ChrisWeigant.com

Wedges Losing Their Edges

[ Posted Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 – 17:02 PDT ]

This whole article is going to be just sheer speculation on my part, I'm going to admit that up front. But I can't help but wonder if we're truly seeing a few tried-and-true "wedge" issues -- that Republicans have long relied upon -- losing their edge. Public opinion seems to be blunting their effectiveness at doing what wedge issues are usually used for: driving voters apart, and (hopefully) into your party's camp. The two issues are gay marriage and gun control (specifically, background checks).

Wedge issues come and go in American politics. Sometimes they make a reappearance, but usually on the fringes (for example, the gold standard -- something that decided elections a century ago but is now the lone province of libertarian types). The public tends to get caught up in the emotionalism of the moment, but then usually doesn't notice when these issues fade away. There's not a whole lot of people calling for a constitutional amendment banning burning American flags these days, but 20 or 30 years ago it was indeed (if you'll forgive the pun) a hot topic. It did exactly what Republicans designed it to do -- split Democrats and raise a big ruckus where there had been none.

Around the same time period, gay rights were also being used as wedge issues to divide Democrats. At the time, full and equal rights for gays up to and including marriage was such a risky position that few Democrats stood for it. Republicans capitalized on the public's squeamishness, especially in rural states where Democrats were vulnerable. Most Democrats flailed around looking for some acceptable middle-of-the-road stance, which led to such things as supporting civil unions (but not gay marriage) and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The issue was a wonderful wedge for the Republicans to wield, and they drove their advantage as hard as they could -- passing laws like the Defense Of Marriage Act, while daring Democrats to vote against it, and putting "one man/one woman" initiatives on the ballot in every state they possibly could. This worked like a charm, for a while. It caused Democrats to scurry around looking for safe ground, while Republicans stood firmly on an absolutist position.

These days, that solid ground previously under Republican feet is looking pretty shaky. They've locked themselves in, and the only way they're now going to escape the issue turning and biting them electorally is if it just quietly goes away. The question is whether Republican politicians will allow that to happen or not.

If the Supreme Court tosses out DOMA, it will be a large signal that at some point in the near future they're going to rule that gay marriage is an unalienable right and overturn all state laws against it. That's a pretty big "if," but bear with me (I warned you I'd be speculating). Republicans will see this coming, and they can choose to either fight a losing battle to the last man and woman (so to speak), or they can grumble about it a bit and move on.

How long this process takes is really an open question. While national surveys show that gay marriage is now accepted and supported by a clear majority of the public, that's on a national level. State-by-state, the numbers are a bit more varied. And there are still plenty of states where a clear majority disapproves of gay marriage. Republicans represent many of these states and districts in Congress. They know that just throwing in the towel on gay marriage isn't going to win them votes -- it'll lose them votes. But the "safe" districts and states are going to shrink in numbers, over time. If a Supreme Court decision comes down against them, they'll know that the only remaining course of action is to pass a "one woman/one man" constitutional amendment. This is likely impossible, given the requirements, but it may not stop them from trying one last gasp with this wedge issue.

The more interesting movement right now is on the Democratic side, though. Gay marriage acceptance has been growing so fast it is easy to forget that up until a few months ago, most Democratic politicians were scared to offer their open support for it. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama supported it in 2008, although both have since "evolved" on the matter. They're not alone. A whole lot of evolution has been going on among Democrats in office or eyeing a future office. Most of it since the 2012 elections, in fact.

What this means is that for the first time the wedge is going to be tested. We're going to see if the wedge issue can cut the other way. Indications are that it most certainly can, after gay marriage actually won as a ballot initiative in more than one state -- for the first time ever. But, once again, acceptance of gay marriage is nowhere near universal. It differs geographically and demographically.

The 2014 and 2016 elections are going to be the first tests of whether supporting gay marriage can actually help politicians at the ballot box, in many states and districts across the country. My guess is that it will, for most Democrats. There may be a few places where it becomes an issue Republicans can still exploit, but in most places Democrats have a chance of winning it'll likely be the Republican candidate whose position on gay marriage is going to hurt him or her with the voters. You can't help but feel a little sorry for Republicans who have been using this successfully for decades now being faced with the fact that their tried-and-true way of campaigning is now going to hurt them.

The gun issue is a little more questionable, even though the polling numbers are much more overwhelmingly for background checks. After the assault rifle ban was passed in the 1990s, Republicans (and the NRA) very successfully used it as a big wedge issue, and some say that's how Republicans took control of Congress. It was probably more complicated than that, but there were indeed a few races in which it was a major issue, and the Democrat lost.

Initial polling seems to indicate that this wedge may have turned, too, though. Senators who voted against background checks are seeing their numbers drop, and senators who voted for background checks are seeing their numbers go up. Kelly Ayotte is the best example, perhaps because her state is pretty close to Connecticut. Her poll numbers showed a big drop after her vote, and she's faced some irate folks in recent town hall meetings, which always makes for good television. Campaign-style ads are already up in New Hampshire ripping into Ayotte for her vote, and also (paid for by the NRA) praising her for her vote.

The stunning thing is, she doesn't face re-election for three years.

Will she pay a price at the ballot box for her vote? Well, it's pretty early to say, even in the midst of rampant speculation like this. The voters are notoriously fickle, and they usually have a notoriously short attention span. Who knows how the issue will be polling next summer? Who knows if anyone will remember this vote, or even use it as a deciding matter in the ballot box?

