There’s literally no issue in America that the galaxy brains at Vox can’t address with a, uh, liberal application of bigger, more intrusive, increasingly authoritarian government action and spending.
And few of those issues inspire more ambitious thinking on the part of the Voxen than that pesky, uniquely American “problem” of civilian gun ownership.
Gun control policies that don’t confront the core issue — that America simply has too many guns — are doomed to merely nibble around the edges. Everywhere in the world, people get into arguments. Every country has residents who are dangerous to themselves or others because of mental illness. Every country has bigots and extremists. But here, it’s uniquely easy for a person to obtain a gun, letting otherwise tense but nonlethal conflicts escalate into deadly violence.
To change the status quo, Democrats should go big. They need to focus on the abundance of guns in the US and develop a suite of policies that directly tackle that issue, from licensing to confiscation to more aggressive bans of certain kinds of firearms (including, perhaps, all semiautomatic weapons or at least some types of handguns).
I am not naive. I don’t think that this would lead to sweeping Australian- or UK-style gun control legislation passing in 2021. But this broader conversation has to start somewhere.
The time is now. The NRA is in chaos, as its leadership is caught in a civil war. The Parkland, Florida, activists have forced guns into the spotlight. A recent Morning Consult poll found that Democratic voters put gun violence second only to climate change as the issue they wanted to hear about in the first debates.
Just like Bernie Sanders helped launch discussions about single-payer and free college in 2016, a push in 2020 could help get the party to where it needs to be on this issue if it really wants to address America’s gun problem.