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Ladies and gentlemen of the gun rights community, I come before you today with a simple request, a challenge, an exhortation. In the year and years ahead, leave party politics at the door. That’s not to say you should sing the apolitical blues. The rules and regulations that curtail our gun rights are the poisonous fruit of shameless politicians. And I realize that the gun community skews right politically for a reason; traditional conservatives conserve gun rights. But full-throated support of one political party hurts our cause . . .

As with every major issue, both political parties have changed their views on gun rights over time. As Adam Winkler’s book Gun Fight points out, Republicans haven’t always been the gun owner’s best friend. Ronald Reagan ushered in California’s current era of gun control when, as Governor of the Golden State, he signed the Mulford Act of 1967—after a Black Panthers’ open carry display in the California legislature unleashed racially-motivated paranoia.

Reagan happily supported and signed the Brady Bill. “[Back] in 1969, journalist William Safire asked Richard Nixon what he thought about gun control, newsmax relates. “‘Guns are an abomination,’ Nixon replied. According to Safire, Nixon went on to confess that, ‘Free from fear of gun owners’ retaliation at the polls, he favored making handguns illegal and requiring licenses for hunting rifles.'”

Reaching further back in time, even the hawkish NRA was a long way from the “cold dead hands” advocacy group we see today. Thanks in large part to the NRA’s lobbying efforts, there’s now a strong alignment between Republicans and the gun rights movement. But how strong are those ties really? Too strong?

On this blog and the many others that I frequent, I notice the same comment pattern. There are a lot of conservative Republicans, a solid sprinkling of younger Libertarian types (myself included) and one or two liberal trolls who provide the grist for the cavalcade of negative comments, which I have often taken part in. And in this is the problem.

Gun ownership is expanding into traditionally liberal constituencies. The greatest growth in concealed carry is among women. Gay rights groups are getting in on the action, citing the need to protect themselves against hate crimes. Inner city African Americans and Hispanics are gradually understanding (or at least becoming aware of) the “more guns less crime” dynamic.

Plenty of center-left voters have noticed that the predictions of blood in the streets have not followed the expansion of concealed carry. This Supreme Court and Republican-enabled trend is a victory for our side, but it carries within it its own danger. Gun rights cannot succeed permanently unless and until they are a non-partisan issue. Sure, we’re on the winning side for now, but one bad election can change all that.

Many conservatives cannot fathom that anyone who doesn’t agree with them on taxes, gays and muslims could be an ally. But liberal gun rights supporters are the best allies we could ever have.

Far be it from me to suggest that we surrender our beliefs on important political issues. If you’re a Republican, you should stick to your guns on these issues. But gun rights are not a Republican preserve. We should be working constantly to increase the base of support, not drive away potential allies. Our greatest victory will not be when Republicans win an election, but when the Democratic Party will not support gun control any longer.

This is the time to expand our support base into traditionally anti-gun territory. There is no logical reason why the supporters of women’s rights, gay rights and minority rights should not be first in line to exercise their Second Amendment rights. They have the most to gain. But you have it within your power to drive them off, and ensure that this battle has no conclusion, and continues for generations.

So leave party politics out of your communications on gun rights. If someone espouses hoplophobia, by all means, blast away (metaphorically, of course). But remember that when you insult half the political spectrum with [understandable] views on immigration, religion and other contentious issues, you turn our most important potential allies away.

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  1. I’m not sure that secularizing the issue will be advantageous. If both major parties claim to support it, it will become easier and easier for them to compromise more and more. As it stands now, democrats are afraid of the subject and republicans can use the issue to divide the democrat party. Thus they are willing to be more and more ambitious in the expansion of laws recognizing gun rights.

    I see no benefit in keeping politics out of the subject.

    • Oh, I’m not saying keep politics out of it, I’m saying keep other politics out of it. Health Care is not 2A. Immigration is not 2A. Foreign Policy is not 2A. And while positions on those are legitimate, don’t confuse them with gun rights. And for Darwin’s sake, don’t exclude or mock those who support us on 2A based on their views on other issues. Take it elsewhere.

