What I find to be the most significant change in the gun debate recently is the extent to which the whole issue has become a topic of mainstream conversation. It started with the decision by Hillary to inject gun violence into her Presidential campaign, the very first time that guns became a talking-point in a national political contest, and it has now spread to the mainstream media through such venues as Marie-Claire and now Cosmopolitan magazine. And what the Cosmo gals have done is partner with Everytown to produce a new project, SingledOut, which gets right to the issue of how and why women think about guns.
Before I get to the Cosmo-Everytown effort, I just want to remind the readers again that Gun Nation has been making a loud and concerted effort recently to promote the idea of women and guns. There’s no end to NRA videos that now feature women commentators like Home-School Queen Dana Loesch; you can also read an entire report and graphic on the emerging female gun market courtesy of the NSSF. But a recent survey of 5,000 gun owners, the most comprehensive survey ever published in this field, reveals that 5% of the women who own guns bought one in the past five years! So much for the idea that women are joining Gun Nation in droves.
The video produced by SingledOut is, to my mind, the best video on the gun debate ever produced. And it gets right to the point at the beginning when the gunsplaining guy tells the woman he’s hitting on that guns are what protects us from ‘tyranny,’ while he proudly shows her that he’s packing a chest-full of guns. And the woman, who is active military, responds by telling him that his comment means that soldiers like her might come and take them all away. Beautiful, just beautiful.
Of course Gun Nation wasted no time responding to this new effort, putting out the usual ‘Bloomberg is Enemy Number One’ comment which then found its way to the mélange of pro-gun sites that faithfully reproduce anything that the boys in Fairfax have to say. But I notice that in all the responses to SingledOut by Gun Nation, the one issue that is studiously avoided is exactly what Gun Nation has been promoting as the most important reason for owning a gun, namely, that guns keep us free. And if the producers of the SingledOut video wanted to find one, single statement that could be used to illustrate the stupid, condescension of pro-gun noisemakers when it comes to talking about guns, they couldn’t have picked a better comment than what the ‘good guy’ said in the bar to explain what guns mean to him.
Now let’s be honest. It’s 2016, a Presidential election is looming ahead, and the NRA makes no bones about the fact, 501c3 status notwithstanding, that the organization wants to have an important voice in determining the outcome of state and national electoral events. And since the Republicans can’t get any more mileage by claiming that Obama wasn’t born in America (which, by the way, may be used by Trump against Cruz), they’ve come up with a new one, namely, that Obama has been shredding the Constitution and thus undermining American freedoms; in other words, under the Democrats, ‘tyranny’ is just one step away.
Let’s get one thing very clear: Republican presidential candidates can defend the 2nd Amendment all they want in front of red-meat audiences on the campaign trail, but asking a majority of Americans to support their pandering to Gun Nation is a very different kettle of fish. And while every word that plops out of Wayne-o’s mouth ends up as unquestioned content on various Gun Nation websites, you can’t tell me that any of those outlets get a fraction of the mainstream audience that Cosmopolitan reaches every month.