What Football teaches us about Gun Control

By Peter Gunn

I recently let people in my home state know through social media about a gun control law that was in committee in my state legislature . This was the perennial “liability insurance for gun owners” trick which has boomeranged back again. A Democrat friend of mine mocked me for getting all worked up about a bill that will probably not even make it out of committee. Having been to my statehouse for hearings on similar infringements in the past, I know one reason these bills die in committee is because of what happens; A few Anti’s show up, make an emotional but factually incorrect plea for the gun control bill-de-jour, and the rest are pro freedom people who by sheer numbers demonstrate to the committee what “90%” of gun owners truly support. Since my good friend is also a football coach, I tried a football analogy, hoping he would understand why we fight bills in committee. I suggested the time to mount a defense was when the opposing team received the kick off, and not to wait until they were in the red zone. While this fell flat with him, it occurred to me that football was a perfect metaphor for the fight over the Second Amendment in the United States.

In 1976, the Founder of a group called “Handgun Control inc.” (which later became the Brady Center), Nelson “Pete” Shields announced in The New Yorker magazine that:

Im convinced that we have to have federal legislation to build on. Were going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily — given the political realities — going to be very modest. Of course, its true that politicians will then go home and say, This is a great law. The problem is solved. And its also true that such statements will tend to defuse the gun-control issue for a time. So then well have to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen that law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, wed be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. My estimate is from seven to ten years. The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal. New Yorker magazine July 26, 1976. Page 53f

And there it is. The Gun Control Playbook. From the 70’s until this very day every “reasonable restriction” proposed follows this very outline. Try to pass a law, any law and then try to make it stronger and add another law. If one law goes no where, switch up and try a different one. A law didn’t pass 10 years ago? re introduce it and see if it works again.

Image used with permission from Daniel X. O’Neil via Creative Commons 3.0. Obtained from Flickr.com.

Imagine you are sitting in the 50 yard line seat at a football field. The end zone to the left is labeled “Total disarmament” and to the right is “Constitutional Carry” Red team Goal is to the right and Blue team is to the left. The game is one touchdown sudden death. Blue won the toss and elected to receive. They came out of the gate strong, each law they passed was a first down. Red Dee had nothing. Guns were banned here, there, almost everywhere it seemed. For a while it looked like Blue was going to score on its first possession. 20 yards out Red was able to hold the line. The ball turned over on downs. Blue was stymied. Red began to move the ball. First a couple of yards, then a first down and another. After bans on handguns failed to stop crime and save lives, states began to reinstate carry laws. The ball continued to move down the field. Then the ball got intercepted; Blue switched the play from handguns to “assault weapons” Red was completely faked and Blue ran the ball back to field goal range. In 1994 blue put the ball between the uprights; the Assault Weapons Ban. It was not the complete victory, but some major points on the board. After a review, the officials ruled the kick no good and the points were taken off the board in 2004 , replay of forth down. Blue thought it would be an easy chip shot, but this time the kicker missed the posts completely. The Ban was not reinstated. During the review, Red got two new players; Threat of terrorism, and mistrust of the Government. People began to realize that the possibility of terrorist attacks on our soil was very real, and that the Federal Government was using this fear to expand domestic surveillance and other policies that infringed on the liberty we once had. With this new momentum, Red managed to hit a field goal in 2008 when the SCOTUS confirmed that firearms ownership was indeed an individual right unconnected with militia service with the Heller decision. Blue coach challenged, and the ruling on the field was upheld in McDonald. While Blue is in possession they are unable to gain any yards. Their Star Quarterback from Hawaii (or possibly Kenya depending on who you ask) Barack Obama has been calling audibles like “Newtown” and “Virginia tech”. He has been trying to fake with “Gun Show Loophole” and “Universal Background check”, and even tried to run the ball himself without his team, but thanks to the Pete Shields playbook, Red defense recognizes each play and Blue is unable to advance. This year, Blue will try to break out with a Hail Mary pass to eligible receivers Clinton and Sanders. Red defense is running along side in position to intercept. This game is in it’s 47th year and the clock is winding down.

Every single gun control proposal is designed to fit the Shields playbook. Reduce the number and/or types of guns available, reduce who can have them, where they can have them and then get them on a list, once you have the list, collect them all. It is neither paranoid nor delusional to respond to EVERY gun control proposal as a direct assault on the Second Amendment and a step toward disarmament because in their OWN WORDS that is the goal they are working towards.


Lead image citation: Image created by Jack Kurzenknabe and shared via Creative Commons 3.0. Obtained from Flickr. Any NFL colors and images are the property of their respective teams. 

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