riottapes just posted ten good questions about gun control. Here are my answers (and the repeated questions). This started out as a comment, but became rather long.
I think this time could be different. The victims are small children, they are many, and the President has not to worry about re-election. I think gun control advocates could manage to get the national conversation going this time. But we need to not make the usual mistakes. The usual mistakes make us inefficient. They are, in no particular order:
Talking only amongst ourselves, not to the other side.
Refusing to listen to the other side (we need to understand them,
if we want to have any ability to weaken the unholy alliance)
When talking to the other side, using arguments that do not make sense from their
point of view.
This and much more below the orange squiggle.
1. Do you think the Sandy Hook shooting will actually result in meaningful gun control legislation?Possible. Depends on what the gun control advocates manage to get going. See above and below.
2. Do you think the NRA will roll over for gun control advocates? Remembering, they spent $17M in 2012 alone to advocate for access to guns.No, they will have to be fought every inch of the way.
3. Do you think Republicans politicians will be honest brokers in any gun control legislation process?Mostly, no. Many Democrats won't be either. But you can also work with dishonest brokers. Don't harbor illusions about their honesty, don't tell them that they are dishonest (it always makes it harder to get something from someone if they are pissed), and consider their real interests (being re-elected first among them). So if we can manage to change the flavor of the national conversation, that will influence them eventually.
4. If Republicans won't negotiate meaningfully, what's to be done by Democrat lawmakers?Find a stance which helps gun control and alienates the minimally possible number of people. Even a baby first step would be huge, because it would break a dam. Do not, repeat, do not go for the optimal policy, because I can guarantee that you will not be able to achieve that.
5. Will the White House has the actual strength of will to advocate for meaningful gun control?Of course. However, strength of will is only decisive in the fantasies of some people here and elsewhere. The White House will do what they think they might be able to get done (that is how they handled it the past four years). It is mainly up to us and other interested parties to change the national conversation about guns in a direction favorable to our desires for stricter gun control.
6. If the White House won't risk it's political capital on gun control, what should advocates do?Start the national conversation on guns and keep it going (again with the goal of alienating the minimal number of people). That we should do in any case, btw.
7. Why does it take a white kid shooting other white kids to make the nation discuss gun control? Remember that Sandy Hook accounts for 0.3% of handgun murders in America in 2012 (9000) and in 2008 alone, 20,000 kids were injured by guns in America.This question is a good example of how the progressives should not frame the conversation. Make it about race, and then watch yourself losing the debate.
You do not have to convince black people that they are the disproportionate victims of gun violence. They do know that. And you do not want to get white people less involved because they think gun violence is mainly a black problem.
Also, while statistics is important and indeed essential, here you are using it to dilute the outrage about the Sandy Hook massacre. That is an 'Eigentor' in my language. A self-inflicted wound, as it were.
8. Are you willing to accept things staying the way they are? Or getting worse?You have always to accept the way things are. Otherwise you are called delusional. You can (and should) work on changing them. But you will have very little success, if you cannot honestly assess the situation as it is. Basically you need to acknowledge the reality to have a chance for a successful path to a changed reality. Lots of people have lots of trouble with this rather simple truth, unfortunately. It makes you rather inefficient, though. And you want to be efficient, hopefully, because that means you change things, the alternative being to feel good about your very superior stance.
9. What ideas do YOU have to fix the gun problem in the US?My idea is not to have my ideas ready. I think we progressives need to listen to the normal people who vote in the NRA sympathizers. We need to find what drives them and see, whether we can find common ground with hunters, local rednecks worried about communist takeover of the nation etc. And the reason, why we need to search for understanding is that we otherwise will not be able to peel away people from the unholy alliance that is so strong in this country.
Understanding is not accepting, btw. To many people do not understand that. If you are secure in your own values you can afford to see the situation from the other person's perspective. You do not have to be worried to lose your own values.
Finally, one idea I do admit to: Get meaningful statistics and spread them in the normal population. For example Huckabee ('more pray = less murders') can be countered nicely by pointing out that all the godless European nations have much much less homicide per capita than the USA.
OK, one more. Make lists of the usual arguments against gun control - complete with answers (non emotional, factual, easy to grasp, with links for follow up). Disseminate such lists in your community, try out the answers in your personal discussions with the other side, improve the list, rinse and repeat.
10. Should Democrats campaign on gun control in 2014?Much to early to decide on. First you have to change/influence the national conversation about guns, then you can think about that. If gun control stances can be used to make Democrats lose elections then there is no point in having them (publicly) for a politician. Remenber, you only can influence laws or government if you get elected.
Again, statistics help you here. Who are the most and the least effective law makers in congress? Alain Grayson and Dennis Kucinich are in the second category. That should give you pause for thought.