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View Diary: Gun legislation faces uncertain future despite 91 percent support for background checks (51 comments)

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  •  They aren't out of touch at all (4+ / 0-)

    They just realize that if they vote for this, they will be excoriated by the NRA in their next election.  For republicans, that is a ticket to a Tea Party primary.  For Dems from red states, it's a death sentence.  Even for Dems from purple states, it's a severe complication to re-election that they just don't need or want.

    Hell, here is PA, I know a good, honest, relatively conservative Dem state Rep who lost his seat of 20+ years in 2010, because his Tea Party opponent MADE UP the fact that he was for gun control - just because he voted for some unrelated bill that had a very minor gun provision in it.  He lost his seat by about 100 votes.

    He failed to win back that seat in a rematch in 2012, depsite Obama's big numbers in western PA.  Two about which true-believers are non-negotiable are abortion/choice and gun control.  

    The country may favor background checks in huge numbers in a poll, but that isn't what the campaign ads will be talking about.  The ads will scream "GUN CONTROL", and that may be all it takes for some conservadems and Left leaning independents in red or purple states to say "...why take the chance?".  Not like the proposed law will have much effect on gun violence anyway.  The country may have experienced a huge shift on gay rights, but we are still decades away (if not longer) from liberal majority thought on gun control.  

    An instructive thought:  No one event changed people's opinions on gay rights.  It was a slow progression, an awakening and a long realization that depriving gays of "rights" really doesn't get you anything.  So, why continue to do it?  Before Sandy Hook, gun control was a third rail issue.  You can't expect that one event to change ingrained public opinion so radically, so fast.  This will take time.    

    •  Good reasoning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mayim

      Change has it's foundations built over years, even decades or centuries, that is quite true. I think your example of the current sea change in gay rights illustrates that. However, it's also true that there seemed to be a tipping point when public opinion started changing with astonishing speed, after years of slow, incremental progress.

      Gun control has been a fight that has been going on with almost zero progress for some time now. 90% public opinion in favor of universal background checks seems like a pretty hard number to ignore for long. I don't know if this will be a true tipping point or not. Perhaps this will just be one more painful skirmish that results in at least advancing the discussion, or perhaps this will be a true tipping point.
      I think there are a lot of signs, the sea change in public opinion on gay rights among them, that we are at a time ripe for rapid change in many areas.

    •  Good points. Also... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Very Long Range

      The polls show varied levels of support on different aspects of this issue, but regardless, I feel pretty strongly that majorities of people on either side of the issue probably don't quite understand it.  On its face, the notion of universal background checks sounds like reasonable and not a big deal.  The challenge is the implications background checks might have toward potentially establishing registries.  I support background checks certainly, but not anything that places an unreasonable burden on access to firearms by regular people or something that starts what could be a slippery slope to confiscation, both of which obviously fly in the face of the 2A.  To the extent that universal background checks do not provide a mechanism for registries or undue burden on access to guns by law abiding people, then have at it, and I expect politicians that are fighting this would largely agree.  Then, to your point, there are the naive suppositions around the impact this will have on actual gun violence anyway...

      I would agree that we are decades away from broad support of gun control, particularly when people understand the real reason the 2A exists.  I’d love to think we’ve arrived to a point in history where we are free of the threat of despotism from either domestic or foreign governments. Unfortunately, that day has not arrived, and there is a TON of evidence both historically and in current events that says the contrary. Do I see despotism in the US as inevitable? No. But there is plenty of good reason to maintain a healthy distrust of our government and to encourage them to tread lightly on our rights. That was a key insight of the founders, and that wisdom is still relevant today.  I have 0 interest in killing an animal for sport, and I certainly have no interest in shooting another person, but in the face of a broad deterioration of civil liberties and a general uprising, you can bet that my AR15 is coming out of the closet.  The fact that guns are needed as a check against despotism is unsavory and a damning testament to humanity, but it is the unfortunate reality we live with, and trying to wish it away instead of being prepared to deal with it is reckless…  Hopefully in decades that will be a different story.

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