March 20, 2009

Gee, Democrat... Gee

From the NRA-ILA:

“[Wednesday] in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, 65 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR), expressed their opposition to the reinstatement of the failed 1994 ban on semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines.”

Actually quite a comprehensive document, demonstrative of a centrist turn in the Democratic Party.

Politics reflect the people and the people are swayed by current events. After the tragedies of Columbine High School, Virginia Tech University, and the Westroads Mall in Omaha there were outcries for gun control. Shooters followed with Second Amendment arguments and outcries for enforcement of existing laws.

There is little middle ground in the gun control issue, and Americans remain deeply divided when it comes to firearms ownership. However, it seems a greater number oppose stricter regulation than support the idea. Surveys consistently show that somewhere around three out of every four believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to have a firearm. Gallup polls in 2006 and 2007 indicated that only 38 percent would combat Columbine-like events with stricter gun laws, and another 58 percent believe more should be done to enforce current laws instead. The numbers of Americans opposing an outright ban on handguns ranges somewhere around 70 percent.

Perhaps Democrats have finally taken notice, or perhaps they remember what happened the last time there was a major push for gun control. The Democratic-controlled Congress in 1993 passed the Brady bill, and a year later the same group banned the elusive “assault weapon”. Then in 1996 Democrats were turned out of office in droves, and Republicans won the next few election cycles by handy margins.

The gun issue didn’t fare well in the 2000 presidential campaign either. Al Gore stumped for limits on handgun sales, a crack down on gun shows, and support for state registration of firearms. Considering the close vote count that year, and the fact that he lost in every rural state, it was possibly that position which cost him the election.

In 2006, with the extreme right wing of the Party of Hoover behaving so badly, and with very little campaign rhetoric regarding gun control, Democrats again took control of the House. The only significant gun control legislation to pass muster in these past couple of years is an increase in funding for mental health background checks for potential gun purchasers. The Democrats seem to have found a centrist element.

Gun control is a losing issue, and salvation for the Democrats will be to maintain a moderate approach, leaning heavily on enforcing existing laws and getting tough on crime. Then candidate Barak Obama said as much a little over a year ago:

"We essentially have two realities when it comes to guns in this country.... We can reconcile those two realities by making sure the Second Amendment is respected and that people are able to lawfully own guns, but that we also start cracking down on the kinds of abuses of firearms that we see on the streets."



Anonymous said...

Good post with pretty good news. If we can hold the dems to the Obama quote, I believe things will be fine.

Old NFO said...

Agreed! This is good news, and yes the dems remember the gun ban was literally their third rail in 94-96!