It's a lot easier to see the arc of history bending on gay marriage than it is, so far, on even this modest gun control measure. Gun control advocates suffer from a political disadvantage, too. The pro-gun side is organized, feels incredibly strongly about their position, and is quite vocal in politics. Up until now, the gun control side has been mostly reactionary, rather disorganized, and doesn't command the political bankroll the other side does by a long shot. That, of course, was before Michael Bloomberg took up the cause. Maybe his group can turn things around a bit, who knows?

It would indeed be interesting to see this wedge issue turn. If politicians were scared to vote against modest gun control, it would create an entirely different political calculus in Washington, over time. Ever since the assault rifle ban, there have been quite a few Democrats who have been scared to vote for gun control, but if the wedge has turned, we might see some of that "evolution" going on among Democrats.

It's really too early to say, on the gun control issue. The initial signs certainly are positive, and they seem to be consistent, at least in the states polled (I don't think I've seen poll numbers for more than seven senators). As with any issue, there will be states which buck the trend no matter which way it goes. But it certainly is refreshing to even contemplate the possibility that this wedge may have, like gay marriage, lost its edge.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

58 Comments on “Wedges Losing Their Edges”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    RE: Gun Control

    There is absolutely NO evidence to suggest that the American people have changed their attitudes on Anti-Gun legislation..

    Yea, you can point to polls that say "90% of Americans favor keeping guns from lunatics and criminals!!"

    Frankly, such a stat scares the frak outta me!! What the FRAK is wrong with that 10%!!???

    The fact is, Obama and the Democrats lost, and lost BIG, on their Anti-Gun crusade...

    Moving left of center my left butt cheek!!!

    We'll see how big of a wedge issue it will be next year..

    Frankly, the fact that most Democrats ran from the Anti-Gun legislation as fast as they could indicates that the majority of Americans still believe in the 2nd Amendment..

    Michale

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    The pro-gun side is organized, feels incredibly strongly about their position, and is quite vocal in politics.

    Not to mention the fact that the pro-gun side has logic, the law, the Constitution AND the facts on their side...

    That's likely why it's been so successful. Oh sure, lobbyists and money helps.. But I can cite example after example after example whereas money and lobbying was thru the roof and it was for naught..

    Sometimes, it's just the right thing to do.

    Michale

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Not to mention the fact that the pro-gun side has logic, the law, the Constitution AND the facts on their side...

    Kansas governor, Attorney General Holder spar over new state gun-rights law

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/03/kansas-governor-attorney-general-holder-spar-over-new-state-gun-law/?test=latestnews#ixzz2SDsgbRyn

    A perfect case in point....

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    michty6 wrote:

    CW,
    You are underestimating the power of the GOP propaganda machine. Guns are absolutely still an issue. You have to dig into the polls and reasoning to see why (basically people hold inconsistent views in the polls) but it is explained pretty well in this post:

    http://nomoremister.blogspot.ca/2013/05/their-position-on-background-checks-is_2.html

  5. [5] 
    michty6 wrote:

    On the back of the jobs report and unemployment hitting 7.5% the DJ is close to breaking 15k today. Insane. If someone told me this 6 months ago I'd have laughed.

    But anyone who reads Drudge knows that this is probably just a blip before Mr Socialist puts people back unemployed and rips out the framework of the capitalist system. Probably next year I'd say.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    You have to dig into the polls and reasoning to see why (basically people hold inconsistent views in the polls) but it is explained pretty well in this post:

    Explained pretty well???

    Basically that totally moronic post says, "People vote against their own best interests because they don't like Democrats.."

    It makes some gross and illogical assumptions and the applies those to a totally moronic conclusion..

    There is a computer term for it.

    G I G O

    Garbage In Garbage Out

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Left lost on their anti-gun crusade..

    Deal with it and move on...

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    On the back of the jobs report and unemployment hitting 7.5% the DJ is close to breaking 15k today. Insane. If someone told me this 6 months ago I'd have laughed.

    So, I guess it's official..

    Obama and the Democrats WERE full of shit with all their gloom and doom fear-mongering over the Sequester....

    :D

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States. I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will.

    But at the same time, as I’ve said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It’s the right thing to do."
    -President Barack Obama

    Yea...

    FAST AND FURIOUS

    "Common Sense..."

    "The right thing to do..."

    Does ANYONE really believe that???

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    http://nomoremister.blogspot.ca/2013/05/their-position-on-background-checks-is_2.html

    It's the old "people don't agree with us on gun control so we'll be pro- something that they can agree on" bait and switch ... a classic for over 30 years

    Republicans: You're against freedom!

    Democrats: We're not against freedom. We just want to have background checks for gun purchases.

    Republicans: Why are you trying to take away our freedoms?

    Democrats: You can still own a gun unless you're a criminal. How are you less free?

    Republicans: This is just the first step towards socialism! You'll never take away our freedoms! We'll shoot you first!

    Democrats: Are you insane?

    Republicans: Freedom!!!! 2nd amendment!!!!

    It would be almost funny if so many people didn't buy it.

    -David

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Democrats: We're not against freedom. We just want to have background checks for gun purchases.

    WHY do you want to have background checks for gun purchases??

    Would a background check have prevented Sandy Hook??

    No, it would not..

    So *WHY* are we even HAVING the discussion???

    Answer: Because Democrats figured they could use a tragedy of murdered children to further their political agenda...

    Pretty pathetic if you ask me....

    Which you didn't... :D

    You want background checks??

    Fine.. Make them effective.. Create a nationwide database of mental health patients and gun related criminal records.

