« The Great Crossbow Debate | Main | How To Take A Punch »

June 11, 2007

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Nut at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/gun-nut.

The Anaconda Principle

When one of the big constrictor snakes squashes something for supper, we tend to think of rib cages cracking and eyeballs bugging out of skulls. But the reality is a much subtler process; every time the victim exhales, the snake tightens just a little. With each contraction of the serpent, there is less and less room to inhale, and finally there is none at all.

So it is with the attack on gun ownership. We pay attention to court decisions, and to whatever idiot law is percolating through Congress at the moment, but we tend to ignore the day-to-day harassment that makes life difficult—and sometimes impossible—for shooters and for people in the gun business.

An FFL dealer gives up because the record keeping is too much. A gunsmith shuts down because the ATF omits (either by accident or design) to renew his license. A judge or a chief of police sits on a handgun-carry application for a year. If you have lots of time and lots of money, you can fight these tactics but most gun owners and dealers do not, and eventually say the hell with it and give up.

The effect is very gradual but very certain. There are fewer gun owners, fewer gunsmiths, fewer dealers, and fewer guns. And none of this will ever be subject to a vote, or tested in court, or sent through a legislature. The explanation is always “…reasonable precautions taken in the interests of public safety.”

Someday, we may be as “safe” as Great Britain.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Anaconda Principle:




You are correct. It's ironic that we have great guns, great optics, great ammo and fewer and fewer places to use them.

Ranges are becoming harder to find, private property is being leased up @ an alarming rate. Hunting licenses (especially for out of state) are super expensive.
The wealthy will continue to enjoy hunting/shooting but the average guy seems to be dropping out because of lack of places to go.


Your absolutely right. I totally agree with you on this one. I wish everyone in America would read this blog. It scares me to think of a future with no guns and absolutely no self defense against the bad guys who will still get guns off the black maarket just as they do now. Great blog!

If you want to protect the right to privately own firearms, then support policies that help cut violent crime. That means social programs.

Think about the places in the world that allow private ownership other than the US. The places where it isn't an issue is because crime is largely not a problem.

Chris H.

You want to know the best social program for ensuring the rights of gun owners for years to come. Marksmanship and hunting classes in schools! If you start kids shooting at an early age they will cherish that experience for a lifetime. Make it an ellective starting in the third grade with BB or pellet guns. Move up to .22's and so on as they move through school. Put some rules around it like if you get in trouble in or out of school you are out of the class for a certain amount of time and repeat offenders are out for the year. This is a guaranteed way to ensure our future polliticians are gun friendly and help give kids something to work for and take pride in. It's funny how punching holes in a piece of paper can make you feel. This will also help them understand that guns are not evil creatures the Remmington and Browning are pushing on society. In fact, I think I might try to get something started soon. Any tips on how to get something like this started? I'll call it Students Association for Firearms Ethics and Training (SAFE-T).

Steve C

"There are fewer gun owners, fewer gunsmiths, fewer dealers, and fewer guns."

Physician, heal thyself. This isn't due to some conspiracy. The anti-hunting/gun crowd are neither that smart or that organized.

Some truth can be found in the fact that our population growth is of non-hunters that have no hunting legacy to pass along to the next generation. Some truth can be found in that hunting has changed into an "elitist" sport, quickly alienating many would-be AND current hunters by becoming prohibitively expensive with fewer and fewer places to hunt. But a lot of truth falls on the shoulders of hunters, guides, and pro-gun advocates intent only on cashing in on what's left of the sport while it dies.

That's what happens when you prostitute the sport you love at the expense of tradition, stewardship, and meaningful participation. Our sport will die because hunters now bowl alone (look it up).

Democrats are un-Americans and barely human. Perhaps, the reason there are so many of them is because they can be a member of their party and still retain their standing as a card-carrying heretic, a heresy that hinges on the conviction that Bill Clinton is God on LSD. (After all, Bill Clinton is the definitive measure of what it takes to offend God.) Ironically, in the middle of this hot bed of Democrat atheism is Jimmy Carter, a born-again wimp who hung around all these years just so he can give senility a bad name.

After Ronald Reagan departed the White House we forgot how simple, effective and gratifying it is to be honest.

Dr. Ralph

Social programs cut violent crime? Obviously you haven't visited the projects lately... social programs enable criminals by supporting them with housing and food. Now they just need your money for drugs because they sure have plenty of time to do them while not working. Socialism NEVER works.

Dr. Ralph

Dave will have us all owning "Black Rifles" by the end of the week. I want an H&K G36 with the four position selector switch of course.

"Democrats are un-Americans and barely human."
Posted by: | June 11, 2007 at 04:21 PM

Wow, the only thing more appaling than such a hateful stupid post as this is the total lack of condemnation of it from the rest of you.

"Socialism NEVER works."
Posted by: Dr. Ralph | June 11, 2007 at 04:51 PM

Umm, when I was in Switzerland, it seemed to work there. There are plenty of places around the world that have social programs that work, where crime is very low.

There are many here who hate any sort of social safety net, so they work very hard at undercutting and hamstringing social programs; aka destroy from within.

I thought that gun ownership was so very important. I thought that since it was so important that people would be willing to work to save that right no matter what it took. I guess that effort ends when it means actually helping others.

