How guns really have become a partisan issue

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Gun control groups like to present themselves as non-partisan. They want you to believe that there’s bipartisan support for all manner of gun control and that they’re the ones representing everyone.

The issues surrounding guns, though, aren’t that simple. There’s not really blanket support for gun control except, maybe, at the soundbite level.

When you look at political candidates, though, you can start to see just how things break down in the gun debate.

ABC News, for example, opted to look at all the announced presidential candidates and where they stand on guns.

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden, seeking reelection as a Democrat, has pushed for increased gun safety measures, including universal background checks for gun purchases and so-called red-flag laws, which permit the temporary confiscation of a person’s gun if they are deemed a threat to themselves and or others.

Biden has also repeatedly called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons.

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson, an author and motivational speaker running as a Democrat, said she supports banning the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons and expanding federal background checks for firearms.

They note that Robert Kennedy said that gun control wouldn’t reduce gun violence, but they neglected to mention his pledge to sign an assault weapon ban into law if Congress were to pass one.

On the Republican side, we’ve got pretty much everyone vowing to vehemently oppose gun control. Well, everyone except Chris Christie:

Chris Christie

Former Gov. Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey, has voiced support for aspects of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed by Congress in 2022, which provided funding to states to support the implementation of red-flag laws.

When asked about supporting gun control legislation, Christie, a Republican, has insisted banning guns is not the answer and emphasizes the mental health side of the issue.

And let’s note that Christie only supported some aspects of the law that passed last summer. That’s kind of lukewarm support from gun control.

Basically, he’s the flip side of Kennedy.

For many, this is evidence that yes, gun control is bipartisan. Yet we need to note that the squishiest Republican of the bunch is only going on record for some pretty milquetoast regulations and the least gun-grabbing Democrat will still sign an assault weapon ban.

Where are all the pro-gun Democrats?

Don’t misunderstand, they exist. The problem is that they exist only at the activist level. None are running for office or, if they are, winning those elections. If guns were truly a bipartisan issue, we’d likely see actual pro-gun candidates running for office as Democrats and winning from time to time. Not the odd anomaly, either, but at least a significant minority of them.

Once, we had people like that. Sen. Joe Manchin wouldn’t be the oddball in the Senate for not tripping over himself to support every anti-gun measure that comes along.

No, contrary to what you’ll be told, guns are a partisan issue. It’s a very partisan issue.

That’s why even when gun control isn’t a driving issue in an election, people need to dig a bit and challenge candidates on their stance on guns. It needs to be seen and noted and we need to make damn sure no one gets in without their position on the Second Amendment made very clear.

Maybe then we’ll start to see some Democrats start feeling like they can’t get away with flying under the radar in rural or even some suburban districts.

More importantly, though, we need to push back at anti-gun groups who are trying to buffalo the American people into thinking they are anything but wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I’d prefer it not to be, actually. Unfortunately, what I want and what is don’t necessarily jive.