Opinion | Democrats should drop anti-weapons rhetoric if they want to survive 2022

There are about 140 million gun owners in this country, and about 10 to 12 million of them bought their first firearms in the last two years. But it is not just the number of new gun owners that is important. That’s who they are. Data shows largest increase in arms purchases is among women and colored – some of the same groups that the Democrats have long relied on to form winning coalitions, and which have recently shown signs of dissatisfaction with the party. In addition, 48 percent of self-defined politically independent weapons own or live with someone who does. Most of these purchases are handguns (not combat rifles, which capture so much media attention), and most of them are driven by concerns about personal safety.

These voters may be animated by many different issues, but their new status as gun owners places them in a group that is specifically tuned to how candidates from both parties talk about gun rights. Most gun owners define themselves as Republicans, but in a close race where a margin of 0.5 percent to 2 percent matters, a relatively small number of Democratic and independent gun owners can change important election results at both the state and national levels. In New Jersey, for example, Ed Durr, a truck driver and political novice, just beat State Senate President Steve Sweeney by 2,300 votes. Durr said he decided to challenge Sweeney because he could not get a concealed transportation permit. The former Democratic governor of Virginia, Terry McAulife’s gun control announcement, which began with a ban on the sale of firearms, was heard loud and clear. A shift of 1 percent and he would have won.

It is worth noting that the right to bear is at the heart of one of the most important gun rights cases coming before the U.S. Supreme Court. Recently, the judges heard oral arguments in New York Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which addresses a challenge to New York’s highly restrictive law on the issuance of hidden transportation permits. The judges signaled that they could very well overturn the law, a blow to the most anti-gun votes on the left.

Democrats can continue to oppose the rights of gun owners to carry their weapons safely and legally and alienate an increasingly important segment of society and their potential eligible voters, or they can relocate themselves to support gun owners in reforms aimed at keeping weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.

Contrary to what the culture warriors of the scandal-ridden NRA say, it is ultimately in the interest of gun owners that both parties focus on the political issues surrounding gun abuse and enthusiastically support the legal and safe handling of adult Americans who choose to own and carry firearms. Refocusing the debate on political solutions to violence, not offensive slogans such as “ban on assault weapons” can provide the margin of victory for Democrats in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and make them far more competitive in Florida, Ohio and Missouri.

If the Democratic Party believes that the continuation of our republic requires maintaining a majority in Parliament or the Senate by 2022 (and I would argue that it does), their candidates need to turn to support gun rights to win . The NRA – now the “National Republican Association” – is unraveling and creating an opportunity for many Democrats to transform themselves as centrists with initiatives for a strict firearms policy, not to achieve mutual primary victory, but to ensure electoral success in this fragile democratic republic of our.

Mighty Democratic Party activists will almost certainly resist moving in this new direction; after all, there are deep ideological interest groups on the left, just as there are on the right. The crucial question is whether the Democrats want to win or just play to their base?

The story provides some evidence for the effectiveness of a rebuilt weapons message.

Armed voters were the key to the 1994 Republican tsunami that ended Democrats’ control of Parliament since 1955. Since that moment, the GOP has maintained its grip on the issue despite a series of horrific mass shootings that have fueled gun control advocates’ calls for a gun ban.

But Democrats have shown that if they want to, they can talk about weapons in less restrictive ways without political Armageddon. And it works for them at the polls. Perhaps the best and most recent example was in 2008, when presidential candidate Barack Obama deftly avoided the divisive issue of arms.

That year, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Rather the case that Washington’s gun ban violated the Second Amendment. The judges argued that the second amendment guarantees an individual right to possess firearms independently of service in a state militia, and also to use firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, including self-defense in the home. Obama declared during his campaign, “I do not want to take your weapons away“He managed to downplay weapons despite his outspoken primary campaign commentary on rural areas clinging to their weapons and Bibles in major warring states. The intellectual focus alone made a difference. He carried Florida, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina with a. per point.

But Obama’s deft positioning in 2008 has proved to be the exception.

After every very visible mass shooting – among them Sandy Hook, Parkland and Las Vegas – there are predictable calls to do something: ban this, regulate it. But apart from a few minor announcements, the inertia catches on and nothing happens. Since democratic leadership nevertheless continues to hype catchy platitudes instead of encouraging a rigorous and careful drafting of legislative policy that carefully focuses on the problem, why should anyone then expect different election results?

In 2016, gun owners went the extra mile to defeat Hillary Clinton. They knew where she stood. They really did not need to know too much about Donald Trump. The National Rifle Association spent more money supporting Trump than their entire legislative budget 20 years earlier. But ironically, gun owners have gotten a little too much for their allegiance to the GOP.

In terms of all the most consistent issues for gun owners – national disguised transportation and import restrictions for “sporting use” of firearms manufactured abroad, for example – the Trump administration’s scorecard looks no different than the democratic administration that preceded it. It achieved no legislative results, even when it had control of all three branches in 2017 and 2018. So much for the NRA senior leaders’ infamous lobbying (or commitment).

But despite this Republican weakness, Democrats (who increasingly refuse to understand the complexity of gun culture) have allowed Republicans to emerge as the sole defenders of the “pro-gun owner” belief. In doing so, they are making a crucial mistake. Long-term gun owners are conditional on being crushed by the Democrats. New gun owners are the place where Democrats need to focus their attention and adjust the focal point of their views if they want to survive the coming storm.

The second change is regarded by millions of voters as a flawless clause protecting all other rights and freedoms. Many gun-possessed voters have an unwavering belief that a government that cannot or will not protect its citizens has no right to deny them the means to protect themselves;.

Asian Americans, Hispanics and especially women buy guns because they feel threatened. Hateful rhetoric on social media and a few high-visibility news events confirm citizens’ concerns about feeling vulnerable. Does it actually make you safer to own a firearm? It depends, but it certainly makes you feel better protected.

Democrats may not like weapons or think the second amendment deserves the same protection as the first, but if the Supreme Court rules against New York’s hidden gun law, it would be foolish of Democrats to continue to promote a comprehensive anti-weapons platform.

Let me suggest a much smarter platform for them to adopt.

Democrats can start by supporting a sensible “national carry” program. They can fund firearms safety training. They can comment on the need to have professional law enforcement agencies to run agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not political hacks with axes to sharpen. They can support the import of long arms for self-defense (currently only “sporting use” is allowed).

After presenting these items, they can also talk about background checks on all commercial transfers of weapons and some other fixes that may benefit gun owners and law enforcement professionals. They need to know that new gun owners are listening closely to them, while the strict gun control acolytes still have nowhere else to go.

Few politicians have the courage to change paradigms, but holding the reins of power requires critical reassessment of long-standing positions when those positions cost them power.

Weapon owners can make a huge difference in the battle for the winning central majority position in our divided nation. What they need, however, is cooperative leadership from Democrats, not just Republicans, leadership that can understand how to make both politics and politics work together.

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