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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 04:09 PM
Number of posts: 12,148

Journal Archives

So what happens if you get your wish?

It is part of a constellation of issues, that Dems should double-down on, IMO, which appeal to metro voters and metro identity, the way the NRA (and other rw groups) appeal to rural identity.

So what happens if you get your wish?

Let's say you magically manage to pass a law making 60+ million citizens, and a 20-25% of registered Dems and indies, felons for refusing to submit to your enlightened urban beliefs on icky rifle handgrips that stick out, or post-1860s magazines, or whatever. They salute you with a carefully chosen finger, and keep on living their lives as they choose. Then what?

The Third Way is so out of touch on the issue that the NY SAFE Act got an estimated 90% noncompliance rate in deep-blue New York, even though the law makes simple possession of a loaded magazine a Class D felony. How do you think such laws would play in Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, Colorado, or Tennessee? Even *Canada* has rejected NY/CA style bans, for Pete's sake.

Meanwhile, I think you greatly underestimate the number of urban Dems and independents who own guns and enjoy shooting, and greatly overestimate the support for taking away personal choice on the issue. New York City, Chicago, and SoCal are not the only urban areas in the whole country; I dare say that a whole lot of Dems/Indies in Austin, Denver, Charlotte, or St. Louis who would raise a hell of a lot of objection if you try to ban their guns. You would, in fact, see pretty much the same pushback at the polls you are seeing right now, just more so.

The United States is a free country; as such, its institutions are not structured to enable 51% of the population to rule the other 49% with an iron fist, and that does not change if you manage to make it 60/40 or even 70/30. Peaceful coexistence is the *only* path forward, and that means taking a pro-choice position on some deeply personal issues like gun ownership or abortion, and agree to live and let live. You can vigorously target gun misuse without controversy, but when you cross the line and start infringing on responsible ownership/use (especially of the least-misused guns), you will get pushback at the polls.

So you don't, in fact, want to ban AR-15's and over-10-round magazines?

...the Yosemite Sams in the South and rural areas count for more than the most populous state in the nation, and they are willing to believe any amount of shit if it starts with Wayne LaPierre saying "The gubmit is gonna take your guns away."

So you don't, in fact, want to ban AR-15's and over-10-round magazines? You do realize that "our guns" are predominantly those that the activists wish to criminalize, yes?

Claiming that nobody wants to ban the most popular guns is not ludicrous, but transparently ludicrous. Demands for such bans are right there in the DC-Beltway-authored party platform, put there in the '90s after the Third Way authoritarians hijacked the issue. Such bans are law in New York, California, and a couple other states, and gun control activists have pushed legislation to do so nationwide. And many of them have praised Australia's ban on pump shotguns and most rifles.

Thing is, in California, you *have* your gun-ban utopia; so does New York. A Canadian citizen could travel to either CA or NY with Canada-legal rifles and magazines and get decades to life in prison for mere *possession* of same. You are literally trying to pass gun bans in the U.S. Midwest, South, Southwest, and rural New England that have been rejected by Canada and much of Europe, and you don't think the DC/NY leadership is out of touch on the issue?

Promising to take laws like the NY SAFE Act nationwide *is* a threat.

The NY SAFE Act makes possession of the most popular magazines in U.S. homes nationwide a Class D felony, comparable to rape. Ditto the most popular rifles in U.S. homes. Promising to take that bullshit nationwide, thereby criminalizing 60+ million peaceable citizens and subjecting them to life-destroying criminal penalties if they refuse to bow to your beliefs, is damn sure a threat. Ditto for those who promise to take CA/NJ/MD laws nationwide.

If you don't think it is an issue, you weren't paying attention to the 2014 Senate midterms, or the 2016 races (not just the Presidency, but downticket in swing states). The party leadership cloistered in their DC/NY/CA bubbles simply don't comprehend how this crap plays nationwide. Again, it's not the *only* issue where the party leadership has made some major missteps, but it is perhaps the most egregious.

The party ran a gun-control activist in fricking Montana in 2014, for Pete's sake; WTF were they thinking?

*After* the 2012 election. The results of that shift fell out in the 2014 midterms. How'd that go?

It wasn't until after the 2012 election and the Sandy Hook murders (which neither a handgrip ban nor a magazine ban would have affected in the slightest) that the party went all-in on handgrip and magazine bans, rather than just pandering to Bloomberg's money.

