The gun debate Wayne LaPierre doesn’t want

Briefing: Cuomo and Obama. (Mandel Ngan via getty images)
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The N.R.A. finally has a real fight on its hands, but in some ways it's taking place on the organization's terms.

As Blake Zeff points out, gun regulations are very unlikely to become law without some support from moderate gun owners, and therefore the real danger to the N.R.A. is that it lose the suport of its members, whose positions on gun-safety measures are by and large much less doctrinaire.

In essence, Wayne LaPierre needs all gun owners to believe that they are under constant political assault, and that any attempt to regulate weapons is a first step toward the government forcibly disarming America.

Zeff argues that the media unwittingly helps LaPierre when it talks about "pro-gun" and "anti-gun" camps. He also mentions "gun control," a long-established term that gun-control advocates periodically try to get away from on the grounds that it feeds LaPierre-type paranoia.

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(Dana Rubinstein wrote back in August about Michael Bloomberg's personal efforts to excise "gun control' from the debate.)

The debate must be about reasonable regulation of guns—the sorts of measures that could win the support of gun owners who like their hunting rifles, and who also want to do something about Sandy Hook that doesn't involving putting "good guys with guns" in every school in America.

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