Beware the conservative echo chamber!
I hope the coming weeks prove me wrong, but I fear they won't. The local news played a clip of a pro-gun guy saying that cooler heads will prevail, people will realize these bans are crazy, and move on. I think he is wrong.
I went to a public school PTO meeting in "the heart of Texas" this morning which, while suburban, is the deepest red possible, as our county went for Romney 80-20 versus Obama.
At the meeting, the tone amongst some of these mothers was borderline panic. The principal spent 30 minutes explaining how security had been beefed up since Newtown, what security was to come, and how the district had set up several subgroups to look at options. Another 30 minutes was spent as bulletproof glass, hiring security if the district wouldn't, putting in metal detectors -- all raised by parents who felt that money could be no object to turn our suburban elementary school into a fort. A mom or two mentioned the possibility of staff being armed, which I understand will be discussed in the next legislative session.
The suggestions were tabled, and after the meeting I spoke with a few moms I have known for several years. Now, I know some "mama bear" types with CHLs. These were not those types of moms. The conversation quickly turned to voicing incredulity that a school might not be a gun-free zone, banning automatic weapons, and commenting that if you can't hit an animal with one shot in your hunting rifle, you shouldn't hunt. My comments -- about the false security of gun free zones, the fact that semi-automatics are old technology, and that it's not the guns (of which there have been millions in circulation for decades) but the people -- were received politely, but I doubt they registered.
To us and the pundits we agree with, it is sheer folly - not to mention unconstitutional - to ban "assault weapons," large magazines, handguns, and the like.
That said, I have seen the other side. To me, it's like asking 15 years ago if denying a 30-something grad student at an elite private school free contraception was a civil rights issue. That which would have been laughed at then, and was laughed at by us this past summer, was deemed not only reasonable but worth a speaking slot at the Democrat convention.
The good Texas Republican moms I spoke with today were utterly clueless about guns, well-meaning, and likely not more than a hair's breadth away from going whole hog for some sort of liberal gun-grabbing claptrap because it's for the children. I can look at statistics and see that gun violence is falling, that more guns equal less crime, and the like. I can see how the right to bear arms is in the Second Amendment, meaning it's pretty darn important in the minds of the founders. I can go to the gun range and see people that think like me, but our echo chamber prior to the election didn't keep us from being utterly disappointed when our theories that polling did not reflect the electorate were vaporized.
There is a move afoot amongst the political and media elites to make gun control the new abolition or civil rights movement, and we'd be fools to think they are not serious. Constant pounding on this tragedy is an attempt to generate real fear among the uninformed that all of our kids are a psycho's bad day from being gunned down.
My logic of "the gun free zone does not make you safe" does not comfort these moms.
My observation that bigger magazines is not the issue does not comfort these moms.
My observation that there are millions of guns in the country and statistically few deaths by guns does not comfort these moms.
My sense is it reinforces the left's message - no one is safe, there are guns everywhere just waiting to claim your child, and no slight tweak of the law will keep a mad man at bay. Why spend millions of dollars we don't have to beef up schools, or add guns to the school, when it could all be so simple - we could just be rid of them! It beats outfitting the kids with bulletproof backpacks!
Our adversaries are not idiots - they know the prior ban was political kabuki. They are not going to let this crisis go to waste without a fight. Think that "rich white guys" is an overused meme? Try crazies who would prefer to put your kids at risk than give up their antiquated notion of rights. It will resonate more than we think, and God bless our Senators and Congressmen on the front lines of this battle. It will not be easy for them.