    Shut down the ACLU and it's legion of bleeding heart morons who think that rapists and criminals deserve to have their privacy protected..

    Do THAT and then ya'all can have your background checks..

    Deal??

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Do THAT and then ya'all can have your background checks..

    And, while your at it, get rid of Psycho Shooting Galleries AKA "Gun Free Zones".

    Give the option for school employees to be trained in use of firearms and allow them to be armed on school property..

    If ya'all really want to help our kids and make them safer, ALL of those things are what you should be pushing for..

    Background checks won't mean squat because criminals will never submit to them...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Answer: Because Democrats figured they could use a tragedy of murdered children to further their political agenda which is to prevent tragedies of murdered children.

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Answer: Because Democrats figured they could use a tragedy of murdered children to further their political agenda which is to prevent tragedies of murdered children.

    And yet, it is fully and unequivocally agreed upon by EVERYONE that the current anti-gun legislation being pushed would have done absolutely NOTHING to prevent a Sandy Hook...

    In other words, there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that the Dems anti-gun agenda would do anything to prevent another gun massacre...

    This being the case, why push it??

    Answer: Because Democrats are desperate for a political win.

    Come back with some legislation that takes into account our Constitutional freedoms and actually ACCOMPLISHES something that is GOOD for the country, rather than just good for Democrats.

    Then, I'll support ya to hell and back.. :D

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [8] -

    No.

    It's official: all the doom and gloom from Romney and the GOP during the 2012 campaign and all the fear-mongering about how Obama was going to ruin the economy is moose poop.

    Now, I seem to remember you joining in that chorus... you really want me to go back and cut and paste some of your comments?

    In the last three months, unemployment is down 0.4% Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    Heh.

    -CW

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    In the last three months, unemployment is down 0.4% Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    A WHOLE .4%??

    Wow! HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN! :D

    Seriously, though. Credit where credit is due..

    The economy IS getting better.. Slowly and sluggishly, but better nonetheless..

    On the other hand, the biggest and most expensive parts of ObamaCare (Liz, can I at least go back to DunselCare?? :D) haven't hit yet...

    I am willing to give Obama the credit..

    Is ANYONE here (besides you and Michy) willing to give Obama any blame???

    {{{{{chhiiirrrrrppppppp}}}}} {{{cchiiiirrrrrpppp}}}

    Cricket city....

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Paula wrote:

    Hi Chris!

    Right now I'm feeling some cautious optimism re: gun policies over time -- I think improvements in that direction will happen in parallel with the growing realization by many formerly oblivious Americans that Repubs/Hardcore Rightwingers are delusional, paranoid and dangerous. Their mindless but very loud, public insistence on completely irresponsible and dangerous gun policy alienates a lot of otherwise apolitical people and pushes the apolitical people into more of a "stand-taking" mode. When you get a lot of people to start having a specific opinion about something, versus them not really caring one way or the other, things change.

    I think pubs are hurting themselves with this issue, though, as you say, time will tell. But, as with Gay Marriage, sometimes things can seem intractable and immovably fixed, yet tolerance and intelligence eventually prevail. Never fast enough for a many of us, but inevitably.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Paula,

    Hi there!! Good ta see ya are still amongst the living!! :D

    Their mindless but very loud, public insistence on completely irresponsible and dangerous gun policy

    Could you give a specific example of such a policy or policies??

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's official: all the doom and gloom from Romney and the GOP during the 2012 campaign and all the fear-mongering about how Obama was going to ruin the economy is moose poop.

    So, we are in agreement..

    Obama's gloom and doom BS about the Sequestor is equal to Romney's gloom and doom BS about Obama...

    Right??

    :D

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Come back with some legislation that takes into account our Constitutional freedoms

    Republicans: You're against freedom!

    Democrats: We're not against freedom. We just want to have background checks for gun purchases.

    Republicans: Why are you trying to take away our freedoms?

    Democrats: You can still own a gun unless you're a criminal. How are you less free?

    Republicans: This is just the first step towards socialism! You'll never take away our freedoms! We'll shoot you first!

    Democrats: Are you insane?

    Republicans: Freedom!!!! 2nd amendment!!!!

    -David

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    You have been hanging around with Michty too long... Your "arguments" have become nonsensical and emotional..

    I have listed fact upon fact upon fact that you refuse to acknowledge..

    How would the current anti-gun legislation have prevented Sandy Hook??

    It wouldn't...

    Given that FACT, why are we even having this discussion??

    There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE to suggest that gun registration will reduce gun violence..

    There is PLENTY of factual evidence that shows increased anti-gun legislation - increased gun violence..

    Chicago is a perfect example...

    There are your facts..

    Cue nonsensical emotionalism... :D

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE to suggest that gun registration will reduce gun violence..

    Well, except for what you have already posted. In one of these gun control rants you brought up Israel and Switzerland as examples of countries that have high gun ownership but low gun crime. They also both have very stringent gun registration requirements as well as other strong gun control measures. Are you 100% sure that has nothing to do with their much lower gun crime rate?

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    Thanx for the correction...

    I should have said "background checks" as that is the current topic of discussion...

    Thanx.. :D

    Nice ta know someone pays attention.. :D

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am also constrained to point out that Obama and the Democrats have gone out of their way to point out that the current legislation has NO registration..

    Even though, as worded, it allows EXACTLY that...

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Changes nothing. Israel and Switzerland also have very stringent background checks...

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Changes nothing. Israel and Switzerland also have very stringent background checks...