  2. By not being inclusive to all gun owners you end up creating a situation where one group doesn’t care if another groups rights get restricted and vis versa. The same is true when you bring party politics into something that shouldn’t fall along party lines. Being center left my self seeing posts about how one party is the problem has always struck me as odd seen as Regan put into effect the last permanent gun control act. Along with that there are confessional dems that support gun rights, so why discount part of the supporters simply based off of a D after their name.

    • I Kind of like the term confessional dems. Sounds like they need to repent for their poor political choices…

  3. Gun rights cannot succeed permanently unless and until they are a non-partisan issue.

    Yes, I can see it now. Nancy Pelosi and Ron Paul walking hand in hand, singing Kumbaya, strapped. What nonsense.

    Gun rights are a highly partisan issue and, for some of us, the litmus test for politicians. It will remain a partisan issue until one side or the other has finally, definitively and conclusively won. Which is destined to be never. So get over it and fight.

    • The willingness of our elected officials to treat their constituents as responsible adults until proven otherwise should not be a partisan issue.

      I use a politician’s position on the 2nd A as a ‘tell’ regarding their attitude toward nanny-statism and their willingness to infringe our rights ‘for our own good’… and I would very much like to live in a country where disdain for the nanny state and staunch defense of all our rights are givens.

      Go partisan, and eventually the party you’ve tied yourself to will take you for granted.

      • should not be a partisan issue

        There’s no question that it shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but it is. Mitch Schwering said that we’re all being played. I agree. If there wasn’t a 2A conflict, the politicians would have invented it. And that’s why it will not and cannot go away.

        Si vis pacem, para bellum. That’s true whether the war is a shooting one, or the current war of words, ideas and laws. Wishin’ and hopin’ just ain’t gonna get it done. Fight.

        • I agree with you. I’m just saying, we need to ally with everyone we can get FOR this fight. There will always be people who want to ban guns. We have an opportunity to grow our forces and prepare for this battle now, while we’re on the uptick. Excluding or being uncivil to diverse supporters does not make for a better conflict of ideas later. The litmus test for a 2A supporter is the 2A. Not anything else.

  4. Speaking as a “Libertarian” type, I have to agree with Josh. True victory for gun rights will only come when it is not a party issue. However I don’t realistically see that ever happening, at least not within my lifetime.

  5. A very insightful piece. As a gun loving voter that tends to lean to the left, gun control has always been a big problem for me. I feel that we should all feel slightly insulted that we, in all of our diverse views and opinions, could accurately be represented by an either/or, all or nothing, option A/option B, two party system. Gun rights have become entangled with other social rights that have nothing to do with our constitutional right to bear arms. We are all being played, on both the left and right sides of the aisle. In this political climate, every political position, every statement, is a calculated move aimed at furthering said politicians career. Hopefully, more and more will realize how the tides are turning, how more and more gun control is being equated with political suicide. Gun control SHOULD be a non issue, and I think its high time that we gun toting lefties start to make our voices heard.

  6. Much as I would love to see Democrats and liberals in government dump gun control,its never gonna happen and here is why;

    In order for the liberal large government utopia of free shared resource living to exist all participants must yield their property and work output to state control.Without that neceesary step its impossible to allocate scarce resources ‘fairly’ in equal amounts to all citizens,which is the cornerstone of liberal communism.

    Hence only the government can be the bearer of arms in such a society,as only by force can property and work be seized.Without gun control the liberal utopia is literally impossible to enforce or establish.Good luck ‘nationalizing’ a farm owned by a man and family armed with rifles and pistols.

    • “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”- a socialist said this.

  7. I get what our article author is saying, and I’ll even agree that it would be a step in the right direction. However, the whole gun control issue as framed by the democrats is equally a power play as any republican saying gays as a threat to “traditional values”. If it was that easy to give up your mainstays, the Brady bunch would have f-ed off a long time ago and been in the background doing things like getting gun cleaning products on hazmat lists and making a case that reloading is like food production, which is federally regulated.

    Frankly, we the people will only win when political parties don’t have a majority control over the government. And if it takes picking away at the party’s “pillars of stupidity”, then I guess that’s where we start.

