Gun debate muzzles the middle ground-Christian Science Moniter


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Matt King
September 6, 2007, 07:19 PM
Orlando, Fla. - Two years ago, Florida enacted a law that allows anyone who feels threatened anywhere to use deadly force. Today the National Rifle Association (NRA) is shepherding similar laws through legislatures across the country.

The so-called Castle Doctrine extended the notion of a man's home being his castle to public streets being his castle. When the law first went into effect in October 2005, the nation's most prominent gun-control group, the Brady Campaign, decided to fight back. Sort of.

The Brady Campaign – understaffed, underfunded, and generally floundering – missed the news of the law's consideration until it was almost a done deal. In behavior typical for both sides in a war of words, the gun-control group's inability to keep the legislation from passing did not stop the group from using the occasion to ratchet up the rhetoric.

The Brady Campaign put up a billboard in Miami that October, took out ads in cold climates where people often take Florida vacations, and handed out fliers at Florida airports – all warning tourists of their possible demise on their trips to Florida beaches and Disney World.

The campaign got the biggest reaction in Britain and Canada, where it fit perfectly into the notion of Americans as barbarians. A headline in the British Birmingham Post read, "Going to Florida? Beware the gun-happy locals."

Although Florida officials were unhappy about a potential blow to tourism, the bigger upset was that the Brady Campaign's move played right into the NRA's hands.

The dirty secret of both sides in the gun debate is that, without a powerful enemy, they cannot woo supporters or raise money. They are like boxers in a ring – propping each other up even as they try to get in blows. They are locked in an antagonistic embrace that creates gridlock on solving the nation's gun problems.

Of course, it is not an embrace of equals. The NRA has a $200 million annual budget, while the Brady Campaign's is $8 million. Since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, gun rights groups have given $18.7 billion to political candidates, while gun control groups have given only $1.7 billion.

In fact, no one knows whether shootings have increased in Florida as a result of the Castle Doctrine because the Brady Campaign and other interested groups cannot afford to have lawyers track the results.

Paradoxically, the NRA's Goliath status forces the group to work harder to make people believe that it has potent enemies – a challenge to which it has risen. The cover of one issue of America's 1st Freedom, one of the NRA's several magazines, threatened that the United Nations will seize Americans' guns, an idea that is laughably implausible. The NRA also exaggerates the impact of other stock enemies, including the Brady Campaign itself, the French, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is trying single-handedly to curb the flow of illegal guns into his city.

After hurricane Katrina, officials tried to ban guns from the streets of New Orleans and from temporary housing for refugees. The NRA halted the efforts in federal court. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's chief executive officer, painted the attempts to check violence as proof that the US government would take away its citizens' guns.

"To stop such civil disarmament – the greatest threat of all – will require massive NRA member pressure at every level of government," Mr. LaPierre wrote in his monthly letter to NRA members. "In these upcoming battles, our battle cry must be REMEMBER NEW ORLEANS! Never, ever forget."

Certainly, most Americans would say that the shootings at Virginia Tech should never, ever be forgotten either. But somehow, though school shootings continue, though an average of 32 homicides are committed with guns in the United States each day, though dozens of suspected terrorists are known to have passed background checks to legally purchase guns, the gun-control side cannot gain traction.

Instead the bluster and bickering continue. The warring lobbying groups call each other "gun grabbers," "enemies of freedom," and "gun zealots."

"The two sides in this debate behave like spoiled children who won't sit at the table together and play nice," admits Peter Hamm, the spokesman for the Brady Campaign.

What the two sides don't acknowledge is that reasonable people can oppose civilian ownership of machine guns or .50-caliber rifles so powerful they must be shot using a tripod while still supporting hunting and owning guns for self-defense. Americans can support background checks on guns sold everywhere – not just by licensed dealers – without putting gun companies out of business. The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.

The name-calling and breath-holding have made us all forget that a middle ground is possible.

• Rachel Graves is working on "The Gun Follies," a book about the politics of guns.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0905/p09s02-coop.html?page=1

Edit: Some factual errors in this one.

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M_Olson
September 6, 2007, 07:21 PM
so basically she complains about the bickering between the two sides and says it needs to stop and the only way to make it stop is to agree with the anti side? sound logic...

