Why would someone who abhors the criminal justice system run for its highest office in the most populous county in the United States?
By the looks of things in Los Angeles, the answer is to pursue a radical political agenda and to turn the full weight of a very large and powerful bureaucracy against its principal’s political and ideological enemies.
Earlier this month, Los Angeles County Prosecutor George Gascón sent letters to American Express, Visa, and Mastercard, urging them to ban use of their platforms for the online purchase of what the letters called “ghost gun kits.” The letters did not define this term in detail, but the effort is clearly aimed at products that allow consumers to make their own firearms for personal use, a practice that is lawful under federal law and dates back to the founding of the country.
Gascón has made it his business to use the sweeping power of his office to “reimagine” law enforcement … mainly by refusing to enforce laws against criminals ravaging the local community. He was supported in his bid for office by George Soros, an international financier notorious for spending huge amounts of money to remake institutions worldwide in his own globalist image.
The results of this experiment speak for themselves, with homicides in Los Angeles spiking by nearly 12% over 2020 during Gascón’s first year in office, but by a horrific 46.7% compared to 2019.
Meanwhile, images from the aftermath of train robberies in Los Angeles – a true throwback to the Wild West if ever there was one – caused even California’s uber-liberal governor to remark that the scene looked like it was from “a third world country.”
Among the items stolen from the trains were dozens and dozens of brand new pistols and semiautomatic shotguns. Local officials blamed gangs for the thefts.
Predictably, those hit hardest by these trends are in the very communities a “progressive” like Gascón claim to champion.
So undeniable and troubling is Los Angeles’ resurgent crime problem that even an article late last year in the New York Times asked the question whether the radical prosecutor has gone “too far” in his effort to keep criminals out of prison.
Now -- with other reliably soft on crime entities forced to scrutinize his agenda, methods, and results -- Gascón is trying to make different headlines by reaching beyond the law to crack down on one highly contentious area of Second Amendment activity: homemade firearms.
There are all kinds of motivations that have driven Americans to make their own guns throughout the nation’s history. Certainly not the least of these reasons is to exercise their rights away from the prying eyes of zealots in public office like Gascón, who typically want all firearms and firearm owners registered and catalogued. Among other things, this helps with retroactive enforcement of newly-passed gun control laws, like California’s ban on so-called “large capacity” magazines. It’s quite a neat trick for gun control advocates: turning formerly law-abiding gun owners into newly-minted criminals with the stroke of a pen.
It’s no wonder, then, that the phenomenon of homemade, unserialized firearms is receiving special attention from Gascón and his fellow travelers in the firearm prohibition movement, not the least of which includes the current occupant of the White House.
It’s also unsurprising that Gascón is taking a page from the Obama/Biden Administration’s Operation Choke Point playbook by trying to enlist the financial sector to do what the government has been unable to do itself, i.e., choke off the lifeblood of activities it doesn’t like, whether they are legal or not.
The Obama/Biden effort was aimed at the sales of firearms and ammunition writ large, especially when it involved online commerce, suggesting to banks that this was “high risk” activity and could subject them to being put through the regulatory ringer, with all the expense and bad publicity that entailed. Many large banks got the message and began exiting these lines of business entirely, leaving lawful and creditworthy firearm- and ammunition-related businesses to scramble for the financing and services they needed to survive.
As this scheme was brought to light, the administration at least had enough shame to try to deny it, insisting that it was simply a misunderstanding on the banks’ part of legitimate regulatory guidance and that anyone who suggested otherwise was spreading conspiracy theories.
But times change, and now Gascón is pursuing his effort openly and notoriously, hoping not only to inflict a mortal wound on a sector of gun culture with entirely legitimate applications but to shift blame for his own policy failures and to change the public narrative around rampaging crime in Los Angeles.
Gascón admits in his letters that the legal status of the products he seeks to target is in flux and that there is “no evidence” that attempts by localities like Los Angeles to deal with it through ordinances of their own “will make a meaningful dent in the proliferation of ghost guns.”
The letters, however, continue:
Our purpose in writing to you today is not to recruit you in a legal debate on the merits of these legal cases or the enforceability of these laws. … [T]here is a difference between what may or may not be technically legal and possible and what is most assuredly wrong. It is to your company’s sense of right and wrong to which we now appeal.
In other words, Gascón wants to convince the companies they have a moral responsibility beyond what is actually defined by the law to see things his way. And, although he doesn’t say so explicitly, that suggestion carries the same implicit threat of Operation Chokepoint: that the companies are subjecting themselves to who-knows-what kinds of regulatory and public relations nightmares by not being sufficiently “right” in the eyes of their overlords.
The globalist outlook that George Soros personifies seeks to merge nations, governments, businesses, educational institutions, technology companies, and media outlets into a common enterprise of advancing a transnational system of elite authority with absolute power to enforce its dictates.
Nothing could be more opposed to this project than the American tradition and spirit of independence, self-reliance, self-governance, and exceptionalism, as personified in the Second Amendment.
Simply put, the two schools of thought cannot be reconciled. One will win. One will lose.
To date, it does not appear that any of the credit card companies has publicly responded to Gascón’s “request.”
But there is little doubt that the corporate culture that will form these decisions, now and in the future, is trending in Gascón’s direction and away from traditional American values.
Yet the unification of business with globalist governance is not yet complete, particularly in the U.S. American consumers still hold considerable sway with their purchasing decisions and the pressure they can bring to bear through the free market.
Americans should not ignore attempts by overreaching officials like Gascón to politicize private service providers on which everyone is forced, to one degree or another, to rely.
More and more, it will be beholden on gun owners to broaden their activism and awareness beyond the political realm and into the increasingly centralized business sphere on which modern life depends.