    Yea?? Do tell... :D

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Are you 100% sure that has nothing to do with their much lower gun crime rate?

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    On the other hand, the biggest and most expensive parts of ObamaCare (Liz, can I at least go back to DunselCare?? :D) haven't hit yet...

    Absolutely, positively, unequivocally ... NOT!!!

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Are you 100% sure that has nothing to do with their much lower gun crime rate?

    As a professional with decades of experience in the field, I can fully and unequivocally attest to the fact that a collective that is well-armed has a very low percentage of violent crime and a collective with very strict anti-gun laws has a very high percentage of violent crime...

    Further, areas that are Psychotic Shooting Galleries (AKA Gun Free Zones) have ALWAYS (sans 1) been the location for mass shootings...

    Have you ever heard of a mass shooting at a gun range?? A cop bar?? A military armory??

    WHY do you think that is???

    Finally, let me just say. I completely and unequivocally agree with what I *think* you are trying to say...

    Our background checks process sucks compared to other countries..

    So, WHY on earth would ANYONE (in their right mind) want to EXPAND those useless checks??

    Surely it makes MORE sense to FIX the background check system... And THEN expand it...

    No??

    That's the entire problem with the entire Anti-Gun argument..

    It's solely, completely and unequivocally based in emotion.. NOT logic.

    Liz,

    Absolutely, positively, unequivocally ... NOT!!!

    Oh awww right! :D

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    On the other hand, the biggest and most expensive parts of ObamaCare (Liz, can I at least go back to DunselCare?? :D) haven't hit yet...

    Absolutely, positively, unequivocally ... NOT!!!

    TrainWreck Care??? :D

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Right now I'm feeling some cautious optimism re: gun policies over time --

    Paula,

    I'll issue you a challenge.

    I wager 100,000 quatloos that I can totally and completely decimate ANY anti-gun argument you make with one simple statement..

    Hell, I'll even go further and wager that I can get YOU to decimate your own anti-gun argument..

    You up to the challenge? :D

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    michty6 wrote:

    I wager 100,000 quatloos that I can totally and completely decimate ANY anti-gun argument you make with one simple statement..

    I'll take that challenge. Here is my statement:

    - If there were no guns in the world, the rate of innocent people being killed by guns would be 0%. The amount of children shot down in their school would be 0. Sandy Hook would not have happened.

    Now we can logically take my statement further. We agree that having 0% of innocent people and 0 children being shot and kills by guns is a good thing. If we agree with this, then we can agree then that the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of guns in the world to as close to 0 as possible, so the innocent death rate from guns drops to as close to 0 as possible.

    So ANYTHING at all that reduces gun ownership gets us closer to this goal. Let's say to get a gun you require someone to recite the alphabet backwards standing on their head. Or a less complicated but obviously completely-insane-bat-shit-crazy idea: you check the background of the purchaser to see that they're not a nut-case.

    Either of these measures has the same impact and gets us closer to our goal. Simple rules of supply and demand dictate that if there is no demand for a product in a market, there will be no supply. So reducing the demand for guns to as close to 0% as possible is the best method available to reduce the supply of guns to as close to 0% as possible.

    Thus the best policy possible to reduce gun violence should be one that reduces demand to as close to 0% as possible. Obviously a ban on gun is the out-right best method (proven so in countries that implemented one) to do this. If this isn't possible due to the political and social climate, such as in America just now, then any other measures which will reduce demand for guns are automatically better measures than doing nothing.

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Good argument mitchy..

    Long on fantasy, but short on facts... But you obviously put some fantasizing... er.. I mean thought in it.. :D

    Now, my question to you is this..

    When you have a problem with a violent or armed person, what is the first thing you do..

    You call an armed person to help you..

    In short, you call a person with a gun..

    So, please explain how exactly guns can be the problem when every normal civilized person in the entire world will, when confronted with violence will either A> call a person with a gun to help or B> will grab a gun and help themselves..

    The answer is simple..

    GUNS are not the problem. In the here and now they are part and parcel to life in this dangerous society we live in..

    Since your way (Zero Guns) is impossible (a fantasy, nothing more) then the ONLY logical conclusion is that GUNS aren't the problem...

    How can they be when the very first thing a person does when confronted with violence will CALL a person with a gun...

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    Until the day you have a gun walking into a school and killing 25+ children and adults, you do not have a logical argument...

    In the here and now, your argument is akin to taking away everyone's cars or alcohol as a "solution" to drunk drivers..

    Your gun idea is identical to that idea..

    Ridiculous..

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Feel free to deposit the 100K quatloos into my account at your earliest convenience... :D

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    michty6 wrote:

    So, please explain how exactly guns can be the problem when every normal civilized person in the entire world will, when confronted with violence will either A> call a person with a gun to help or B> will grab a gun and help themselves..

    If I was confronted by someone with a gun I'd give them what they wanted. Even if I had a gun in my pocket. Even if I had an AK-47 in my hands. As I've said before guns aren't magically fairy-tale force-fields that prevent you from being shot. People don't announce their attacks in advance. The ONLY way to stop yourself from being shot by an attacker with a gun is to stop that attacker from having a gun (or invent a magical full body bullet prevention force-field that you can wear at all times). And the only way to stop (or reduce) the odds of an attacker having a gun are to reduce the supply of guns to as close to 0 as possible so that gun manufacturers stop manufacturing guns for these lunatics to use...

    Since your way (Zero Guns) is impossible (a fantasy, nothing more) then the ONLY logical conclusion is that GUNS aren't the problem...

