How the Gun Debate Could Backfire for Dems

Millennials are driving the gun debate, and people of all generations, of all political parties, are listening. Several current polls show that support for stricter gun laws have risen sharply among both Republicans and Independents, with some polls showing Republicans now at the 50% mark.

March on, Millennials! However, the only way this will work is if you actually vote. Voting with your feet is nice, but a ballot is what actually gets tallied.

Picture this scenario:

  1. Far right propagandists say that Democrats are trying to take away our Second Amendment rights. (I say propagandists because this isn’t actually true… and strange to say, half of the gun owners I know are Democrats.)
  2. Republicans jump on this an as issue that will mobilize the base during the 2018 midterm elections. (Republicans are known for coming out and voting during midterms.)
  3. While Democrats are motivated this year as well, Millennials, who pushed for gun control but who are notorious for not voting in midterms, don’t actually come out to vote.
  4. The result: Dems don’t ride the wave they thought they would. Republicans win.

Democrats (and for that matter Republicans, if they support reasonable gun control legislation), cannot allow the NRA or anyone else to equate gun control with “taking away our Second Amendment rights.” That rhetoric is false: the Second Amendment very much allows for gun regulations. Remember the very first words of the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated Militia…”

So we should not talk about this as “repealing the Second Amendment.” It isn’t necessary. We just need to put into place rational, well-thought-out regulations that gun owners and non-owners can get behind. Americans want a safer society, not fewer rights.

And remember to vote, Millennials!

[Photo courtesy Lorie Shaull, Creative Commons license.]

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