AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
Vox is perhaps one of the most liberal publications in the country right now, and that’s saying something. Because of that, most of its writers are likely in something of an ideological bubble. It’s not difficult to have that happen, especially when much of your ideology revolves around shunning people who disagree with you.
As such, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when a Vox writer thinks the issue with gun control is that Democrats aren’t going big enough.
To change the status quo, Democrats should go big. They need to focus on the abundance of guns in the US and develop a suite of policies that directly tackle that issue, from licensing to confiscation to more aggressive bans of certain kinds of firearms (including, perhaps, all semiautomatic weapons or at least some types of handguns).
I am not naive. I don’t think that this would lead to sweeping Australian- or UK-style gun control legislation passing in 2021. But this broader conversation has to start somewhere.
The time is now. The NRA is in chaos, as its leadership is caught in a civil war. The Parkland, Florida, activists have forced guns into the spotlight. A recent Morning Consult poll found that Democratic voters put gun violence second only to climate change as the issue they wanted to hear about in the first debates.
Just like Bernie Sanders helped launch discussions about single-payer and free college in 2016, a push in 2020 could help get the party to where it needs to be on this issue if it really wants to address America’s gun problem.
The writer, German Lopez, goes on to note that Democrats have taken a more incremental approach to gun control and that he thinks they should go big or go home.
However, what Lopez is forgetting is that in all that time, Democrats haven’t made any headway at all. There have been calls for all kinds of measures, but nothing as grand as what Lopez wants.
And it’s gone nowhere.
According to Hidden Tribes, the political breakdown of the United States has most people in one of seven categories based on their political opinions. Those categories are then placed on a spectrum ranging from the most liberal to the most conservative. According to their report, the Left is made up of three groups (Progressive Activists (8 percent), Traditional Liberals (11 percent), and Passive Liberals (15 percent)) with a total of 34 percent of the population. The Right, however, also has three groups (Devoted Conservatives (6 percent), Traditional Conservatives (19 percent), and Moderates (15 percent)) for a total of 40 percent of the population.
Those two broader groups battle for the hearts and minds of the remaining 26 percent who are politically disengaged.
Lopez is apparently laboring under the belief that ideas popular with Democrats are popular across the board, but as we see, a large portion of the population isn’t going to side with them on this. If the politically engaged vote, you’re going to end up with a fairly conservative majority every time. If the disengaged vote, they still have to be wooed.
That’s where Lopez is failing.
You see, he compares his idea with things like Medicare-for-all or similar measures, yet he forgets why those have some degree of popularity. You see, those measures are bribery. They’re about giving someone something. Oh, they’ll be taxed to hell and back to get it, but humans aren’t always far-sighted. They’ll see that they won’t have to pay for healthcare anymore and call it good.
Guns are different. With gun control, you’re talking about taking something away.
Besides, look at some of what Lopez wants to ban. I hate to break it to him, but the Heller decision already rendered that one moot. Semi-automatic weapons have been around for over a century at this point, and most gun-owning households have one. If that doesn’t make the category common, what does?
But then again, I suspect Lopez isn’t worried about the constitutionality of much of anything.
I will say this, though. If he gets his way, it’s going to come with a surprise that he may not be so thrilled with. Pull that off, and you’ll get a shooting war that no one will benefit from.