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The Supreme Court strikes down Chicago’s handgun ban. Mayor Daley’s minions enact gun control legislation that makes it damn near impossible for the average Chicago resident to own a handgun. Again. Still. Last night, The Windy City erupted into an orgy of gun violence. The paper lists ten firearms-related incidents that left four dead and 12 wounded. chronicles the Windy City’s abject inability to do anything about the gang-related gun crime plaguing Daley’s patch. If a handgun ban didn’t work, and arming law-abiding citizens is not the answer (as Hizzoner insists), then what IS the answer? Let me guess: more money for social programs and tougher gun control laws. Meanwhile, I ran into a [white] Chicago resident down at the mini-mart. . .

Holding back the Schnauzers, I asked him what he thought of Mayor Daley’s gun control laws. “I’m all for them,” he said. “We’ve got too much gang violence in the city.” Do you think the laws will affect the gangs? “No.” Then why the laws? “It stops gangs from getting guns.” If a total ban didn’t work for twenty-eight years, why will these new laws do anything? “No.”

I was thinking about the disconnect when I heard an NPR radio interview with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. According to the Justice, a recent poll revealed that 67 percent of Americans can’t name the three branches of government. She said we can’t expect citizens to steer their government when they don’t even know how it works. And then it hit me . . .

Most voters think in broad generalities. Guns bad. Ban guns. That’s it. That’s the full extent of their analysis. As long as they don’t have a gun, or want one, they don’t have to think any more deeply about the issue. If the Supreme Court strikes down their city’s handgun ban, they might—I repeat might—know who that is and what they do for a living. Second Amendment rights? Huh?

Pro-gun advocates have a LOT of work ahead of them. They need to think outside the bubble of their own intelligence and understanding. They need to think stupid. OK, uniformed. They need a campaign that shows someone normal holding a gun with the words “Americans. You have the right to own a gun.”

He who educates first, at the simplest possible level, wins. John Lott can tell the media that more guns means less crime, but that’s for the eggheads. At the sharp end, someone’s got to boil the issue down its basic. You can’t connect the dots when you don’t know what a dot is.

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