Saturday, April 02, 2005

Democrats Getting Rid of Gun Control?

Someone at work pointed out an article in The Nation to me. He knows my gunnie interests and doesn't agree with them. But, I give him credit because he is a live and let live liberal.

Bill (Yosemite Sam) didn't want me to open the article on our computer. He thought its cooties electrons would turn our screen pink-o. I haven't noticed that happening, but I will take that risk and discuss the article with you. It won't be a fisk since the article is too long, but I'll hit high and low points.

There are surprising things in The Nation's article written by Sasha Abramsky. It discusses guns in New Mexico and their political impact on the Democrat party. The author is a gun-banner, make no mistake, but her conclusion is that Democrats need another strategy on guns. She believes Democrats need to abandon gun control and perhaps pick up two to four Western states. She points out that New Mexico and Nevada were narrow wins for Bush in 2004, and New Mexico went for Gore in 2000.

Points That Are Good
The article starts with an interview with Democratic State Senator Shannon Robinson. Robinson is an ardent foe of gun control and votes his hunting, outdoors, and gun interests. He also sponsored New Mexico's recently successful concealed carry bill. Yet he supports most of his party's other stands.

She interviews Democratic Governor Bill Richardson who tells her,
The Bush Administration is scaring off recreationists, hunters and fishermen because of their extreme anti-environmental policies. It's important to build alliances with these ranchers and fishermen and broaden the dialogue. The West is becoming more fertile Democratic territory. It's important for Democrats on the East Coast not to make the gun issue a litmus test.
She moves on to anti-gunnies (p. 2) and it's time to bring out hankies since there's a lot of tearful admissions that gun-controllers have lost in New Mexico.

On the same page, Abramsky makes a very realistic assessment of how difficult, if not impossible, it would be to disarm America. She includes discussion of the number of guns in America, that to find even most of them would require forced confiscation (she doesn't say if she thinks that's a bad thing), and a black market would grow unchecked. She even dismisses the "assault weapons" ban albeit reluctantly.

Starting on page 3, there is a statement that more and more Democrat politicians are making a realpolitik calculation and are thinking of dumping gun control. An unnamed senior Democrat strategist in Washington, D.C. said,
To the extent that Democrats are saying 'being a member of the NRA puts you out of moral bounds,' that's a problem. To my way of thinking, there is a fundamental question of cultural fit. People in Western states are not going to elect someone who doesn't fit the culture.
Points That Are Bad
On page 2, she states that certain gun control laws have worked to decrease violence. She cites the Brady Bill. Then, she can't resist it; she has to contradict herself and say that any law that removes "assault weapons" from American hands must be a good thing. She describes these guns as "deadly carnage-machines." I'd never seen that description before.

Abramsky can't quite let go of gun control too fast. On page 3, she says that a realpolitik decision to dump gun-control could harm the soul of the party. She wonders where that would end--dump gay rights, abortion, etc? Then, she answers her own point by saying that dumping gun control would be "morally less toxic" than alternatives.

One really bad thing is her interviews with two Cowboy Action shooters. One shooter argued that he supported gun control laws such as Brady Bill, and Child Access Prevention laws (p.3), the other said we didn't need fancy "assault weapons" (p. 4). With friends like these....

She admits that using a partial pro-gun strategy "...Democrats will never win, and probably wouldn't want, the support of hard-core Second Amendment literalists...." But, they might win enough of these soft-core shooters to win elections. She states if Democrats can win New Mexico and a couple of other states, such as Colorado and Montana, they could win national elections again.

Finally, the big thing that she believes would come out of a pro-gun stance is the Democrats can actually pass legislation reflecting their core values--health care, economic opportunity, etc. (in other words higher taxes, socialized medicine, etc.).

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), people like Abramsky are not our friends. If we fall for a pro-gun stance, they could change their colors someday and go back into full gun banning mode. I don't trust them.

Still, while they are in a faux pro-gun stance, we will have opportunities to erase a few gun control laws particularly at the state level. Make hay while the sun is shining.

Finally, certain gunnies are not actually friends of "hard-core Second Amendment" types. We are only hearing the voices of two Cowboy Action Shooters who support some gun control. She may have talked to many more before she found her money quotes. However, I've met a number of shooters at skeet and trap ranges who support bans on black rifles. I don't understand them.

So, I better run. It's going to take me a while to get these cooties out of here. I think the screen is taking an alarming tinge of red. Wish me luck.

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