For decades, there has been a level of suspicion among gun owners at the grassroots level in the country that establishment Republicans run neither hot nor cold on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Rather, they will champion whichever position wins them the most political power on Election Day.
Now it seems that one of the highest ranking Republican strategists – Karl Rove, the “architect” who ran President George W. Bush’s two campaigns for president – has shed much welcomed light on the stand that senior party strategists take on the gun rights of law-abiding citizens.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” this past weekend, Rove made a major concession to the gun control lobby’s narrative when he said that banning guns would be the only way to stop gun violence.
Rove’s comment was said against backdrop of the kind of violence that occurred last week when a deranged lone-wolf gunman gunned down nine worshipers at the Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
When Chris Wallace asked Rove how we can “stop the violence”, Rove, a long-time gun-rights advocate, said that we have made great strides as a nation in empathizing with gun violence v victims but the only guaranteed way to stop murder sprees like the church shootings would be to “remove guns from society.” Quoting the exchange:
WALLACE: How do we stop the violence?
ROVE: I wish I had an easy answer for that, but I don’t think there’s an easy answer.
We saw an act of evil. Racist, bigoted evil, and to me the amazing thing is that it was met with grief and love. Think about how far we’ve come since 1963. The whole weight of the government throughout the South was to impede finding and holding and bringing to justice the men who perpetrated the [Birmingham] bombing.
And here, we saw an entire state, an entire community, an entire nation come together, grieving as one and united in the belief that this was an evil act, so we’ve come a long way.
Now maybe there’s some magic law that will keep us from having more of these. I mean basically the only way to guarantee that we will dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough “oomph” to repeal the Second Amendment, that’s not going to happen.”
While Rove has a long career of advising candidates running for public office that supporting the Second Amendment – or at least staying silent on the issue – is an essential part of winning, conceding so much rhetorical ground to the gun ban lobby by linking gun ownership to gun violence will do nothing more than make pro-gun voters wary as the 2016 elections approach.