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The Insiders
Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 01/09/2013

Gun control: The GOP’s next chance to be called ‘the stupid party’

I think a Republican needs to say that Alex Jones is a nut.  Alex Jones is a nut. And unfortunately, he is exactly what gun control advocates on the left need to prove their point.  Or as Alexandra Petri from The Post artfully put it, "Sometimes the best argument against an argument is its adherents.” What Jones lacks in coherence, he tries to make up for in volume. But in today’s quest for TV ratings, he is one of the few people who can make a Piers Morgan show interesting.  Interesting in the train wreck sense, not interesting as in informative. 

With the Obama administration showing no urgency to work on economic issues and no sincerity on immigration issues, it looks like there could be a serious attempt to enact new federal gun-control legislation. And given the justifiable emotional reaction to the Sandy Hook shooting, the idea of doing something instead of nothing currently has momentum. Republicans have to be careful, or we will end up on the wrong side of common sense. We need to recognize the weakness of the argument that dozens of laws were broken by the Sandy Hook shooter, and accept that in the face of tragedy, a call for action is rational.

Gabrielle Giffords, who is leading one such call, is a reasonable, credible advocate who doesn’t have the baggage that the usual suspects on the left — like Piers Morgan — have. She and husband Mark Kelly have launched a gun-control advocacy group with the fairly moderate goal of working with leaders to balance the gun lobby and reform gun laws.  As they state in their op-ed, found in yesterday’s USA Today, “We don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: Responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.”

In politics, a bumper sticker beats an essay. And the bumper stickers “Fewer bullets,” “Fewer assault rifles” and “Keep guns out of the hands of crazy people” are pretty compelling — especially when the left is aided by Second Amendment advocates like Jones.  His rant against Piers Morgan on Monday night was cartoonish and it served Piers Morgan better than it did defenders of the Second Amendment. British subject Piers Morgan is not a good asset for the left. He is a condescending, predictable, tiresome, lecturing agent of the left.  The only thing that gives a lift to Morgan’s show and bestows relative credibility to his leftist view of what America should do is his occasional engagement with crackpots like Jones.

Anyway, Morgan is not the problem. The fact is, gun control advocates could probably pass new gun ownership restrictions if they really want to. But they have to discipline themselves in order to keep from overreaching. They also have to decide if they want a bipartisan effort to enact a new law or if they just want to use the issue to beat up Republicans. The left may find it irresistible to pass up the chance to promote a fringe caricature like Jones. They may prefer to showcase him as the voice of conservative Second Amendment advocates and ruin the chance for a bipartisan effort rather than take smaller steps and pass the kind of gun laws that they believe would make America safer.

By  |  10:40 AM ET, 01/09/2013

 
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