and helicopters everywhere. It really got stretched out beyond any reality.The military training actually took place that summer with little or no fanfare or noise, as they said it would. No WalMart stores were converted to “camps” (some closed – because they built new ones at other locations)
    There were no “emergency orders”. President Obama talked up some ideas and proposals about better background checks and limiting gun purchase by people with psychological problems, but that was as far as it got.
    Then there were a couple of misguided members of Congress running around saying things. Diane Feinstein had called for confiscation of guns: “I would have taken all of them !” she said in an interview. These sort of misguided, emotional statements just fueled the fear and phobias of a lot of people. About that time a remake of the famous (and well done – Patrick Swayze was great !) “Red Dawn” movie came out and this could have got people stirred up also in that it showed lots of Americans being taken into camps after an invasion by North Korea !
    I only have one gun – an antique WW1 army rifle (Mauser) and it is somewhere out in the garage – no firing pin. I know a lot of gun owners. Some of them said that the government had the addresses and phone numbers of registered gun owners and were going to come around to take their guns. If they refused they would be taken in. That was the feeling of some of the people. Gun shows were crowded. Gun shops did a booming business. Some people were really getting ready for some sort of emergency powers or martial law by the president.
    It doesn’t take much to create a contagion of fear and mistrust.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Paul L. says:

    @Kylopod:
    That was before his reelection, Perhaps you should check his statements on Gay Marriage that changed after he was reelected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  25. Gustopher says:

    @teve tory: the bananas aren’t a perfect analogy, but GMO crops are closer in genetic variation to cloned crops than to selectively bred crops — especially when there are triggers built in to prevent the crops from generating useful seeds (which becomes a double edged sword — we don’t want the GMO crop becoming dominant, but it restricts the variations that com from pollination and mixing genomes.

    Anyway, it’s not completely crazy, and we will eventually have a crisis — which may be mitigated in much of the developed world by discovering a love for rice and other grains if the wheat crop fails. Sucks to be the developing world in that scenario, but it generally sucks to be the developing world.

    Also, if we have no bananas in 20 years, I will be ok with that. Hateful things. Perhaps the Gros Michel were delicious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell:

    It doesn’t take much to create a contagion of fear and mistrust

    Actually, it takes a steady diet of paranoia, spoon fed for years, to believe that Obama was going to take over America with Jade Helm.

    And, sadly, many of the people who believed this didn’t realize they had been believing crazy things, they believed that their vigilance prevented it. Their belief in crazy crap was reinforced.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. Kylopod says:

    @Paul L.:

    That was before his reelection, Perhaps you should check his statements on Gay Marriage that changed after he was reelected.

    First of all, Obama officially came out in support of SSM in May 2012, a good half-year before his reelection.

    Second, I am well aware of his flip-flops on that issue. I was commenting on them as early as 2010, when I wrote, “When it comes to same-sex marriage, President Obama is almost as transparently cynical as Mitt Romney is on most other issues.”

    Finally, I have to ask what relevance this possibly has to the issue of gun rights. I already pointed out that Obama’s 2008 remarks on Heller may have been mere pandering (in fact I’d wager that that’s exactly what they were), but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s no particular contradiction between endorsing Heller and endorsing background checks, which are about the mildest form of gun regulation out there.

    What continually gets me about you and several other of the right-leaning commenters here is that you seem unable to comprehend political discussions as anything other than scoring “points” for your “team.” I am also fascinated by the way you and others on the right perceive that you’ve landed a devastating blow against Obama by simply pointing out that he calculates, panders, and flip-flops like 99% of other politicians. What’s amusing is that you don’t seem to realize that, in resorting to this utterly trivial criticism, you’ve essentially given him a great compliment, because it shows how little you’ve actually got against him.

    And it’s especially ironic now that you’ve got a president who (a) is probably the most audacious flip-flopper in presidential history, having been at one time or another on both sides of virtually every major political issue, including gay rights, abortion rights, taxes, health care, immigration, entitlement reform, and on and on and on and and on…. (b) and that’s about the least interesting criticism there is of him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  28. DrDaveT says:

    @Paul L.:

    Something happen in the Duke Lacrosse and UVA Frat Gang Rapes.
    Nothing happened in the Fast and Furious Gunwalking and IRS Tea Party Targeting.

