Kinzinger: Second Amendment people should back gun control

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Adam Kinzinger used to be part of the House of Representatives. He was a Republican, too, and was someone many thought would defend the Second Amendment, at least up until he wouldn’t. He turned his back on any support he had for the right to keep and bear arms.


Now, though, he seems to think that the rest of us can be recruited to back gun control.

On Monday night, Kinzinger spoke in Chicago at a meeting organized by The Joyce Foundation. In a session moderated by a former Tribune reporter, White House official and Democratic strategist, David Axelrod, the former congressman spoke alongside Tim Heaphy, the chief counsel and lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House committee.

This was a left-leaning audience, receptive to sharp criticism of the Republican right and far friendlier to Kinzinger than many members of his own party. But something Kinzinger said at the Arts Club caught our attention after the conversation turned to recent school shootings.

“Second Amendment people,” Kinzinger said, “should be on the front line of gun control.”
In essence, Kinzinger was saying, the people who are interested in guns, and most likely to own them, actually know far more about what works and what does not in the matter of gun control than those who have no such knowledge. And as experts on guns, he said, they are thus morally obligated to use that expertise to solve what is clearly a crisis, given all the recent examples of emotionally troubled people acquiring powerful weaponry and using them to take innocent lives, often of children.

Many of them already know this, he implied, at least deep down, and are possibly just waiting to be asked in the right way.

Therefore, rather than seeing fervent supporters of the Second Amendment as the opposition to be defeated, he suggested, those who want to see sensible regulations on gun ownership, such as background checks, age restrictions and red flag laws, should see “Second Amendment people” as potential experts and allies. They know guns better than those who merely despise them.


Except that we’re no such thing.

See, the problem is that people like Kinzinger figure that everyone on this side of the debate is secretly put off by the pro-gun argument. That may be true of some who lean rightward in general, but not of actual Second Amendment supporters.

The Second Amendment makes it very clear, “shall not be infringed,” and while we’re going to see infringement for the rest of our lives, it’s very unlikely that anyone on this side of the debate–the actual Second Amendment supporters, particularly “fervent” ones–are going to ignore that.

Kinzinger makes one thing very clear here. He makes it very clear that he has no understanding of Second Amendment supporters despite having served in the same chamber with numerous such folks.

The truth is that no matter how we’re approached, we’re not going to suddenly decide that we’ll support treating lawful adults as second-class citizens by prohibiting them from buying guns just because they’re under the age of 21 or supporting taking guns from people without due process of law.


That belief won’t change because now Shannon Watts is saying “Pretty please.”

Kinzinger doesn’t understand principles, selling his out for a commentator gig, but we do.

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