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Mastiff
March 15, 2009, 11:40 AM
Issue of Gun Rights Still Holds Sway

By CARL HULSE
Published: March 14, 2009

Democrats have been exorcising some of their most stubborn political demons of late.

In challenging former President George W. Bush over the war in Iraq, they showed they were overcoming their deep post-Vietnam fear of being painted as weak on defense when taking a strong anti-war stance. Now, exhibiting comfort with rolling back Bush-era tax cuts, Democrats seem to be losing their anxiety about the tax-and-spend label.
But there is one issue that retains the power to leave Democrats quivering: gun rights. Gun issues still persistently tie the party in knots and have been used by Republicans to stall two major bills this year, with more likely to come.
“It is a hot-button issue,” said Representative Allen Boyd, Democrat of Florida, a longtime hunter and one of the moderates who typically split from the more liberal wing of the party to support the rights of gun owners. “Some people around here know they can use it as a wedge issue, and they try to do that.”
It is a particularly hot-button topic with veteran Congressional Democrats who believe the party’s strong support for a 1994 assault weapons ban was the real reason they lost control of the House that year — not the House bank scandal, the failed health care initiative, the Contract with America or Newt Gingrich.
The power of that bad memory was unmistakable a few weeks ago in the immediacy with which Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the suggestion by new Attorney General Eric Holder that Congress might reinstitute the assault weapons ban.
“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” said Ms. Pelosi, echoing the position often taken by advocates of gun rights.
Gun rights are probably equaled only by abortion rights in their ability to split Democrats and create political havoc.
Well aware of the Democratic sensitivity on guns and the reluctance of suburban and rural lawmakers to cast any vote that could be perceived as anti-gun, Republicans see the issue as one of their most effective poison pills to sabotage legislation. They were able to add an expansion of gun ownership in the District of Columbia to a long-sought measure giving the district a full-voting seat in the House of Representatives. Now the gun issue is an anchor on the bill in the House.
Democrats also came up just short of winning approval of a public lands bill this week because of three Democratic holdouts. They were influenced in part by concerns that the bill would upset gun owners even though the National Rifle Association had already signed off after a promise that the bill would not curtail hunting on federal land.
Democratic leaders admit they are confounded by the mounting problems with gun votes and are trying to find a way out of a situation that is partly a product of their own success. The wider their majority, the more members Democrats have from swing districts where gun rights are likely to be a prominent issue.
One of those members, Representative Travis Childers of Mississippi, last year was able to win House approval of his plan to let residents of the District of Columbia buy and keep guns in their homes for self-protection, a further retreat from the district’s virtually universal ban on legal handgun ownership that had already been relaxed by the Supreme Court.
“The Second Amendment right is a long-standing pillar in our system of government, and I believe law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend their homes in the District of Columbia, just like they have the ability to do so in the First Congressional District of Mississippi,” said Mr. Childers, who persuaded 81 other Democrats to side with him.
Democratic leaders say that baseline of 80 or so Democrats has undoubtedly grown, given gains in moderate districts last November, providing a solid House majority for gun rights when combined when strong support among Republicans. The cultural shift is pronounced — this week’s mass shootings in Alabama and Germany stirred hardly a Congressional call for new gun restrictions, a contrast from past episodes.
Even with important legislation on the line, Ms. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders seem unwilling to demand that Democrats with a record of backing gun rights relent when the issue is secondary, as is the case with the District of Columbia voting-rights bill.
“Members come here to represent their districts, and I respect that,” Ms. Pelosi said.
And the fact is many conservative and moderate Democrats are not simply acting out of worry of getting a black mark from the N.R.A — they are hunters and sportsmen and strongly believe in the right to own and bear arms.
But what some Democratic leaders fear is that Republicans are taking better advantage of the party divide on the subject and will step up their use of gun rights to derail other issues in the months ahead.
Mr. Boyd, the Florida lawmaker, said that Democrats cannot let that happen.
“The truth is this administration and this Congress have some very serious economic problems to deal with and we are going to get through them,” he said. “Hopefully we will work around these distractions.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us...ml?_r=1&ref=us
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Old Fuff
March 15, 2009, 12:39 PM
What they are really saying is that unless there is substantial public support for gun control legislarion they won't touch it, but if something comes along to bring out that support they'll move quickly to take advantage of it. Meanwhile they have other more important irons in the fire. No, the tiger hasn't changed its stripes.

And look out for that "enforce the laws we have" business. :uhoh: :eek:

USAFNoDAk
March 15, 2009, 12:53 PM
One area I'd like to see the Republicans work on would be a direct comparison of the right to keep and bear arms with the so called right to abortion. The GOP should tell the public, "We'll lay off of any attempts to make abortions illegal, if the democrats also promise to publicly make it legal for law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms EVERYWHERE in the US. In addition, if Democrats try to have the Federal government pay for abortions and health care because those two things are considered "rights", then they also ought to make the government pay for firearms for the people, because the right to keep and bear arms is a right specifically spelled out in the Constitution, whereas abortion and health care are not.

The Lone Haranguer
March 15, 2009, 12:53 PM
[N]o, the tiger hasn't changed its stripes.

Agreed, he has just blended into the background and is lurking.

yokel
March 15, 2009, 01:30 PM
And the fact is many conservative and moderate Democrats are not simply acting out of worry of getting a black mark from the N.R.A — they are hunters and sportsmen and strongly believe in the right to own and bear arms.
They need to give that "hunting and sporting " purposes drivel a rest and move on; their credibility is reduced to zero when they perpetuate nonsense like that.

Gamera
March 15, 2009, 01:41 PM
In addition, if Democrats try to have the Federal government pay for abortions and health care because those two things are considered "rights", then they also ought to make the government pay for firearms for the people, because the right to keep and bear arms is a right specifically spelled out in the Constitution, whereas abortion and health care are not.
USAFNoDak, I like how you think!

rainbowbob
March 15, 2009, 02:21 PM
USAFNoDAk:

That is an interesting angle you propose - and I had not heard anything like it before.

It is a reasonable argument to insist that if the government must pay to insure the enjoyment of SOME "rights" - it must also pay to insure the enjoyment of ALL our rights.

It would quickly become obvious that the government can't - and shouldn't - be responsible to insure ANY of our rights.

The role of government is to make it possible for us to seek the enjoyment of those rights without interference.

Titan6
March 15, 2009, 02:29 PM
this week’s mass shootings in Alabama and Germany stirred hardly a Congressional call for new gun restrictions, a contrast from past episodes.

I wonder if they realize that now that our gun laws not only do not affect mass shootings but also do not affect mass shootings in other countries as well.

Well aware of the Democratic sensitivity on guns and the reluctance of suburban and rural lawmakers to cast any vote that could be perceived as anti-gun, Republicans see the issue as one of their most effective poison pills to sabotage legislation. They were able to add an expansion of gun ownership in the District of Columbia to a long-sought measure giving the district a full-voting seat in the House of Representatives. Now the gun issue is an anchor on the bill in the House.

Absolute insanity. Democrats are so afraid of liberty and empowerment that they will even give up free votes.

camslam
March 15, 2009, 02:48 PM
It's interesting to see the NY Times echoing what most people are starting to see.

1-There are a hell of a lot of gun owners in this here country.

2-Those gun owners DO NOT WANT THEIR GUN RIGHTS messed with.

We discussed this at length last week:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=432855

The question as to whether or not Democrats and more importantly, Democratic Politicians are starting to get it.

I think they are. The party elite will always be trying to take away our gun rights, the reasons for that are varied and debatable, but in the end, the gains the Dems have had in Congress HAVE brought a new breed of pro-gun politicians.

I also find it interesting after the 2 shootings last week, I recorded several shows on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC to see what kind of coverage there was and what kind of calls for gun control would be out there.

I'm sure there were more than I saw, but out of all the shows, Hannity, O'Reilly, Olbermann, Maddow, Matthews, Anderson Cooper, and Lou Dobbs, the only one that I saw do anything on guns the day after the shootings was Lou Dobbs and he was all over the Dems and Holder for coming AFTER our gun rights.

As I read letters to the editor around the country, coupled with the number of gun purchases, ammo purchases, concealed carry permits, etc... It is hard to not see people changing somewhat to some common sense. It seems they are starting to understand that the police are going to investigate crimes instead of prevent them.

I see more stories about cashiers, homeowners, neighbors, and regular citizens standing up, getting armed, and taking responsibility for their self defense.

I LIKE IT!

This battle is far from over, we have the most rabid of anti-gun people currently in control of the Presidency, Vice Presidency, Attorney General, Homeland Security, State Department, and both houses of Congress, but I think they understand:

MESS WITH OUR GUN RIGHTS AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

I will watch with intense interest the conundrum that the Dems now face. Liberal Democrats by nature seem to be ruled more by their emotions than logic on most issues, it is going to be interesting to see which wins out in the future regarding gun rights.

-Will their emotional desires and fears regarding guns get the best of them and force them to go after our gun rights?

-or-

-Will their desires for power and brains tell them if they want to stay in power, they had better leave the guns alone?

I'm going to pop some popcorn and enjoy the show. (In the meantime, I will continue to introduce, educate, and train as many people on guns and the 2nd amendment as I possibly can).

Grey_Mana
March 15, 2009, 02:51 PM
Are you seriously proposing letting the government redistribute your guns and ammos to the less fortunate or more needy?

Sure, sure, the government will take care of your right to bear arms, as soon as it is done ensuring that you've paid for the rights of others. Don't you know that you've never paid any taxes, except that you've gotten just compensation? They have never taken anything from you, even the time to fill out your tax paperwork, but that they haven't justly compensated you. That good governance would absolutely be applied, if the government becomes involved in ensuring your right to bear arms.

