Thursday, December 20, 2012

South Dakota delegation crickety on gun legislation


The Argus-Leader presses South Dakota's' two Senators, John Thune (R) and Tim Johnson (D) -- as well as its at-large congresswoman, Kristi Noem (R), on potential gun legislation.

The response? Vague statements, which probably isn't a surprise considering Thune gets an A+ from the NRA, Johnson an A, and Noem an A, as well.

In response to requests for comment on new gun control proposals, Thune and Noem released statements that didn’t directly address guns or gun law.

“As we evaluate what happened on that terrible day, we look to better understand ways we can prevent this type of violence from happening again,” Thune said.

Noem said the country needs to “examine the results of ongoing investigations and find the best way forward.”

Neither lawmaker responded to follow-up requests asking for more specific thoughts on gun law, such as whether they’re open to new gun control laws or consider proposals such as banning assault weapons to be unacceptable.

As a long-time Thune observer, I will say this -- that guy has been at the forefront of nearly every battle for gun rights in the past ten years.

It's not my job to say whether that's a bad or good thing, except that I've often pegged it as very good for a GOP primary, and the interesting this is that -- four years from now -- it will probably, once again, be a good thing for a general election.

There's been a jump in support for gun control, but not nearly enough to withstand the immunizing power of time and the fact that -- barring a tragedy in 2016 -- the conversation will likely have veered back to the side of the gun rights crowd.

Consider this -- CBS recently released a poll and headline which read  "Poll: Support for stricter gun control at 10-year high."

Yes, 57% backed stricter gun laws, but look below, and you'll find this result: 50% of respondents say stricter gun laws would have had "no effect" on the Newton shootings, while 42% think stricter laws would have helped.

Considering the overwhelming tragedy and prevailing narrative that something has to be done about these guns, you'd expect that to be a lot higher. Not -8%. Not one week after the shootings.