March 13, 2013

At some superficial level, especially given the high levels of emotion surrounding the Sandy Hook shootings, most Americans support the notion of having more gun safety rather than less gun safety. I avoid the term “gun control” here since no one really knows what that is. The most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 52 percent of Americans favor stricter gun control.  And Democrats use some obviously appealing words and phrases to demagogue, including “assault weapons” and “30-round magazines” to raise more public support for their gun control measures. I don’t mean to insult voters, but I doubt if a majority of Americans know with any precision what the gun laws are in their jurisdictions.

Anyway, the mass shootings — like the one at Sandy Hook — that have been occurring in growing numbers over the years should present an opportunity for Americans to reflect on what we can do to make our communities safer. Democrats like Hilary Rosen should take on Hollywood’s glorification of gun culture, not to mention the “how-to” aspect to gun handling that’s taught to kids and others in the movies. And the negative effects of desensitizing the population to gun violence is obvious. But it is what it is, and Democrats won’t talk about that.

And Republicans won’t budge much on this issue for fear of offending powerful groups like the NRA. They also don’t want to frighten gun owners who sincerely believe that gun confiscation and the de-arming of the population is what President Obama and many Democratic leaders secretly want to achieve.

Politically, as I said back in January, I wish the Republicans could think of something affirmative to do on gun safety that would show suburban mothers and others they are working to make their communities safer. But most of what the Democrats are suggesting, like enhanced background checks, only amounts to the harassment of citizens who just want to protect their families, their homes and themselves.

See the smart piece by Time magazine’s Massimo Calabresi, where he gives a succinct overview of the state of play of the politics of new gun laws as of March 11.  He predicts that these efforts will end with a whimper, not a bang – no pun intended, I’m sure.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.