"Dear. Mr. USAFNoDAk, Your neighborhood (defined by Jerrymander Regulation 2009 to include you and half of Cracktown 15 miles away) is allotted a quota of 20 guns total. You are hereby ordered to turn in all firearms to the government. You will then be allowed to apply for your fair share of the quota. If you do not comply by yesterday, members of the Cracktown Civilian Militia Corp will be authorized to do drive-by shootings (with the guns they say they don't have) until you or your heirs comply."

hso
March 15, 2009, 03:21 PM
Grey-Mana,

Ever hear of the CMP? That's a program with government support of firearms ownership and shooting. The government donates those rifles to the CMP. Let's not reduce this to tinfoilhattery.

rainbowbob
March 15, 2009, 03:44 PM
...Will their desires for power and brains tell them if they want to stay in power, they had better leave the guns alone?

I'm betting on Option B. Politicians are politicians first, last, and always. They'll follow the polls that show them where to get their bread buttered.


Are you seriously proposing letting the government redistribute your guns and ammos to the less fortunate or more needy?

I don't think that was the point. Rather, the proposal illustrates the fallacy of redistributing income so that everyone can have the enjoyment of their rights financed by the government (i.e., taxpayers).

Old Fuff
March 15, 2009, 07:41 PM
Ever hear of the CMP? That's a program with government support of firearms ownership and shooting. The government donates those rifles to the CMP. Let's not reduce this to tinfoilhattery.

True, but just sort of. The CMP is the successor to the DCM (Director or Civilian Marksmanship), which was part of the Department of Defense. Lyndon Johnson didn't like that, so he decided to issue an order abolishing it. The nice folks at the NRA pointed out that he didn’t have the power to abolish a statute, and the DCM had been created by a law signed by a “real” president – Teddy Roosevelt.

I believe the CMP receives some government support, but it is chartered as a private corporation.

unspellable
March 15, 2009, 08:12 PM
It's curious to note that in the comments by various politicians at the top of this thread there are discussions of tactics, timing, etc., but nary a word about what's RIGHT!

#shooter
March 16, 2009, 09:48 AM
Every now and then I troll on the liberal/progressive websites like Kos or HP to see what they are chattering about. On many pro-liberal issues like abortion, national health care, or unions the posts tend to be virtually one-sided, but when gun control comes up there is fierce opposition to it. I would say 60/40 in favor of limiting gun control.

There are obviously some pro-gun Dems, but most of them don't care and a few are slightly anti. All but the hard core antis want to steer clear of the issue out of fear it will jeopardize majorities or other more important liberal agenda items.

The funniest posts were when GWB was President. They all of a sudden saw the light of the 2nd Amendment and why it was needed in case the government became hostile (it dawned on them that registering firearms may be bad) or in the absence of government like Katrina.

USAFNoDAk
March 16, 2009, 10:12 AM
Gray Mana posted:Are you seriously proposing letting the government redistribute your guns and ammos to the less fortunate or more needy?


Not at all. I'm pointing out that the liberals and many "moderates" keep harping on, what they call a fact, that since health care and access to abortion are rights, then the federal government ought to pay for it. I'm saying we use that arguement against them and tell them, if that's the case, then it logically follows that the government ought to buy a firearm for any American who wants one. The USSC has already ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is indeed an individual right.

This arguement would have the potential to accomplish two things.

1. Get them to understand that just because something is a right, doesn't mean you get to have someone else pay for the means to exercise such a right. This is a message I think could sink in with most of them.

2. Get them to back off attacking the Second Amendment by putting it at least on the same level, in the public arena of debate, as the right to have an abortion, or the "right" to affordable health care. I don't necessarily believe either of the last two are "rights", but this is would be an exercise in using their arguements on those topics to bolster our arguement for the protection of the Second Amendment.

I don't really believe that the Fed's should buy me or anyone else a firearm. They should not prevent me from having one, but they do not have to be on the hook to pay for me to have one. That is the ultimate message we would be trying to get across. The same with abortion. Should the federal govt. prevent a woman from having an abortion? I think it should be left to the states, so I say NO. Should the federal government purchase an abortion for every woman who wants one? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Should the federal government prevent anyone from receiving health care? Nope. Should the federal government pay for the health care of every american who receives it? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

I hope that helps to illustrate what I was proposing. I think several other posters caught my drift.

rojocorsa
March 16, 2009, 05:50 PM
"We'll lay off of any attempts to make abortions illegal, if the democrats also promise to publicly make it legal for law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms EVERYWHERE in the US. In addition, if Democrats try to have the Federal government pay for abortions and health care because those two things are considered "rights", then they also ought to make the government pay for firearms for the people, because the right to keep and bear arms is a right specifically spelled out in the Constitution, whereas abortion and health care are not.

Well said.

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