My latest column for The Week deals with the futility of gun control.
As I write: “Consider what happened the last time we attempted to ban ‘assault weapons.’ Bill Clinton’s assault weapons ban actually didn’t reduce gun violence — nor did its expiration elevate levels. Liberals may sincerely believe ‘common sense’ gun control will make a difference. History suggests otherwise.”
My point was to make the case that gun control simply won’t work. In so doing, however, I only obliquely referenced the political ramifications.
But there’s an interesting political dynamic — and that is that gut gun control could be the best thing to happen to the GOP in a long time.
Let me explain …
Remember, Clinton’s gun ban passed in 1994 (coincidentally, just before the Republican Revolution). To be sure, it wasn’t the sole reason Republicans swept the House, but — coming on the heels of Hillarycare, etc. — it was a symptom of a larger problem for Democrats.
Conservatives don’t like the term “reactionary,” but their success is almost always predicated on liberal overreach. (And liberals typically overreach after a series of wins — once they are no longer “gun-shy” — and become convinced they actually have a mandate to actually impose their ideas. Sound familiar?)
Of course, it is fashionable today to assume America has finally shifted leftward — that recent electoral history is no longer a predictor. And maybe that’s true. (I don’t think we will know for sure until Democrats prove they can replicate Obama’s turnout numbers when he’s not on the ticket.)
Regardless, just as in 2009 and 2010, Democrats will have to win elections in 2013 and 2014 without the president at the top of the ticket. Consider how even “common sense” gun control might play out in gubernatorial races in places like Virginia, or in some of the most hotly-contested races for the U.S. senate.
According to CNN.com,
Among the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014 are (in alphabetical order): Mark Begich of Alaska, Max Baucus of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
Republicans have to hope that because the mainstream media (based in New York City, etc.) are unanimously in favor of gun control, Democrats in places like Montana will be suckered into believing the ground is also shifting in their states.
If liberals get their way, President Rubio or Jindal might just come to office with a Republican House and senate.