  8. Anyone who supports gun rights is an ally regardless of their political party.

    But it cannot be ignored that the Left has taken over the Democrat party, and part of being a leftist is to blame things and inanimate devices, rather than people for every problem. Thus the war against cell phones, SUV’s, oil, and guns. Those folks are never going to change, and they control one political party.

    • I agree 100% with this piece – nice to see that there are others who see that gun rights aren’t – or at least don’t have to be – a partisan issue. Equating the gun rights fight with partisan politics IS counter-productive. There are plenty of centrists and even liberals who could never call themselves current-day Republicans (because, for instance, we’re not weirdly fascinated with what adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms), but who can be converted to supporting gun rights. That’s the friggin point, isn’t it? Self-defense is a human right. People on the left, right and in the middle support free speech, freedom of religion, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and on and on. Why the hell shouldn’t they support the human right to self defense? With a little effort – and if we omit the simplistic and alienating political labeling – I think they will.

      @TeeJaw: The Left has no more taken over the Democratic party than the whacko religious Right has taken over the Republican party. Look at the current crop of Republican candidates. They are in a constant battle to out-crazy and out-ignorant each other (with the possible exception of Ron Paul, who of course is not accepted by the Republican party at all). The whacko Right so owns the GOP that the primary process seems destined to select someone who poses no real threat to Obama. As a member of neither party, I don’t much care, except that it would be nice to have someone intelligent to choose vot for if one isn’t satisfied with Obama. Ain’t gonna happen though.

      • Thanks for putting into words what I am too lazy to do myself!

        The big problem with politics is that both parties have their plantations stocked with their core voters. Dems have blacks, gays, teachers, etc. while the Reps have Christianists, gun-rights advocates, pro-lifers, and capitalists. What this does is keep those groups from coming together with their shared interests. It also makes strange bedfellows.

        For example, I am pro-gun rights and pro-marriage rights for same gender couples. These two do not go together in the current political dialectic.

        My favorite solution is a third and a fourth party along with a dramatic expansion of the House of Representatives so that the districts become much smaller and thus more responsive to voters and less so to the various lobbies.

  9. Great post, thanks, Josh – lots of good food for thought here, and excellent comments as well.

    I even may have to alter my views on some things, guess this ol’ dog can still learn a new trick.

  10. This column is a truly Neville Chamberlain piece of logic. Liberals will never accept gun ownership and for you to try to make nice with the enemies of the second amendment is so “civilized” of you. Please, the NRA supported Harry Reid who continues to do damage to the second amendment by covering up F&F, so how did that work out? Are our gun rights safer with Harry Reid in the Senate? Consider this my last visit to this now “mushy” site. I will be back when you learn the difference between the second amendments friends and its enemies.

    • I will be back when you learn the difference between the second amendments friends and its enemies.

      No offense, Newbie, but why ask us to do something that you can’t?

    • Wow, notice how this is the Author’s first article? Cut him some slack. Now if you can’t stand Farago’s views, then by all means, never come back. But Josh is entitled to his opinion just as you are.

    • Mate, your attitude was what I was talking about. I’m not talking Lions with Lambs here. I’m just saying that this is a gun blog, and we are 2A supporters. While we’re on this blog, and the thousands of others like it, we should cultivate a broad base of support. Your politics, and mine, are perfectly legitimate. Argue them, support them, fight for them. But don’t confuse any other issues with Gun Rights. You call my appeal appeasement, but it is nothing of the sort. To stretch your metaphor, I’m not advocating backing down on one damn inch of gun rights. I’m advocating allying ourselves with people who may be diametrically opposed on many other issues, but are with us on this one. Like…….say, Churchill and Stalin. I know the difference between friends and enemies. I wonder if you do the same.

      • I will admit I probably should have taken deep breath before firing off the comment, it was overly harsh. However, I reiterate that gun owners need to realize we are better off supporting politicians that espouse a philosophy of conservatism-liberatarianism-constitutionalism because at it’s core that philosophy believes in the second amendment. Not all Republicans meet this standard. We have had too many Republicans that have wanted to be liked by the MSM and have not stood up for gun rights and, hence, freedom. Those politicians need to be defeated in the primaries, period. But thankfully there are less and less of them every year.

