Skip to comments.We're All Gun Nuts Now: The Democrats sidle up to the Second Amendment.
Posted on 05/09/2008 10:55:13 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
During a campaign debate on April 16, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were asked if the District of Columbia's ban on gun possession, now facing a challenge before the Supreme Court, is constitutional. "I think a total ban, with no exceptions under any circumstances, might be found by the Court not to be. But I don't know the facts," said Clinton (Yale Law '73), dodging the question for the third and final time. Obama (Harvard Law '91) also pleaded ignorance, confessing he hadn't "listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence."
When moderator Charlie Gibson pointed out that Obama's handwriting was on a 1996 candidate survey that said he favored banning handguns, Obama flatly denied his writing was on the questionnaire, contradicting what a campaign staffer had told Politico weeks earlier. Asked if he still supports licensing and registering guns, Obama said he favors "common-sense approaches" to gun control like keeping guns from "the mentally deranged." When Clinton was asked if she maintains her past support for licensing and registration, she too sidestepped the question, saying, "What might work in New York City is certainly not going to work in Montana."
With both contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination evading the gun control issue as if it were sniper fire, you couldn't blame gun control advocates for feeling bitter. Yet Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence--the pro-gun control counterweight to the National Rifle Association--says Obama and Clinton are "coming fairly close to delivering the message we'd like." On licensing and registering guns, Helmke says, they are "being realistic" in recognizing "there's no support for pushing that forward at this stage." His thoughts on the candidates' ducking questions on the D.C. gun ban? "They're politicians, and most politicians on tough calls do not answer."
The reason Helmke doesn't feel abandoned on licensing, registration, and the D.C. gun ban is that the Brady Campaign has shelved those goals, in favor of a more modest, incrementalist strategy. Though licensing and registration remain official Brady Campaign policy, Helmke says he hasn't even talked about them with anyone on staff since he became president in 2006.
In 2007, Helmke called the appeals court decision striking down the District's gun ban "judicial activism at its worst," but now he gives the impression he wouldn't mind losing the case in the Supreme Court. A loss "could be good politically for the gun control movement and these candidates," he says. "If folks know the Supreme Court's not going to allow anybody to confiscate their guns, then background checks really shouldn't be something you oppose."
Indeed, a loss could create an opening to advance what Helmke calls "middle of the road" issues. He expects both Obama and Clinton to pursue the Brady Campaign's top three legislative priorities: closing the gun show loophole, expanding access to gun trace data, and banning "assault weapons."
Like Obama and Clinton, McCain favors closing the "gun show loophole," which allows private individuals, unlike licensed gun dealers, to sell their guns without performing background checks. This has a decent chance of becoming law in the next couple of years.
It's doubtful the Brady Campaign's other two goals--which McCain opposes--could make it through Congress. The debate over gun trace data centers on who should have access to reports showing where guns used in crimes were bought and sold. Only law enforcement agents currently have access to this information, but the Brady Campaign wants to make it public. Helmke says this would help local politicians crack down on unscrupulous gun dealers. It would also help pro-gun control mayors like Michael Bloomberg sue gun dealers and manufacturers. An attempt in 2007 to repeal the federal restrictions on gun trace data failed in a House Appropriations Committee vote 26 to 40.
As for "assault weapons," a 10-year federal ban was enacted in 1994, when support for gun control was stronger on Capitol Hill. Even so, the ban squeaked through the House, by 216 to 214. It limited ammunition clips to 10 rounds and banned 19 semi-automatic weapons by name, as well as any semi-automatic weapon with a combination of features, such as a rifle scope and pistol grip. (Fully automatic weapons have been restricted since 1934 and off the public market since 1986 unless manufactured before that date.) Before the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, an amendment to extend it for 10 years passed the Senate 52 to 47, but the underlying bill was defeated, and in the House it was never even brought to a vote.
Whether the Democrats bring the assault weapons ban up for a vote depends on their willingness to risk their majority, which they secured partly by running candidates like senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana who have "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association. Yet Helmke isn't upset with the Democrats. "A political party's job is to get their people elected to office," he says.
Democrats have run away from gun control because they think it's a major reason they lost swing states in the last two presidential elections. As Democratic congressman Barney Frank said in 2001, "Unlike gay rights, environment, and choice . . . Democrats were disappointed when a pro-gun control bloc did not appear." "If it weren't for guns, President-elect Kerry might now be conferring with incoming Senate Majority Leader Daschle," wrote New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in November 2004. "[G]un control is dead."
Polls show how gun control became a losing issue for Democrats. In 1990, Gallup reported that 78 percent of Americans supported "more strict" gun laws, but only 49 percent did so in a Gallup/USA Today poll this February. More revealing is a Gallup survey from October 2007 that asked if government should "enforce the current gun laws more strictly and NOT pass new gun laws, or pass new gun laws in addition to enforcing the current laws more strictly." Enforcement without passing new laws was favored 58 percent to 38 percent.
Between 2000 and 2006, Democrats ditched a number of pro-gun control candidates, and NRA endorsements of Democratic candidates for Congress jumped from 38 to 68, according to an NRA spokesman. In the summer of 2006, Helmke, a former mayor of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Republican Senate candidate, says he was hired in part to usher in a "somewhat more moderate and common sense" approach to gun control.
