The left can't win on guns, so now they're trying to silence their opposition

The left can't win on guns, so now they're trying to silence their opposition
If you can’t beat the other side’s arguments, silence them.

The idea is to keep yelling that the NRA is racist, that they are murderers and have “blood on their hands,” that they are a “terrorist organization” that they won’t support even simple measures to save lives. At the Oscars last night, wave after wave of the “cool people” called for banning guns. It doesn’t matter that the people doing the yelling are pushing proposals that wouldn’t save lives. Or that the people at the Oscars who called for banning guns were themselves protected by a phalanx of 500 armed guards. With a media that refuses to let the intellectual arguments on the other side get through, it might be an approach that works.

While liberals protest that even requiring a free voter ID is racist because it discourages minorities from voting, they see no problem making concealed handgun permits cost $450 in Illinois or even more in other heavily Democratic states such as California, Connecticut or New Jersey. When Democrats have discretion on who gets permits, very few blacks, Hispanics or women seem to qualify. After each mass public shooting, they call for expensive background checks on private transfers even though this wouldn't have prevented a single mass public shooting in this century. They shout down proposals that would make a difference, such as arming school staff and teachers.

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The media’s political bias clearly shows up even in movie reviews. newly released “Death Wish,” starring Bruce Willis, illustrates how a man is forced to use a gun to take on urban crime when the police fail to do their job. The reviewers hate the movie, with only 14 percent rating it fresh according to Rotten TomatoesThe movie was slammed for being, “As subtle as an NRA recruitment video.” Only 8 percent of top critics rated it fresh. But the audiences loved it, giving it an 85 percent rating. Of all of the 10,000-plus movies rated since 1970, Willis’ movie is tied for 11th in the largest gap between critics and audience scores. It is tied for the second largest gap when the audience is compared only with top critics.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, Michael Bloomberg’s gun control groups launched a petition to get NRA TV removed from AppleTV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.  His group’s petition includes language such as, “NRA TV promotes dangerous conspiracy theories, racially charged rhetoric, and violent demonization of the NRA's political opponents.”  Many companies have already succumbed to this pressure, with fifteen companies ranging from Alamo and Avis rental cars to Best Western and Wyndham Hotels ending their discounts to NRA members.  

Gun control organizations are allowed to pick whom they debate on television and radio shows. I know this from personal experience. On a half dozen occasions, I have been asked to appear on CNN or elsewhere, only then to be told that I’m out because the representative from Bloomberg’s group wouldn’t appear with me on the show. Only a couple of producers have stood up to these tactics, but the vast majority let gun control groups have their way. When I have published opinion pieces at publications such as The Los Angeles Times and New York Times, the editors are deluged with organized email and telephone campaigns complaining of their decisions to run my pieces.

Senator Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees MORE (R-Fla.) — along with anyone else who accepts money from the NRA — is faulted when shootings occur. But if money buys votes, the NRA should have no effect on politics. It contributed a measly $2.1 million from 2013 to 2016 to House and Senate candidates for federal office. Bloomberg, by contrast, donated a total of $48 million.

Polls are often manipulated to make gun owners look like a fringe group with out-of-favor political views. The media gives massive coverage to polls showing that gun ownership is falling. When surveys show that gun ownership rates are up, they are completely ignored. Media outlets such as the Washington Post and CNN cover other organizations’ polls showing gun ownership is down, even while their own surveys show no such trend. 

We hear that 97 percent of Americans support background checks on private transfers of guns, but when Michael Bloomberg actually puts these initiatives on the ballot and massively outspends his opponents by six-to-one or larger margins, he loses. If he can’t break 50 percent when these measures are actually on the ballot, why should anyone believe the surveys claiming 97 percent support?

Given the many hundreds of millions of dollars spent, as well as biased media coverage even from designated fact checkers, it is a minor miracle that over 40 percent of Americans still own guns and that there are about 17 million concealed handgun permit holders.

Democrats regularly accuse President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE of being totalitarian. But calling out biased media isn't equivalent to the left's underhanded tactics. If people on the left can't win an argument, they have no problem silencing those they disagree with.

John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author more recently of “The War on Guns” (Regnery, 2016).