Political Memo: Wise Engagement Strategies and an Innovative, New Gun Policy Approach

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Please find below a short memo focusing on two topics: A) I will lay out some presentation and engagement strategy notes, then B) I will lay out a practicable gun policy approach designed to help you stand out as an innovator while undercutting your competitor and advancing a new position that will protect Second Amendment rights while reducing avoidable gun deaths and creating jobs.

Engagement

Without question, our society is deeply divided, and this has been exacerbated by politicians from both parties regressing ever deeper into their tribal camps, leading to increasing vitriol, worsened polarization, and a breakdown of civility that undercuts both the credibility of any and the broader soft power legitimacy of the United States. Fortunately, this presents a tremendous opportunity for conscious candidates to project an air of groundedness, rationality, and bipartisan cooperation to an electorate hungry for leaders who don’t put up with the bullshit and who speak honestly about the challenges we face and the fears and hopes we all share.

On this note, I strongly advise against any public comments or statements (including tweets) that are inherently antagonistic toward the tribes, subcultures, or movements of opposing camps. As a specific example, I noticed a tweet where you said “I can’t wait for my “F” from the NRA.” Despite national headwinds, this is not helpful for a local campaign in a Southern state, as a likely significant proportion of your constituents probably are sympathetic to the NRA. Instead, bearing in mind the overall objective of receiving the most votes, it is strongly advisable to build bridges with the gun rights community, as doing so will serve you best over the long term.

Social media, and Twitter in particular, make bomb throwing easier than ever before (and admittedly quite fun), but this does not mean that doing so is wise or constructive. Indeed, it is a leading factor in the breakdown of discourse. Fortunately it is fixable, through mindful bridge-building. At all times, remember, Twitter interactions translate very little to relevance in the real world, except for the lingering harm and headaches needlessly antagonistic tweets can create for candidates. To be taken more seriously and more respectfully by voters, candidates must work strenuously to resist the temptation of the short serotonin burst of issuing hot takes on Twitter, which can be far more divisive than constructive. In general, on Twitter as in life, the less you say, the more people will listen when you say it. It is always safest to say nothing at all and to avoid getting sucked into the murky treacherous manure swamp that is Twitter, only using the platform to issue official campaign statements, share original long-form policy or artistic content, or offer praise or solidarity with constituents.

A New, Innovative Gun Policy Approach

Considering the notes above on engagement, your campaign represents an opportunity to field a new innovation in gun policy that fully respects citizens’ Second Amendment rights while simultaneously reducing avoidable gun deaths, creating new jobs, and siphoning off some of your opponent’s support from the gun rights community. The principle of this new approach focuses not on regulating gun ownership, but rather, gun use.

Acknowledging the staying power of the Second Amendment and that there is no magic bullet to ending gun violence for good, candidates should pursue a policy that reduces avoidable gun deaths while letting Americans own as many guns as they want, of as many varieties as they want (including even fully-automatic weapons, because they’re cool and fun to shoot). This is realistic and can be done by requiring that law-abiding gun owners register, store, and use their semi-automatic or automatic firearms only at new, licensed, membership-based gun clubs. For home and personal defense, people are free to keep in their homes pump and manual-load single- or double-barrel shotguns, bolt-action weapons, black powder/muzzleloading rifles, and revolvers of any caliber. Hunters who wish to use semi-automatic hunting guns can check out their firearms from their gun club for a duration they claim on a hunting plan form filed with the club, that also lists the intended gamelands and estimated gun return date.

This policy permits law-abiding gun hobbyists to exercise their full Constitutional rights while getting weapons that cause the most harm (semi-auto and auto) out of homes and schools and into secure, government-licensed settings, while also enabling adequate and safer forms of home and personal defense. Gun owners who fail to abide by the gun-club storage and use requirements for semi-auto or automatic weapons may be subject to civil penalties like fines or community service, or even criminal penalties, should their firearms be used in the commission of a crime. Potential enforcement mechanisms include cross-checking gun registrations with gun club registries, whereby registered firearms that are not synced with a gun club registry are flagged for follow-up by relevant local law enforcement authorities, who will remind gun owners to store their weapon in a club or face civil penalty.

This will also have the added benefit of creating thousands of new jobs in the form of the new gun clubs, which will drive economic activity in the form of businesses, construction, and ancillary products like storage lockers and high-tech security systems, often in economically-depressed and rural areas.

This policy also inherently encompasses the troubling and growing issue of 3D-printed firearms. People will forever be free to print their own firearms, (and frankly, there is little the government will be able to do to stop this), but if they are semi-automatic or automatic in functionality, they will also be subject to the gun club storage and use regulations.

This approach will not forever solve America’s gun violence epidemic or the deep national culture of militarism and violence that perpetuates it. But, through this policy, everyone who wants a gun can own and use a gun. People who want firearms for home defense will have suitable, adequate, and relatively safer options available. And the likelihood of errant people accessing guns of greater death-dealing ability will be reduced as these will be locked and stored in secure facilities.

James Carli is a writer and humanitarian fundraiser with a background in diplomacy, drug policy, and urbanism.

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