Aside from greatly increasing rifle and magazine sales, the late-2012 reversion to the pre-2006 position ended up hurting Dems in the 2014 midterms and was a big part of losing *seven* Senate seats, which handed control of the Senate to the repubs.

Here in my state of NC, Kay Hagan shifted Third Way on gun control and lost her seat to a no-name repub in an upset. Udall in Colorado and Braley in Iowa, both strong ban proponents, lost to pro-gun repubs. Pro-gun Dem Max Baucus retired in Montana, so the party ran gun control zealot Amanda Curtis---in fricking Montana!---and lost the seat. Repubs picked up senate seats in South Dakota, where guns were a significant issue, and West Virginia, where it was huge. Pryor's loss in Arkansas can probably be blamed in part on the 2012-2014 gun ban push (do ya think people in Arkansas might, you know, own guns?).

I'm not saying gun and magazine bans were the *only* issue in play, but they are a really big one here in NC, and across most swing states. The number of states with majority gun control support can be counted on your fingers, with some fingers left over.

I said they were *a* huge issue in a lot of swing states this year, as in 2000 and 2004.

A lot of states that went for Obama in '08, I'll point out.

My state (NC) appears to have elected a pro-gun-owner Dem governor, while rejecting the anti-gun-owner presidential candidate. If you were to explore the reasons, you might find that threatening 2+ *million* NC residents with major felonies (a la the NY SAFE Act) might convince a few hundred thousand Dems and indies to stay home or leave the Presidential ballot blank. Just as in TN and WV in '00 (Gore lost his own home state), or a bunch of swing states in '04. And what was the margin of loss in heavily-gun-owning MI? FL? OH?

You may not *like* guns, but it is certainly helpful to understand that there are roughly 100 million gun owners, that they tend to vote at higher rates than the general population, and that they are more likely to vote the issue than are people who don't like guns. It's the ham and egg principle; if you're a chicken, you're concerned, but if you're a pig, you're involved.

And given those facts, is it too much to ask that the Dem leadership actually try to understand the nuances of the issue, instead of letting their policies and legislative proposals be set by those who don't understand, and can't avoid stepping on the mines?

Let me put it this way. If you proposed to outlaw hunting, and make it a Class D felony equivalent to rape for someone to go in the woods and shoot a deer, do you think you *might* get some pushback at the polls from the ~16 million Americans who hunt? If so, then why is it hard to grasp that threatening 60+ million with such felonies might create similar backlash?

To use nuance, you have to *understand* the issue, which many in the DC/NY bubble apparently do not.

Some back-of-the-envelope facts to inform said nuance:

-- The vast majority of gun owners are nonhunters (>80%).

-- The primary reason for gun ownership is defensive purposes; target shooting is in second place, with hunting a distant third.

-- Approximately twice as many Americans own "assault weapons" as hunt.

-- Approximately 3.5 to 4 times as many Americans own "high capacity magazines" as hunt.

-- The label "assault weapons" denotes the most popular centerfire rifles in U.S. homes, and the most popular target rifles in both sanctioned centerfire target competition and recreational target shooting.

-- Many states have *zero* rifle homicides in any given year, and the vast majority of states are in the single digits.

Murder, by State, Types of Weapons, 2015

[font face="courier new"]Total murders...................... 13,455
Handguns............................ 6,447 (47.9%)
Firearms (type unknown)............. 2,648 (19.7%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc.............. 1,671 (12.4%)
Knives and other cutting weapons.... 1,544 (11.5%)
Hands, fists, feet.................... 624 (4.6%)
Shotguns.............................. 269 (2.0%)
Rifles................................ 252 (1.9%) [/font]

-- The overwhelming majority of gun homicide is committed by a very small cohort with violent criminal records, most of whom are already legally prohibited from ownership.


Given the above, can you see how demanding a ban on the most popular rifles in U.S. homes, or threatening owners of common magazines with jail time for peaceably possessing same, is *not* in fact a "nuanced" position? Or how the DNC leadership's obsession with legislating rifle stock shape comes across as both ludicrous and authoritarian?

"Being OK with gun violence" and "supporting reactionary laws against the nonviolent"...

