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I think we should revisit the Liberal platform on gun control/gun rights. While the overall platform of stricter gun laws is a politically viable stance in many US regions, in others, such as deep-red communities, or any communities with a deep affinity for gun ownership, this stance potentially leaves Democratic candidates particularly vulnerable. I think for these candidates, they should adjust their policy to simply advocate for further funding of gun violence and injuries research.

Few other issues offer Republicans an easy target on which to attack Democrats. Their main weapon, Obamacare, is losing viability by the day, and other than character assassinations and swiftboating, they will be looking for other means by which to attack Democrats. Rather than leaving guns, or any issue, a vulnerability, we should have a way to make sure those issues are ineffective, and ideally, become a strength.

Personally, I am of the camp that would like to see guns banned in my lifetime. However, from a political standpoint, not only is this not feasible, but also, in a lot of regions in the US, stances that favor increasing gun control in any way is a liability for Democrats. Ideally, Liberals should be able to put forth a position that moves policy more towards the left no matter what, but can also be a political strength. However, in a lot of these cases, we end up with Democratic candidates who choose between staying silent on the whole issue, or pandering to the gun lobby. Do we really want to leave those Democrats unable to put forth a viable agenda on this issue, or worse, being attacked on this issue? At the same time, even if the goal of stricter gun controls is not attainable, isn't there an option somewhere in the middle that nevertheless stands in contrast to the status quo?

Of course, I'm not necessarily advocating that the Liberal position is automatically for stricter gun laws. But if anything, the Liberal position should stand distinctively above all others, in that we try to find the best balance of regulation that leads to safe gun ownership. In these areas where guns are a major issue, "regulation" is not a political winner, but I still think "balance" can be.

While candidates in safely blue areas can run on stricter gun laws, candidates in the other areas need a plan on guns that does not automatically equal gun control but is still a way to put the Republican position in a tight spot. For example, focusing on policies, such as reducing suicides, or encouraging gun owners to follow safe practices, that do not carry with them the animosity that other more direct forms of gun control unfortunately suffer from. To use football analogy, the Seahawks do not go out every week and play against every team with the same strategy and tactics, but they always approach it with a focus on their defense; they're not going to change their strategy so drastically that they rely more on their offense. Democrats need to be the same if we want to move forward, take back the House, and many more state legislatures and governors mansions. It is possible to remain Liberal, while also modifying the message to provide the best chance at success.

As an analogy, I would like to point to the Affordable Care Act. By many measures, Liberals would like a more progressive health plan, such as single-payer; however, would they be willing to sacrifice the success of the millions of Americans who now have health insurance thanks to the ACA, over an ideologically more pure policy? The way I see it, the ACA has been a great step towards more Progressive healthcare, and yes we did have to sacrifice some Progressive goals along the way. But now that the ACA is here and helping millions, those Progressive goals that used to be off the table, I would say they are closer to becoming reality than they were with the system we had a few short years ago.

If we have to choose between a Democrat who wins a red seat by pandering to the gun lobby, and a Democrat who takes a liberal stance on guns but loses the election, I would rather take the third option: a Democrat who wins while still taking a liberal stance. The question then is, what is that stance?

Simple: Fund the research.

No calling for stricter gun control. No howls of claiming that they're coming to take away their guns.

Simply, hey, maybe the gun control we have now is enough, or may it is too much, but either way, we won't know until we do some serious research and studies.

First, let's figure out what guns are costing us, and what more gun control measures will cost us, and then go from there.

But look at my Republican opponent. He or she does not have all the facts, because nobody does, because he has stood in the way of this important research. If guns are safe enough, why not conduct the research to prove it?

So now, if the Republican candidate wants to bring up guns against the Democratic candidate, they can just simply say, all I'm trying to do is get research on the issue. Why would you want a candidate who makes his policy without the relevant information?

Perhaps you are cynical about the constituents in these red areas, and wonder how much they can be convinced by this line of thinking. Regardless of how partisan they might be, I think for most of us, simply saying, "Shouldn't we look into it first?", does still speak volumes.

I think this is a simple policy to neutralize the gun issue for Democratic candidates. Further developed, it could even become a winning message, or a message that leaves Republicans struggling to come up with an answer, such as with Obamacare.