    Paul, you seem to have missed the point of the question.

    Let’s try again: what incorrect conspiracy theory do many liberal voters hold, with regard to what GOP politicians will do to the country if they are elected? Something comparable to any of:
    * confiscate all guns
    * force churches to perform gay marriage ceremonies
    * impose Sharia law
    * give full legal rights to illegal immigrants
    * etc. etc. etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  29. Scott says:

    @Gustopher:

    Actually, it takes a steady diet of paranoia, spoon fed for years, to believe that Obama was going to take over America with Jade Helm.

    It also takes craven, cowardly politicians like our now Gov Abbott who, instead of standing up to the RWNJs of his constituency and saying it is nonsense, panders to them by setting the Texas Guard to watch over the exercises.

    Totally disrespectful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I tend to more and more feel that what I’ve seen as characteristically conservative failings: tribalism, simplistic moral framing, conspiracy theories, lack of pragmatism; are really human foibles. It’s just that conservative politicians have gotten very good at exploiting these foibles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. KM says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think that the human capacity being discussed here does not have ideological limitations.

    It may not have inherent ideological limitations but its very easy to see they have a natural home within current conservative thought processes. What do all of the above inanities have in common? The idea that some hidden nefarious plot will hurt Real Americans (TM) by taking away their preferred rights and changing their lifestyle. All of these plots, by their ideological enemies no less – never anyone of their own people, are designed to hit the hot button issues dear to their heart. Essentially what all these would do if true is stop conservatives from being conservative.

    There is nothing on the left that compares because the left doesn’t have persecution narrative of that level. Surely, individual aspects of liberalism may being threatened but the idea that a liberal lifestyle is being threatened with extinction is ridiculous. So a voter who has notions of persecution and Big Brother Out to Get Me wouldn’t find liberalism to be an attractive prospect in that regard as compared to the martyr complex going on at the right. It’s just not going to generate the conspiracy theories they crave.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. @gVOR08: @KM: It may well be that a given philosophical point of view is more prone to the behavior in question. It does appear that at the moment the nature of conservative media consumption creates the conditions for a given narrative to be consumed.

    I will say I did see a similar phenomenon with Bernie supporters in the primaries: the firm belief that Bernie was doing far better than the empirical evidence showed us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  33. Mostly I would caution about getting too confident in one’s own ability to be fully objective/one’s side’s capacity for clarity of truth.

    I will state that my perception is that “both sides” in the current American landscape are not, however, at all co-equal on this dimension. Conservatives have been building their own alternative media for decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  34. teve tory says:

    @Gustopher: I remember the 90’s, when my ignorant gun-nut relatives were terrified that the Evil Bill Clinton was going to confiscate the guns and round up christians into concentration camps using–i kid you not–hidden chinese troops. And the last decade, when Barack Hussein Bin Laden Obama Sotero was going to confiscate everyone’s guns. And a few years from now, we’ll have another Democrat president, who will of course confiscate everyone’s guns.

    Learning is not their strong suit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. teve tory says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think there are direct roots in the Southern Strategy. In the 50’s and 60’s lots of white rural southern christians were mighty aggrieved that the Federal Government was forcing them to accommodate black people, and stop forcing children to pray to their god. This was serious culture shock. Nixon, Buchanan & co capitalized on this by feeding the narrative that those white rural southern christians were indeed being oppressed by the liberal northern elites. That sense of victimization endures to this day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. Pch101 says:

    American history is an ongoing tale of its battles with the South.

    The South forced various compromises in the Constitution in orders to preserve slavery.

    When faced with an abolitionist president, the South then created a constitutional crisis by started a civil war and drafting a new constitution that specifically protected slavery, committing a grand act of treason for which it has never repented.

    Following the war, it spent the next 100+ years fighting to preserve the social constructs of slavery with various Black Codes and Jim Crow laws.

    When the political party that had long defended Southern intolerance began its movement toward civil rights, the White South responded initially by forming various regional third parties before eventually switching to the other major party that took an opportunistic view of these disenfranchised white voters.

