Quote of the day—Dean Weingarten

A major point of disagreement among Second Amendment supporters was how to approach the problem. One group claimed anything but full and complete recognition of Second Amendment rights was futile and counter-productive. The argument was: any lesser legislation, moving incrementally toward full Second Amendment rights, would only legitimize infringements on those rights. They were/are the “All or Nothing” group. Some called/call themselves “principled”.

The other group of Second Amendment supporters argued Second Amendment rights could be restored bit by bit. Pass legislation first, for a permit system. Keep reforming and improving the permit system. Reduce requirements, reduce fees, reduce “gun free zones”.  Keep on incrementally improving the law, until Second Amendment rights were fully restored. They were/are the “Incrementalists”.  In the middle 1990’s it was not clear if either approach would be effective. 

Twenty years later, it was clear. Incrementalism worked.

Dean Weingarten
May 3, 2021
Restoring Second Amendment Rights: Incrementalism vs All or Nothing
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]


14 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Dean Weingarten

  1. It’s worth remembering that the enemy has embraced incrementalism as well and is busy using this to try to undo everything we have gained.

    “We’ll take one step at a time, and the first is necessarily … given the political realities … very modest. We’ll have to start working again to strengthen the law, and then again to strengthen the next law and again and again. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns, is going to take time. The first problem is to make possession of all handguns and ammunition (with a few exceptions) totally illegal.” —Peter Shields, founder of Handgun Control Inc.

    • On balance incrementalism has worked for the leftist beyond their wildest expectations allowing them to embark on an historical attempt to consolidate their power.

      • True. Of course, they’ve been at it for a lot longer — 233 years to be precise.

  2. Pingback: This, a hundred time this. No More Chest Thumping

  3. The “Muh Rights!! Chest Thumping Brigades for Open Carry in Florida have achieved ZERO traction anywhere in the past years.
    Suddenly we have a pandemic, the tactical fishing trips stopped and two Pro Gun bills got FINALLY passed in the Legislature after 4-5 years.

    • According to the people going to Tallahassee and actually meeting with congress people and their staffs… Florida Carry’s fishing events have nothing to do with pro-gun stuff moving and everything to do with voters selecting better representation.

      You’d know that if you’d ever listen to someone who doesn’t share your preconceived notions of what worked and what didn’t.

    • Miguel,

      Two pro-gun laws passed due more to the fecklessness of the Feds and the current administration wanting to go full New Zealand on all aspects of guns.

      The people who exercised their right to carry while fishing? Not the issue. And… They were following the friggin LAW. Isn’t that what you’re supporting? Following the LAW? Which law do we follow now, or next week, or next month? It’s either law and therefore okay or it isn’t law and it isn’t okay.

  4. It seems to me he has it backwards. The left doesn’t use incrementalism as much as they use both. They usurp power. Then make you fight to get it back.
    And on exactly what does Dean base his incrementalism? If not 2A?
    It seems logical to that if 2A is your standing in court to begin with. That it’s plain language should be the basis of your argument?
    As the left has you now down to arguing about what is in common use? Over some thing the government has no business in the first place?
    We can keep going to court, until the left burns it down.

  5. Before we concede incrementalism to the Leftists as a tool for them alone, incrementalism worked to eliminate the vile effects of Plessey v Ferguson. Admittedly it took fifty-seven years to arrive at Brown vs Board of Education, but it was more productive than arguing whether separate was in fact equal for that same time.
    Whether we have the time given the behavior of Leftists in power now, is a completely different question.

  6. Incrementalism, or more clearly, compromise, is the very mechanism by which this country is being (or has been) brought down. Whether it is THE way to restore and then further enhance liberty remains to be seen, but if that is to be the case, a firm hold on the fundamental principles, as our guides all along the way, will be an absolute requirement.

    Instead, what I see happening is, the “pragmatists” eventually start to believe that some compromised position is the ultimate ideal. Maybe they believed it all along. You know who they are. They’re the “pro gun” guys who work at it for years, even winning a few victories along the way, and then end up lashing out at their own for being too “extreme”, etc., just as John McCain eventually cracked and lashed out at the Tea Party types, calling them “Hobbits” in a hateful screed.

    It’s a mental state, and it’s so common that I would call it “rampant”. Look into what Oregonians are now saying about a proposal to allow them to pump their own gas, for example– Many of them hate it, being shocked at the idea that they may “have to” pump their own gas! Reading some of their comments, you’d almost think that the freedom to pump gas was an imminent holocaust. They’re full-on Marxists and probably don’t even know it! Certainly they make all the standard Marxist arguments.