...are quite different concepts.

But if you wish to continue getting pushback, keep promising to imprison 60+ million citizens because of what they have in their bedrooms, instead of refining your proposals to realistically target the actual problem.

If you fail to understand the nuances of the issue, you'll fail to understand how to avoid missteps.

Your response is *exactly* why Gore failed to learn from Bill Clinton's mistakes in 2000, and lost; ditto Kerry in '04. Howard Dean worked hard to shed that fundamentalist mindset, and Dems did well in '06 and '08, before the Third Way authoritarians dragged the party back into the ditch in 2012-2013.

If you see mainstream gun ownership as a "sin" like racism and bigotry, then that failure to listen is certainly understandable. But purely from a pragmatic standpoint, it is helpful to understand the issue even if you personally don't like the guns in U.S. homes.

There is common ground to be found on violence prevention. Banning the most popular guns and magazines in U.S. homes isn't it.

Here's a fact from the FBI: 13,500 murders annually, all rifles *combined* account for 270.


Open your mind and look at the FBI data; many states have *zero* rifle homicides in any given year, and the vast majority of states are in the single digits.

You may not *intend* to threaten 60 million potential voters with prison if we don't comply with your beliefs, but by using those scare terms and trying to craft legislation based on them, you are doing exactly that. That paragraph in the platform was written by someone who has no earthly idea what guns are prevalent in U.S. homes, or what Federal gun law currently covers, or how many cartridges a typical gun holds.

If you equate "reform" with "ban the most popular guns and magazines in U.S. homes", then yes, I object. So does over 50% of the U.S. population.

Clinton lost my state on those gun-404 talking points and legislative proposals, even as a pro-gun Dem (Roy Cooper) won the governor's race---elected by the *same* voters. Those talking points also swung MI, PA, FL, and other close races to Trump.

I saw this happen in 2000, and 2004, and wrote about it here on DU. The Third Way's experiment with elitist authoritarianism on this issue has not been helpful to the party since it was first floated in September 1994.

Here is where those proposals go off the rails.

From the link:

As senator, she co-sponsored and voted for legislation that would close the gun show loophole, voted against the dangerous immunity protections for gun dealers and manufacturers, and co-sponsored legislation to extend and reinstate the assault weapons ban.

"the assault weapons ban" - This is *the* single biggest blooper that the party has has made on guns in the last 25 years, and they have made many. Here's why: "assault weapon" is scare-speak for the most popular civilian rifles in U.S. homes, as well as the most popular target rifles in both sanctioned competition and informal target shooting. They are rarely misused (all rifles combined account for less than 300 murders annually out of 13,500), but are immensely popular. A ballpark guess is that twice as many Americans own "assault weapons" as hunt. They are not automatic weapons; they are Title 1 civilian non-automatics, mostly small-caliber.

The other issue is that bans on "high-capacity magazines"----usually meaning anything over 10 rounds, but sometimes as few as 7 or 5---are often sneaked into "assault weapon" legislation as well. To see why this is considered extremist, consider that the very first Winchesters ever made in the 1860s held 15 rounds, the most popular civilian rifles in U.S. homes hold 20 to 30, and most full-sized 9mm pistols hold 15 to 20. You are talking 60 *million* owners of probably half a billion magazines, nationwide. And you are telling those 60 million people that you consider them morally equivalent to violent felons (the NY SAFE Act makes possession of a loaded 13-round magazine a Class D violent felony, comparable to second-degree rape or luring a child, and even with those penalties Cuomo and Bloomberg only got 5-10% compliance). If you want to motivate millions of people to vote against you, tell them you'll throw them in prison with murderers and rapists unless they let you take away their civil liberties. You may not see it that way, but that's how it comes across.

"The gun show loophole" - there is no loophole; the Gun Control Act of 1968 applies just as strongly to gun shows as it does to storefronts. The real issue here is whether or not to institute background checks on private sales, or whether to criminalize private transfers altogether. There are ways to do the former without harassing lawful ownership, but most recent proposals at the state level have been aimed at the second, and that generates pushback. This isn't the biggest issue, though.

"voted against the dangerous immunity protections for gun dealers and manufacturers" - Sanders thought Clinton's position on this was a terrible idea, and explained why. But this isn't the biggest issue, either.
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