In reference to the many retrospectives coming forth on Senator Ted Kennedy's Senate career, I'd like to add another vital item.
Kennedy was one of the most rabidly anti-gun elected officials ever, as one would expect from a left-winger with a longing for the benevolent dictatorship characteristic of that political bent.
With the considerable power he had amassed, Kennedy was responsible for a remarkable wave of anti-gun legislation, along with a secondary wave of anti-gun sentiment he fostered by his very success.
The flip side of this legacy, though, is more beneficial to America in a larger sense.
In 1968, when the gun bans reached their takeoff power, the vast majority of Americans owned guns, knew about guns, and knew damn well that they were not raving, homicidal maniacs perpetually on the brink of insane violence brought on the presence of a firearm.
The same is still the case today, even though that majority is no longer overwhelming, and perhaps may have even slipped into a large minority. We're not sure- polling methods are usually highly suspect on this topic.
The impact of our elected officials, as led by Kennedy, insisting we were both a menace to humankind, and that the rights outlined in the Constitution were of no consequence, served to start millions of minds thinking... thinking about why we were supposed to believe all this nonsense.
I can testify in my own case, as a Boomer launching into adulthood in a very left-wing environment (the far north side of Chicago), my upbringing as a free-thinking liberal lefty was utterly demolished by Kennedy and his gun controller friends, along with his plans for registration and then confiscation of every gun in civilian hands.I knew at the most basic level that I wasn't the homicidal maniac I was told I was; I knew that someone telling me that was not to be trusted.
I never read the Constitution with any seriousness until the onslaught of gun control that inundated us in the early and middle '70s; I submit that many millions of other Americans found themselves at the same point. Ronald Reagan's election, marking the beginning of the end of postwar progressive takeover of America, had plenty to do with gun rights, and by extension, a need felt by most Americans to reel in invasive and confiscatory Big Government.
While I don't consider myself a radical, hardline gun owner, I do know that I voted for Reagan in significant part because of gun control, as advanced by Ted Kennedy.
If Kennedy's legacy could be said to be that he got so many Americans to take a closer look at the Constitution and the Americanism it represents, then that could said to be a positive, no matter how unintentional.