Gun Control Issues Take Back Seat at DNC

By: Sayre Quevedo

The last two nights at the Democratic National Convention have had consistent themes: immigration, women’s rights, the economy, and college affordability. But one subject that has consistently been on the minds of Americans for the last weeks has not been mentioned once: gun control.

In July of this year, James Holmes entered the midnight premier of Batman at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 58. Then on August 5th, Wade Page entered a Sikh Temple, killing six people and injuring four. And on August 24th, Jeffery Johnson opened fired on a crowded street in front of the Empire State Building killing his former co-worker. These incidents didn’t happen years, but months and weeks before this event. So why haven’t they been mentioned?

The conventions are all about staying on message, and solidifying the president’s values. Veering from set talking points could be confusing for an audience tuning in to be reassured about the President and his accomplishments, not the issues he has yet to to solve. But Colleen Williamson from Indianapolis, Indiana says there’s another reason. “I really believe it’s because it’s kind of a scary issue too. I mean…people don’t want to hear about all the bad stuff that goes on.”

When I asked her when and if gun control would be addressed, she seemed uncertain. “In the last four years it hasn’t changed that much, so it’s probably not going to change in the next four. We’ve got too many other issues: education, women’s issues, health care. We’ve got too many issues to dwell on the gun issue.”

Cristin Leighty, 24, from Washington D.C argues that many of those other issues hit closer to home for most people. “In general, until things really affect you most people kind of tune out. Most Americans are thinking about their own jobs and the economy, so those kinds of issues, [like gun control] tend to take the back burner…But I’m sure if you talk to people in Colorado they’d probably feel differently.”

I didn’t talk to anyone from Colorado about guns, but I did talk to someone who said he’s been personally affected by gun violence. 27 year-old Ulises Gonzalez from East Los Angeles said he would like to see guns completely eradicated, but he concedes, “It’s a part of American culture, the right to bear arms.”

So, can we expect to hear Obama talk about gun violence tonight? Probably not. I just hope gun violence, like Leighty mentioned, doesn’t have to touch all of us before someone is willing to take a stance.

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