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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From Bob Herbert’s post, “War at Home” at Demos ‘Policy Shop’: “Our hearts should feel broken every day. A few days after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, in which 32 people were killed, I had lunch with Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund. “We’re losing eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day,” she said. “As far as young people are concerned, we lose the equivalent of the massacre at Virginia Tech about every four days.”
Remember the 223-caliber Bushmaster rifle used in the Washington D.C.-area sniper shootings? Same gun was used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Nate Silver’s “In Public ‘Conversation’ on Guns, a Rhetorical Shift” provides an interesting data-driven analysis of the terminology the media uses to discuss gun control and related issues, noting “Those who advocate greater restrictions on gun ownership may have determined that their most persuasive argument is to talk about the consequences of increased access to guns — as opposed to the weedy debate about what rights the Second Amendment may or may not convey to gun owners.”
Blair Hickman, Suevon Lee and Cora Currier have a good round-up on “The Best Reporting on Guns in America” at ProPublica.
E. J. Dionne, Jr. sounds the call: “If Congress does not act this time, we can deem it as totally bought and paid for by the representatives of gun manufacturers, gun dealers and their very well-compensated apologists…We should begin with: bans on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons; requiring background checks for all gun purchases; stricter laws to make sure that gun owners follow safety procedures; new steps to make it easier to trace guns used in crimes; and vastly ramped-up data collection and research on what works to prevent gun violence, both of which are regularly blocked by the gun lobby.”
Also at WaPo, Brad Plumer explores “Why are mass shootings becoming more common?
The questions raised in this video clip about the possible role of certain antidepressants and psychiatric drugs merit consideration.
Michael Cooper’s “Debate on Gun Control Is Revived, Amid a Trend Toward Fewer Restrictions” at The New York Times discusses some of the formidable obstacles to enacting meaningful gun control legislation.
At The Nation Sasha Abramsky has a short, but instructive interview with Professor Garen Wintemute, Baker-Teret Chair of Violence Prevention, at the University of California at Davis medical school. Among Wintemute’s suggestions: “…Require a background check for all firearm purchases. Forty percent of gun sales in the U.S. do not involve a background check. Number two, we improve the data on which those background checks are run, so somebody whose mental illness is known in one state, that mental illness is known in all states. Improving the mental health records database would help us identify seriously mentally ill people so that they can’t buy guns…Expand the criteria we now use for denying the purchase and possession of firearms…Under federal law we do not ban people from purchasing firearms for alcohol abuse…We don’t ban people from purchasing firearms who have long records of violent crimes when those crimes are misdemeanors. If I beat my partner, I am prohibited [from gun ownership] for life. If I beat you up, nothing happens; I can buy guns the next day.”
Jamelle Bouie makes the Salient point in his American Prospect article, “Gun Control, No Longer the Dems’ Electoral Kryptonite: Democrats don’t need rural white guys to win anymore.” Says Bouie, “On the presidential level, at least, Democrats don’t need to worry about alienating their coalition…With all of that said, the calculus is different for congressional and state-level Democrats, some of whom can’t afford to alienate traditionally gun-owning groups. But in those cases, of course, the Democratic Party’s flexibility is a big asset.”

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