I have considerable experience in the trenches on the guns issue. I was a candidate in four federal elections in mixed urban-rural constituencies in Saskatchewan and the gun registry featured in every one of those campaigns. In 1997, I was a candidate in Saskatoon-Humboldt, the area where I was born and raised. One day I was campaigning in a small town that was clearly suffering from the rural economic crisis. The rail line had been removed and the two tall grain elevators at the head of Main Street were being dismantled. The town’s business buildings were shabby and much of the housing stock was run down. I came upon a man who was backing his truck out of a driveway. He recognized me and said that he knew my sister. “I haven’t got much time,” he said. “I just want to know one thing. What is your position on gun control?” I asked him if that issue was more important to him in an election than the fact that his town had lost its rail line and its grain elevator. “You bet it is,” he said. I lost that election by 221 votes to the Reform Party candidate.
Gruending argues that progressives should prevent a "moral alternative to the gun toting crowd". Maybe because its early and I'm coming down with a cold, but I have no idea what this would entail (and I note Mr. Gruending doesn't go into detail). My own opinion is that you pass the legislation that conscience demands and stand behind it until the furor dies down, and the "wedge" loses it point. Worked, more or less, with metrication (although its worth pointing out that the Tories tried to screw that up as well).