(Note: This post is largely directed at my liberal and progressive friends. Yes, I have those, just like I have Libertarian and conservative friends. If your entire social circle shares one political viewpoint, you don’t live in the real world, you live in an echo chamber. Conservative friends: please refrain from “LIBRULS ARE TEH STOOPID!!!1!!ONE!! type comments.)
When it comes to pushing gun control legislation, heavy-handed propaganda is generally excused or justified by a lot of Progressives because it serves the right cause and goal.
- Among the many half-truths and outright manipulative falsehoods in Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore tries to show the extent of redneck gun-nuttery by making it look like he got a rifle at the bank where he opened his account. (The bank had advertised a free rifle with new accounts, but the transaction still had to go through a local gun dealer, background check and all.) In his version, he walks out of the bank with the rifle in hand, as if they handed it to him in there.
- Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, lead Democratic sponsor of a bill to introduce a magazine capacity limit, has no idea how ammunition magazines actually work–that they’re not disposable one-time use items, but reusable containers that can be filled with ammunition over and over. She thinks banning them will make shooters “run out of bullets to shoot.”
- Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, when asked about the “barrel shroud” feature she wants to see banned on rifles, describes it (laughably incorrectly) as a “shoulder thing that goes up”, meaning a collapsible stock on a particular shotgun model.
- The President of the United States claims that the Newtown shooting was committed with a “fully automatic weapon”, which is simply not the case. (Adam Lanza used a semi-automatic rifle that fires one shot per trigger pull.)
- Gabby Giffords’ husband is observed buying the same type of weapon he is lobbying to ban, and then claims he recorded the transaction to “show the country how easy it is to pass a background check.” He fails to mention that he was unable to buy a gun on his first try (because he didn’t have a valid Arizona ID), and that the dealer refused to let him take possession of the rifle because he answered a question on the background check form incorrectly (he claimed that he wanted to donate the rifle to the local police department, which means he lied on the “straw sale” question of the federal background check form that asks whether you are the actual buyer of the firearm.) The system not only worked as intended, deliberately lying on the federal form resulted in a refused sale. But showing that would have invalidated Capt. Kelly’s entire argument (which was most likely bogus to begin with, so he either lied to the dealer or the public/media.)
- The lead gun control advocacy group in the United States muses that the public’s confusion about the difference between fully automatic machine guns and semi-automatic rifles (“anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to work like one”) can only help the support for laws that ban the semi-automatic rifles.
- The constant invoking of “unlicensed dealers” at gun shows that can sell guns to anyone without background checks. (There’s no such thing as an “unlicensed dealer”–they mean gun show patrons who bring a rifle or pistol of their own to sell to another private party in the parking lot or while wandering the show floor, not the dealers at the show who have to do a federal background check on every buyer.)
- The claim that guns are “less regulated than teddy bears”, when guns are the only consumer product in the country whose purchase requires a federal background check for every single retail transaction.
If you support restrictions or outright bans on private arms anyway, stuff like that may not be a big deal to you–after all, it only serves to help restrict gun ownership, and any measure that gets us down the road a bit is a good one, right?
Well, you’re actually harming the rest of the progressive agenda by using or supporting such tactics, because they harm your credibility.
If you push legislation on a social issue with arguments that are demonstrably wrong (as in “provably non-factual”), obviously ignorant, and deliberately deceptive, how are people supposed to believe that your arguments are factual, informed, and objective in any other policy debate?
If you think it’s no big deal to get your facts wrong, be ignorant about the issue at hand, and intentionally deceive people into voting your way when it comes to gun control, why should the fence-sitters and the opposition believe that you don’t play loose with the facts when it comes to climate change, energy policy, social justice, economic policies, or any of the other items on the progressive agenda? How can you be surprised when your efforts on, say, climate change are met with suspicion and outright hostility from the other side, and they accuse you of misrepresenting the data to push an agenda? After all, you’ve already set a precedent for that.
Truth and reality don’t need misinformation. If you misrepresent the facts to achieve a legislative goal, you harm your own agenda and show contempt for the electorate. That goes for both sides, liberal and conservative alike. Liberals would greatly resist legislation on reproductive rights pushed by people who refer to the penis as the “jizz spigot” and describe the act of sex like a kindergartner who has caught bits and snippets from her parents here and there. They can’t be surprised when Conservatives oppose legislation on gun rights pushed by people who know little or nothing about guns (and who actually consider their ignorance on the subject a virtue.)