        But you may ask, what about “moderate” and “conservative” Democrats, isn’t it O.K to support them come election time? Unfortunately history has shown that in most cases when push comes to shove, so called “moderate”democrats will cave to the left wing party and the MSM. You have to look no further than the Obamacare fiasco to see “conservative” and “pro-life” democrats caving in the end to the left wingers after swearing to their constitutents that they wouldn’t. Losing their job did not scare them as much as being kicked off the liberal plantation and the loss of all those post-political career opportunites that are provided by the plantation.

        Of course, I want democrats to be pro second amendment, but the best way to protect the second amendment, in my opinion, is to reduce the power of Washington and unfortunately that goes against the basic purpose of the modern democratic party which is to accumlate power to Washington in order to handout taxpayer funded goodies to their favored groups. Liberals control the party not moderates, if you want to protect the second amendment putting the Democrats in charge jeopardizes our gun rights. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is.

        One last comment, I am from Chicago and met our “fearless leader” when he was a state senator and all I can say is be afraid, be very afraid.

        • My only quibble with your post is that the modern Republican party has also gotten into the ‘accumulate power so we can hand out goodies’ game. It’s a big part of the reason I like the Tea Party- their basic attitude is “get rid of the incumbents”, and IMO the establishment incumbents- not partisanship- is the real problem.

          Too many people have gone to DC to do good, and ended up doing well- both D’s and R’s.

  11. In RI there are more Democrats who are pro gun than Republicans.These aren’t the “progressive”Democrats who are nothing but socialist garbage,but more “ordinary” democrats-many are pro-union,but also socially conservative.
    A RI Republican like Lila Sapinsley(no longer active) was worse on guns,abortion,etc than 90% of the Democrats in the General Assembly.
    Our Democrats in the Federal delegation suck on guns and every other issue.

  12. I will support the Reps when they stop trying to destory the internet, limiting free speech, imposing religion on school children, bashing homosexuals, blaming the downfall of the economy on everyone else, parading around idiots on the national stage. Republicans are just as bad a Democrats, and in a lot of respects worse when it comes to civil liberties. However, their stance on 2a is better than their counterparts and I guess that is something to be proud of.

    • Amazing how they can say they are in favor of freedom and rights when what they mean of course is the implementation of one group’s preferences by government force. That group of course are the Christianists. They happen to like guns, so that’s what the Republicans like.

  13. It’s hard to disagree with Josh’s aspiration. The only difficulty is how things play out in practice. I’m a Republican, but only because they’re slightly less bad than the Democrats, and I happily welcome liberals and Democrats who agree that gun ownership is a fundamental right. In fact, I’ve won over a few just by taking them out to the range. As things are currently constituted, though, it’s pretty obvious which side the majority of political attacks on that fundamental right have come from. And the only thing that’s discouraged them so far is trouncing them in elections. Until the attacks stop, trying to make it non-political is like trying to take politics out of politics. So, Josh, I respectfully dissent, but I hope some day your aspiration is reality.

    • Oh, I have no illusions of the actual parties being worthwhile, or the process being friendly. I’m just saying that we need to be a big damned tent when it comes to 2A issues. Part of that is making spaces like this more politically diverse, and part of that is not jumping down the throats of those who disagree with us on peripheral issues. I say it elsewhere in my comments, the litmus test for 2A support is 2A support, nothing more, nothing less.

  14. I liked your article. I am a life NRA member, a CCW carrier–and a Democrat. In fact, I am a 3rd-generation union member. Of course, if you mention this in a letter to one of our gun magazines, you will be pilloried (often by the editor). Am I to gather that only right-wingers are entitled to love and own guns? I think that the NRA, by its becoming an ATM for the Republican Party, has painted itself into a corner–where its influence is nil during Democratic administrations and majorities. The Dems say “these people are not going to vote for us no matter what we do–so screw ’em.” Instead of an “If you are not with us, you are against us” approach, gun supporters should adopt an “If you are not against us, you are for us” approach–that is a non-partisan approach that looks for the best ways to be effective, no matter who is in office.

