. . . we must start and then move [non-committed antis] along gradually with the kinds of things they will find persuasive . . . we need to meet them (on the rhetorical and philosophical battleground) where they are instead of where we wish them to be.
I agree, but maybe we also need to look at other places where they already agree with us. Note the poll on the right sidebar of The Gun Blogs, where I found the post: which strategy should we RKBA types emphasize to what should the focus of gun rights activists consist of next? Expanding CCW, repealing "sporting purpose" language, et cetera. As you look at the poll results, you'll see there's not enough consensus for us RKBA proponents to concentrate and achieve one of them.
For example, many staunch gun rights activists argue that a national CCW would be a step backwards, because we'd be subordinating a right to a nationwide (read Federal) system of licensing.
Similarly, should we support BATF reform? Bullshit, some of us (including me) will shout back---shut it down instead. No good can come of it.
Between the poll and Aim's post, it occurred to me that we should explore other options that foster divisions, or just as good, doubt, among the antis instead of arguing over the divisions among us. Our options should not discuss guns openly either, because the antis will smell such tactics coming from far, far away and circle the wagons. Focus on collateral, apparently unrelated issues.
It will readily become clear to the gun rights activist that he or she ought to be fighting for other rights anyway, because the infringement of those other rights makes gun control that much easier---standing the old bromide "the Second Amendment is the right that guarantees the rest" on its head.
Recent events supply many possibilities.
- Asset forfeiture. Read the travails of the owner of KT Ordnance and you'll see that ATFE---the force-initiation arm of the anti-gun movement---doesn't need gun control per se to screw people over. They didn't charge Mr Celata with any crime. But they did raid him, copy his hard drives, seize his inventory, and then . . . nothing.
They can bankrupt him by continuing to do . . . nothing. While his inventory sits in their vaults, or ships to the scrapyard, Mr Celata goes without the income it could have gotten him, and has to come up with even more money from elsewhere to petition to have his property returned to him. If he does nothing, he loses.
No doubt the same tactic has successfully shut down a number of other businesses serving us gun folk, many of them not even needing a license from ATFE to be businesses because they weren't making firearms or ammunition in the first place.
Asset forfeiture has been used to take cars from beneath the butts of guys looking for prostitutes, other guys looking for abuse drugs, and even more guys merely being accused of looking for prostitutes, accused of looking to score drugs, and accused of numerous other victimless crimes. The City of Denver has used it to seize cars and guns from ordinary folk who've been silly enough to drive through that city with certain models of gun aboard, in spite of Colorado's peaceable journey law and McClure-Volkmer.
Don't argue about the victimless crimes themselves. That's a non-starter among our own community, and it will lead only to failure among the antis. If this were not so, there would be Libertarians in the Oval Office. There aren't, so don't. (Plenty of libertarians like me in the RKBA movement, granted, but we're part of a coalition and we have to cooperate.)
But you definitely can argue about how asset forfeiture is unjust, how it makes the owner's innocence (or absence of being charged) irrelevant to the case the State is making against the property. Sure, it's a long-standing tradition of English law to charge a piece of property, rather than the owner. So what? Why should we even tacitly support a law that allows the State to get away with theft? Do we want our courts, cops, and prosecutors to be corrupted by it?
Taking asset forfeiture away from the Man means taking an arbitrary and frequently-abused power away from anti-gunners. How to sell the dismantling of asset forfeiture to the antis? That could be tough, I haven't an idea yet. Perhaps by linking it to the campaign to end eminent domain abuse, which seems to be trending positively.
- Dynamic entry. I don't know whether KT Ordnance's raid was a peaceful, knock first, "hey we got a warrant, let us in," wait for Mr Celata to answer the door kind of raid. If it was, it's rare. Radley Balko will tell you more than you want to know about the overuse of forcible SWAT-type raids, in the dark of night, on the wrong house. He'll also tell you about the trend in using dynamic entries to carry out what used to be plain old police work.
The bodies are piling up. Lawsuits to recover damages from mistaken raids are failing, justice is being denied. Puppies and kittens are not being blended, but shot, stomped, and Tased.
Gun owners aren't the only targets of these raids. They started with the War on Drugs, but now that dynamic entry is becoming the default method of serving a warrant, gun owners are getting their share.
How to sell this to people who are inimical to gun owners? The same way you sell it to the non-libertarian gun owners: Cops are dying in these raids too. And if only a percentage of the lawsuits by innocent victims succeed, you'll see cities and counties in deep financial trouble to pay the judgments.
If you want to appeal to the feminists, call it an outrageous example of testosterone poisoning.
Dynamic entry must be restricted only to saving the life of a hostage. This can, and should, happen state-by-state, much like liberalization of CCW is taking place.
- Marginalizing the weird. I have to be careful with this one. Consider: more people believe that extraterrestrial astronauts visit our planet, than that they will ever draw money out of their Social Security accounts. I'm not that sure of the latter anymore myself. That says more about Social Security than about the existence of UFOs.
Lots of people think homeschooling is weird; I definitely do not, but many people do, and I'd wager a good number of them are part of the giant government apparatus that spits out search warrants and arms men to execute them. An animus against homeschooling, or unusual religious practices, can easily be exaggerated into a claim of child abuse. An animus against guns in a home with children is less of a leap.
Unwholesome attention to weirdness easily becomes an intense desire to look for infractions of the law. In case you haven't noticed, there are more than enough laws now to blindly infract.
How to sell this one to the antis? There are lots of other weird people in the world, and we need not give them respect, but they demand to be left alone unless they make real flesh-and-blood victims. The biker, the furry, the kink, the performance artist suspending yourself in midair by hooks through your flesh, the addict to plastic surgery. Leave weird people alone. You might be one.
Well, there are three ideas, in matters where gun rights activists can expand the effectiveness of their efforts and divide the antis, without even having to utter the word "gun."