Vern Humphrey
September 6, 2007, 07:27 PM
It would be expecting too much to just respect the Constitution, I suppose?

Cosmoline
September 6, 2007, 07:37 PM
Well that's the question--what exactly does the Constitution protect. Or more importantly, what will the federal courts say it protects? Currently, there is virtually no legal safety net for people on our side of this debate. Compromise is a bad idea because there is nothing stopping the antis from "compromising" the RKBA right out existence. There's no assurance that a federal court would step in and stop the slide at some point. There's a HOPE, but that's all. So the only reasonable position is extreme caution. If we start to slide that may be the end of it all.

The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.

I love this bit of nonsense. The US government does not require registration of motor vehicles and never has. Giving the BATF power to license and register firearms is on par with giving the EPA the power to license and register cars. And the antis know this perfectly well.

General Geoff
September 6, 2007, 07:42 PM
What the two sides don't acknowledge is that reasonable people can oppose civilian ownership of machine guns or .50-caliber rifles so powerful they must be shot using a tripod while still supporting hunting and owning guns for self-defense. Americans can support background checks on guns sold everywhere – not just by licensed dealers – without putting gun companies out of business. The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.

Doesn't sound much like a middle ground at all.

yesit'sloaded
September 6, 2007, 07:42 PM
It sounds like a decent article from someone who has no clue about guns. She did mention self defense as a legitimate reason for owning and using a firearm. She doesn't seem to know that gun ownership is a right and not a privilege."The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns." In a perfect world I see no problem with that. However right now it is difficult to buy a gun and registration serves no purpose other than to let the government keep tabs on you. If I could go to the store and buy a half gallon of milk, three pounds of ground beef, and a 9mm pistol without any more trouble than it is to buy everything but the pistol now it would be cool. Sad that we can't trust a government made up of the people. Guess we are the "wrong" people.

Bartholomew Roberts
September 6, 2007, 07:46 PM
Gee, funny how the so-called "middle ground" is composed entirely of gun-control proposals that the antis are too weak to win via the legislature. I thought a compromise was where both sides got something out of the deal?

What exactly do gun rights supporters get? "If you play nicely, register all your guns and yourself, submit to background checks for everything you own, then we will support your right to own guns for hunting and self-defense as long as we don't find those guns too scary or dangerous." I especially like the idea that after giving all of my rights away, all I get in return is a promise to actually support a right I already have according to the Constitution.

Sounds like a hell of a deal to me. Where do I sign up? :barf:

Standing Wolf
September 6, 2007, 09:01 PM
The NRA has a $200 million annual budget, while the Brady Campaign's is $8 million.

We, the people, have spoken with our check books.

The leftist extremists need to sit down, shut up, and learn the obvious lesson, starting with this one: compromised freedom isn't freedom, but serfdom.

ServiceSoon
September 6, 2007, 09:08 PM
That is a very compelling article. It does a good job making pro-2nd amendment people look like deceptive unreasonable people.

Samuraigg
September 6, 2007, 09:14 PM
The NRA has a $200 million annual budget, while the Brady Campaign's is $8 million.

We, the people, have spoken with our check books.

Exactly! I love reading this figure. I laugh when I see the antis bemoan the power of the "gun lobby", as if they gain power by some nefarious activity. Where do they think the gun lobby gets it power!? From people, like on this forum, who donate time and money to the cause.

Oh, and what the heck is the deal with mentioning the gun confiscations in Katrina like that was a reasonable activity? I think most reasonable people (including those on the fence about gun control) would agree the government should NOT have the power to confiscate guns in an emergency. Heck, didn't even Obama vote in favor of the bill to stop that?

Ohio Rifleman
September 6, 2007, 09:36 PM
The NRA has a $200 million annual budget, while the Brady Campaign's is $8 million.

We, the people, have spoken with our check books.

Standing Wolf, I just might want to use that in my sig line.

Technosavant
September 6, 2007, 09:56 PM
Gee, funny how the so-called "middle ground" is composed entirely of gun-control proposals that the antis are too weak to win via the legislature. I thought a compromise was where both sides got something out of the deal?


