Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How outraged are we when it comes to firearms amongst the public?

Debbie Halvorson has tried to make an issue in her bid for a Congressional comeback that an outsider – in the form of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – is meddling in ways meant to hurt her Election Day chances.

BLOOMBERG: Concerned citizen? Or meddler?

Yet it doesn’t seem like the locals are all that upset. Somehow, I suspect if Mayor Rahm Emanuel were to try to influence a New York election, we’d hear the cry from the Bronx to Brooklyn to Staten Island – “Shaddup!!!”

HE'D BE DEMONIZED. He’d get trashed for meddling. We’re not hearing anything like that against Bloomberg. Is it because the bulk of us approve of his message?

Specifically, Bloomberg has used his personal wealth to create one of those Super PAC organizations that can pay for campaign advertising related to issues (instead of candidates).

For Bloomberg, the issue he wants to promote is gun control. He also wants to take down the political influence that the National Rifle Association. So he’s making much of the fact that the NRA did not find Halvorson completely repulsive back when she was in Congress (and before that, in the state Legislature).

Bloomberg is even endorsing former state Rep. Robin Kelly in the campaign to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr., in the House of Representatives – on the grounds that her “F” grade from the NRA makes her ideal!

YET KELLY DOESN'T seem all that concerned. She goes around citing her “F” as an accomplishment. She seems to think the legislative district is so overwhelmingly urban (about 85 percent of its voters are from either Chicago proper or the inner suburbs) that the rural residents at the district’s southern end won’t be able to hurt her – no matter how much they object to her stance on firearms-related issues.

She may be right, although I encountered a suburban mayor this past weekend who supports Halvorson, and said he thinks all those rural voters will turn out so strongly for her BECAUSE they will want to send a message to Bloomberg that they don’t want his firearms restrictions into law.
HALVORSON: The target?

Yet there probably aren’t enough of them to shift the results of the Tuesday Democratic primary election (also because I think most of those people will be looking to the Republican primary and its five candidates).

But for the bulk of people who live in the Illinois Second Congressional district, it would seem we’re seeing these Bloomberg television spots and not getting all that upset by the message.

MANY OF US may even agree with them.

I couldn’t help but notice on Tuesday the results of a new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute – 59.5 percent of those surveyed think controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting the right to own guns (31.3 percent).

And some 72.3 percent said they think laws concerning firearms sales should be made more strict – compared to the 2.2 percent who want them to be less strict.

In Colorado this week, the state Legislature gave its approval to a series of restrictions on firearms and ammunition – including the latest fad of banning ammunition clips that can hold dozens of rounds of bullets at once.

SOME 62.8 PERCENT would like to see such a measure in Illinois, according to the poll.

All of which makes me wonder about the political fight we’re going to see in our own Legislature this spring. Don’t forget that there’s an appellate court ruling that indicates Illinois has to create some sort of measure that allows people to carry pistols on their person in public.
KELLY: The beneficiary?

The firearms rights advocates are going about with a sense of confidence that they don’t have to concede anything, and that a lot of the talk of restrictions they have had to fight will now be on the defensive.

But if that were true, wouldn’t we have more public outcry in Halvorson’s defense? Wouldn’t we have people publicly denouncing the effort – instead of sitting quietly on the sidelines with a little smirk on our collective faces?

ONE OTHER FACTOR from that poll I couldn’t help but notice – 49.7 percent of those surveyed don’t think the Constitution’s Second Amendment includes “concealed carry,” compared to 39.5 percent who say “yes.” Some 71.3 percent think there should be exceptions to concealed carry, as in places where firearms can be banned absolutely.

That brawl we’re going to see in coming months will be ugly. It may wind up making the rhetoric against gay marriage look weak and tame by comparison.


No comments: