As I have previously noted in painstaking scientific detail, 2016 is literally the worst. Jonah Goldberg recently described his trying to walk a fine line between simultaneous endorsements of Evan McMullin and Sweet Meteor of Death (i.e., “SMOD”):
I still believe that the Sweet Meteor of Death has the most comprehensive program to remedy the problems we face here in Washington, America and the world. He doesn’t give long speeches. He doesn’t give special favors. A contribution to his foundation or Super-PAC will not spare you from his cold unpitying program of universal peace, zero taxes and universal equality in the lifeless vacuum of space. He follows the classic conservative tradition of “simple rules for a complex society.”
…Still, he is not above the laws of gravity, and…I condemn his failure to show up on long range satellite and radar images, as he should have by now. I endorse his agenda to end all of the partisan bickering, capital gains taxes and the designated hitter. In short, I condemndorse SMOD. And if he is in fact adding his name to the long list of recent politicians who have over-promised and under-delivered, then I will vote for Evan McMullin.
In keeping with my status as a shameless Millennial (though I do renounce my generation’s unfathomable ignorance on a whole host of political issues), I think the only proper response to Jonah’s equivocation on SMOD’s underlying merits is:
Anyhow, it appears that there is at least one emerging sign of plebiscitary sanity amidst a tsunami of quasi-apocalyptic moral turpitude. It seems that Americans really do not approve of the purely symbolic and utterly stupid 1994-2004 federal law that banned
“assault weapons” guns the Left thinks look scary. Here is the upshot, per Sean Davis at The Federalist:
Support for a so-called assault weapons ban in the U.S. just hit a record low of 36 percent, according to a new Gallup poll released on Wednesday. The poll showed that 61 percent of American adults now oppose a ban. That level of opposition is the highest ever recorded.
Increasing opposition to the 1990’s-era gun ban isn’t just limited to Republicans. Gallup’s data show that opposition to the ban has increased across the board. Barely 50 percent of Democrats currently support the ban today, compared to 63 percent support from Democrats in 1996, just two years after the federal ban was signed into law. Less than a third of independents currently support a ban, while Republican support hovers at 25 percent.
An assault weapons ban is also widely opposed by those who don’t even own guns. Gallup’s latest survey found that only 45 percent of households without guns support the ban, compared to 26 percent support among households with guns.
Good. The ban on the cosmetically amorphous and logistically-impossible-to-intellectually-coherently-define sub-class of rifles frequently lambasted by Leftists as “assault weapons” is probably one of the single most overtly impulsive, senseless, liberty-depriving, legislate-because-it-makes-us-feel-good pieces of drivel to emerge out of Congress over the past three decades.
I am the proud new owner of a Daniel Defense AR-style rifle (Daniel technically categorizes its 5.56X45mm NATO- and .300 AAC Blackout-chambered sporting rifles as being “M4s” and not “AR-15s,” since the latter term usually refers to .223 Remington-chambered rifles), and it is staggeringly awesome. But the M4/AR-15 platform is also not any different than other standard modern semiautomatic rifles, viewed as a class, in any meaningful performance metrics such as muzzle velocity. Instead, it only differs because of cosmetic features such as a collapsible stock, a pistol-style grip, a flash suppressor at the end of the barrel, the ability to easily add lots of customized accessories like sights and scopes, and the ability to take a detachable magazine (which is literally just a plastic box with a piece of metal and some springs beneath it) that can hold up to 30 rounds. (My Daniel Defense-manufactured M4 magazines actually hold 32 rounds, but alas, I digress.) None of those things matter for lethality, or general performance, of the weapon.
Here was Sen. Ted Cruz, then a newly-sworn in U.S. Senator back in January 2013, utterly eviscerating the logic of a so-called “assault weapon” ban as part of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s post-Newtown comprehensive gun-grabbing package:
Let’s revisit Sean Davis for his helpful explanation as to the shifting polling in favor of self-defense, liberty, and sanity. It has to do with the emergence of the global jihad as a uniquely virulent, and existential, threat:
Americans also understand that while gun control laws don’t necessarily deter violent criminals or terrorists, they do make it harder for innocent Americans to protect themselves from those same criminals and terrorists. And when you take into account the U.S. government’s continued failure to protect its people from terrorist attacks, increasing opposition to laws that make it harder for people to defend themselves and their families makes perfect sense. If the government is not willing or able to perform its duty to protect the homeland, then people will feel compelled take matters into their own hands, and they will bristle at any attempt to neuter their right to self-defense.
And here are some more closing thoughts from the always-eloquent David French, at National Review:
I’d also note that there’s another reason why support for a ban is dropping — weapons like the AR-15 have been demystified. Americans have bought them by the millions, and millions more have either fired an AR-15 or know a friends or neighbor who owns one. Like any weapon, you have to know how to use it and handle it appropriately, but its popularity isn’t due to the bloodthirstiness of its owners but rather the elegance and utility of its design.
This is perhaps a relatively small silver lining during a political season where the two main parties have catstrophically nominated Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald J. Trump, but we should take it nonetheless. Hooray for rapidly improving sanity on at least one political issue. Maybe SMOD can wait a little longer.