Frame the debate. And get emotional.
Conservatives should be outraged about Sandy Hook. This wasn’t a hurricane or a volcano. Those innocent kids were murdered. What happened in Connecticut wasn’t an unforeseeable act of nature. It was preventable. When Biden points at dead kids and mourns, Republicans should point and speak. Ask a question: Why were those kids defenseless? How can this happen? Then answer it: It happened because naïve, utopian lawmakers wrote manifestly stupid laws which restricted guns, making children in public schools an easy target for madmen. Those murders were facilitated by a politically correct, anti-gun culture that pervades the public sector. Republicans must get outraged because what happened is outrageous.
Whoever frames the debate wins. Republicans generally let Democrats do the framing. In the coming debate, the frame could be Guns are bad. Something must be done. But it could also be Bad laws endanger kids.
In the interest of being civil, conservatives typically shy away from getting emotional and pointing fingers. Democrats are shrill and hysterical whenever they are awake, so conservatives see themselves as a natural yin to the liberal yang. But this relationship isn’t natural. It’s just a habit — one that conservatives need to kick.
President Obama was suspiciously silent on guns in his first term, but, as he told Dmitry Medvedev, November 2012 was his “last election.” Now he has “more flexibility.” Obama’s scope has been fixed on “the rich” for the last 18 months, but his aim is now squarely fixed on a new target. Obama’s political arsenal is readying for battle. Gun owners don’t have to lose, but they will if they fight conventionally.
Yates Walker is a conservative activist and writer. Before becoming involved in politics, he served honorably as a paratrooper and a medic in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.