Exactly. That is what all gun owners and freedom-loving people need to realize. Any "middle ground" when it comes to your freedoms is nothing more than oppression on the installment plan. Middle ground in regards to the RKBA means BOHICA for us "gun zealots." However, the gun grabbers never seem to feel the need to give even a micron.

I don't feel bad in rejecting compromise.

Zoogster
September 6, 2007, 10:22 PM
Obviously total anti agenda. The antis have made big strides in the last few decades, and the pro gun side has made a couple. It is not a debate, it is like a race. At the start is full gun rights, at the end is total prohibition. Tons of money and support is put into slowing the race down, and on occasion taking a step backwards towards freedom like with Castle Doctrine. Where does the money come from? Millions of Americans.
Also the Brady Camp is not a single entity, we have made graphs that show the relationship of anti gun groups and funding, and most of it traces back to a few key players using numerous smaller fronts. The Brady Camp is one of these smaller fronts, just one of the better known. Some are designed to appeal more to the mainstream, and some are designed to appeal to the hardcore anti. All work towards the same goal and share similar funding by the same key players. Contrast that with the NRA, who rather than split into multiple seperate entities to hide thier affiliation with eachother, is a single large entity that puts its stamp on most of what it does. Who is being dishonest?

threatened that the United Nations will seize Americans' guns, an idea that is laughably implausible

Actualy politicly they are often attempting to do just that. There is meetings about "small arms proliferations" and discussions on how to reduce the ownership of arms across the world. There is pressure applied to the U.S. to lead by example and reduce ownership in America as well as other places it has political and economic influance. Most governments throughout the world do not want small arms owned by the population, and many have outlawed most and severely restricted others.
In fact even our own top law enforcement officer in the nation, privy to details many of us are not has admitted to such. Janet Reno while in office said

"Waiting periods are only a step.
Registration is only a step.
The prohibition of private
firearms is the goal."

So while some would like to attribute this to one individual, it is not unique to Janet Reno, she was just the one dumb enough to repeat to the public the methodology and goal of others in her field. So not only is the U.N. out to take arms from the people, but our own government must be highly scrutinized as well.


painted the attempts to check violence as proof that the US government would take away its citizens' guns
It did take guns from law abiding people in harms way! Some are still disputing this?

The author's version of a "middle ground" is additional errosion of rights. Bartholomew Roberts summed that up pretty well.

There is so many things in this article that are misleading.

sig226
September 6, 2007, 10:25 PM
I can't recall the Christian Science Monitor ever offering any kind of support to the right to keep and bear arms. I also can't recall a single instance of a shooting that was made legal by the Stand Your Ground law (correct name for it) that would have been illegal prior to the law.

ilcylic
September 6, 2007, 10:43 PM
reasonable people can oppose civilian ownership of machine guns or .50-caliber rifles

No, they can't, because such opposition reduces their status as "reasonable people".

the pistolero
September 6, 2007, 10:47 PM
Paradoxically, the NRA's Goliath status forces the group to work harder to make people believe that it has potent enemies – a challenge to which it has risen.
Call me crazy, but I don't think we need the NRA to alert us to the fact that there are people out there who will stop at nothing to disarm us. Does she really think gun people are that out-of-touch with what's going on?!

The cover of one issue of America's 1st Freedom, one of the NRA's several magazines, threatened that the United Nations will seize Americans' guns, an idea that is laughably implausible.
Note, of course, that the writer offers no evidence whatsoever to support her assertion. This seems to be a pattern with antis.

After hurricane Katrina, officials tried to ban guns from the streets of New Orleans and from temporary housing for refugees. The NRA halted the efforts in federal court. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's chief executive officer, painted the attempts to check violence as proof that the US government would take away its citizens' guns.
An attempt to check violence. What a way to refer to a blatant violation of the Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. I said it on my blog, and I'll say it here too -- it doesn't speak well of the Christian Science Monitor that they'd let one of their reporters get away with presenting such an outrageously distorted interpretation of events to their readers.

