Gun Rights in America

As I have mentioned in others post a reader of this blog should not confuse my attacks and problems withe the Republican Party as an indication that I am of a liberal political persuasion. To paraphrase SF author John Scalzi; I believe that same-sex couples have the right to marry and get automatic weapons as wedding gifts.
I am very concerned about gun right in this country. I am a support the contention that the second amendment is an individual right. (Come on people, all those other amendments – excepting the 10th are individual rights, it;s silly and asinine not to read the second the same way.)
While I myself do not own a collection of firearms I can understand the viewpoint of people who do. (Just as I do not have to be gay to support marriage- equality.)

My largest concern with gun right in America is who are its strongest supporters and how few new supporters there seems to be each year. In American politics the strangest and most loyal supporters of the second amendment are the social conservatives. The same faction of the Republican party that is anti-choice in abortion and steadfastly opposed to extending marriage rights to all person. Once you move away from the social conservatives it becomes harder and harder to find Republican politicians who support the second amendment.

This has cause some more libertarian minded gun rights enthusiasts to vote for and create alliance with the social conservatives in order to protect the gun-owning rights. I understand this, you have to look to your allies and you can’t always be picky about who your allies are in a battle. I’m concerned because I think there has been too much sticking with your allies and not enough of finding new allies in this struggle.

I think that the coming demographics are going to bury the social conservative movement – as we now know it – into extinction. The cohort of voters coming up are much more open-minded about gays than the current generation steering the party. The younger voters, under thirty, have grown-up with gay people are part of normal society all around them. They have had gay friends and see gayness as no more a moral matter than someone’s handedness. Abortion is a thornier issue, but even there the younger generation is more supportive of the right to chose than their parents. Roe v Wade simply doesn’t have the fire for them it does older Republican voters.

If gun rights are still tightly bound to the social conservatives when that branch of the party looses all power, then gun rights are sunk. It is critical — and time is running out — that an all out push be made to expand the ranks of people who support gun rights. Sadly I do not see this happening. I think the gun rights supporters are very much into an us-vs-them mentality (and I can understand why) and are more likely to cling closer to the allies and shun all who are not than rather work at expanding their alliances.


7 thoughts on “Gun Rights in America”

  1. Like I said I hope you ARE right. And if you are then I can feel easier about voting against social conservatives because it means that I’m not really hurting the gun rights issue.

  2. “Not A Social Conservative indicators:”

    “Not for restricting marriage rights.” I guess Obama fails that test.

    “Not for restricting reproductive rights.” Does that mean contraception or are we talking partial birth abortion?

    “Not for restricting embryonic Stem cell research.” Is that the same kind of “restriction” as the supporters of the N.E.A. used to whine about? Where absence of a taxpayer provided subsidy was equated with restriction?

    “Not For intervention in the Terri Schivo affair.” See, this is why I wouldn’t try to guess who you think genuinely qualifies as a “social conservative”.

    But under just about any kind of taxonomy for defining a “social conservative” I don’t see how the 58 members of the current U.S. Senate who voted for the Thune amendment could qualify.

    And besides pro-gun politicians, it’s also important to note just how rare anti-gun politicians truly are. Only 39 U.S. senators voted against the Thune amendment. I would bet the number of politicians ranked A by the NRA exceeds the number ranked F by two to one.

    Off the top of my head there are only a handful of extreme anti-gun U.S. Senators who like to push the issue: Senators Schumer, Kennedy, Feinstein, Boxer, and Lautenberg. That’s only five out of 100 Senators (and naturally all of them Democrats).

    In my opinion gun-control has always been an issue pushed only by a small group of dumb fanatics (or sometimes opportunists), and the times when majorities of legislators have gone along with those crazy policies was usually when the politicians thought there was no political penalty to be paid for doing so. That’s why the anti-gunners are so frustrated right now even though the Democrats have majority control of Congress plus control of the White House. Those Democrats who are indifferent to guns have learned that there is a price paid for anti-gun legislation.