To be sure, the majority of this treatment is about the politics, because politics is how we get things done in this country. Having candidates who will assuredly improve gun control is great, but only insofar as they can get elected.

No matter what, getting Democrats elected in red seats is difficult. But that is exactly where we want to attack Republicans: not in the safe blue seats, and not in the swing districts, but deep in their home territory. And if we're going to play in their territory, we might as well make sure we attack as strongly as possible. Having the issue of guns on our side, rather than against, should be a no-brainer.

That is why we need a Progressive answer that works, not just in blue areas, and not just in red areas, but an answer that is just as fluid as the citizens of the United States. And given Republicans' recent compunction for adhering to their less flexible Tea Party constituency, that leaves open many more possibilities than you might think.

Originally posted to The Progressive Atheist on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:15:03 PM PDT

  •  A national study on gun violence is long overdo. (6+ / 0-)

    We live in a liberal enclave in S. Oregon and our little town has recently been host to armed picnics in our park, armed marches thru our streets, and armed people moping in our downtown plaza. All because citizens began to be intimidated by a man who would stand in our plaza with a loaded assault rifle. I think he's a member of some national open carry group. As soon as there was a discussion of banning loaded open carry in our city, gun nut organizations from around the state pounced on us.

    The irony that most of the armed protestors are out of town 'agitators' is lost on our local conservative gun huggers. And yet the gun crowd is holding its own and seems to be backing down our city council. State gun groups threaten lawsuits even tho open carry bans have been upheld by the State Supreme Court. And locals gun nuts say if there is a ban they won't be able to control the non local gun nuts. This threat is, it seems to me, deliberately vague. I think the gun nuts will win. They are organized, funded, friendly and threatening at the same time, and some of these gun groups have a history of publishing personal information they can obtain on opponents.

    That fact that the gun nuts are nuts makes them a pretty difficult group to reason with. But until we have a discussion of gun laws grounded in facts and common sense the intensity and intimidation of gun nuts, and the funds of the gun manufacturers will win the day.

  •  The NRA position (6+ / 0-)

    is that funding research on gun violence is tantamount to gun control.

    Not because the research will show that some control is necessary, but because a vast preponderance of academics are in the pockets of the liberal establishment and sympathetic to the anti-gun movement, and will (of course) fudge their results.

    Another case of projection, I think.

  •  Data collection is seriously hampered (5+ / 0-)

    by the hinky clauses added to the ACA, thanks NRA! It's not a showstopper but it effectively hinders current and timely health care related data collection, and that for a country that is supposedly an advanced democracy. It also hinders the ability if  health professionals  to practice medicine, but that hasntr stopped the right wing yet anyway.

    Having said that I believe nearly every doctor, surgeon, nurse, physicians assistant, psychiatrist, and nurse practitioner in this country agrees with you!

    Title 10...
    ‘‘(1) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS.— A wellness and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to—

    ‘‘(A) the presence or storage of a lawfully- possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or
    ‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition by an individual.
‘‘

    (2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to—

    ‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;
    ‘‘(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or
    ‘‘(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.

    ‘‘(3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATA BANKS.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.

    •  I was not aware that the ACA (4+ / 0-)

      included such provisions.

      Seems to me like another reason we should get around to making the ACA better, sooner rather than later.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:45:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stranger than fiction, right? (4+ / 0-)

        I like the way you think though, you bring thoughts together.

        I wonder what that battle would look like?

        As your diary suggests, it may just what the doctor ordered~!

        The issues of health, injury and demographics would be on the table, not magazine limits and such.

        Please notice that this ACA language calls out legally owned guns, I believe the last minute scare was to avoid 'registration' databases.  However like any health, demographic and census data (I've worked and studied in all three) people go to great lengths to make it anonymous, and assure privacy in stored data. I don't understand why that's not good enough.

        Social and health demographic data is stripped on identifying information. Maybe spelling that out in fancy legalese could lift the ACA ban on information and data collection.

        That's what it is, it's a ban, That's what the doctors are calling it, a ban.

        I think it's a brilliant place to start. Thanks~

  •  Very good. TY, pierre9045. /nt (3+ / 0-)

    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

    by Joy of Fishes on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:48:48 PM PDT

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