Guns and Immigration: Strange Bedfellows

Jack Bernard is a retired SVP with a national firm. He is also the former Chair of the Jasper County Commission and Republican Party.

Gun control and immigration would appear to be unrelated and they are…except in one way. Both issues are being distorted, manipulated, and exaggerated by extremists for political purposes.
Trump knows that 11 million illegal, mostly Latino, immigrants cannot be easily deported and that Mexico will not pay to build a wall. They have said so both publicly and privately multiple times. His bullying tactics won’t work.
He is aware that a modern day Operation Wetback (hey, we tried this once before in the 50s) would cost a tremendous amount of money, paid for by our taxes directly or indirectly (via tariffs passed on to us). He also understands that it would mean ripping families apart.
Trump, who we all know loves making money, also comprehends the business aspects: that agriculture would take a tremendous hit and prices would rise substantially at the big box stores where his supporters shop. He also knows that immigrants are taking the low paying, hard manual labor jobs that everyday Americans do not want.
Finally, he understands that if such a drastic deportation program were actually enacted, versus just talked about, not only would it alienate Latinos, it would cause moderates to not walk, but run, away from both him and the GOP.
He knows that the GOP will not close down government to force funding to build the wall. Trump just takes the extreme position because it riles frustrated, alienated folks up, bringing them out to the voting booth. He has no intention of seeing his current position on immigration acted upon, with the obvious exception of what he is doing now with restrictions on select Muslim nations. We can all see how well accepted that strategy has been.
The NRA and some GOP leaders that they control have done much the same thing on the gun issue, exaggerating and misstating the facts. Before both the 2008 and 2012 elections, the NRA and related groups stated that Obama and a supposedly budding dictatorship of left wing radicals were going to confiscate everyone’s hunting rifles and target pistols if he was elected. If it did not happen then, just wait until the next election per the NRA.
When Martha Raddatz of ABC News went to a rural Illinois gun range during the recent Presidential campaign, she found everyone there was a Trump supporter because he supports the NRA’s positions, but the NRA opposition to gun control predates both Obama and Trump.
The NRA has been especially vocal since the 2008 “Heller” Supreme Court decision by supposedly conservative original construction justices. These five newly activist judges suddenly decided, contrary to all prior interpretations, that there was a new constitutional right: for individuals to bear arms. Prior SCOTUS interpretations of the second amendment had always been that only regulated state militias were entitled to have guns. Unfortunately, no one seems to have any recollection of the situation pre-2008.
In any case, the NRA knows that it is both politically and practically impossible to take guns away from Americans. Surveys show that the public wants its guns, even after gun massacres. Further, in 2009 there were 310 million guns in the nation (and more now thanks in large part to the NRA created “Obama” hysteria) and no one knows who owns almost all of them.
Why did the NRA continually state that Obama was coming for your guns? Because doing so riles gun toting people up. And, it kills (to use a really bad pun) reasonable gun control legislation that is actually supported by the public like having thorough background checks, banning assault weapons, and shutting down the gun show loophole.
Do not be misled by what I have written above. I do not hold far left positions on either guns or immigration.
My grandparents and my father were all immigrants. But, looking at what is occurring in France, Belgium and other nations, I do think that we could have an immigration problem if we are not vigilant. The country needs to deport violent and/or criminal illegals and those non-citizens who are advocating overthrow of our government.
We should have strict but compassionate enforcement of reasonable limits on immigration. In order to avoid the mess that Europe is in with its immigration problem, we should be especially vigilant when it comes to countries and regions that do not share our views about equality of the sexes, a secular government, freedom, liberty, and inalienable rights.
As for guns, I own one myself. Those few (and I do mean very few) who advocate for confiscation of all guns in the good old USA are living in a dream world. If public support for this approach has not happened thus far, after all the horrendous mass murders of the past few decades, it will never happen. When the AMA, not a liberal bastion, declares gun violence to be a national health emergency, it makes me and others pause to reflect on the small arms crisis engulfing our nation.
What we can do in this country is to stop believing the people and groups who continually yell fire in a crowded theater. We can stop merely accepting radical arguments that demonize the other side. And, we can start to support elected officials who want to bring about political compromise so that we can actually get something done on these issues and others before things get even worse.

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