Call me a political coward, but I don’t want to get within ten feet of gun control.
The Tucson shootings have, for good reason, revived talk of handgun restrictions. But most democrats don’t want to fight that battle and I completely understand why.
The political costs are too great.
Many democrats are scared of the National Rifle Association and should be. They’re masters at intervening in close races. The 2000 election, for example, would have easily gone to Al Gore if not for the NRA.
But there are other reasons that I don’t beat the drum on this issue.
I regularly encounter working-class people with populist economic political values who don’t want the government messing with their gun rights.
Many of us have been at union meetings where labor leaders had to implore their members to support democrats who, for example, voted to ban assault weapons.
I have no interest in alienating this constituency.
Finally, as a strong advocate of speech and due process protections, I’m willing to concede the constitutional argument on the 2nd amendment. Frankly, I found myself mostly in support of the Supreme Court’s recent gun control reversals.
I consider it "settled law" that Americans have the right to keep a gun in their homes. The courts will work through the specifics - no bazookas in the basement or machine guns in the public square - but that debate will take place with me and some other progressive populists watching silently from the sidelines.