    Somehow we tend to start loving the little cages we’re put into.

    There are some who are now very proud of themselves for being adept at maneuvering through all the restrictions and requirements involved with owning various firearms and accessories. Then there are those who literally profit from second amendment infringements. The mere act of imagining all those restrictions and requirements going away, entirely, now that they’re comfortable with them and good at dealing with them, or making money because of them, will make them angry. They will turn on “the fundamentalists” and “extremists” and try to prevent them from getting their way. We’ve already seen examples, even with regard to very small incremental steps toward liberty. Some of those in the industry are benefitting from the infringements. “Regulatory Capture” is the term there, which must be fully understood. The biggest corporations benefit from regulatory capture in a myriad of ways, but mostly because it limits the entry of new competitors into the market.

    All of this, by the way, pretty well defines the Republican Party. I doubt there is a Republican alive would allow, if he could make the decision alone, for the second amendment to take on its full meaning and be enforced accordingly. They would fight tooth and nail to prevent it.

    And, while incrementalism may indeed be a useful tactic (I’m not saying that it isn’t), we must be very careful! It’s fraught with the dangers above, and more. And when compromise (of the principles of liberty) becomes a way of life unto its own, it is near impossible for any individual to break free of it– If and when that day should come when it is time for the full implementation of the second amendment, “the cult of compromise”, as I’ll call it, will be among your worst enemies.

    Should that be the case, we can only hope for another kind of incrementalism. It’s the kind which allows a revolution to happen, one quiet retirement at a time. But if THAT revolution were to happen, there would be a critical need for a large number of “fundamentalists”, else the revolution has just failed– There will be no one left with any principles– The “pragmatists” will have seen to it, having convinced their peers that the principles of liberty are the way to certain failure, that (to use a football reference) the end zone must be avoided at all costs!

    So which is it? We must all ask ourselves whether we would dash into the end zone with the football if there were a chance, or would we stop, turn around and pass the ball backward, to a fellow “pragmatist”? Or perhaps more importantly, do we even truly know what the end zone looks like anymore? Would we even recognize it, never having seen it before? Or, in the off-chance of recognizing it, would we feel comfortable stepping over that goal line, or would we hesitate, getting slammed by a 350 pound linebacker and fumbling instead? No one wants to get slammed by a 350 pound linebacker, and so it’s much safer to drop the ball first, or stay out of the game entirely and just try to live with the infringements, or find a way to profit from them.

    And so there comes another question. Why should anyone keep espousing the principles of liberty, knowing that he will be attacked by both “sides”?

    Regarding the charge of “fundamentalist” as an epithet;
    When you want your car fixed, I assume you look for someone with the best, most firm grasp of, and even love for, the fundamentals of auto mechanics. When you want to fly somewhere, I assume you hope that the pilot has the best, most firm grasp of the fundamentals of mechanized flight, etc,, etc. Granted, your mechanic may only be doing a partial repair, or just changing your oil, but you know that if he has a full grasp of the fundamentals he’s the guy you want! Somehow though when it comes to lobbyists or politicians we’ll glom onto a clown in whore makeup, so to speak, so long as he knows a few buzz phrases and doesn’t insult us too much until after he’s in office.

    • Very true. I think the very basis of analysis of constitutional rights has been subverted. Instead of the three tiers of analysis, with strict scrutiny, in which no less restrictive means of meeting the legitimate governmental interest is possible, Intermediate scrutiny, with more relaxed standards of analysis, and “Rational Basis Test”, aka “Non-Risible Test”. If it’s a right protected by the Constitution it should all be examined with Strict Scrutiny.

  7. Imagine being proud of a few small victories, while your rights and liberty are stolen from you every single day. Just LOL at “incrementalism.” Sounds like that guy probably believes that the NRA really fights for the rights of gun owners too.

  8. Not sure if “incrementalism” can work. Yes….over the past 3 decades we’ve seen Concealed Carry permitting go from almost zero to all but a handful of states. We have seen “open carry” and “constitutional carry” expand also. But at the same time the commie left has set the stage to essentially OUTLAW many types of firearms….an obvious prelude to outlawing ALL firearms. And the obvious question would be what good is universal CCW laws and other such laws if they succeed in making OWNERSHIP illegal……never mind the massive assault they are preparing to launch against ammunition manufacturing, sales and possession. Seems like the left has been distracting us while setting the stage to GUT the Second Amendment leaving what “wins” we achieved hollow and pointless.

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