    • I agree with you. Slavish loyalty to one party means your vote is not in play so of course you won’t get much attention from either party. Your chosen party will take you for granted and say “at least we try to take care of you” as they sell you out while the other party will vilify you. You gain nothing while if you sold your vote to the highest bidder you would have much more value to the politician.

      Their job, after all, is to get re-elected. By making it easy on them they don’t have to do any work for you.

    • the NRA, by its becoming an ATM for the Republican Party

      Wow, Jim, are you off base. The NRA caught a whole ration of sh!t from traditional Republicans for supporting so many “Blue Dog” Democrats. The NRA responded by saying that it is a one-issue advocacy group that will support candidates who support it’s views regardless of party.

      Don’t be a sucker for Brady propaganda. THe NRA is exactly what it claims to be, and it is in no way a Republican group.

    • My current congressman is an extremely left-wing Democrat, and received the NRA-ILA endorsement, because his 2A votes were generally good (and in the last election, his R opponent didn’t even bother to return the NRA questionnaire). While I do think think the current NRA-ILA endorsement process is too pro-incumbent, it really is independent of party.
      Which is as it should be. It should focus on the single area of interest.

  15. Great article.

    When an issue becomes partisan, people develop opinions on it based on their pre-existing partisan preference. So somebody that doesn’t know anything about guns, crime and gun control will generally adopt the view of their political party.

    This is bad for pro-gun people. People who are gun enthusiasts and knowledgable about guns and gun issues are against gun control. People who don’t think about the issue at all are going to be disproportionately Democrats and thus reflexively adopt the Democratic party position.

    If guns and gun control gets de-coupled from partisan politics then there will be fewer anti-gun people.

  16. This article is kind of similar to how Biden recently said “The taliban isn’t our enemy per se, Al Qaeda is.” And it’s the truth, the Democratic party is not the enemy, the brady campaign, MAIG, and other anti gun liberals are. And the only way we will eventually win is by extending the olive branch to the democrats, (in exchange for support on our wishlist of changes to the current laws). Without the support of mainstream democrats, the anti gun groups will quickly wither and die.

    Personally I think that the republican should give up on gays and the democrats should give up on guns. They are both losing issues and dumping them would allow the politicians to focus back on more important things, like I dunno, passing a budget?

    • I’m not fond of the Taliban or the Democrats, the latter being a wholly-owned subsidiary of George Soros.

  17. Gun rights transcend political affiliation. There is a tendency to believe that left wing = liberal = socialist = Democrat = gun control and that right wing = conservative = capitalist = Republican = gun rights. It’s not that simple. Party philosphies have changed over time. To give just one example, remember that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and Democrats fought racial civil rights for generations. Now, Democrats support favored treatment for minorities while Republicans say it’s enough not to arbitrarily hold them back because of their race.

    There are two concepts that are antithetical to individual, personal gun rights and self defense. Both date from the beginning of the twentieth century although I suspect their origins are far older.

    One is the notion that the world is too complex for the average person to make his own decisions. Instead, he should follow the advice of specialized professionals. To put it in less neutral language, he should live according to the dictates of his moral and intellectual betters.

    The other is communitarianism which holds that people exist only as members of a community rather than as independent, autonomous individuals. That is, you are just another ant in the anthill and, like an ant, your life should be determined by the community (which really means its leaders) rather than by your own goals and interests.

    The practical expression of these two concepts is the position that ordinary people can’t be trusted with guns and that they should be satisfied with whatever protection police can (or can’t) provide rather than defend themselves.

    When evaluating a political candidate or party, I try to separate what can actually hurt me from what I merely dislike. As a result, I tend to support social conservatives over social liberals. I agree with Robert Heinlein who advised people to hold their noses and vote for the politicians they dislike least.

  18. Our greatest victory will not be when Republicans win an election, but when the Democratic Party will not support gun control any longer.
    Our greatest victory will be when the Libertarians win an election, which may be awhile.

    • I’d like to think that, but the truth is, even if we did get a Libertarian administration, we should STILL be a big enough tent for both Dems and Repubs (and anyone else) in support of gun rights.

  19. Supreme Court needs to once and for all quit ignoring the 2A and stating that it applies to the National Guard or the right of Government to have guns.