    No your solution is the one that is flawed. The solution to the problem of guns is to get rid of the problem - not to give more people guns and create more problems. That's like trying to solve the problem of drunk drivers by making more people drunk. I think that's a good campaign: 'the only way to stop a bad guy who is drink driving is a good guy who is drink driving'. We're on to a winner here!

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    The solution to the problem of guns is to get rid of the problem

    Like I said.. Garbage In Garbage Out..

    You START with the false conclusion that guns are the problem and then work from there..

    Basically, you reduce things to a common denominator and assign that as the ONLY problem..

    Using your argument, I can just as easily say that PEOPLE are the problem, because if there were no people then people wouldn't kill people, so we get rid of all the people and we won't have any more gun deaths..

    It's a facetious and illogical argument unsupported by ANY facts whatsoever and is akin to a magical wizard will swoop down and eliminate all the guns and there will be no more violent crimes and everyone will hold hands and sing koom-bi-ya and live happily ever after..

    "If there is ever a discrepancy, then the wizard did it!!"
    -Lucy Lawless, THE SIMPSONS

    :D

    The simple fact is, guns are not the problem. Guns serve a useful purpose.

    This is undeniable fact..

    That's like trying to solve the problem of drunk drivers by making more people drunk.

    Not at all. No one is FORCING anyone to drink or own weapons.

    YOUR argument is identical to outlawing cars and booze as a "solution" to drunk drivers. It completely ignores the actual CAUSE of the problem in favor of an irrelevant placebo that, even anti-gun fanatics admit, won't solve or prevent massacres like Sandy Hook...

    Since guns are not the problem, one must look at other instances. Mental Health being the number one cause of mass shootings.

    It's amazing that no one wants to discuss THAT aspect.. Probably because it doesn't serve the ideological agenda of the Left, Hysterical or no...

    Michale

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Considering how well the anti-gun legislation fared in Congress, I think it's safe to say that my opinion is the majority opinion here in the US...

    Them damn pesky facts again.. Trip ya up every time! :D

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    As usual, when it comes to guns, both your arguments are seriously flawed. Getting rid of guns means nothing if the murderer just stabs, shoots an arrow, slashes with a sword, poisons or kills the victim with a huge array of other methods of causing death. The important part is: what will eliminating guns do to the overall murder rate? The answer from comparing the US to similarly affluent and industrialized countries with very strong gun control or some sort of absolute ban is: it will reduce the murder rate by a quite variable amount but generally around 1/2 to 1/4 of the previous rate. Violent crime does not seem to change much, but that comparison is quite difficult as the definition of what is counted as a violent crime is quite different between the EU and the FBI. Basically the EU looks like it has an enormously high violent crime rate because most of the violent crimes counted by EU countries would not be counted as a violent crime by the FBI. Where you do save a lot of lives is accidental deaths. Hard for your son to accidentally kill his friend with a gun if there is no gun.

    On the other hand:

    When you have a problem with a violent or armed person, what is the first thing you do..

    I would call a PROFESSIONAL with a gun.

    Those professionals can be called in every modern industrialized country regardless of level of gun control. The last thing I want showing up is some random amateur with a gun...

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    I would call a PROFESSIONAL with a gun.

    AHA!!

    THANK You, Bashi!!!

    FINALLY.... Someone who "gets it".. More on that in a moment..

    Getting rid of guns means nothing if the murderer just stabs, shoots an arrow, slashes with a sword, poisons or kills the victim with a huge array of other methods of causing death.

    And again, exactly... Guns are simply the tool of the moment...

    "A gun is just a tool, Marge! Like a hammer or a saw or an alligator.."
    -Homer Simpson

    If a person didn't use a gun, they would use something else..

    Eliminating the gun is useless unless the other issues are dealt with...

    Now, back to the "are guns the problem" question...

    As Bashi points out (he's the ONLY one that gets me.. :D) guns are not the problem. Guns serve a useful purpose.

    The issue is one of TRAINING.. As a person well-trained with a variety of firearms, I echo Bashi's "The last thing I want showing up is some random amateur with a gun" statement. The LAST thing we need is to have some Bill Hickock wannabe shooting up the streets of Larado...

    But having a gun in the hands of a person who is TRAINED??

    Well, I am all for that.. As everyone else who views this issue logically and w/o emotion should be...

    So, let's see a show of hands..

    How many here think that, rather than ban guns from law-abiding citizens, the correct course of action would be to insure that those who do choose to carry guns are TRAINED in their use??

    So.. What say ya'all.. Do ya'all wanna give up on this useless and self-defeating anti-gun crusade in favor of making sure that those who DO carry are trained enough to do so responsibly???

    I betcha no one (with a couple exceptions) would opt for that..

    That's because the issue isn't really about guns.

    The issue is about control... Pure and simple..

    Michale

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    The important part is: what will eliminating guns do to the overall murder rate?

    One only has to look at cities and states within the US who HAVE strict gun control laws to realize that those laws do not make the public safer...

    Chicago comes to mind.

    Los Angelos is another example..

    The Sandy Hook massacre occurred in a state that has some of the strictest laws on the books...

    In all of those places, strict gun laws only equal more innocent people injured and killed by criminals who, by definition, won't obey the laws anyways...

    How anyone can believe that limiting guns to people who NEED them for self-defence will, magically, reduce gun-related violence, is beyond me...

