The great gun-control debate now under way in Colorado and across the nation is not only about guns and the Second Amendment. It is also about our two cultures and the two different languages they speak.
Our great culture divide was on full display this week in Colorado’s state legislature, but it’s visible everywhere the left has targeted what it calls “the gun culture.” In targeting Colorado as a testing ground for “ending gun violence,” the American left has miscalculated. Colorado is not the Wild West, but New York mayor and liberal philanthropist Michael Bloomberg may be about to learn it is even more distant from West Manhattan.
The miscalculation is already visible in its political effects on the factionalism of the Republican Party: It has ended it. And the harder the left pushes its gun-control agenda, the more unified the right will be. Even if the Colorado Democrats succeed in passing a few of their gun-control bills in a legislature where they control both houses, they are driving ordinary citizens into political activism as no other issue has done in a decade.
Obama’s gun-control agenda is also not doing Colorado’s Democratic governor any favors: If he signs all of the bills passed by his Democrat friends, he reveals himself a man of the left, not the pro-business centrist he pretends to be. What’s the opposite of a Trojan Horse gift? Maybe its Obama’s war on guns: a gift that keeps on giving.
Republicans these days are divided on many issues, some of them matters of principle and some of them differences over priorities or tactics, but they are of one voice in defending citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Libertarians of all varieties are united with evangelicals, “immigration hawks” and country club fiscal crusaders in opposing the Obama-Biden-Bloomberg assault on the right to keep and bear arms.
The left’s “war on the gun culture” is revealing a cultural divide more significant than a difference over what types of gun should be banned as “assault weapons.” Gun owners say they do not own ANY “assault” weapons; they own various tools of self-defense and recreational enjoyment. Firearms do not assault anyone, criminals do.
The gun-control debate is the latest eruption of a 100-year-old struggle between left and right in America over the validity and moral value of personal responsibility. The difference in the two worldviews is not always a contrast in black and white, but in the gun-control debate, the difference is inescapably stark.
The left’s war on guns is simply another chapter in its war against individual responsibility, and the miscalculation lies in the left’s overconfidence about disguising this war as something else – as a war on “gun violence.” But that fiction is easily discredited because the vast majority of Americans have enough personal experience with firearms to know in their gut that this is all nonsense.
Ordinary citizens believe that if there is a problem with crazy people using guns for mass murder, then keep crazy people from having guns. But why blame that problem on law-abiding citizens and deny them a means for self-protection against criminals?
In Colorado this week, the two different cultures had a face-to-face confrontation in a state legislative committee hearing on one of the anti-gun bills being promoted by the state’s Democratic lawmakers. House Bill 1226 aims to change a state law that allows citizens with a concealed carry permit to exercise that right on college campuses. The Democrats want to ban guns from all college campuses.
A young woman who was a rape victim a few years ago while attending college in Nevada testified before the committee. She had been well-trained in firearms by her parents and had a concealed carry permit. She told the committee of three Democrats and two Republicans that she would have stopped the rapist if she had not been forbidden by Nevada law from having her weapon with her while on campus for an evening class. A liberal Democratic member of the committee lectured the rape victim, telling her a gun would not have helped her because “the statistics are not on your side.” She then cited bogus statistics concocted by a leftist group to “prove” that possessing a gun makes a woman more vulnerable, not more safe.
This March 4 incident before the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee was an eye opener for many people, especially women. They learned that for liberals, guns are always the problem, never the solution – even when you are being assaulted and raped.
The public is coming to understand that the Democratic gun-control bills are not about improving public safety; they are about controlling law-abiding citizens. Guns, not criminals, are to blame for crime – in all circumstances, all the time. They are also about laying the groundwork for confiscation of guns as soon as politically feasible.
At the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December that took the lives of 26 people, the first police on the scene arrived 20 minutes after the shooting began. The common-sense observation that that a teacher or administrator with a gun that morning might have saved many lives during that 20 minutes is anathema to only one type of citizen: a liberal Democrat living in a utopian dream world without criminals.
Allowing citizens – and citizens working as classroom teachers – the means of self-defense is so 18th century, you know, and not progressive at all.