  3. Not A Social Conservative indicators:

    Not for restricting marriage rights.
    Not for restricting reproductive rights.
    Not for restricting embryonic Stem cell research.
    Not For intervention in the Terri Schivo affair.

    How many pro-gun elected politicians can you name that fit a majority of the listed criteria?
    And if you are right about this and I am wrong, nothing would make me happier than to have this concern be over nothing.

  4. “I was not referring to the rank-and-file population but rather to the politicians who support Gun Rights.”

    Is that all? Then I am even less concerned.

    “How many of the elected politicians that you count as pro-gun are not social conservatives?”

    Since I don’t know who you would qualify as “not a social conservative”, you will have to do your own counting. But I have two excellent recent examples for why I am hopeful.

    Example #1: 65 House Democrats send letter to White House opposing any new ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

    Example #2: 58 U.S. Senators, including all but 2 Republicans plus 20 Democrats vote for the pro-gun Thune amendment to expand concealed carry rights.

  5. First – about me: Pro-gun (or Pro-second ammendment – However you wish to think about it.) Not Social conservative by any stretch of the imagination. The “leave guns alone” is probably the only plank of the social conservative platform I agree with whole heartedly.

    Now, to comment on gunsandroackets post: Just because current trends suggest an older America, doesn’t mean it WILL happen. The idea that America is graying demographically only holds true if current trends in increasing life expectancy continue. We the people are doing a good job of shortening our lives by our poor eating and exercise practices and poor health care as a nation. There was recently a slight decrease in life expectancy, due to weight gain. I would add to this that the one vice most social conservatives are okay with is eating. Ever been to a Pentacostal Pot-luck? I have and I tell you those folks (in general) sute know how to cook and eat! (And I don’t mean that in healthy way.)

    By the way, let ’em come for my revolver. I’ll empty the sucker into them. (After I take the trigger lock off. Man! Am I looking forward to inexpensive biometric trigger locks!!)

  6. I was not referring to the rank-and-file population but rather to the politicians who support Gun Rights. How many of the elected politicians that you count as pro-gun are not social conservatives?
    The crux of the question is to support gun rights in politics you need gun favorable politicians and I do not see a lot of those who are not social conservatives. The anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-evolution crowd is on the losing end of the demographic wars and future gun-rights politicians need come from another sector of the conservative movement.
    Perhaps they will, but it’s in the right’s best interest to start cultivating them now.

  7. I think you are imposing an odd template onto your analysis of American gun politics. Certainly there is an overlap of gun rights supporters with “social conservatives”, but those who support gun rights are considerably more diverse than you emphasize and demographics are actually on the side of gun rights. The history of gun politics since the 1960’s affirms this truth.

    The single greatest indicator of support for gun rights is simply enough personal possession of a firearm. Nothing focuses the will as much as personal interest (or personal danger). Surveys suggest 40% of adult men and perhaps 10% of adult women own firearms. As firearms are a luxury good, ever increasing per capita income suggests firearms ownership has growth potential.

    And I do believe there is a strong overlap between conservative values and support of gun ownership rights. Age tends to increase the proportion of those with conservative viewpoints, and demographic trends point to an older average age for Americans. More older Americans = more conservative Americans = more gun rights supporters.

    On top of these basic trends is the momentum of the previous political battles of the last 45 years over gun rights. Except for some blue states, gun rights are ever expanding and the vast majority of states permit most adults to carry a loaded weapon for self-defense in public. SCOTUS has affirmed the legitimacy and power of the 2nd Amendment. Even today, a confirmed anti-2nd amendment plotter such as President Obama is forced to give phony lip service to gun rights in order to maintain political viability.

    Here is a link to an interesting article by Lawyer David T. Hardy (who runs the blog and who I have a lot of respect for) about the nefarious activities of the Joyce Foundation against the 2nd Amendment during Obama’s tenure as one of the Joyce Foundation’s directors.

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