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I think that guns are a choice of a society. There really is no right answer. Having a well armed society is not going to magically make problems go away. Not having guns are also not going to make many of those same problems magically go away. You ban guns and the murder rate does generally decline but not disappear. It's a cost/benefit that a society has to come to terms with. If 50% of your population dies violently at the hands of another person in their life time, and banning guns drops that to 25% then that is probably a great move to take. On the other hand if 2% of your population dies violently at the hands of another person in their life time and banning guns drops that to 1.5%, it might be the right move. Still, the society should look hard at what if any benefits guns give and are those benefits worth the extra .5% violent death rate. They just might be.

    I do agree on gun training and think that is one of the huge failings of the NRA. Since they have become the political I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands juggernaut who also offers gun training and safety classes, I think society has become a little Laissez-faire in gun handling. Add that with the paranoia typical of a political movement and the mixture is a serious problem IMHO.

  43. [43] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    One only has to look at cities and states within the US who HAVE strict gun control laws to realize that those laws do not make the public safer...

    A chicken or the egg problem. Did those cities enact strict gun laws because of a high violence rate and those laws not work very well or did the strict gun laws cause the high violence rate?

    In all of those places, strict gun laws only equal more innocent people injured and killed by criminals who, by definition, won't obey the laws anyways...

    Not really true if you look at yearly per capita totals. The statistics are all over the place. To the point that other factors are most likely responsible for the differences.

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Having a well armed society is not going to magically make problems go away.

    Of course not.. But it WILL eliminate a LOT of innocent people raped, murdered, robbed, etc etc etc...

    If you live in a violent society (as we do) do you want limits placed on what YOU can defend yourself and your family with??

    Granted, some limits are reasonable.. I don't think anyone's going to complain if they can't have a cruise missile to defend their home.

    "I built this cruise missile to stop those damn kids from playing ZZ TOP.."
    -Robin Williams, LIVE AT THE MET

    On the other hand, I don't want some ignorant elitest moron who thinks that clips/mags are use-once items to tell me I can only have 7 rounds in which to defend my family...

    And that illustrates another problem with the anti-gun crowd. Those who are pro Gun Control are (for the most part) completely and utterly ignorant of guns...

    I do agree on gun training and think that is one of the huge failings of the NRA. Since they have become the political I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands juggernaut who also offers gun training and safety classes, I think society has become a little Laissez-faire in gun handling. Add that with the paranoia typical of a political movement and the mixture is a serious problem IMHO.

    Agreed.. The NRA does itself a disservice by not emphasizing it's educational aspects..

    Personally, I think weapons training should be pushed in school as much as sex education and diversity is pushed...

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    A chicken or the egg problem. Did those cities enact strict gun laws because of a high violence rate and those laws not work very well or did the strict gun laws cause the high violence rate?

    Regardless of WHY the policies were implemented, it's undeniable that they are not having the desired effect of reducing violent crime..

    In a world free of partisan/ideological bigotry, the thought would come up, "hmmmmmmm Maybe we should train and arm law-abiding citizens"...

    Unfortunately, we live in the world we have, not the world we want..

    Not really true if you look at yearly per capita totals. The statistics are all over the place. To the point that other factors are most likely responsible for the differences.

    Perhaps..

    But the logic that criminals won't obey the law anyways is undeniable...

    Ergo, expecting restrictive gun laws to REDUCE violent crime is not logical.

    One possible solution is harsh penalities for crimes committed with a firearm..

    But, there again, we run into the Leftist/Democrat/Liberal foundation of coddling and rehabilitating criminals...

    That's the problem with the Anti-Gun fanatics. They don't have the stomach for REAL solutions..

    They coddle violent criminals who use guns to commit crimes and demonize and penalize law-abiding gun owners who just want to defend themselves against the very criminals that are coddled by the Left...

    It's a vicious never-ending circle...

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Using your argument, I can just as easily say that PEOPLE are the problem, because if there were no people then people wouldn't kill people, so we get rid of all the people and we won't have any more gun deaths..

    Not really. People that don't have guns are a 0% danger to shooting you with a gun. People that do have guns are a >0% danger of shooting you. It's as simple as that.

    And yes, people are the problem. There are crazy, evil, insane, lunatic, idiotic, desperate people out there. In fact, I'll rephrase that: there are crazy, evil, insane, lunatic, idiotic, desperate law abiding citizens out there ready to snap. And I would rather they aren't able to easily get a lethal weapon to easily kill me with when they do eventually snap. Like the law abiding citizen who walked into Sandy Hook.

    It's a facetious and illogical argument unsupported by ANY facts whatsoever and is akin to a magical wizard will swoop down and eliminate all the guns

    Lol you mean like the retarded argument that a gun acts like a magical wizard with magical bullet proof vest abilities that somehow protect you from a bullet being shot at you?

    The simple fact is, guns are not the problem. Guns serve a useful purpose.

    This is undeniable fact..

    Complete and utter nonsense of the highest level. 99% of people live their lives day to day without the use of a gun. In fact, the majority of gun use comes in the form of entertainment not their being used in any useful form whatsoever.

    Considering how well the anti-gun legislation fared in Congress, I think it's safe to say that my opinion is the majority opinion here in the US...

    Them damn pesky facts again.. Trip ya up every time! :D

    Your understanding of the word 'majority' is as flawed as your understanding of the word 'fact'. But hey, it's Michale-world right and I guess in Michale world 46 votes are a 'majority' over 54 votes lolol. We'll call is a 'Michalority'.

    Bashi,
    Getting rid of guns means nothing if the murderer just stabs, shoots an arrow, slashes with a sword, poisons or kills the victim with a huge array of other methods of causing death.

