Yesterday I was involved in a rather lengthy debate on gun rights. The debate started, as many debates surrounding gun rights currently start, with the shooting of Philando Castile and the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) almost complete lack of comment on the matter until very recently (which was, to put it generously, a very lukewarm comment).
As the debate went on the fact that Castile had tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in his system, which indicates that he had used cannabis prior to being pulled over, came up. A few individuals were saying that Castile’s permit was invalid because he was illegally using cannabis while the other side was pointing out that the NRA should have been raising Cain over the fact that a carry permit can be revoked over using cannabis. That sparked a debate over whether or not the NRA should stick strictly to guns or venture into areas that intersect with guns as well.
This probably won’t surprise anybody but I’m of the opinion that the battle for gun rights cannot be won by focusing strictly on gun issues alone. Whenever the gun issue intersects with another issue gun rights advocates should get involved. I believe this because the issues that intersect with gun rights but are necessarily strictly related to gun rights are currently being used to expand an already massive backdoor confiscation system.
Outside of a few states like California and New York there isn’t a lot of push for legal firearm confiscation programs. There are pushes for prohibitions against purchasing firearms with certain features but, with the exception of California, these pushes have all grandfathered in currently owned firearms. However, there is a mechanism already in place that allows the State to both confiscate currently owned firearms and prohibit individuals from owning firearms again. That mechanism is expanding the number of laws otherwise unrelated to guns that prohibit gun ownership.
For example, users of prohibited drugs cannot own firearms. Felons, including nonviolent felons, cannot own firearms. The latter is especially concerning when you consider that the average working professional commits three felonies a day. If you’re a working professional you’re likely committing a few felony crimes unknowingly. Confiscating your firearms would only require a prosecutor to bring charges against you and prove your guilt in a court. On the surface most of those felony crimes are entirely unrelated to guns yet they can be used as a backdoor confiscation mechanism.
Therein lies the problem with sticking strictly to the gun issue. So long as gun rights advocates and organizations are unwilling to involve themselves in issues that intersect with firearm ownership they will leave the biggest gun confiscation mechanism untouched and gun control advocates will continue to expand the number of crimes that revoke gun ownership privileges.