A Progressive Who Understands the Gun Issue


Sent to me by one of my liberal readers:

What matters isn’t what the public believes. What matters is the issues that the public is willing to get out and vote for. By and large, people don’t care badly enough about gun control to throw out legislators who don’t do what they want. But the small minority of gun nuts do care very badly–and they get out and vote in partisan primaries with that same passion.

This is the nuts and bolts of it, and one reason I’ve always strived not to just be another blog out there reaffirming confirmation biases. When most people don’t agree with you, the only way you can win is to ensure there remains few people passionate enough about gun control to actually vote on it.

We’ve made tremendous strides in this issue over the past few decades, to the point where the number of issues we don’t enjoy at least a plurality of favorable public opinion are few. But one reason I’m always very wary of tactics designed to antagonize rather than persuade is because being antagonized is what causes people to get off their asses and act. There’s always a tendency among our people to believe that there’s more public support for our issue than there really is. The article is correct to note that this doesn’t matter as long as there’s still a big enthusiasm gap, but let’s not pretend the other side doesn’t have a large pool of potential supporters they can draw from if only there’s enough money to reach them.

That’s where Bloomberg comes in, and where he can do the most damage. They are starting small, not asking for much of a commitment. That’s why you see them circulating a lot of petitions and easy stuff which don’t take a lot of thought or effort. We’ve seen when it comes to higher levels of engagement, they take more than *ahem* a little encouragement.

My big concern is money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy elections. Bloomberg can easily outspend us. If we don’t make up for it with our own enthusiasm, we could end up in big trouble, and it could very likely come quickly and without much warning.


7 thoughts on “A Progressive Who Understands the Gun Issue”

  1. This is mostly true. But the other issue is that gun control becomes a proxy for people’s views on govt overreach.

  2. In terms of money trying to buy elections, we are seeing that in North Carolina right now.

    We have been getting anti-fracking commercials every 15 minutes attacking Republicans who voted to approve fracking in North Carolina. It is being sponsored by the NC Environmental Partnership. Supposedly the money is coming from the National Resource Defense Council.

    These commercials are airing in all areas of the state naming the Republicans in tight races who voted for it. Democrats who voted for it are not being targeted. So much for the environmental lobby being non-partisan.

    If the environmental lobby can spend this much money (est. $1.1 million), I have no doubt that Bloomberg, Giffords, etc. can’t be doing the same. Giffords has said she’ll being spending for Kay Hagan here in NC. For low information voters who get their information from the latest TV ad, it will have some impact.

    1. “Democrats who voted for it are not being targeted. So much for the environmental lobby being non-partisan.”

      Is that so different from what the gun rights movement has always done for Republicans? I can recite a series of local/regional Republican public figures who undertook anti-gun initiatives (e.g., all of our county sheriffs for the last couple decades), went so far as styling themselves in the media as “standing up to the NRA,” and yet stayed in office until they retired voluntarily, with their pro-gun bona fides intact. All they needed to do around campaign time was mutter “enforce existing laws” and channel John Wayne, and everyone in our movement would go into a panic about how we had to defend The Good Team against those Other Guys.

      I am not surprised to hear that the Ds are no different.

  3. great points.. this is why we need to cut the open carry crap in stores moms and kids frequent or that the Watt Monster can capitalize on… If I can carry concealed, have open carry to cover me if I print or become exposed by accident, and prevent this universal background check crap, gun bans, and the other egregious stuff…. I’m good… Let’s not antagonize.. It’s a major loser.. If folks don’t feel threatened, they will by and large leave you the hell alone.. Like they want..

  4. Immaterial. Fundamental rights are not subject to political majorities, by definition.

    What we have to do is to vociferously hold to that definition.

    With arms, if necessary.

    I mean, that IS the design, isn’t it?

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