Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention was a relentless attack on American gun owners in the first half. Speaker after speaker before prime time expressed the pain of losing family members to gun violence and promises that Clinton will bring change. The message headed off to more general themes with vice-presidential candidate, Tim Kaine. He has a record of support for gun control, but gave only a few lines about it during his acceptance speech. President Obama concluded the evening with his standard unity speech, also making just passing references to guns.
The argument presented before the headliner speakers was something I could have predicted in advance. By actors, survivors, and politicians, we were told that we need “commonsense” action against gun violence, including standing up to the “gun lobby,” using the talking points advocated by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun control group founded by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, and universal background checks.
As we saw on Tuesday night, families who lost members to gun violence were mixed in with better known speakers. Christine Leinonen, whose son was murdered in the Orlando massacre, described how when she went into labor while working as a state trooper, the hospital provided a safe for her duty weapon. Calling that common sense, she wondered why we don’t have policies that ban guns that can fire thirty rounds in a minute. Felicia Sanders and Polly Sheppard, survivors of the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church, said that Clinton will work to close the “Charleston” loophole. Erica Smegielski, daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School principal, Dawn Hochsprung, insisted that we have to elect Clinton to fight the gun lobby so teachers and principals don’t have to work in fear.
Thirty rounds in a minute? It’s sad to see someone who has gone through crushing pain exploited in that manner. But Leinonen is describing every firearm more modern in its mechanism than a muzzle-loader. The supposed Charleston loophole wasn’t a failure of the background check system. It was human failure to report the shooter’s prior arrest. And as someone who has spent almost twenty years in the classroom, I can say that allowing educators who are willing to arm themselves would be a more immediate protection in case of an attack than fighting against the gun rights that the gun lobby—the NRA and other groups—defends.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy raised the bogeyman of suspected terrorists buying firearms, while claiming his anger at Congress doing nothing to stop the next massacre drove him to a fifteen-hour filibuster to demand action. Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords told the delegates that Clinton will make families safer by keeping guns out of the wrong hands. Actor and director Lee Daniels offered the most outrageous claim, though, when he said that Clinton understands our right to bear arms.
I’ve discussed the terrorist watch list before. To review, the list is lacking in the basic principles of due process and oversight that are essential to a free society. But the truth doesn’t seem to be a concern with advocates of gun control, especially given the claims about Clinton’s supposed support for gun rights. In her own words, “I think again we’re way out of balance. I think that we’ve got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun, anywhere, anytime.” That doesn’t sound like someone who understands our right to bear arms—or even to own them.
On the whole, the message was clear. America was invited to join in the movement, except for the wide stretches of the country that doesn’t share the same desire for control. I’ve said for a long time that Democrats could win more votes if they’d drop gun control permanently, but the party this year has given up even trying to win gun owners over. We’re blessed as a nation to have other options.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.