Dr. Ralph

So basically if I just give all my money away I can keep the guns? Don't like that plan either. Go back to Switzerland if it's so nice there, where good old capitalism pays for your socialist programs. Here social programs have failed miserably entrapping generation after generation in slums and poverty and creating a breeding ground for crime, drugs, and children with no parents. I don't see it as working in the true socialist countries of China, North Korea, Cuba or Vietnam either. Often wrong, but never in doubt... socialism NEVER works.


I have to admit interests seemingly have changed away from the blood sports. The number of hunting licenses have dropped steady over the last five-years for certain in NY State. I have noticed shooting ranges seem to be doing well and target shooters are organized, or organizing. Therefore I would have to state there will be a solid shooting crowd, but I fear hunting will hit a flat spot. I’m hoping it’s a cycle. The only reason there is wildlife habitat is because of hunters.

I’m amazed at the numbers of bloggers condemning “Democrats” in very uncomplimentary terms. Do you know your polarizing influence is shutting off 50% of the people out there by such reckless statements? I think what you mean to say is the Democratic Party has been high jacked by radical fascists. I can agree with this statement. Chose your words carefully!

Just remember NRA will always be struggling for membership until it stops being a GOP lap dog. When it starts representing the interest of the 25 Million other gun owners, it might then see a membership gain. Until then all the ranting, crying, threatening, howling, tearful begging is for naught by you 2nd Amendment Freaks. You have to offer something besides scorn.


Socialism chokes out any chance for an individual to do anything on their own. Individuals working on their own agenda for their own needs is the only reason we have air planes, cars, and telephones. Think about how awful the food quality would be if no one was competing for you to buy their product and not the other guys. Look at the Soviet Union those people over there were forced to eat stale bread and water for years. I hate the idea of giving everyone equal stuff for unequal amounts of work and talent. Oh and I admit that democrats are human, but they are going to destroy America as we know it.


"Democrats are un-Americans and barely human."

I'd respectfully point out that fully half of gun owners are Democrats and independents. That includes me.

Don't forget, as Ben Franklin said, that "if we don't hang together, we will assuredly hang separately."


Mark and benEzra, et al

Your points are well taken. IMHO the Democrats HAVE been hijacked by the radical left wing of the party by the likes of Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, on and on. The NRA does support Democratic candidates who are pro-gun rights and don't trample our rights. Until the radical left is purged from your party, polarization will prevail.

"Socialism chokes out any chance for an individual to do anything on their own."
Posted by: alabamahunter | June 11, 2007 at 10:08 PM

So nothing ever comes from societies that have more social programs? There are no BMW's or Toyotas? There are no Nokia phones? How does having universal health care stop me from doing anything?

I guess that is also why so much innovation comes out of Central Africa with its total lack of social programs.

I guess I'll ask the question, if you had to live somewhere else, would you choose the place with more or less of a social safety net than we have here?

Please stop believing all the lies told about social programs. No, they are not a panacea, but neither are they the cause of all misery and destruction on Earth.

paul Wilke

I think there is only one answer, forget all the name calling, and blame placing. Ask yourself one question " how many people have you introduced to hunting ?" No matter what you say, the answer to our problem lies there.


I have to admit Paul is right on this one.


No better way to introduce someone to hunting than to bring plates of venison or goose jerky to work and invite them to go along in season to get more! I have gotten two guys from work hunting and a few more interested. Paul is right on!

John White

My daughter lives in Switzerland with her husband and our granddaughter. You ignorant slobs who give the gun owners and hunters that have never left your state let alone really visited another country have a lot to learn. Every male in Switzerland between the ages of 21 and 25 automatically become part of the Swiss Army and are issued a firearm and ammo to keep in their home. Thats why Switerland has the lowest crimerate in all of Europe. I'm a life Member of the NRA and the American Hunting Club.
Wake up!!!! Our ignorance and failure to participate in our hobbies, and to learn the facts of what we speak is our biggest enemy!!!!!!!

"Until the radical left is purged from your party, polarization will prevail."
Posted by: Mtnhunter | June 12, 2007 at 10:10 AM

You don't see Bush/Cheney and all the other current Republicans in office as extremists?

Bill Clinton was about as far right as a Democrat could be yet still be a Democrat but somehow he's seen as part of the fringe.

John B.

Dave, an excellent commentary. We are seeing it here in Canada, with gun shops closing and over the past decade or so a steady increase in the degree of difficulty to buy and keep your firearms. After licensing, registration of long-guns and more,there is now a clamor from some sources for the federal government to ban handguns. They take it away from you bit by bit, piece by piece. The slippery slope is very, very real.

Posted by: John White | June 12, 2007 at 07:04 PM

The number of guns in private hands does not corrolate to a safe society. There are plenty of places in the world that are safe without guns and there are plenty of places in the world with tons of guns that are extremely dangerous.

There is a corrolation between a social safety net and how nice a society is. I really can't think of a nice country in the world that doesn't have decent social programs.


CORRECT ! So, why are there still so many gun owners that aren't members of the N.R.A.?


Hey dumbass Dave, according the the National Geographic Channel, snakes actually do break bones and cause high blood pressure in the head. They do not wait for the victim to breathe out to squeeze, they squeeze until they lose their air and hold it to ensure suffocation and if you could hold your last breathe of life as instiction to survive, why in the hell would you breahte out dumbass.

Our Blogs