  20. Perhaps it is best to look upon the subject of civil rights as a political issue that is not necessarily a partisan issue. There will always be people trying to limit the civil rights of others, but they need not be representative of either party until and unless each party platform itself has a position. Currently one party’s platform is fairly strong on the civil right of keeping arms, while the other party’s platform tends to be inimical at best. The Democratic Party platform (2008):

    We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation, but we know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact and enforce commonsense laws and improvements – like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Acting responsibly and with respect for differing views on this issue, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

    The Republican Party platform (2008):

    We uphold the right of individual Americans to own firearms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller affirming that right, and we assert the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. We call on the next president to appoint judges who will similarly respect the Constitution. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend themselves, their property, and communities. We call for education in constitutional rights in schools, and we support the option of firearms training in federal programs serving senior citizens and women. We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of the Armed Forces who have suffered trauma during service to their country. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, which are transparent attempts to deprive citizens of their rights. We oppose federal licensing of law-abiding gun owners and national gun registration as violations of the Second Amendment. We recognize that gun control only affects and penalizes law-abiding citizens, and that such proposals are ineffective at reducing violent crime.I think that Josh is correct that there will be significant progress when both parties support the civil right of weapons ownership and use. Right now, there are definite differences. It is the task of rights-supporting Democrats to either work on changing their party’s platform (and politicians), or to consider how important the issue is for them. I also am not a single-issue voter, although civil rights are very high on my significance list, so I recognize the need for trade-offs. I do think that Skyler also has a good point, and something to be wary of.

  21. One thing that came up in Guns and Ammo is a blog on the female equation in the gun sport and industry that is being overlooked.
    I do think the gun industry has ignored Women in the past and we need to get more Girls in Hunter Safety.
    Gun manufacturers need to design models for Women. Ithaca is one of the few to do this. The Nylon 66 was a good gun for girls and was discontinued by Remington.

    • The Nylon 66 was a good gun for girls and was discontinued by Remington.

      The Nylon 66 was my first rifle, so it was also good for boys.

  22. Josh,

    Well said. I prefer to think of us as brothers and sisters in arms, united in a common belief that we have the right to protect ourselves and participate in sport.

    And, if an errant round happens to strike me at the range, I don’t want to think about how the person stuffing quick clot into my gut voted in the last election. It won’t matter, and if I’m the one addressing your wound, I’d advise you not to think about it, either. You or I may never know, or never need to know how we think about politics. It’s self- evident how we feel about guns and the shooting sports. On that ground alone we can and should coexist.

    • I don’t want to think about how the person stuffing quick clot into my gut voted in the last election.

      If the guy stuffing you with Quick Clot works for or was shooting at the range, you don’t have to guess how he voted.

  23. As a left leaning environmentalist gun owner who attends occupy protests and one day wants to own a machine gun, I thank you for this post.

  24. I’ve heard it said before that you should vote the party despite different voting patterns from individual politicians.

    The reason is that you don’t know what games are played in the back room. Say there is a contentious gun vote coming up in the house and the Republicans have counted their votes and realized they have votes to spare and still win. They might tell the representative from Massachusetts to go ahead and vote against it to appease his liberal base since they have it covered.


  25. Ralph,

    I’m not aching to cross swords with you, but comment I must.

    I read and enjoyed your “Travel” piece here on 12/28 and based on that I respect your thought process, but if you are saying that anyone who would render aid to an injured shooter would be of only one mind politically, you are wrong, based on my experience. I belong to three gun clubs and I am certain there is no voting unanimity, majority maybe, but not unanimity. The point is that we don’t have to think the same on all issues to have some issues on which we can jointly agree.
    (Like our enjoyment of TTAG, among others!)

    • Well said, I happen to live in an area of Michigan that is solid blue, due to the unions. There are hundreds and thousands of avid hunters and shooters here, all of whom are lifelong Democrats. I may disagree with them over other things, but they are the reason I have Must Issue here in Michigan. It couldn’t have been done without their side of the isle.

