Let me start by saying that I grew up with guns and I still own one. I don’t believe that we should make guns illegal or repeal the Second Amendment. Not many people do. I do believe that we should use common sense to protect the public.
That said, with their position on guns moving against the views of most of the general public, Republicans in North Carolina are offering Democrats an opportunity. The house passed bills that allow guns on college campuses, at sporting events and in bars. A substantial portion of the Republicans in the legislature seem to believe that more guns make us safer.
Their rationale goes something like this: If everybody is armed, bad guys will be less likely to pull their guns for fear of getting shot by a good guy. I call it personal mutually assured destruction. The logic is so flawed it’s pathetic but the main problem is that most people aren’t going to carry guns regardless of how easy the legislature makes it. So, we’ll just have more self-aggrandizing heroes and cowboys, like George Zimmerman, in places that have otherwise been considered safe.
However, if the bills become law, the GOP will find that they own any increase in gun violence. In particular, they could find themselves explaining the deaths of any young people killed on campuses, bars or sporting events. You can hear their arguments. “If he had only had a gun, he might still be alive.” Not too many people are buying that stuff. Besides, it’s an argument they can’t win. If the person died, then the new law didn’t save him and, if the gun was there legally, the law might bear some responsibility.
Regardless, the ads are easy. “He was out for a happy night on the town. A few drinks with friends. Instead, he found death at the end of a gun. Everybody knows guns and alcohol don’t mix. But somebody should tell that to Rep. Jane Doe. Rep. Doe voted to allow guns in bars. Bad judgment cost a life. Vote “NO” on Rep. Jane Doe.”
You can argue the accuracy of the ads, but this is politics and the basic facts are true. People were killed by guns in bars (or on college campuses or sporting events. Take your pick but it’s bound to happen). Republicans voted to allow guns on campuses, in bars and at sporting events against the wishes of people who live and work on those places. The argument is simple and hard to refute. And most importantly, it confirms what people already believe–that guns don’t belong on college campuses, in bars or at sporting events.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >