Senator Murphy calls gun control a “litmus test” for Democrats

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy reiterated his commitment to gun control as a central theme of his political career in an interview with Politico senior staff writer, Glenn Thrush.  In the senator’s view, the Democratic Party must make gun control a litmus test for their leadership.

Murphy’s early emphasis was healthcare, but after the Newtown shooting, he feels guilty over accepting the advice of Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel in 2006 to “mute this issue” so as to retake control of the Senate that year.  This harkened back to the Democratic losses in 1994 when Republicans took control in part because of the Assault Weapons Ban.  Murphy expressed his regrets over listening to this guidance, holding himself accountable for ignoring guns prior to the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary.  Accountable is here used in the typical political fashion to mean manufactured sorrow without any real consequences.

However, he has determined that on the subject of guns, he will not give ground.  In his words,

there’s no issue in which the American public is so clearly in one place and the Congress is so clearly in a different place. There’s no issue where the advocacy organization is so extreme. There’s no issue in which the emotions and the psychology are so raw. And so, for me, there is just no brooking compromise on this. You know, I wake up ready to right and I feel like I’m on the right side of history every day.

Considering how many times gun control advocates have demanded that we gun owners compromise with their whims, it’s surprising to find one who admits that he isn’t interested in meeting somewhere in the middle.  But the subject of rights is one that often narrows the choices down to for or against, and Murphy has taken his position.

His dismissal of concerns over background checks as a step toward confiscation supports the conclusion that he means to give up nothing on gun rights.  He acknowledges the argument, but offers nothing other than denials that anything else is involved beyond the checks.  His no-compromise stance calls that reassurance into question, though.

But all of this is nothing new from gun control advocates.  What is particularly disturbing is his insistence on conformity in the leadership of the Democratic Party.  “This has become a litmus test issue for leadership in the Democratic Party,” he said.  “I mean, if you want to be a leader in the Democratic Party, I think this presidential election has proven that you have to be right on the issue of guns.”  Adding this to Clinton’s statements on Australia’s gun confiscations and the party platform’s dropping of any support for the Second Amendment, it’s clear that Democrats have dropped any pretense to wanting American gun owners to support them.  And they also appear to have given up on the idea of political parties as big tents, including a diversity of opinions and approaches to life.

If Democrats have decided to be honest about their opposition to gun rights, this is in fact a good development.  “No one’s coming for your guns” is a worn-out lie, but it’s one that we gun owners have had to hear again and again.  It’s up to us to reach out to people who are undecided, to show them the disdain that opponents of rights have for their fellow citizens.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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