Yesterday I posted a comment from Paul Helmke, who said “We’ve lost the battle on what the Second Amendment means. Seventy-five percent of the public thinks it’s an individual right. Why are we arguing a theory anymore? We are concerned about what we can do practically.”
Brady Campaign Attorney Dennis Henigan also said “Universal background checks don’t affect the right of self-defense in the home. Banning a super dangerous class of weapons, like assault weapons, also would not adversely affect the right of self-defense in the home. Curbing large volume sales doesn’t affect self-defense in the home.”
A number of other bloggers have touched on the implications of the statement, and Call Me Ahab touches on what might be the most important aspect of these statements, that of the language of the debate. The side of a debate that controls the language often controls the debate, or at least has a sizable advantage. This is why so the anti-gun people use terms like “assault weapons” and “undetectable plastic guns.” It is much harder to argue in defense of an “assault weapon” than to defend “the most popular target rifle”, or “the fastest growing segment in hunting rifles.”
The concession on individual rights, and the number of times Mr Henigan references “self-defense in the home,” signifies a shift in the language of debate in our direction. The debate is shifting to how they can infringe on a right they acknowledge, instead of a right they claim does not exist, and from allowing for weapons for “sporting purposes” to also include self defense, which they have refused to acknowledge for quite a while. These are important shifts, but for the Brady Campaign, et al. they are only shifts in how they work, not what they are trying to do. We need to continue to fight, and even intensify the fight. We have the momentum, and we need to keep it, and use it.