    When the civil rights movement made racial slurs publicly unacceptable, the South adopted by sugarcoating the rhetoric: the uppity n*ggers were rebranded as “welfare queens” and “criminals”, while support for discrimination was transformed into “religious liberty” and “states rights.”

    At some point, we need to figure out that this toxic schism is an American tradition with deep roots in the slave trade. Racism is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  37. teve tory says:

    @teve tory: And obviously, it refreshed and reinforced the sense of victimization left over from the Civil War, Reconstruction, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Gavrilo says:

    The real irony is that with the Heller decision right before Obama was elected and then with the McDonald v. Chicago case during the Obama administration (2012), the constitutional foundation of gun rights has never been stronger in the US. Nonetheless, a lot of people though their guns could be taken away.

    Both Heller and McDonald were 5-4 decisions in which the dissenting Justices explicitly argued that the Constitution does NOT provide the right to individual armed self-protection. One vote the other way and there would be nothing to stop any state or the federal government from banning all private gun ownership. That’s not all that reassuring to gun owners.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  39. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    One vote the other way and there would be nothing to stop any state or the federal government from banning all private gun ownership.

    As part of your endless quest to get everything wrong, you prove that you know nothing about Miller .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. al-Alameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Both Heller and McDonald were 5-4 decisions in which the dissenting Justices explicitly argued that the Constitution does NOT provide the right to individual armed self-protection. One vote the other way and there would be nothing to stop any state or the federal government from banning all private gun ownership. That’s not all that reassuring to gun owners.

    from, https://www.law.cornell.edu/, by the way, a very good website

    In 1939 the U.S. Supreme Court considered the matter in United States v. Miller. 307 U.S. 174. The Court adopted a collective rights approach in this case, determining that Congress could regulate a sawed-off shotgun that had moved in interstate commerce under the National Firearms Act of 1934 because the evidence did not suggest that the shotgun “has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia . . . .” The Court then explained that the Framers included the Second Amendment to ensure the effectiveness of the military.

    Not that anything deters millions of gun owners from a strong belief in the notion that confiscation of their guns by the federal government is imminent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  41. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    Are you for real? The left had been arguing for 70 years that Miller allowed them to regulate private firearm ownership in any manner they saw fit. The Supreme Court was one vote away from affirming that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  42. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Er, Miller concluded that there was a right to own weapons within the context of militia service, and used a weapon’s alleged usefulness as a militia weapon as a test. The case concluded that a sawed-off shotgun failed that test.

    Heller used the same criteria of a weapon’s alleged usefulness to militia service but added a self-defense provision while concluding (bizarrely) that handguns pass the test while machine guns and assault rifles do not. (Go figure.)

    In the absence of Heller, it would be difficult to argue for complete federal prohibition, given the nature of federal militia duty. But neither Heller nor Miller addressed incorporation, so the states were free to have their own separate take on the matter. (Odd how conservatives are so opposed to states rights when it comes to gun ownership.)

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  43. Sherparick says:

    @Paul L.: First, it was not the President or Congress that legalized same sex marriage, but the Supreme Court applying the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to issue that states could not treat discriminate against homosexuals by denying them the right to marry, a right enjoyed by heterosexual couples. The same Supreme Court issued the Heller decision, with Justice Kennedy being the key vote. Even before Heller, only the Congress under Miller could regulate firearms or prohibit their ownership. And somehow Australia, UK, Canada, and Ireland have all remained free countries while sharply limiting personal ownership of firearms.

    By the way, one of the many lies Trump told during the campaign, reinforcing right-wing talk radio, is that Hillary was going to abolish the 2d Amendment. BS.

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  44. @Gavrilo:

    one vote away

    You keep focusing on this, but the bottom line is: the vote went the other way. As such, you are kind of proving the point about enhanced and irrational paranoia on this topic since winning isn’t enough, you have to worry about alternative timelines in which the vote went the other way.

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  45. Monala says:

    @al-Ameda: Anti-vax is one of the few truly “both sides” issues. There are anti-vaxxers on both sides of the aisle, but it comes from different motivations. For the left, it’s about eco-conscious “natural living” and fear of Big Pharma. For the right, it’s about being anti-science and fear of government mandates (vaccine requirements for public schools).