  26. I love this post. Bravo, sir. Well said. But, one other thing occurs to me…

    It’s not enough for center-left 2nd amendment supporters like myself to bang on the door of sites like TTAG and say, “let me in, let me in.” I mean, it’s great to read posts like this one, posts that say that I am (or should be) welcome at TTAG and sites like it, regardless of my party affiliation, because I am a gun-owner and 2nd amendment supporter and CHP holder, etc. But, more needs to be done, and PEOPLE LIKE ME HAVE TO DO IT.

    People like me have to stop banging on TTAG’s door, and start banging on our neighbors’ doors. We need to turn around and take the message of 2nd amendment support BACK to our own neighborhoods… back to our democratic friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues.

    As I have grown older, I’ve started to listen more closely to the anti-gun rhetoric of my democratic friends, and it’s wrong… THEY are wrong. I need to take more risks with those friends. I need to identify more often and more strongly with those who support the 2nd amendment. My friends may not all understand, or they may not understand at first, but it’s a battle that I have to fight more often than I do.

    • Well said, and I do it to. I don’t hide my pro-gun politics from anyone. For that matter, I don’t hide my leftist (by U.S. standards, maybe center left in Scandinavia, Commie by TTAG standards) politics from anyone.

      Funny thing is, I don’t find that many of my fellow lefties who object to guns. The hip, urban, 25-45 set in Portland seems pretty much down with 2A. Mostly, they don’t own guns, but they’re interested in going shooting, and not particularly afraid. Granted, this is not a scientific study, but I’d say that liberal gun grabbers do no represent leftists in general.

  27. As I have said elsewhere in these posts:
    “Insofar as our Second Amendment Rights, we should all view the Government that seeks to disarm the American People it governs as tyrannically contemptuous of the intelligence and responsibility of the vast majority of law-abiding Recreational Shooters and Hunters. A properly minded government has no reason to fear such a populous and should never pander to the lowest common denominator of the minority who use firearms criminally or irresponsibly.”

    This thread is exactly on the right track. This is a matter of how we conceptualize our freedoms. It does not matter to me what a person chooses to do about gun ownership, own a gun(s) or choose not to. What DOES matter is that each American Citizen has the choice to make freely. Freedom to Choose is key to all the aspects of any valid definition of Personal Freedom. Accepting the consequences (moral and legal) of our free choices is the mitigating corollary.

    When a Nation of People allow the Government to become the arbiter of the choices they can make (particularly where the notion of “Public Safety” is concerned), they embark upon a path that enables the Government to arrange things to the convenience and security of that Government and freedom for the People is thereby eventually rendered meaningless. We have seen this happen in many instances in the last Century.

    So, this is not a Political debate, but should be, as suggested in the article and posts above, a normative, philosophical debate about just what the concepts of being a Nation of Free People means. Once we are clear on that, we have the guiding principles upon which to formulate political decisions correctly.

  28. “Gun rights cannot succeed permanently unless and until they are a non-partisan issue. Sure, we’re on the winning side for now, but one bad election can change all that.”

    Josh, you will be disappointed if you seek permanence in human affairs.

    “Many conservatives cannot fathom that anyone who doesn’t agree with them on taxes, gays and muslims could be an ally.”

    Here you have overstated your case. Such people surely exist among 300 million but I personally don’t know any. It seems that you conflate ideology and party affiliation. They are not the same. Politics is compromise and the place where most conservatives go to find allies is the Republican Party. They may not like the candidates and they know that there are other Republicans who don’t share all their principles but they compromise.

    Aside from this basic misunderstanding I agree with you that we should broaden our base as much as possible. You are right in your demographic observations. I will always try to convince others that we share the same human rights including the right to self-defense—even as we disagree about many other things—and I hope that some will see it my way. But I have a long history with leftists and statists and I won’t hold my breath. By definition, if somebody believes that a strong state is the solution to man’s problems he logically cannot support such challenge to the state monopoly on power and nothing I could say will change it.

    These things are intertwined, you see?

    • You do make a good point mate, but I think you overstate the average person’s political consistency. Most people (liberal or conservative) don’t have consistent views, and don’t put that deep of thought into it. I’ve had quite good luck with my liberal friends teaching them to shoot, and getting them involved at least peripherally in gun rights. I may have not swung many votes to our side, but I can guarantee they’ll think twice before supporting any gun control measures. Most of them have never handled a weapon in real life before, one young lady was so nervous she broke out in tears after she fired her first shot, and I had to grab the weapon, she was shaking so badly. She calls me once a month to ask me to take her to the range now. I know from personal experience, this opportunity is real. It may not be permanent (depending on your time scale) but if we can buy fifty years of pro-gun policy, what does it hurt to be friendly?

