With the results of a Gallup poll on Wednesday showing support for gun control at a seven-year low, it’s fair to say that the momentum has shifted. It wasn’t that long ago when it seemed like anti-Second Amendment ideas were in the ascendency; like we were going to get some degree of regulation whether we wanted it or not.
Now, those days are on the way out.
However, the danger isn’t over. Democrats control the House and the White House. All it takes is a few Republicans jumping ship and gun control could become a thing.
But only for another year. After that, things are likely to change.
Unless, of course, they do as a commentator at Politico suggests and become pro-gun.
As the recent election results in Virginia and New Jersey showed, Democrats have a growing problem with rural and working-class voters. They also have a problem with Latino voters and independents and non-college-educated women. That’s a lot of problems that they need to solve before 2022, or risk a historic midterm rebuke that could cost them both chambers of Congress as well as multiple state Houses and county and municipal contests from coast to coast.
The reasons for these defections are numerous, with most of the post-election analysis focused on schools (and wedge issues such as “critical race theory”), the economy (rising inflation) and the response to the Covid pandemic. But if Democrats want to repair their relationships with these key voter groups there’s another issue that can do it. It’s not climate change or Covid vaccines or even child tax credits. It’s guns.
Democrats need to learn how to talk about firearm rights and crime issues without demonizing millions of voters who own guns. What Democrats don’t realize is that the very voters they are losing by the tens of thousands each cycle are also the people who account for the largest surge of new firearm sales.
If the Democratic Party believes that the continuation of our republic requires maintaining a majority in the House or Senate in 2022 (and I would argue it does), their candidates need to pivot in support of gun rights in order to win. The NRA — now the “National Republican Association” — is unraveling, creating an opportunity for many Democrats to recast themselves as centrists with initiatives on rigorous firearm policy, not to score internecine primary victories, but to secure election success in this fragile democratic republic of ours.
It’s a fascinating prospect, to be sure, and there actually are pro-gun Democrats out there. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for pro-gun Democrats to run for office and actually win, particularly in semi-rural parts of the country. Sen. Joe Manchin is an example, though he hasn’t been as pro-gun in recent history as he once was.
Still, he’s helped stop some anti-Second Amendment legislation in the past year, so I’ll cut him a bit of slack.
So it’s theoretically possible that pro-gun Democrats could become a thing once again. However, the likelihood of that happening is a different matter entirely.
Over the last couple of years, Democrats have gone all-in on gun control. They’ve pushed it at every level. If they were to suddenly flip, people would be rightly suspicious of such a move. After all, why the change after spending years blasting Republicans for not supporting it, only to no longer support it themselves?
Yeah, that ain’t gonna fly.
Plus, let’s not forget the fact that so many of them got elected with money from groups like Everytown and Brady. They’re not likely to be interested in cutting off those millions of dollars no matter what.
And then there are those Democrats who represent vehemently anti-gun jurisdictions. I don’t think pro-gun is going to fly in their neck of the woods, so what you’d end up with is a Democratic Party with an uneven message on guns, at best.
Now, would I actually lament such a situation? Not particularly. While the author argues that a pro-gun Democratic Party would have an easier time pushing through efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, I believe any actually pro-gun party would recognize that there aren’t any laws you can pass that will do that, so I wouldn’t be worried.
I just don’t see it happening, and the fact that the author thinks it will is just oh so adorable.