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All quiet on the gun control front ahead of midterms

Written By | Oct 29, 2014

WASHINGTON October 28, 2014 — Today, if you type the words “gun control” into Google, you will yield scant results. The main story is a CNN article from three days ago about Chrissy Teigan, followed by gun control pieces by the Chicago Sun-Times, and the New York Times but that is hardly news. Today, gun control is eerily quiet in the media.

This comes as somewhat of a surprise. In the last six weeks there has been plenty to write about for those groups and individuals whose job it is to put pen to paper over the gun control debate. In Pennsylvania a man shot and killed a police officer, and there were no shouts for gun control. In Washington State, a high school Homecoming prince shot and killed two fellow students. In California, two deputies were shot, one killed, by a man during a suspicious vehicle stop outside of a hotel.

These are high profile cases, the type of high profile cases which usually calls down the thunder of Liberal, ant-gun pundits in the media who call for change. These are usually the cases where you would hear the media thundering from above for reform. These are cases where you would hear politicians getting up on their soap boxes and demanding action.

But all we are hearing is crickets.

In a time when the President and the Liberals in Congress should be butting up against efforts from the Conservative right to block any attempt at legislating the problem away, we are hearing the same thing over and over again from both potential and incumbent politicians.

Middle class, jobs, America, together.

So is it that Wayne Lapierre is not suffering from another onslaught from Sen. Feinstein? Why is it that President Obama has not come out to publicly condemn all forms of gun violence in the country and promise action? Why is it that Hillary Clinton has not made a statement?

This is an election year, one which could swing the balance of power significantly in the favor of the Republicans in Washington as well as in several key governors’ races. One of the most toxic and divisive issues in recent memory is the gun issue. Those mentioned above, Feinstein, Obama, Clinton, are among the chief proponents of gun control. This time last year they would not have missed a chance to speak out against illegal gun use by condemning legal gun owners. They happen to be particularly skilled at blaming law abiding citizens for the actions of murders and drug dealers, however recently they are silent, and they are silent for a simple reason.

You can’t stay a rising Republican tide with the gun issue.

Democrats are scared. As it stands now, President Obama could be looking at a two year lame duck Congress and a Democratic party slowly backing away from him like the smelly kid on the playground. Democrats are trying to make the race about the gains they have made in healthcare, and about keeping up work on the economy. Republicans are doing their best not to step on their own toes by hammering the Democrats on the arguments that healthcare is a mess, and the economy is and has been weak. The last thing that the Democrats want to do is bring up the gun issue.

In a country where around forty percent of homes are armed, where firearms owners are represented heavily by several special interest groups, going after legal gun owners has not proven to be a particularly lucrative political endeavor. The last round of gun control legislation to come to the floor was so politically toxic that Harry Reid would not even touch it. The most major of the pieces, an “assault weapon” ban, did not even make it to the floor.

However those efforts took a sincere amount of political clout to even attempt. Favors had to be called in, backs had to be scratched and so on. We were told that without these new laws the declining crime rate would continue to climb to apocalyptic levels. However as we have seen that is not the case. Crime continues to fall despite the best wishes of gun control proponents.

What does all of this tell us? What does it mean that after several high profile cases of gun violence, the national gun control proponents are not pushing gun control politicians to pass gun control in Congress?

It tells us that gun control, when it comes down to it, is not a popular endeavor. All of the doomsday preaching and hell raising that gun control advocates cry whenever a high profile case comes around seems to fall eerily silent within sight of an election. If politicians and pundits really thought that the people wanted gun control, they would be demanding action on the issue no matter the proximity to Election Day.

If the Republicans take the Senate then it is possible we won’t hear the phrase “gun control” for a while. If they don’t, then expect another go at gun control within the first year after elections. The Democrats will see the push back against Republicans as a sort of sign to move against gun control despite never having mentioned it during the campaigns. The issue of gun control is there, but we just can’t see it.

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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a BA from Catholic University in DC and an MA form George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, both in history. When he not getting his hands dirty in 2nd Amendment and firearms news he is doing his best to take a crack at some drive-by political analysis. And every now and then he may or may not review a low end bourbon for the tax write off. Sit back, relax, and enjoy Back Porch Politics.