But they don't seem interested in going on offense.
There are currently two aspects to the growing gun control debate. One has to do with banning assault weapons and the other has to do with 'gun free zones'. The National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre chose to focus on the the latter and all but completely avoided the former. That was a mistake because it ignores a central component in the debate. If it can be made clear why assault weapons should be legal, it can be more easily made clear that 'gun free zones' must either cease to exist or be protected with armed security, which is what LaPierre is advocating.
The left is throwing hay makers in the gun control debate and the right is either throwing jabs or covering up. When gun control advocates question gun rights proponents about whether assault weapons should be available, the response inevitably involves something about the gun not being the problem and that the maniacs who use them irresponsibly is the problem.
The default position always seem to be tried and true platitudes: Guns don't kill people; people kill people. In the case of NRA's Wayne LaPierre, the takeaway line in his speech was:
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."It's a good line that happens to be true but it won't shift the debate or put the left on its heels, which is what needs to happen. Unless at least one of those two things happen, nothing will happen.
First up, how to shift the terms of the debate. The reason for the second amendment is either not understood or it is ignored by those who support gun control. Its purpose is not enunciated - though it is known - by those who oppose gun control.
When one takes the verbiage of the second amendment and couples it with verbiage found within the body of the Declaration of Independence, the true reason why assault weapons should not be banned is made clear.
AMENDMENT IIThe reason for the second amendment can be found in the Declaration:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
...when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.Our founding fathers wanted the citizenry to be armed so that it could defend itself from a tyrannical government. LaPierre knows this and so do gun rights advocates but they seem to be either incapable or unwilling to say it. Assault weapons aren't necessary for hunting or even for home defense but they would be necessary if the Government turned on its people. That forces want to take those weapons away at a time when corruption and wickedness in the U.S. Government is as high as its ever been, bold red flags should be raised.
Essentially, the only real argument in response to that from the gun control crowd is one that says there will never be any danger of the U.S. Government becoming tyrannical like King George was or that people who fear such a thing are being paranoid. That is a losing position. Any government can become tyrannical. In fact, most do.
Yet, the argument isn't made by the most prominent of second amendment advocates.
LaPierre focused on home protection from intruders but that is not an argument for the legality of assault weapons, which is what the other half of the debate which the left is focused on. The argument for assault weapons is the citizenry protecting itself from a repressive government. LaPierre didn't make that case.
That's how the debate could be shifted. As for putting the left on its heels, Operation Fast and Furious would do that. The Obama administration - along with the media - has stonewalled getting to the bottom of it. The ATF / DOJ didn't just send assault weapons to Mexican drug lords. The guns that were allowed to 'walk' across the border included .50 calibers, which are far more powerful than the assault weapons the left wants to see banned in the U.S.
After watching the second amendment come under attack, LaPierre gave a speech one week after the Sandy Hook shootings. What he didn't mention in that speech was the lack of media / left-wing outrage at the government-sanctioned, Fast and Furious, which is responsible for hundreds of deaths in Mexico.
Again, LaPierre knows the truth about that operation but he chose not to contrast it with what gun control advocates are doing in the wake of Sandy Hook.
LaPierre's speech is below; it starts shortly after the 1:00 mark. At about the 4:55 mark, some Code Pink whacko interrupts and holds a banner that says, 'NRA Killing our Kids'. Medea Benjamin, another Code Pink whacko who supported the 2010 Gaza flotilla does the same thing at around the 11:00 mark. Code Pink has been conspicuously absent over the last two years when it came to Fast and Furious.
Now for another example of a gun rights advocate in a position of power choosing not to enunciate a winning argument (relevant portion of exchange begins around the 10:00 mark). Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) was on with the Morning Joe crew and when the discussion turned to the subject of whether assault weapons should be banned, Huelskamp so twisted himself into pretzels that he ended up having to defend himself against charges from host Joe Scarborough that Huelskamp was accusing the host of politicizing the shootings. Fast forward to the 10:25 mark to watch Huelskamp tie his own hands behind his back.
At the 11:40 mark, Scarborough asks the congressman why Americans need assault weapons. Instead of explaining why the founding fathers wanted the citizenry to have the right to bear arms or throwing Fast and Furious right back into Scarborough's lap, Huelskamp - who is obviously championing a pro-Constitutional agenda - punts.
At the 12:40 mark, Scarborough even gave Huelskamp the chance to argue for the constitutionality of assault weapons being legal. Instead of saying WHY the second amendment allows for it, Huelskamp glosses over it and then argues that Sandy Hook should not be politicized. Scarborough takes offense and Huelskamp loses the argument because he didn't use the correct one.
In fact, by avoiding the argument that should have been made, Huelskamp actually made it worse for himself. As for the shootings being exploited by the left, Huelskamp should have pointed to Nadler as the perfect example. Instead, he let Scarborough control the debate.
Now, after watching that, have a look at this answer to a question at the Miss Universe Pageant by Miss Venezuela. She seemed to have the same problem Huelskamp did, though to a much greater and more obvious degree. The question was:
If you could make a new law, what would it be and why?The question was potentially quite politically charged. If Miss Venezuela would have done what Carrie Prejean did and answered by giving her true beliefs on a social issue, for example, there would be a backlash she obviously didn't want - based on her response.
Instead, viewers were treated to an incoherent answer that included an obscure surfing reference.
Here's a transcript of her answer, via MediaIte:
“I think that any leys there are in Constitution or in life, are already made. I think that we should have, uh, a straight way to go in our similar, or, eh, in our lives as is this. For example, I’m a surfer, and I think that the best wave that I can take is the wave that I wait for it. So please do our only, eh, law that we can do. Thank you, Vegas!”Enjoy.