Amply be-chinned Mitch McConnell is a natural with guns, amirite?
This post in the always-reliable Electoral Vote blog caught my eye this morning, as we seem to always be having a conversation about guns! Guns! GUNS! in the comments (emphasis mine):
That didn’t take long. Just 72 hours after the mosque attacks that took 50 lives, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the nation will ban all “military-style” assault weapons by mid-April. Money will be set aside to compensate folks who voluntarily surrender their guns, and steps will also be taken to see that people cannot stock up on illegal guns before the ban takes effect. Reportedly, the vote in New Zealand’s parliament was 119-1.
This has, not surprisingly, led to the publication of a great many articles like this one, contrasting the speedy actions of the New Zealanders with the United States’ inability to do much of anything on this issue. Of course, that is somewhat comparing apples to oranges, since New Zealand has a parliamentary system, which is very well situated for quick decision-making, while the U.S. has a divided government (not to mention the Senate filibuster, and a Supreme Court with an awful lot of power and a consistent love of the 2nd Amendment).
Still, there are signs that America’s current gun gridlock may not hold all that much longer. Polls make clear that the voting public’s enthusiasm for the current “Wild West” approach to guns is waning. The Parkland shootings, in particular, appear to have been a transformative event. Further, as The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart points out, conservatives approached gun ownership as a cultural issue, linked to free speech and religious freedom and the sanctity of marriage, and so forth, rather than as a public policy issue. And as the culture wars fade in intensity, mostly due to the deaths of the older, white voters they were created for, the whole house of cards could collapse, taking gun ownership with it.
The most visible sign of a possible sea change is the declining fortunes of the NRA, far and away the most famous and effective gun lobby in the U.S. (largely because of its ability to get voters to do its bidding). Membership in, donations to, and corporate support for the organization are all down considerably these days. This is due, in part, to the Association’s tone-deaf responses to various incidents of mass violence. It’s also due, in part, to their association with Russia, and whatever shady business might have taken place there. They are having trouble paying their bills, and reported a $55 million loss in their most recent annual tax filing. In fact, the 2018 midterms marked the first election cycle in half a century where anti-gun organizations spent more money than pro-gun. It is unlikely that the NRA, or the 2nd Amendment, will go the way of the dodo, but we might be headed for a return to the circumstances of the 1980s and 1990s, where folks on both sides of the aisle could at least agree on some reforms to gun laws. (Z)
If you read the linked articles in the emphasized paragraph (and I hope you do), you will see that the data backs up the author’s (Z) assertion that guns are an abstract cultural issue, like screaming “FREEDOM” or “SOCIALISM” at their opponents. It’s also a relic from a minority of gun-fetishist, dying-off Boomers (cannot happen soon enough) and does not seem to have much of a toe-hold with the subsequent cohorts.
And for those of you who think that we are heading into an out-gunned civil war with the Patriots of Possum Hollar and the rest of The New Confederacy, our pal Infidel753 has an excellent essay up on that:
“…Indeed, fantasies of some future explosion of violence in which they will emerge triumphant are very common on wingnut blogs and discussion sites. From decades-old dreams of a “day of the rope” when enemies (such as Jews, government officials, and “race-mixers”) would be hanged en masse, to present-day rumblings of a second civil war which their overwhelming superiority in guns would turn into an easy slaughter of “libtards” and other broad categories of people they loathe, they picture themselves as the massively stronger side of America’s national divide, awaiting only one more provocation to burst their restraints and annihilate us in a hailstorm of cleansing ammo. Such fantasies are actively encouraged by the worst of the Republican leadership, including you-know-who.
“Don’t be fooled. And don’t be scared.”
I highly recommend reading the Infidel’s post.