What the two sides don't acknowledge is that reasonable people can oppose civilian ownership of machine guns or .50-caliber rifles so powerful they must be shot using a tripod while still supporting hunting and owning guns for self-defense. Americans can support background checks on guns sold everywhere – not just by licensed dealers – without putting gun companies out of business. The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.
Every time I hear that "reasonable people" crap, it makes me want to puke. Can it not be argued that .50BMG rifles and full-auto weapons were precisely the types of weapons the Founding Fathers intended the common citizen to have? As for the other side supporting self-defense as a valid reason to own a gun, I fully expect pigs to fly out of my fourth point of contact the day that happens.

The name-calling and breath-holding have made us all forget that a middle ground is possible.
Not so much. I'd argue the vast majority of us on the pro-rights side were savvy enough to recognize that there really is no middle ground, because the antis won't leave us alone. Nothing they've gotten has been good enough. And I for one don't think any of them will ever stop.

ConfuseUs
September 7, 2007, 07:24 AM
Well the CSM hasn't bothered to study the gun culture very much (as usual). Owning a gun means that the owner is subject to pretty much any radical antigun policies that the elitist billionaire sponsors of anti-gun groups can think of in the future. That is understandably a very significant motivating factor in joining pro-gun groups and voting for pro-gun politicians.

FieroCDSP
September 7, 2007, 08:09 AM
The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns

Does the STATE requirements for drivers prevent foolish people, or criminals, from killing people with cars? I got my license with NO training what so ever and have only ever had one ticket, handed out on a holiday weekend. Whereas several guys in my HS class (who took "professional" training) spent their days complaining about how many tickets they had gotten.

And I think many other countries have seen what registration of firearms leads to.

El Tejon
September 7, 2007, 08:10 AM
We can have peace if we only surrender?:rolleyes:

No, thank you. I won't be surrendering--ever.:)

Don't Tread On Me
September 7, 2007, 09:20 AM
This article, aside from being a propaganda piece that would make Goebbels proud, is also a steaming pile of bull excrement.


Allow me to break it down for the newbies of THR from the perspective of a true RKBA supporter. Let me begin:


Orlando, Fla. - Two years ago, Florida enacted a law that allows anyone who feels threatened anywhere to use deadly force.

OOPS! Not even one sentence into this and we have an error. Sorry, Florida law does not "allow" anyone who "feels" threatened to use deadly force. A person must in danger of death of serious bodily injury. The use of these terms is designed to mis-characterize this legislation as negative by implying that it is radical or dangerous or without definitions, standards or controls.

Today the National Rifle Association (NRA) is shepherding similar laws through legislatures across the country.

The so-called Castle Doctrine

Bias alert! There's nothing "so-called" about it.

extended the notion of a man's home being his castle to public streets being his castle.

Error. It did not do that at all. It merely REMOVED the DUTY TO RETREAT, which is essentially an unjustifiable burden on the victim. Unlike the Castle Doctrine as it applies to homes, there is no presumption of deadly force threat on the streets.

When the law first went into effect in October 2005, the nation's most prominent gun-control group, the Brady Campaign, decided to fight back. Sort of.

The Brady Campaign understaffed, underfunded, and generally floundering

Bias. By who's standard? The Brady Campaign is as powerful as they are entitled to be by their supporters. There is far too much of a sympathetic tone here.

missed the news of the law's consideration until it was almost a done deal. In behavior typical for both sides in a war of words, the gun-control group's inability to keep the legislation from passing did not stop the group from using the occasion to ratchet up the rhetoric.

The Brady Campaign put up a billboard in Miami that October, took out ads in cold climates where people often take Florida vacations, and handed out fliers at Florida airports all warning tourists of their possible demise on their trips to Florida beaches and Disney World.

The campaign got the biggest reaction in Britain and Canada, where it fit perfectly into the notion of Americans as barbarians. A headline in the British Birmingham Post read, "Going to Florida? Beware the gun-happy locals."

Although Florida officials were unhappy about a potential blow to tourism, the bigger upset was that the Brady Campaign's move played right into the NRA's hands.

The dirty secret of both sides in the gun debate is that, without a powerful enemy, they cannot woo supporters or raise money. They are like boxers in a ring propping each other up even as they try to get in blows. They are locked in an antagonistic embrace that creates gridlock on solving the nation's gun problems.

