Before anything else, let me say this — I think gun culture is backward and idiotic. Personal ownership of firearms is something I frankly don’t understand, and I personally believe it’s preferable that no one own guns. But Democrats need to change their tune on guns if they want Republican converts. Gun ownership was the biggest predictor of voting back in 2016 — beating race, marriage status, and religion, according to The New York Times. With Democrats making concessions to the right — including Republican John Kasich appearing at the Democratic National Convention to say that Joe Biden won’t go “sharp left” — why not make it in the one area that makes sense? The platform when it comes to gun control has largely been confrontational. Nothing more accurately sums it up than former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s comments from when he was still running for the Democratic presidential nomination. “Hell yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15.” Regardless of any other statements, caveats, or qualifiers, this hardline rhetoric is what people think of when they think of Democrats’ gun policy. And Biden hasn’t done anything to disprove it. The former vice president’s plan calls for several things including banning the creation and importation of assault weapons and ensuring that all guns are “smart,” in that they only fire if keyed to the fingerprint of the owner.
Philosophically, I agree on a couple of these points. It would be best if guns could only be fired by their owners or people the owner adds. It would be best if people were forced to store their weapons safely. Pragmatically? These are dead in the water. Gun owners are never going to vote for things like this — there’s so much vagueness about these policy proposals that it’s going to drive people from the opposite side away. And honestly? I’m not so certain assault weapons should be banned. [full article]