Conservatives Have Won the Gun Control Argument
Politico reports that Democrats are quietly pleased about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, which overturned the city’s ban on handguns and strengthened the individual right to bear arms:
For them, the court’s groundbreaking decision couldn’t have been more beneficial to the cause in November. Now, Democratic candidates across the map figure they have one less issue to worry about on the campaign trail. And they won’t have to defend Republican attacks over gun rights and an angry, energized base of gun owners. “It removes guns as a political issue because everyone now agrees that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and everybody agrees that it’s subject to regulation,” said Lanae Erickson, deputy director of the culture program at centrist think tank Third Way.
I find this reaction a little odd. Gun control hasn’t been a major election issue since the 1990s, and outside of a few urban districts and some rural areas in the South and West, it’s not a particularly salient concern. Progressive organizations like the Center for American Progress have briefs on gun control, but they focus more on keeping criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining guns, and less on restricting the kinds of guns Americans can own.
Indeed, Democrats won’t even touch commonsense gun control legislation, like the assault weapons ban. During his campaign for president, Barack Obama pledged to reinstate the ban, but Obama has yet to approach the issue, and given the other challenges ahead of him, there’s little chance that he will. Simply put, gun control is one area of public policy where conservatives have all but won the argument, whether they realize it or not.