David French has an important column at National Review this week which is definitely worth your time to consider. The subject at hand is his suggestion that “corporate gun control” is actually a bigger threat to Second Amendment rights at this point than the government itself. I realize that the phrase corporate gun control doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and may seem fictional to some of you. After all, corporations have no ability to pass laws (though they can influence those who do) so they can’t really restrict your rights. But when we ponder exactly what French is describing it becomes quite clear that this is a real concern.
David begins the piece on an optimistic note, pointing out that Second Amendment rights as set forth by the government are about as safe right now as they’ve ever been. With Brett Kavanaugh preparing to take a seat on our highest court and state legislatures passing Constitutional Carry measures across the country, draconian gun control measures are, at this point, limited to only the bluest states and seem destined to remain so confined for the foreseeable future. But then the author gets down to the business at hand and describes some insidious methods being employed outside of the halls of government to curtail gun ownership in the United States.
But another threat looms, one that can stretch across the entire American landscape, is immune to the filibuster, and is largely sheltered from judicial review. It’s a threat that can choke off financing for the gun industry, stifle speech about guns, and lock the gun-rights community into offline (and small online) ghettos that restrict their ability to communicate.
So, what’s happening? Titans of American banking and communication are taking steps to restrict the use of their funds or platforms by gun makers, gun-rights advocates, and others. The threat is just now emerging, but it may be as great a danger to gun rights as it is to the culture of free speech in this nation, and indeed the two are linked.
First, as to David’s sanguine attitude about government supported gun control, I agree… but only to a point. The current trends are undeniably favorable, but they come with a number of caveats. That sunny outlook is valid if Brett Kavanaugh takes his seat. (Highly likely but still not in the bag.) And if the Democrats don’t start flipping a significant number of governorships and state legislative majorities. (Far less certain.) There are a few more “ifs” out there but I’m sure you take my point.
On to the actual subject at hand, French is pointing out some very real assaults on gun rights which are happening today, not describing some hypothetical future boogeyman intended to scare voters and get them out to the ballot box. Bowing to pressure from progressive campaigns, banks are already denying loans, credit card processing and other services to companies engaged in the manufacture or distribution of legal firearms. In the communications realm, you’ve already seen the stories of how companies like Amazon, Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have suppressed the networking and communications abilities of people selling or even talking about firearms.
Another item which David doesn’t mention is the campaign in New York to force insurance companies to blacklist the NRA, putting extreme financial pressure on their offices in that state. There are more examples out there, but these are all cases of efforts employing extra-legislative measures to either silence the voices of gun rights supporters or make it prohibitively expensive to either do business in the firearms industry or lobby on their behalf.
These are all examples of the coming Boycotocracy which I’ve spoken of at length here. Unable to achieve their liberal goals through the courts or their elected representatives, progressive activists take to bullying gang tactics, putting pressure on private businesses to force them to heel. In doing so, they can inflict enough financial pain on a particular area to get the government to roll over and relent or spur affected voters to support different candidates just to end the hardship.
Government infringement on Second Amendment rights can be remedied through education and majority support among the voters. This is something far darker and much more difficult to combat. And the real problem is that it works and it’s already going on today.