Bias as well as a loaded phrase. Author automatically frames the facts by implying and assuming that the nation has gun problems. The nation does not have a SINGLE gun problem of any kind whatsoever. The nation has a crime problem, yes. Gun problem no. I never met a gun that jumped off a table and robbed a liquor store. Also, author suggests that there's suppose to be some sort of "middle ground" where righteousness exists and that the correct (who decides that?) thing to do is for these two groups to meet in the middle and solve this non-existent problem. That by itself, automatically forces our liberties and rights to be compromised in favor of gun control.

Of course, it is not an embrace of equals. The NRA has a $200 million annual budget, while the Brady Campaign's is $8 million. Since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, gun rights groups have given $18.7 billion to political candidates, while gun control groups have given only $1.7 billion.

This paragraph is completely meaningless. "Not an embrace of equals" ..that's true. The Brady's are not equal to us, because more Americans are interested in preserving liberty rather than restricting it. On the other hand, given the anti-gun tone of this article, this part is more whining and crying sympathy for the Brady's in the context that things aren't fair or right because they aren't equal and that the righteous are facing an uphill battle against a Juggernaut.

In fact, no one knows whether shootings have increased in Florida as a result of the Castle Doctrine because the Brady Campaign and other interested groups cannot afford to have lawyers track the results.

Who cares? For one, that's their problem. Secondly, that information is not some super-secret data available only to attorneys. Welcome to the Internet.

Note how "shootings" is automatically assumed to be a negative. Hopefully shootings have INCREASED. Yes, self-defense shootings! As opposed to those individuals being murdered/raped, I'd hope murders and rapes can transform into self defense shootings instead. I'd rather not have any of that and the world be happy go lucky and we live like the Smurfs, but this isn't Oprah.

Paradoxically, the NRA's Goliath status

More bias, like mentioned above. Goliath compared to what? 98% of the entire televised and newsprint media? Compared to most politicians and other popular figures? NRA is a drop in the bucket compared to the overwhelming anti-gun message being disseminated by TV, radio, and every single day in our public school system.

forces the group to work harder to make people believe that it has potent enemies a challenge to which it has risen. The cover of one issue of America's 1st Freedom, one of the NRNRA'several magazines, threatened that the United Nations will seize Americans' guns, an idea that is laughably implausible. The NRA also exaggerates the impact of other stock enemies, including the Brady Campaign itself, the French, and New York Mayor Michael BlBloombergwho is trying single-handedly to curb the flow of illegal guns into his city.

Here, the author makes a mockery of what are legitimate, confirmable and provable assaults on our liberty. Effort to make the NRA seem extreme and disingenuous in their efforts to combat firearm abolition. To make matters worse, the author even mis-characterizes the claims. IE, Bloomberg's goal isn't just to keep guns out of NYC - he supports a broader gun control agenda on the excuse of protecting NYC.

After hurricane Katrina, officials tried to ban guns

Another error. They didn't try. They DID. And not only that, they confiscated tens of thousands of firearms by FORCE, without the consent of their owners, without warrant, without probable cause, and without any justification under the law or the Constitution of the United States or Louisiana -- which is why the NRA won in court.

from the streets of New Orleans and from temporary housing for refugees. The NRA halted the efforts in federal court. Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's chief executive officer, painted the attempts to check violence as proof that the US government would take away its citizens' guns.

"Painted" ....as if Wayne LaPierre, ABC News, 100 Youtube videos and others just fabricated the forced, illegal, unjustified and unconstitutional confiscation of firearms. But no ...there's no rational reason to ever believe the US Government would take way its citizens' guns!!! LOL ...

"To stop such civil disarmament the greatest threat of all will require massive NRA member pressure at every level of government," Mr. LaPiLaPierrete in his monthly letter to NRA members. "In these upcoming battles, our battle cry must be REMEMBER NEW ORLEANS! Never, ever forget."

Certainly, most Americans

Appeal to masses. Logical fallacy.

would say that the shootings at Virginia Tech should never, ever be forgotten either.

