This is a surprisingly fatuous argument about the Democrats’ appetite for more gun control laws if and when they flip the Senate. Any newly elected Democrat Senators will have no trouble at all signing on to gun control legislation with their party in control.
However, we can’t solely point to Biden for our lack of gun control dialogue in this fraught moment. As a people, we Americans don’t rush to debate the issue after most shootings. We only do it after public mass shootings. A public mass shooting is a form of domestic terrorism, designed to terrorize the public. The media obliges, and the public tunes in. Gun control and gun rights advocates seize the traumatic moment to press their respective cases. Eventually, the media focus shifts elsewhere and the debate subsides, only to resurge after the next public mass shooting.
Since what happened in Kenosha and Portland were limited in scope, we aren’t seeing any public pressure on politicians to turn their attention to gun control. But this is not a new problem for gun control activists. The vast majority of deaths from guns are suicides. Many more gun deaths stem from domestic violence, other crimes and accidents than from public mass shootings. Yet advocates for gun control haven’t figured out how to draw attention to that daily violence, in between the far less frequent but more traumatic episodes. That takes the pressure off of Biden and his fellow Democrats to press the issue now.
Yet if they don’t emphasize gun control now, they can’t easily argue next year that they have a broad mandate, cutting across political and cultural fault lines, to act. Any newly elected Democratic senators may not be so eager to sign on to gun control legislation, especially partisan legislation, for fear of losing tenuous support at home.
– Bill Sher in After Kenosha & Portland, Why Aren’t We Talking About Guns?