This Time It’s Different . . . Or Is It?

December 20, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

Immediately after the Newtown killings I wrote a despairing post with the title, “Game Over - Guns Win.”  Peter Moskos, who had a post with a similar title - “Gun Rights? Your Side Won” – reminds me  that nearly two years ago he had basically the same post (here) with this cartoon by Tom Tomorrow.

(Click on the cartoon for a possibly more legible version.)

This time it’s different, but only in the sense that columnists and politicians are at least talking about guns and gun laws.  Even the NRA says it’s getting into the act (“prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again”). 

Will the results be different this time?  Apparently some people think so. Which people? The ones buying AR-15s and other weapons like there’s no tomorrow.  Or like there’s an actual gun law tomorrow.  Maybe they’re right.  Or maybe, as in the past, the familiar kabuki play will run its course.  (See this Tom Tomorrow cartoon of the generic debate – or as we now say “conversation” – that used to follow each massacre but then went out of fashion till Newtown brought it back.)


Bob S. said...

I find it interesting that people completely ignore that the 1994 Assault Weapon ban followed much of the same path the current conversation has been on.

Outrage, we have to do something.

Add in "for the children" and anyone opposing 'reasonable regulations' is a paranoid monster.

The cartoon talks about people not coming for our guns but thousands of people are proposing just that.
Just like there was a call for it before.

Feinstein said on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes, February 5, 1995, "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here.

1995 and she admitted she was trying to get firearms confiscated.

What is different this time?
I guess it could be callously expressed as taking advantage of people's inherent desire to protect children.

And of course -- part of the issue is the tone of the gun control advocates. They want to 'have a national conversation' but ask them what they are willing to compromise to get universal background checks, or magazine limits.

Can you guess what they are willing to budge on?

Anonymous said...


I don't see the NRA as being particularly willing to budge on anything. At every juncture, they've gotten what they wanted, without giving anything up. Can anyone provide a reasonable argument against the assault weapons ban that doesn't make use of a slippery slope argument?