Alabama isn’t the kind of place where you can expect to win statewide office by supporting gun control. It’s simply not going to happen and we all know it.
But when you run for such an office, any support you showed for gun control is likely to spring up. It behooves you to deal with it when it becomes a thing.
One Senate candidate, though, is giving a master class in what not to do.
Alabama Senate hopeful Mike Durant indicated in a 2011 speech that restricting access to guns would help reduce crime in U.S. cities.
Such a stance would be contradictory to a fundamental Republican philosophy to oppose any sort of efforts to diminish gun ownership and in recent days, Durant has repeatedly said that he is a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment.
In his videotaped speech, though, Durant said a strategy to “disarm the population” would be “a pretty good step toward law and order.”
The Huntsville business executive and former Army aviator has responded that his comments – first published Saturday by GOP-favored Breitbart News – have been “mischaracterized” and “misunderstood” without explaining what he means.
He also dismissed the issue as “meaningless” during a radio interview Monday.
No, Mr. Durant, it’s not meaningless.
Look, I know who Mike Durant is. I was going through Naval Hospital Corps School when he was shot down in Mogadishu. That sparked the whole Blackhawk Down situation. It was kind of a wake-up call for many of my classmates who joined for college money, a recognition of what military service truly entailed. I respect him and what he went through.
But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t explain himself.
I can see how someone might say those things in a context that is hypothetical and doesn’t actually indicate support for it, but if that’s the case, the onus is on him to step up and clarify what he meant. Simply claiming they’re mischaracterized doesn’t mean anything.
A simple explanation of what he meant, assuming the comments were misunderstood or misrepresented, would do wonders to clear up the whole thing.
Instead, by refusing to do so, he’s making this into a thing. The Streisand Effect isn’t just about pictures of houses, after all.
If you’re going to run for office, especially a fairly high one, you have to expect any skeletons in your closet to come out. That includes support for things you might not support now or that you at least don’t want to appear to be supporting.
Should that happen, you deal with it directly. You address the comments, talk about how they’re mischaracterized or misrepresented, and just what exactly you said–including an actual transcript, if necessary–or at least what you meant. You reiterate your support for the Second Amendment and things like, say, constitutional carry, as an example.
You deal with it.
What you don’t do is pretend what you said isn’t really what you said. Durant isn’t the only candidate this election cycle trying to do that.
The thing is, we in the Second Amendment community aren’t fond of giving passes just because you say you didn’t mean what you said.