The Stages of Grief -- the Gun Control Version

If you or a like-minded progressive has recently suffered a crippling blow to your most fervent efforts at gun control, we know how you feel. Every American liberal has, at some time or another, experienced a deep and distressing loss regarding their efforts to disarm the citizenry. You are not alone in having these feelings of humiliating defeat and embarrassment.

Fortunately, there is hope. Every left-wing statist who has been through this process of mourning has reported feeling largely the same set of emotions, and in a largely predictable manner. Others have walked this path before you. If you are mourning the loss of an assault weapons ban, or the collapse of a universal background check bill, then the following list might be helpful: the Payne Model of Progressive Gun Control Grief.

These emotions may be felt in any order, and in varying degrees. They are not meant to pigeonhole the process of progressive grief felt from a lack of government power. Talk this list over with your liberal friends to share methods of coping and fiunding solace.

1. Ahistorical Anger. This is the stage where progressives deny that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to firearms, and insists instead that the right was always a "collective" one extended only to state militias. Witness, for instance, one Burton Newman: "The widely held notion that [an individual] right existed was a myth fabricated by the NRA for its own self interest and for the corporate profits of gun manufacturers." Progressives in this stage will flat-out refuse to read Joseph Story or then-contemporaneous firearm deliberations as applied to the Fourteenth Amendment.

2. Appeals to the Tyranny of Majority Rule. In this stage, progressives will insist that might makes right: for instance, noted liberal Joe Scarborough claims that a 90 percent majority means legislation should pass with no problems whatsoever. This stage encompasses a steadfast denial of the Constitution's, and particularly the Bill of Right's, check on majority rule.

3. Insistence That Opposition is Fear-Based. Here, liberals will stridently assert that any opposition to gun control is based upon fear of the gun lobby -- that pro-gun politicians are afraid of being voted out of office by the NRA if they vote "Yes" on gun control matters. Note the inherent contradiction between stage two and stage three: progressives insist that a majority of Americans support a bill, but also insist that politicians fear they could be voted out of office for supporting the same bill.

4. Desperate Appeal to Background Checks. When pressed, liberals will desperately try to assert that an expansion of background checks will prevent future gun tragedies, without citing any evidence as to how. Prominent left-wing mayor Michael Bloomberg recently lambasted the Senate for failing to pass an expansive background check law, even though he refused to provide any numbers as to how many people die from background check-less gun purchases every year.

5. Full Repudiation of the Second Amendment. Here, liberals will fully renounce the Second Amendment, claiming that it is an anachronistic provision of the Constitution that has no place in modern society. Progressive superstar Bill Maher, for instance, declared that the Second Amendment should be abolished because the Founders could not have anticipated such weapons as AK-47s (without stating, note, how many people on average are killed by AK-47s; see stage #4). This is the most despairing of the grief stages, as a constitutional amendment is vanishingly rare, comparatively speaking, in the nation's history. This stage is often accompanied by repeated regression into stage #1.

Some or all of these stages will manifest themselves in instances of gun control failure, be it the stalling of a magazine-size limitation or the inability of progressives to ban various nonlethal cosmetic features on "assault rifles." If you are going through these feelings of mourning and frustration, know you are not alone -- millions of antigun Americans are feeling the same things.

America's history and political culture being what it is, it is unlikely that most guns will be successfully confiscated by the statist intelligentsia anytime soon. Progressives are urged to be cautious, however; many report reacting to these feelings by going on an unprecedented infrastructure spending binge or by passing new and devastating education reform. Exercise restraint under these circumstances.

Daniel Payne is a freelance writer living and working in Richmond, Virginia. He blogs at 

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