Many believe that the high point in the State of the Union came when the President called attention to the victims of gun violence. The repeated call for action on their behalf was leveraged as a strong emotional appeal for changes in gun legislation.
While I’ve always been uneasy about seeing people used in political settings to make a case for policy changes, on this issue, I believe that democrats are also making a serious political mistake.
Before exposing the political miscalculation, I affirm concern about gun related violence and finding reasonable steps for stopping it. But there are valid reasons for doubting that changes in gun law will stop the violence.
As a licensed gun holder, I welcome informed discussions about changes in gun law. In particular, I would support some form of mandatory training for carrying a gun and required periodic re-training. If we ask this of law enforcement, why wouldn’t we require it from citizens who carry guns? In saying this, however, I am deeply hesitant about letting the government oversee such a program. Whenever the government is involved it typically costs too much and operates less efficiently.
As to the political side, I am frankly amazed at the intense focus on this issue among the Democrats. I believe that pushing for changes in laws on gun ownership and use is a significant political miscalculation for the President and his party. Not only is it unlikely that significant changes will be made, the democrats seem to have underestimated the sleeping giant they may have aroused in large numbers of people who likely didn’t vote in the last election. These are not people who typically side with the democrats.
It’s likely that many members of the NRA and private gun owners are among those who didn’t vote in the last election. Although these individuals are often disgusted with politics in general, I am certain that if they had voted, it would not have been for a democratic candidate. Since the president won the election on a small margin of the popular vote, shouldn’t his party think twice before alarming hundreds of thousands of people who will likely vote against them?
Those who currently feel that their second amendment rights are at risk will show up in large numbers to vote against any politician who favors taking away their liberties. Many of these folks already believe that the government is largely corrupt and intent on controlling their lives. Many of them are also suspicious about President Obama’s agenda.
Don’t be surprised if this issue becomes pivotal at the mid-term election. I am perplexed as to why the President and his party would not recognize this possibility. Have they underestimated the potential political awakening this could create?
Do they believe that most people think the way they do? Some of the radical members arrogantly assume that only idiots would see things differently from them. Is it possible that they really believe that the last election gave them some kind of mandate?
Whatever drives the focus on gun control, the democrats are making a serious political miscalculation. Since it’s easy to understand that the proposed changes will make little to no difference in gun violence, is it possible that the President is just continuing his appeal to a narrow, more radical part of his base.