VT Shooting != (not equal to) New Orleans Gun Confiscation. To make matters worse, the premise here is that somehow what happened at VT is the result of guns, or the lack of gun control laws, or the NRA. Not because Cho was a psychopath who bought guns through LEGAL means, all of which is irrelevant since we as a society cannot control the actions of each and every single individual - nor would we want to.

But somehow, though school shootings continue, though an average of 32 homicides are committed with guns in the United States each day, though dozens of suspected terrorists are known to have passed background checks to legally purchase guns, the gun-control side cannot gain traction.

Bias. Why should it gain traction? If I said "the movement to turn American into a totalitarian communist state like North Korea cannot gain traction" should we sympathize with that?

Instead the bluster and bickering continue. The warring lobbying groups call each other "gun grabbers," "enemies of freedom," and "gun zealots."

"The two sides in this debate behave like spoiled children who won't sit at the table together and play nice," admits Peter Hamm, the spokesman for the Brady Campaign.

What the two sides don't acknowledge is that reasonable people can oppose civilian ownership of machine guns or .50-caliber rifles so powerful they must be shot using a tripod while still supporting hunting and owning guns for self-defense.

Logical fallacy. As well as clear bias and loaded phrase. As if not supporting these things makes you "unreasonable" ...

Americans can support background checks on guns sold everywhere not just by licensed dealers without putting gun companies out of business. The United States can require registration of guns and proficiency tests for gun owners, just as we do with cars, without making it impossible, or even difficult, for law-abiding citizens to buy guns.


The above paragraph is an entire Gun Control sermon.

The name-calling and breath-holding have made us all forget that a middle ground is possible.

If there was life and there was death - would a middle ground, like being diseased or beaten up be an acceptable "middle ground" ???


** And just think, I didn't even address the full bias and lies of this "article" ... Scary. Like I said, Goebbels would be proud.

0007
September 7, 2007, 10:44 AM
The CSM has been nothing but a tear sheet for leftist/liberal talking points for a long time.

willbrink
September 7, 2007, 11:15 AM
"In fact, no one knows whether shootings have increased in Florida as a result of the Castle Doctrine"

Did anyone catch that? No one knows?! Of course they know. The stats are public record.

MIL-DOT
September 7, 2007, 11:48 AM
OUTSTANDING post, Don'tTreadOnMe, really well said !:)

woof
September 7, 2007, 12:03 PM
Compromise is where both sides give something up. A similar situation exists in the abortion arena where, for now, the court's interpretation of the constitution finds a right to abortion that may not be infringed by the states. There is room on a middle ground on abortion and it will come but both sides will have to give up something. On one extreme you have the belief that"any" restriction on abortion creates a slippery slope and before you know it we will be back to back alley abortions. On the other extreme you have the belief that any provision for allowing a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is an affront to the will of God. A middle ground like - abortion legal in first trimester only, parental notification in place with exceptions etc etc - will come when the middle gets tired of it and exerts greater political influence than the two extremes. The middle is greater than the two extremes, this we know. But the extremes are more, well..., extreme and they exert more clout, especially when combined. That is the useful insight in the article to me. Both extremes combined fighting against the ho-hum middle prevail.

Cosmoline
September 7, 2007, 12:18 PM
The UN comments are also pretty funny. The UN doesn't need to touch a single firearm in the US to attack our RKBA. Their focus is on enacting treaties to prevent gunmakers from importing to nations who don't have a system of licensing and registration. They don't need to have the US sign such a treaty. If they can get the socialist nations to do it, we will no longer have any imported firearms.

kurtmax
September 7, 2007, 02:20 PM
I want a gun tripod!

Cosmoline
September 7, 2007, 03:00 PM
LOL I think these are gun tripods:

http://hl2.vokr.com/images/preview/ep2/episodetwo-screen-02.jpg

GunTech
September 7, 2007, 03:15 PM
I love how they insinuate that the NRA is powerful because of it 200 million budget - peanuts in DC. It has clout because it can get out voters.

Where I come from that's called 'democracy'. Then again, the libs have never favored it - because the 'know what's best for us'.

The possesssion of arms is the cardinal indicator of a free person.

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