This post appeared first on TZP’s Monday email alert.
Plans to ban guns based on appearance march on. Late last month, Washington Ceasefire and Ceasefire Oregon announced a joint effort to get “assault weapons” banned in both states.
Specifically, they want to create a “West Coast Wall.” Building on California’s existing bans, they want to make the entire U.S. west coast … um, wait, what do they want to make it? I live here and I don’t even know. More on that in a moment.
The groups say they want legislation that uses “Connecticut’s ban on assault weapons as a guide.”
Whether they chose Connecticut because there’s something they particularly like about that state’s instant-felon creation machinery or because Connecticut = Sandy Hook = emotions overriding thought, I don’t know. At a glance, that state’s AW law seems to focus on banning — very strictly — the usual “shoulder thing that goes up” type features, and standard-capacity magazines, as well as a list of specific firearms and their derivatives.
One thing the Ceasefire activists surely do like is that the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld Connecticut’s law, giving them a leg up in the enforcement department if they’re able to impose their legislative will.
But the thing I wonder about is that “West Coast Wall.” What is its exactly? How will it work? One can merely speculate.
- Is it a wall as in “blockade”? Do they believe that somehow they’ll succeed in locking the entire west coast of the U.S. so that those eeeevil assault weapons won’t be able to get in past the Golden Gate, the Columbia, or Puget Sound? Or so that, on the eastern boundaries, all those murderous, rampaging weapons will be forced to pile up uselessly at the borders of Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona, unable to penetrate the True Blue West?
- Is it a wall as in prison? I suppose. In a way. Surely they hope (without actually calculating the numbers of felons or the cost of imprisoning us all) to put every violating gun owner behind bars. But hasn’t anybody told them how laughably porous prison walls are when it comes to contraband getting in and out? Can they actually imagine that decreeing guns to be illegal will make them go away?
- Is it a wall as in “wall of noise”? Before announcing their big plans in July, the combined state Ceasefire groups polled a whopping 310 people in Washington and Oregon and concluded that 65 percent of apparently everybody favors banning undefinable but obviously scary “assault weapons.” Sixty-five percent is short of the 90 percent that’s become the standard claim for these things. So maybe the activists figure that a West Coast Wall of clamorous propaganda is needed to bump up that figure.
- Is it a wall of nonsense? Can we sit down with these Ceasefire people? Can we find out whether they can tell a muzzle brake from a folding stock? Shall we listen to them tell us that magazine bans work because once the “bullets” in the ‘zines are all shot, there are no more magazines left? Shall we ask them how one of those “shoulder things” endangers lives?
- Or is it a wall as in “Berlin Wall”? A wall that enables the few to impose their will on the many? A wall that authorizes government enforcers to arrest and kill harmless people, a wall that’s feared but always defied, a wall whose very existence ultimately reveals the failure of the builders’ own philosophy?
“West Coast Wall.” Has a powerful sound, doesn’t it? Nice alliteration. Good meme. The antis have always had us gunfolk beat in the slogan-and-meme department. But what it means, if it means anything at all, remains a mystery.
Will Washington Ceasefire and Ceasefire Oregon succeed in building the thing, whatever it may be? Hard to say. Both states are very blue, but it’s always been a different shade of blue than the benighted mid-Atlantic or even California. Sort of a free-and-easy, here-have-a-latte shade of blue. Both states were sufficiently live-and-let-live to be among the earliest to legalize recreational marijuana. Police statism clashes with the laid-back, outdoorsy, brew-pubby, salmon-and-blueberry Pacific Northwest culture.
In Washington over the years, a few key legislators have held the line on victim disarmament. But in the past activists have turned successfully to the initiative process (as they did in 2014 when, with mega-billionaire funding, they imposed universal background checks).
Washington’s grassroots pro-gun defense has sometimes been weak and compromising. Fortunately, up-and-coming activists (especially the many roused by 2014’s defeat at the hands of the billionaires) are less willing to go along to get along.
Oregon’s grassroots are stronger, but on the other hand, their legislature lacks Washington’s long-time and well-placed legislative gun-rights defenders. Both states have rural, pro-gun eastern sides whose populations are outnumbered — but also getting very tired of being pushed around by — effete urbanites near the coast.
Hard to say what’ll happen. If the banners succeed, it’ll be interesting — as in the Chinese curse — to find out exactly what type of wall they build. Whatever it is, do they really imagine it’ll hold us?
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