America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 48

that [gun control] was not an issue
worth losing votes over. " According to
the former CAP analyst, this was a calculated move based on multiple factors.
First, Yglesias noted, " Even gun
regulation measures that poll well did
not seem to really motivate voters
while opposition to gun regulations
was clearly motivating " and that
" progressives themselves did not
think this was a particularly important
issue compared " to a host of others.
This is sometimes referred to
as the " enthusiasm " or " intensity "
gap between gun-rights supporters
and gun-control backers. Political
observers have often credited this gap
as the determinant factor in 2013's
gun owner victory over President
Barack Obama's effort to criminalize
the private transfer of firearms.
Even professional gun-control
advocates understand this reality. In
2012, gun-control advocates commissioned a group of DC consulting firms
to craft a gun-control messaging playbook. The final document, Preventing
Gun Violence Through Effective
Messaging, conceded, " There is an
intensity gap that has built up over
years. In the general public, those who
view themselves as supporters of gun
rights are more deeply committed to
and emotionally invested in their position than those supporting stronger
gun violence prevention measures. "
Second, Yglesias pointed out that
" The kinds of gun control measures
that poll well are not the kind of thing
that would significantly move the
needle in terms of US gun deaths. "
Taking a swipe at bans on commonlyowned semi-automatic firearms, the
writer noted, " homicides are mostly
committed by normal, inexpensive
easily concealed handguns, not
by scary assault weapons. " In a
challenge to so-called " universal "
background check laws, the left-wing
activist cited a 2016 U.S. Department
of Justice survey of prison inmates
that showed they mostly obtained
their firearms from the black market
or from family or friends.
Yglesias made clear that it's not
that he believes gun control can't
work. Rather, the progressive activist
believes that the severe confiscatory
gun control necessary to impact
violence perpetrated with firearms is
not politically palatable.
Yglesias's contention is similar to
that expressed in a 2013 National
Institute of Justice memo that
examined the various gun controls

48	

february 2021 I america's 1st freedom

proposed in the wake of the highprofile shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Firearm turn-ins, bans on commonlyowned semi-automatic firearms,
magazine capacity restrictions, and
" universal " background checks were
all determined to be ineffective
absent further extreme gun-control
measures, such as confiscation and
firearms registration.
To bolster his argument that
national Democrats should abandon gun control, Yglesias pointed
to how the party's conscious efforts
to shy away from gun control from
2004-2012 coincided with a period of
electoral success. Recalling that time
period, he noted, " That strategy of
agenda-suppression largely worked
across the 2006 and 2008 cycles. It
largely delivered its intended electoral
benefits. Democrats ran vocally progun nominees in jurisdictions where
that seemed appropriate, and national
leaders basically didn't talk about
guns so it was not a salient part of the
party brand. "
A 2005 Boston Globe item
titled, " Democrats Recast their
Gun Control Image, " chronicled
how both Democratic National
Committee Chairman Howard Dean
and Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee Chair Rahm
Emanuel urged candidates to
moderate to reflect their districts on
the gun control. By January 2009, the
Democrats enjoyed a 58-seat majority
in the U.S. Senate and controlled the
U.S. House by a margin of 255-178.
Yglesias's piece isn't perfect.
There is a strong case to be made
that the Democrats' move away from
gun control began four years earlier
than Yglesias contends, following the
2000 presidential election. In 2002,
the Washington Post reported on a
Democratic Senate caucus confab
" at which several senators talked
about how the party's position on
gun control was killing Democrats,
especially in rural states, and urged a
retreat. " Notably, the more moderate
senators were chastised for their
sensible suggestion by one Sen.
Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).
Moreover, there was a shift
evident in the 2004 Democratic Party
Platform. The document stated,
" We will protect Americans' Second
Amendment right to own firearms... "
This recognition that the Second
Amendment protects an individual
right to keep and bear arms continued
in the 2008 and 2012 platforms.

The position was abandoned for the
2016 and 2020 platforms.
Yglesias also neglected to explore
an important piece of the Democratic
gun control puzzle-the Democratic
donor class's affinity for the issue.
In recent years, wealthy
Democratic donors have poured
money into gun-control groups
and causes, granting gun control
proponents an outsized influence
in the Democratic coalition. That
these well-heeled elites would prefer
Democrats to spend their finite time
and political capital on gun control
rather than on raising the minimum
wage, a more robust social safety net,
an increase in the capital gains tax,
or other progressive priorities that
might affect their bottom line should
come as no surprise to anyone.
The most conspicuous example of
this mega-donor influence has been
billionaire media tycoon and guncontrol financier Michael Bloomberg's
political spending. However, the 2020
election provided strong evidence
that there are limits to the electoral
efficacy of this type of largesse.
Bloomberg's failed 104-day
campaign for the Democratic
presidential nomination cost more
than $1 billion dollars. For all of that
cash, the only jurisdiction the antigun magnate carried was American
Samoa. During the general election,
Bloomberg vowed to spend $100
million to flip Florida for Joe Biden.
Donald Trump improved on his 2016
margin of victory in the Sunshine
State by two points. The former New
York City mayor also spent millions in
Ohio and Texas to no avail. Moreover,
as if to admit that anti-gun spending
wouldn't work in 2020, Bloomberg's
gun-control group Everytown for
Gun Safety targeted swing district
candidates with mailers that didn't
even mention guns or gun control.
NRA has been and continues
to be a nonpartisan organization
that endorses politicians across
the political spectrum who work
to defend the Second Amendment
right to keep and bear arms. Cynics
should consider that as recently as
the 2010 election, NRA endorsed 61
Democratic House candidates and
two Democratic Senate candidates.
Time will tell if Democrats will
heed the wisdom of the pragmatists
in their party and once again work to
remove their gun-control albatross. If
they do not, gun owners will continue
to hold them accountable.



America's First Freedom - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - February 2021

Contents
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - CW1
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - CW2
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - Cover1
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - Cover2
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 1
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - Contents
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 3
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 4
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 5
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 6
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 7
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 8
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 9
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 10
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 11
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 12
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 13
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 14
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 15
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 16
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 17
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 18
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 19
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 20
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 21
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 22
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 23
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 24
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 25
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 26
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 27
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 28
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 29
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 30
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 31
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 32
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 33
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 34
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 35
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 36
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 37
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 38
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 39
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 40
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 41
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 42
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 43
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 44
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 45
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 46
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 47
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 48
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 49
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 50
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 51
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 52
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 53
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 54
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 55
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - 56
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - Cover3
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - Cover4
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - CW3
America's First Freedom - February 2021 - CW4
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