      • @ Tarrou, what you are doing is awesome. Taking them to shoot and see that firearms can be safe when used properly and treated with respect can be fun and provide a lifetime of great recreation and camaraderie. We should all strive to take a friend, colleague or neighbor shooting in 2012. Grassroots education and understanding of the issue is the best approach. Thanks for what you are doing!

      • I agree, Tarrou. I live in a very liberal town and I keep inviting people to our range. They rarely take me up on it but I’ve seen the blind opposition to guns drop among my neighbors—I believe for much the same reasons Josh listed. I’ll be taking a liberal friend and his wife shooting in the next few weeks. He has not been around guns since his childhood. My comment about leftists and statists was aimed at the ideologically hardened ones of whom I know plenty. But there is also the opposite effect of the current mess—self-described liberals realizing that some of their favorite big government recipes did not quite work. And just as you said: If we could get 50 years of pro-gun policy I’d be happy with that. The next generations will have to make their own arrangements and we can only hope they won’t screw things up more than our generation did.

        Meanwhile, let’s go on living and shooting!

  29. I find myself leaning left on a lot of issues lately. The hard line Christian stance that the neo cons are pushing for has alienated me from the republican party. I have Christian beliefs myself but I will not live in a “Christian” country and I feel like that is where these fools want to take us.

    I think that Obama could nail down his chances for reelection if he either signed the CCW reciprocity bill(assuming it gets to him) or promised to always veto a future assault weapons ban or gun registration bill.

  30. I am a former legal permanent resident (green card holder) turned naturalised US citizen. I have been involved in grassroots legislative reform in my state since early 2006.

    Something I learned early on is: “what happens on the floor of the legislature is for show”. The results of the vote have already been locked in – to paraphrase a commenter here “the delegate from Mass can throw away their vote to appease their constituents because it doesn’t matter”. This is consistently replicated across all local legislatures as well as Congress.

    Party politics in this country are absurd. In 8 out of 10 cases, D or R will agree. 2/10 is only a difference if you think that Budweiser is different to Coors. Tea Partiers, Occupiers – they are just window dressing on a political system which only serves to lock in the existing power structure while presenting a pretence of choice to the electorate – well, you have the choice of *all* the beers, right? Bud, Miller, *and* Coors!

  31. Beautiful post. I’ve said it before, but I am a part of a traditionally anti-gun demographic: a liberal, late twenties, highly educated, mixed race, San Franciscan artist. I’m also an avid supporter of the second amendment and the wider constitution. I belong to both the ACLU and the NRA.

    As I see it, the most important thing that gun owners can do is politely and intelligently bring more and more moderate liberals around to the cause. I’ve done so many times- in fact I have a fellow artist (A Berkeley resident who sports a mohawk and had actually stated that he respects England “because they don’t have guns”) coming with me to the range for his first time this weekend. It’s possible to bridge party lines, it just takes reason, compassion and a bit of time. Time that, in my opinion, is very well spent.

  32. Stuart sez:

    “Something I learned early on is: “what happens on the floor of the legislature is for show”. The results of the vote have already been locked in – to paraphrase a commenter here “the delegate from Mass can throw away their vote to appease their constituents because it doesn’t matter”. This is consistently replicated across all local legislatures as well as Congress.”


    I have always voted Republican, due to A) the 2A issue, and B) the fact that in my experience, wherever the D’s are in charge, property taxes and everything else they regulate are much higher.

    That said, none of the politicians are to be trusted. I want to join with like-minded D voters to secure our collective rights.

    If we all get to communicating (voters, that is) I am sure we will find that most firearms enthusiasts, proponents of self-defense, and sports shooters everywhere want the maximum amount of liberty.

    This battle for liberty could be made a lot easier if the D voters and the R voters joined forces against the common enemy of freedom everywhere – the self-serving politician.

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