The point here is not to suggest that the NRA and its allies are a threat to American democracy itself. Rather, it’s that they’re a threat to the quality of our democracy. Democratic theorists tend to see open, rational public deliberation as a key element of a successful democratic order: it helps citizens make honest and informed choices about which policies and politicians are worth supporting, about which values they want to shape the system that’s supposed to represent them. The move to cast every gun regulation as a threat to the Second Amendment is opposed to that democratic debate. It’s a stalking horse for the specter of tyranny, a fantastical conversation-ender rather than a point of view worth taking seriously.