Many of the second amendment "nuts" on the far right argue precisely that the reason ordinary citizens need weaponry like AR15s is because the federal government and police authorities in America have such weaponry -- that the whole point of the second amendment in the 18th century was to give civilians weapons as a check against the government. The right-leaning Supreme Court has done nothing to dispute this kind of thinking.
The left is another story. The left wants lethal weapons controlled because the right relies on them so intensely to solve problems and the right sees the left as one of its most dogged historic problems. The left is more enamored of the First Amendment over the Second Amendment and, thus, sees its greatest problem as the runaway Military Industrial Complex, imperial war-making and what some see as a burgeoning police state in America. All these institutions exhibit a powerful fetishism for violence and weaponry, and all are generally associated with the right.
The President Torn Left and Right
So here's the President of the United States on the day of the Newtown massacre. He's just been reelected by an impressive margin that might arguably be called a mandate for change to the left. The far right has been at least temporarily set back on its heels. Thanks to Newtown, gun control has joined taxes as this president's chosen fight. Bloomberg tells audiences the NRA's power is overrated. Ex-Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell calls the NRA a "paper tiger."
Rather's analysis of President Obama's tendency to cave in to the right aside, it seems this time President Obama is ready for a real fight. He seems girded to employ his child-loving Father-in-Chief persona and Biden's centrist legislative chops to muster the political outrage for a frontal attack from the left on the fortress NRA.
But, then, there's that dead elephant stinking up the room and the President's role as Killer-in-Chief. Will he and his administration begin to do something about that messy elephant carcass or will he continue to cover his right flank by remaining so deeply invested in Dick Cheney's secret dark side?