While he doesn't think gun control sank Al Gore and John Kerry, Helmke sees that the gun control movement has been beaten back politically and legislatively. In the past 10 years, only one federal gun control law has been enacted, and it passed with the support of the NRA: a measure that provides money to induce state governments to report background check data to the federal government.
Helmke describes the Brady Campaign's present situation with a football analogy. "The other side had marched the ball down on the 2 yard line...but now we got the ball back. The bad news is we've got 98 yards to go," he says. "You don't throw the Hail Mary pass. You've got three downs to get a first down." Sounds like a game plan. But first the Brady Campaign will need Obama or Clinton to pull off a few trick plays to keep that record on guns well out of sight and win the election in November.
They had or face irrelevancy. Be happy. We won.
Well, gun owners have made some progress at the State level with CCW, but the 2 yard line? More like our own 40. It is a long way to go to repeal te NFA of '34...
While gun rights do not look as threatened as they were in the past one must not let ones guard down as the politicians are renown for trying to sneak bills in which would restrict the second Amendment of the Constitution.
Unlike the Republican ideologue in Louisiana who just lost his Congressional in a Bright Red district who traveled around with plastic fetuses.
Revisiting VA Tech, the recent gang wars in Chicago, every bad thing about "gun" violence (never 'people violence' using guns, but as if the tool was the criminal actor), the National Park carry controversy, and other issues.
I am expecting a massacre somewhere, just because those seem to happen while some rights-robbing proposal is in the hopper (but, really, tinfoil aside, when isn't there a Bill in the bin, so to speak).
The whole blur between full auto/select-fire weapons and the semi-auto look-alikes continues and is ever reinforced by referring to a mini-14 in the hands of a farmer by the same terms used to define an AK-47 in the hands of a terrorist from Hamas: "assault weapon".
While current owners who aren't Fudds have been able to hold the line, the generation raised in schools where even the plastic rifle from the GI-Joe set can get a kid expelled over some no-tolerance crap is coming of age. Never before in the history of our nation has a generation been so systematically and thoroughly bombarded with hoplophobic nonsense, and I fear it will affect their vote at a tender age where many have yet to grow out of their aodlescent liberalness.
Experience is a fine teacher, but until they become acquainted with it, many are vulnerable to the liberal babble spurting from MTV and other venues.
What can we do as individuals? Take a young man or young lady of good character to the range, teach them to shoot. Get them to realize that weapons are empowering in a good way, and not inherently evil talismans of certain and rampant destruction. Win those votes one at a time by letting them know who would ban the very device they are having fun with.
KG9 continues the football analogy:
I hope that the Supreme Court's decision in 'DC v. Heller' is where the Brady Campaign's quarterback gets sacked in their own end zone by former Oakland Raider Bill Romanowski.
Obama hadn't “listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence.”
When does a Washington policymaker ever look at ALL the facts on AMY issue to make a decision? Recall the volumes of tax code tossed into the trash can to make that statement?
Voters aren't stupid, just misguided. In case you haven't seen the following links, they're evidence that ignorance of the Constitution is epidemic.
Doesn’t a lawyer who is also an elected official prove they are unfit for both positions if they don’t understand a fundamental part of the founding of the country and is part of the Bill of Rights?
I think not. It is not a counterweight at all. The NRA has approximately 5 million members that represents 5 million votes. Add to that millions of gun owners that do not belong to the NRA and you have a sizable voting block that supports the 2nd amendment. The Brady fanatics are about anti-gun, gun abolishment, and disarming of the law abiding citizens.
Once again a liberals heart over powers his mind and allows fear to override rational thought. The "Evil Black Rifle" is singled out even though there is no mention in the constitution about any class of weapons. Even the argument that they cannot be used as hunting rifles is a invalid statement. EBR's can be chambered in 6.8, 308, and even 300 Win all of which are valid hunting calibers.
They are light, modular, weather resistant, ergonomic weapons that are good for self defense, hunting, pest control and just plain target shooting. The fact they are efficient at putting holes in people is not the issue and we all know it and I suspect even the politico's know it.
Some of them unfortunately are.
They’re the same best and brightest who “can’t recall” when attempting to refute charges of fraud.
I try to do that each year with the young men at church. I teach them safe handling skills and give them a chance to fire the Ruger MKII .22LR, S&W 686+ with 38SPL, Magnum Research BFR (45-70) with 10" barrel and the Ruger Super Redhawk with 454 Casull. I may bring a 1911 this year and/or the S&W 500 Magnum revolver. Suffice to say they have a good time and leave more aware of safe handling. I bring paper targets that they can take home as well. It was a bit expensive last time I took the kids out. It will be much more so this year. It's a good investment to teach safety and familiarization.
Teaching the young extends our heritage.
It’s totally different to my approach. I don’t teach or help dems PERIOD. My son does in thinking they might come over to our side but I say the heck with that. Dems are too stupid to be trusted with any guns.
CHICAGO GANGS SHOOT UP NEIGHBORHOOD
Skid Row Crazy 1
Should read “Obama supporters look to the future”
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