    Not really. You are assuming that all of these are as lethal and easy to kill someone with as a gun is. You know that is not true. Even people who commit crimes using a weapon without the intention of hurting anyone are more likely to panic and actually hurt someone with a gun than any other weapon.

    If someone tried to mug me with a gun I'd give them what they wanted; if someone tried to mug me with a knife I'd run away as I'm pretty sure I can out-run most people, especially with the adrenalin of being under attack. Unfortunately, I am not faster than a bullet which is why I prefer my would-be attacker not to have a device capable of propelling one towards me at great speed...

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    All the afore is just regurgitated drivel that has already been proven factually false...

    Not really. You are assuming that all of these are as lethal and easy to kill someone with as a gun is. You know that is not true.

    While I can't speak for Bashi, *I* know nothing of the sort. And I *KNOW* it because I have experience in it.. Anyone with an ounce of training or an internet connection can be just as lethal in CQC with a knife as they can with a gun. Many of my contemporaries are as lethal with their hands as they are with a gun..

    You wanna go about banning hands???

    "And god gave us hands.. And he put them on the end of our arms where they would.. ya know.. be handy."
    -Archie Bunker

    If someone tried to mug me with a gun I'd give them what they wanted;

    What if they wanted your wife???

    While I can't speak for you, I know anyone threatened MY wife, they would be dead before they hit the ground...

    It's not just about you, michty... :D

    Michale

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    If someone tried to mug me with a gun I'd give them what they wanted;

    What if they wanted your wife???

    Apologies if that crossed a line..

    I am not one to drag family members into a debate, but I think it's a valid question...

    Many people, myself included, can be cavalier with their own personal safety..

    But if you had to defend a loved one, wouldn't you want the best possible defensive weapon you could have?? If you have a gang of armed thugs approaching you and a loved one are you going to think to yourself, "Damn, I am glad that I don't have a gun. I might have hurt someone!!"

    Or are you going to wish you have the maximum firepower available??

    I think the answer is self-evident...

    Michale

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    Anyone with an ounce of training or an internet connection can be just as lethal in CQC with a knife as they can with a gun.

    Let me amend that to say that anyone with an ounce of training or an internet connection can be just as lethal in CQC with a knife as they can with a gun *against an untrained and/or unsuspecting victim*.

    Don't want anyone to think that one can learn to be a Jack Bauer or a John Reese from watching a YouTube tut... :D

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Many of my contemporaries are as lethal with their hands as they are with a gun..

    Lolol you are seriously arguing that a gun to an average person is less lethal than a knife?? This is about as silly as your argument that a gun is the same as a car.

    The fact that many gun killings are actually by accident tells you how much more lethal they are than a knife - this is despite the fact that people literally use a knife (usually 2-3 times a day) every single day, so you'd expect accidental knife killings to MASSIVELY out-weight accidental gun killings if they were equally as lethal. Of course this isn't the case because the idea that a knife is equally as lethal as a gun is ludicrous.

    Anyway let me ask you one thing. Perhaps you (and other gun supporters on here) might consider that the only reason you think it is fine for human beings to own lethal and deadly weapons is because you grew up in a culture and society where human beings owning lethal and deadly weapons was deemed 'normal' and even encouraged? That perhaps your biases in this area from your own upbringing are leading you to believe that, since all your life human beings owning lethal and deadly weapons was deemed fine then it must be fine...? I think if you could just objectively step back and examine the situation you'd be amazed that you even considered it legitimate or 'normal' for one moment that human beings should have easy access to lethal and deadly weapons. Obviously viewing it objectively isn't possible, which is why the vast majority of people who believe that humans should have easy access to lethal and deadly weapons live in America.

    I could certainly consider the other perspective - that my own biases are leading me to the determination that human beings being allowed to own lethal and deadly weapons is one of the dumbest things I can think of. Maybe I and every single other civilized Western country has got it wrong and America has got it right. Maybe the facts will reverse and homicides will fall in the US, whilst increasing in the rest of the world. It could happen I guess. Just now though the facts are pretty clear though and it's pretty clear that widely available lethal and deadly weapons in America is nothing but a historical accident that has been allowed to continue by becoming ingrained into your society and culture.

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Lolol you are seriously arguing that a gun to an average person is less lethal than a knife??

    No.. I am saying that a knife CAN be as lethal as gun in CQ combat.

    This is a FACT based on experience..

    But this illustrates my point. You don't know enough to be able to form an informed opinion.

    I do..

    Anyway let me ask you one thing. Perhaps you (and other gun supporters on here) might consider that the only reason you think it is fine for human beings to own lethal and deadly weapons is because you grew up in a culture and society where human beings owning lethal and deadly weapons was deemed 'normal' and even encouraged? That perhaps your biases in this area from your own upbringing are leading you to believe that, since all your life human beings owning lethal and deadly weapons was deemed fine then it must be fine...? I think if you could just objectively step back and examine the situation you'd be amazed that you even considered it legitimate or 'normal' for one moment that human beings should have easy access to lethal and deadly weapons. Obviously viewing it objectively isn't possible, which is why the vast majority of people who believe that humans should have easy access to lethal and deadly weapons live in America.

    Possibly..

    But that doesn't change the reality of the here and now..

    Guns are a fact of life in this country.

    Our constitution GUARANTEES that we have the right to own, carry and use such weapons in defense of ourselves and others..

    What the Left proposes would DISARM the law-abiding citizens and leave them at the mercy of those who won't obey the law anyways..

    Where is the logic in that??

