Saturday’s March for Our Lives was many things. There’s no doubt that it was a massive protest. Just a look at the photos shows the sheer magnitude of the numbers. There were a lot of folks.
There’s also little doubt that it was about gun control. While some argued it was a protest against gun violence–which doesn’t need protesting because no one supports gun violence–the entities behind the march and the signs themselves prove it was about gun control.
Right now, the left feels energized. It thinks it can finally get somewhere with guns.
However, CBS News argues that the March For Our Lives may work against that effort.
Many student speakers gave lip service to non-partisanship. “Now is the time to come together, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans,” student leader David Hogg said in his speech. However it was hard not to notice that some Americans were, to paraphrase George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” more ‘American’ than others.
For a non-partisan rally against gun violence, there was an awful lot of messaging about a Republican President and GOP elected officials like Sen. Marco Rubio. As student speaker Sarah Chadwick put it: “We will no longer be hunted down and treated like prey by politicians who simply don’t care about us.”
David Hogg was even more explicit: “The cold grasp of corruption shackles the District of Columbia…To those politicians supported by the NRA, that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say: Get your résumés ready.”
“Corruption?” “Slaughter?” “Hunted prey?” This is the sort of language one would expect to hear directed at the Parkland attacker and other gun-wielding criminals. These killers were rarely mentioned. Instead, the vitriol was directed at Republican lawmakers and the people who vote for them, people who “put guns ahead of our kids,” was the common refrain. Or as one sign read “Our Blood, Your Hands.”
But Saturday’s rally, with its acid rhetoric and progressive overreach, may have been the Left’s first setback of the year.
“They have gotten the other side revved up,” says Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners Action League, a pro-gun-rights group in Massachusetts. “The NRA’s membership is increasing, ours is increasing. We’re seeing it first hand: people who would not normally get involved are very concerned about their civil rights.”
Both [Cam] Edwards and Wallace pointed out comments from onstage pushing for extreme measures on guns—comments their fellow gun owners are certain to notice, too.
“For every person who said ‘We want “common sense gun reform,”‘ you got somebody else who said ‘it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment.’ The actual message a bit confused, other than ‘We don’t like guns and we don’t like gun owners.'”
To be fair, we already know that.
The rhetoric has been awful from the anti-gun left, and is all part of an effort to stigmatize gun owners, as I’ve noted previously. However, this suggests that there’s a potential backlash to it, which is certainly possible. As CBS News notes, there’s still a whole lot of support for the NRA. As I’ve mentioned before, in many people’s minds, the NRA is a proxy for gun owners in general.
As the anti-gun left continues to push, especially with the hateful rhetoric from impassioned kids with little to no parental checks on their mouths, it’s not unreasonable to see people start to shy away.
Just as some hunters feel the more aggressive supporters of the Second Amendment have pushed them away, those who might want to see some new firearm restrictions, but nothing of the magnitude many are calling for, might be turned off by this type of rhetoric.
November will be pretty telling either way.