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  46. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Irrational paranoia? The firearm regulations in Chicago and Washington DC prior to Heller and McDonald were de facto bans on private ownership of handguns. They had been that way for decades. This wasn’t some alternative timeline. It was reality in those places.

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  47. Kylopod says:

    @Monala:

    Anti-vax is one of the few truly “both sides” issues.

    In the sense that the right and the left have about an equal number of anti-vaxxers in the general populace, yes. But in the sense of both parties having the same number of anti-vaxxers among their mainstream figures? Not by a long shot. Only one major-party nominee in history has ever questioned the efficacy of vaccines, and that individual currently occupies the White House.

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  48. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    States Rights hypocrisy is a funny thing.

    In any case, it’s odd that you would feel like a helpless victim even when armed with rifles, knives and shotguns. Some tough guy you are.

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  49. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    It’s almost depressing to have to respond to you. Here’s a tip: states’ rights are fine, but they are superseded by constitutional rights. Even most braindead liberals understand that. What’s your excuse?

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  50. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Keeping gays folks from marrying: States rights!

    Making it difficult for minorities to vote: States rights!

    Protecting the right to own a shotgun but restricting ones ability to obtain or carry a handgun: Apocalypse!

    And you wonder why I can’t take conservatives seriously.

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  51. Monala says:

    @Kylopod: Good point.

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  52. @Gavrilo: Your policy preferences are the law of the land, and your rights in this arena are highly unlikely to be curtailed. And yet you act like they are under serious siege.

    That is irrational.

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  53. Gavrilo says:

    @Pch101:

    Actually, the Supreme Court agrees with me that voter id laws are constitutional and states have the right to enact them. And, the Supreme Court agrees with me that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right and law-abiding citizens have the right to own guns.

    But hey, one out of three ain’t bad. You keep being you!

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  54. Pch101 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    You don’t need to point out that conservatives like yourself have no desire to do the decent thing.

    I’m sure that you would have loved selectively applied poll taxes and literacy tests back during the good ol’ days. States rights!

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  55. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Sentient Human Being: “Hey, did you hear the Supreme Court just overturned Chicago’s ban on handguns?”

    Steven L. Taylor: “I don’t believe you.”

    Sentient Human Being: “No, it’s true. It’s called the McDonald decision.”

    Steven L. Taylor: “I don’t believe you. No one wants to ban guns.”

    Sentient Human Being: “Um, lots of people want to ban guns. Like, the City of Chicago.”

    Steven L. Taylor: “That’s crazy talk!”

    Sentient Human Being: “No. They really did. It was illegal to own a handgun in Chicago. The law was on the books for like 28 years.”

    Steven L. Taylor: “You’re paranoid! No one wants to ban guns!”

    Sentient Human Being: “Washington DC had a similar ban on guns. The Supreme Court overturned that a few years ago.”

    Steven L. Taylor: “You’re irrational. No one wants to ban guns.”

    Sentient Human Being: “Australia banned guns a few years ago. Lots of politicians like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have said we should consider doing that here.”

    Steven L. Taylor: “Lies!”

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  56. @Gavrilo: You really are missing the point.

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  57. Or, more accurately, proving mine if you think there is any chance whatsoever that what happened in Australia could happen in the US.

    I never said no one wanted to ban guns. The point is: it isn’t going to happen and, further, the political process has produced the outcome you prefer. And yet, you carry on like the reverse could actually happen.

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  58. Gavrilo says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Could Heller and McDonald be overturned if the next President is a Democrat and nominates a liberal in the mold of Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, or Sotomayor to replace a retiring Kennedy?

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  59. @Gavrilo: You’re right: we are a hair’s breadth away from losing our guns. Certainly in the pre-Heller and pre-McDonald legal regime one could barely own them.

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  60. Ig'nint in Daejeon says:

    @Gustopher: “since people Americans don’t usually eat octopus, and aren’t routinely exposed to octopi”

    FTFY. Your point is interesting though. I think how much octopus protein would end up in the plant would be the telling issue. The protein is what causes most of the allergic reaction–based on what we know so far. I don’t worry about the fact that my Chick-fil-a sandwich or fries have been fried in peanut oil, for instance (I do when I go to Five Guys, but I don’t like their food as much).

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