by Jeff Swanson
The Second Amendment to the Constitution is not the answer. It’s not the answer to the debate we are having about guns and gun control. Conservatives should no longer spend time invoking it.
I’m not really joking.
I think it might be important to note that I am a full supporter of the Second Amendment. Lest you wish mental daggers besiege me, ultimately the best support for reasonably unfettered support of gun ownership is the guaranty the Amendment provides. It will continue to provide that blanket of protection.
But it’s not a great argument.
The ‘Second’ allows Conservatives to make the argument but to actually convince the citizenry of the validity of ownership, simply because the Bill of Rights protects ownership does not mean that it’s selling well to the masses.
If you are unhappy with this idea, don’t blame me. If I were king, not in the Obama sense, I would state that the Bill of Rights ensures it and that would be that.
It’s not up to me.
An argument leaning heavily on the Second Amendment is like telling your kids that Leave it to Beaver is a really funny show. The problem being, the first time they hear the Beav say, ‘Gee Wally, that’s swell.’, they are quickly back on the DVR looking for a Family Guy episode.
For the record, I prefer Leave it to Beaver. I mean, ever pay attention to Ward? The dude was the original smart aleck.
Simply invoking the Second Amendment is not telling our fellow citizens anything. It is the pillar upon which all other arguments rest. It is not, itself, an argument.
First, the argument is not defined as to whether there will be a ban on guns at some level. There won’t be. Columbia v. Heller made sure of that. Any action by congress or the President must overcome that precedent.
The Conservative position needs to effectively stop the debate. Don’t debate a position already been won via the Supreme Court. Yet, I see Conservatives arguing as if this was an underdog argument.
This is largely the the problem with much of the current day Conservative message; we argue as if we are in the losing position.
Remember Nancy Pelosi stating during the Obamacare debate? “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” To Conservatives, few weren’t agog at the temerity of the then Speaker shirking any transparency.
Ridiculous as it is, that’s someone who was sure she could win, and did.
Minnesota Vikings Bud Grant once said ‘Act like you meant to be there…’. If our only reply is that the Second Amendment guaranties gun ownership, if we keep telling others that our guns will be ‘pulled from our cold, dead hands’, it reads as an underdog, losing position. In order to pry it from your cold, dead hands, the President and Democrats will have to change the Constitution. Find me a red state Democrat that will even try to vote for such a thing and I will show you a catastrophic re-election issue.
The second rung of a losing argument is the litany of quoted statistics.
That Conservatives understand what is empirically true is important. Prominent Conservatives spend so much time on TV shows touting statistical and anecdotal reasoning that we’ve forgotten one important point; what are we trying to prove and to whom. Playing prevent defense is rarely an effective strategy.
What is the best debate strategy?
Make them prove they’re right. Whether it be Piers Morgan or VP Joe Biden, no matter the feel-good resolution, prove the resolution will be effective. They are proposing the change, why do we have to defend ourselves.
We don’t. We should stop.
When was the last time the party with the upper hand spent time defending itself? Well, Republicans have made an it art but it’s high time we stop.
Where has gun control worked?
Many seemingly reasonable gun control measures (gun registration, tracking and various amnesty programs) are in use in El Salvador. Murder rate in El Salvador? 69 per every 100,000 people. The United States? 4.8.
I know, it’s a statistic and it’s admittedly an apples and oranges argument. It does enumerate, along with Chicago and other gun free locales that gun control does not work.
Why are we trying to prove it? Shouldn’t we simply state, ‘prove it works’. Congress has made enough laws based on a feel good idea. With a constitutional upper hand, we have no need to make this argument.
Further, the Constitutional argument falls on deaf ears. Conservatives have a habit of waving the Bill of Rights at many arguments. It might be the right answer but after a while, it’s a cry wolf argument.
Knowing the Constitution is on our side, we are free to make better arguments or more over, force liberals to prove their point. The basis of the debate must be not whether or not gun ownership is lawful in its current state but why liberals are right to bother with change at all.
Until we do that, it just looks like Conservatives desperate to not lose again…or not acting like we ‘meant to be there’.