    Doesn't it make MORE sense to penalize the criminals and NOT the people who obey the law??

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    Besides, if safety is your watchword, then you should be going after cars and not guns.

    Cars kill 100 times more people than guns do..

    Yea, I know, I know.. Cars are useful, guns are not.

    That is ANOTHER opinion borne of ignorance..

    I don't think you will find ANYONE in Weigantia that thinks guns serve no useful purpose..

    There are approx 1 million cops, agents, deputies and troopers in the United States.

    Add to that about a quarter million Security Officers in the United States..

    Now, add to THAT, the number of gun owners in the United States... 55+ million..

    Now, you simply CAN'T tell me that guns are not part of people's lives here in the United States.

    And here is what is so great about being an American..

    With obvious exceptions, Congress doesn't get to tell Americans what they need and don't need..

    Doing so would be the SUREST way to be defeated in an election..

    You say you need a car.. That's fine. More power to you. But you don't get to decide what other people need.

    In my life, with my past, I *NEED* guns to stay alive and keep my family alive.....

    And even if I didn't, I have the RIGHT to own them.

    It says so in our Constitution...

    Did you ever wonder WHY gun ownership is enshrined *SECOND* in our Constitution? Only Freedom Of Speech/Religion/Press etc is more important than our right to bear arms..

    There is a reason for that...

    Michale

  53. [53] 
    michty6 wrote:

    No.. I am saying that a knife CAN be as lethal as gun in CQ combat.

    Sure. A paper clip CAN be used as a lethal weapon by someone who knows what they are doing. But the average idiot who commits a crime is far more likely to kill you with a gun than a knife. FACT. In fact they are far more likely to kill themselves and their family members too just by owning a gun...

    Our constitution GUARANTEES that we have the right to own, carry and use such weapons in defense of ourselves and others..

    Your constitution stated a lot of things that are complete and utter historical accidents which were reversed as society evolved. Slavery, womens rights etc etc etc.

    Heck, your constitution even states that the right to own a gun must be 'well regulated' - but this part is (for obvious reasons) largely ignored by pro-gun lunatics.

    What the Left proposes would DISARM the law-abiding citizens and leave them at the mercy of those who won't obey the law anyways..

    Where is the logic in that??

    It's the same logic that makes ANYTHING illegal illegal. By your logic we might as well not make ANYTHING illegal 'since criminals will just ignore the law anyway'. Thankfully your logic isn't applied and laws still exist in civilized countries.

    Possibly..

    But that doesn't change the reality of the here and now..

    Guns are a fact of life in this country.

    I'm not disagreeing with this. And to be honest with you the majority of your country clearly believes in gun ownership - if this is the case in a democratic country they should be allowed to own guns and shoot the shit out of themselves. It will take a while but eventually you'll realize this isn't a good idea, like every other civilized country has.

    What I was pointing out is that the fact this is so ingrained into your minds is basically a historical accident that become a cultural and societal norm. If you were actually to take a step back and view the situation objectively (like many other countries have done) there is no way letting humans own lethal and deadly weapons would seem like a logical or rational idea. Just the mere fact that millions of these weapons are pumped out every year (and thus end up in the hands of criminals) because this industry is allowed to exist based on some historical accident is mind-boggling to me. But it will take a while to change because it is so ingrained into your culture just now. That's why many outsiders find it so shocking that owning a lethal and deadly weapon is treated so callously by Americans; and the reason why you don't think this is a big deal is because you were brought up and told it wasn't a big deal. The reason why it is taking America, of all countries, so long to realize this is that, unlike the other countries, guns have been embedded into your culture and society to the extent that they aren't seen as the problem they should be - people in your country aren't able to take an objective step back (except occasionally when horrific events like Sandy Hook occur).

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sure. A paper clip CAN be used as a lethal weapon by someone who knows what they are doing.

    It's useless to discuss the point.. It would be like trying to convince a Neanderthal that Linux is a better OS than Windows...

    The Neanderthal wouldn't have clue one...

    What I was pointing out is that the fact this is so ingrained into your minds is basically a historical accident that become a cultural and societal norm.

    yea and taking a crap in private is also a cultural and societal norm.

    Regardless of WHY guns are so much a part of American culture, the simple fact is, THEY ARE..

    So, it's useless for you to argue that Americans don't need guns.

    Because, A> you are obviously wrong and 2> It's not your place to say anyways...

    Michale

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's useless to discuss the point.. It would be like trying to convince a Neanderthal that Linux is a better OS than Windows...

    The Neanderthal wouldn't have clue one...

    Don't get me wrong. You are ignorant of guns..

    There is no shame in that.

    "There is no dishonor in not knowing everything."
    -SubCommander T'al, STAR TREK TOS, The Enterprise Incident

    Where you ARE wrong, however, is trying to convince people you have an informed opinion, when clearly you do not.

    Michale

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    Gun crime has plunged, but Americans think it's up, says study
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-gun-crimes-pew-report-20130507,0,3022693.story

    Once again, FACTS belay the hysterical anti-gun fanatics..

    Michale

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/05/07/2-va-boys-suspended-for-using-pencils-as-guns/

    Once again, hysterical Left Wing PCism supersedes common sense...

    Michale

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/05/08/exclusive-man-arrested-for-allegedly-shooting-realistic-toy-gun-with-kids-in-queens-park/

    Still more moronic-ness...

    This is why it's so easy to defeat the arguments of the anti-gun crowd..

    It's an emotional argument based on fear and hysteria, not on logic and facts..

    Michale

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