The Corner

What Next for Gun Policy?

President Obama was incredulous at the speed of his gun-control agenda’s demise this week. Seemingly still in campaign mode, he posed in the Rose Garden flanked by gun-crime victims and denounced the Senate for rejecting all three points of his grand gun control plan. The Senate gun-control bill isn’t buried yet, but rigor mortis is setting in. Obama swears he’ll bring the fight again. Harry Reid threatened that with the next mass shooting, he’ll put gun control back before the Senate.

It’s personal for the president now. Secure in his last term, he was sure he could advance the cause of gun prohibition he had so long delayed. He waged a hard, high-profile battle for four months, proving himself to be the president most hostile to the Second Amendment and spending political capital as though it were Other Peoples’ Money. He will likely see nothing to lose by starting the push all over again “when the time is right,” to paraphrase the defeated Senator Dianne Feinstein.

But will the time be right anytime soon? The president insists that 90 percent of the American public want background checks on gun purchasers. Have 90 percent of the voters ever agreed on anything, especially an issue as contentious as gun policy? In the only poll that matters, Senator Feinstein’s resurrected “assault weapon” ban, the standard-capacity magazine ban, and finally the desperate Toomey-Manchin compromise on background checks were all soundly rejected. It happened in a Democrat-controlled Senate, and the vote wasn’t even close.

The public has had four months to overcome the grief and shock of Newtown and to let logic reassert itself. Indeed, gun prohibitionists wanted to rush their agenda into law before people came to their senses. They succeeded on the state level in New York, and now the nation sees the early results — decent citizens hounded by their government for no good reason, businesses considering moving out of state, and lasting ill will.

With the exception of the special cases of New York and California, the nation seems to have heard the case for strict regulation of the average American gun owner and rejected it. The passions of the mob are spent, and the finality of this week’s Senate deliberations tells us that America has had enough for now.

Yes, heaven help us, there will be another mass shooting. And once again gun prohibitionists won’t wait for the funerals to be over before waving the bloody shirt for gun control. But this time it won’t take four months for America to turn away in disgust.

— Timothy Wheeler is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

‘Judges for the #Resistance’

At Politico, I wrote today about the judiciary’s activism against Trump on immigration: There is a lawlessness rampant in the land, but it isn’t emanating from the Trump administration. The source is the federal judges who are making a mockery of their profession by twisting the law to block the Trump ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Friendships Are America’s Asset

The stale, clichéd conceptions of Donald Trump held by both Left and Right — a man either utterly useless or only rigidly, transactionally tolerable — conceal the fact that the president does possess redeeming talents that are uniquely his, and deserve praise on their own merit. One is personal friendliness ... Read More

Columbia 1968: Another Untold Story

Fifty years ago this week, Columbia students riding the combined wave of the civil-rights and anti-war movements went on strike, occupied buildings across campus, and shut the university down. As you revisit that episode of the larger drama that was the annus horribilis 1968, bear in mind that the past isn’t ... Read More

Only the Strident Survive

‘I am not prone to anxiety,” historian Niall Ferguson wrote in the Times of London on April 22. “Last week, however, for the first time since I went through the emotional trauma of divorce, I experienced an uncontrollable panic attack.” The cause? “A few intemperate emails, inadvertently forwarded ... Read More

Poll Finds Nevada Voters Support School-Choice Programs

According to an April poll, a large number of Nevada voters support school-choice programs. The poll, conducted by Nevada Independent/Mellman, found that 70 percent of voters support a proposal for a special-needs Education Savings Account and 59 percent support expanding the funding for the current tax-credit ... Read More