Friday, December 14, 2012


We know Republicans don't want to entertain the notion of gun control -- and, a The New Yorker's Alex Koppelman writes, Democrats don't either, with some justification:
It is cowardice, too, the way that [White House spokesman Jay] Carney and President Obama and their fellow-Democrats talk about gun control, when they finally decide the time is right. They avoid the issue as much as possible, then mouth platitudes, or promise to pass only the most popular of measures, like the assault-weapons ban. And then they do nothing to follow through.

But it is, from a purely political perspective, understandable. We are, all of us, angry now. Bewildered. And those of us who support gun control are perhaps maddest of all -- right now. When it comes to Election Day, though, it's the pro-gun people whose vote is most likely to be determined by this one issue. Those who want tighter restrictions, well, they typically have higher priorities to consider first. Put simply, supporting gun control is unlikely to help your typical politician much, but it's very likely to hurt them. And Democrats know the numbers: they can't lose any more white voters than they already have, especially not white voters in union families. And a lot of union households are gun-owning households, too.
But why is that an issue? People in car-owning households don't universally oppose every restriction on drivers, and threaten political revenge on politicians who support those restrictions. If, as a politician, you support restrictions on cellphone use behind the wheel, or red-light cameras, or sobriety checkpoints, and you're not instantly committing career suicide as a politician, even though practically everyone in America drives. When it comes to cars, drivers don't think every restriction is a fascist attempt to restrain them, and America, and freedom. They can usually be persuaded to identify with the potential victims of the behavior being restricted. They hear about people being killed by texting drivers and agree that texting behind the wheel is bad. Same with speeding and drunk driving. And yet they savor their own freedom to drive.

Why can't gun owners be persuaded to think of the victims of gun violence first when reasonable restrictions (on weaponry, on magazine size, and so on) are being proposed? Why can't they favor some restrictions and continue seeing themselves as free to own guns?

Well, we know why: We can't because the gun lobby tells gun owners that every proposed restriction is the first step on an extremely slippery slope that will lead, almost instantly, to the complete disarming of the population.

The problem is that there's never been a serious effort to try to persuade gun owners not to think this way. There's never been a concerted effort to identify persuadable gun owners and, well, persuade them that new gun laws would stop at a point they can easily live with.

That's what has to happen. That's the groundwork that has to be laid. But who's going to do it?

Protesters at the White House today said, according to Talking Points Memo, that "it was time for President Obama to 'sit down' with congressional leaders to hash out gun control legislation." But the only gun legislation congressional Republicans will accept is legislation that puts more guns in people's hands. Mike Bloomberg says, "the country needs [the president] to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem." But if he does, the bill will die, because no NRA-friendly legislator thinks the ground is shifting in America in terms of public opinion on guns (it isn't).

Somebody needs to start this conversation -- the one that says you can be less hardcore than the NRA and still be pro-gun. Some laws will not put you in chains. Nothing can change until a critical mass of gun owners believes that.


Victor said...

'Cause driving ain't a Constitutional right.

Guns are.
But, bullet's arent!

As I said before, if you can't outlaw guns - outlaw bullets!

Everyone can be as armed as they want. But having any, or more than X# of bullets, is a Federal crime, punishable by jail, fine, (AND, possibly, loss of driving privileges!).

If you can't outlaw the guns that cause needless deaths and destruction, then utlaw the bullets that are necessary for causing that death and destruction.

So, go ahead and beat your victims over the heads with your AK-47.

The death toll will be a lot lower when someone can cave your skull in with a nearby Louisville Slugger, without beind afraid of being shot when they first pick it up.

Lit3Bolt said...

Liberals don't want gun control.

We want gun sanity. We want gun safety. We want gun security. We want gun tests. We want gun training. We want gun retailers to be liable for illegally used guns the same way bars are liable for illegally used alcohol. We want gun age limits. We want right to be free from guns. We want anti-slaughter laws. We want low gun deaths.

We want gun responsibility. We want gun decency. We want civilized guns.

Start with the concealed carry permit fetishes. If concealed carry permits are so great, make the requirements for them mandatory for all gun owners. Make it so 18 year old schizophrenics can't buy guns. Make it so it's harder to own a gun than it is to get a job, rent a car, or vote in this country. Guns should be safe, legal, expensive, and rare.

Steve M. said...

How do you make these things happen?

Victor said...

Coming soon, to America – a new school morning ritual.

“Did you make my sandwich, Ma”
‘Yes dear.’
“Did you load my gun?”
‘Yes dear. It’s in your holster on your kitchen chair, ready for you to strap on.’
“Thanks, Ma!”
‘Son, before you go, remember The Three S’s.’
“I know them, Ma!”
‘Ok, then recite them to me.’
"Oh Mom…”
‘Don’t ‘Oh Mom,’ me, young man. Recite The Three S’s for me!’

"Ok, here goes:
Study hard,
Stay safe, and
Shoot straight. Now can I go?”

‘YeSSS dear.’

Philo Vaihinger said...

This kid did all this damage with guns 9 mm handguns, last I heard.

No assault rifles.

No rpgs.

And a the difference between a 10 and a fifteen round magazine is just enough to be annoying without actually making anybody much safer.

The real issue?

The 2nd Amendment and 300 million guns in civilian hands in America.

That's at least 150 million too many.

Short of disarmament, gun control is just Democratic sucker-bait for voters who agree "something must be done."

Philo Vaihinger said...


Reports now say all the victims were killed by multiple rifle shots.

(Next they'll be saying it was all done by two girl scouts and their den mother.)

Assault rifle?

No idea.

But the main point of my previous comment stands.

Steve M. said...

At this point, I'm for a twenty-year ban on the manufacture or importation of guns. The 2nd Amendment says "the right to kep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Doesn't say a damn thing about making or importing the damn things. As you and others have said, Philo, we have plenty of damn guns in this country. Want one? Buy it from someone who already has one.