In his State of the Union address, President Obama doubled down on his gun-control proposals, again demanding that Congress ban so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.” This is not a surprise. What has been a surprise are the increasingly open calls for defiance from gun owners, state legislatures, and local law enforcement. If the president’s proposals become law, he may move the country into turbulent waters we haven’t seen in many years.
Gun control has long been a controversial issue in American politics. However, there are three aspects to this issue that make this more volatile than other hot topics such as taxes, foreign policy, or abortion:
1) The strongest advocates of each side hold fundamentally irreconcilable positions.
On one hand, committed gun-control advocates say: “No one should be allowed to own certain weapons.” On the other hand, equally committed gun-rights advocates say: “No way in hell are we giving up these weapons.”
2) Ordinary Americans have declared their willingness to disobey the law.
New York state has already passed laws similar to Obama’s proposals. Gun owners there are now organizing a campaign of open civil disobedience, daring state officials to “come and take” their rifles. State officials already acknowledge that they will be unable to enforce the new law.
3) Local law enforcement officials and state governments have also vowed civil disobedience.
Over 280 sheriffs and eight state sheriffs’ associations have vowed to protect citizens’ Second Amendment rights against new gun laws.