Gun Rights and the 2004 Election


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Bartholomew Roberts
July 16, 2004, 12:30 PM
These are just my thoughts on this election. This is the way I see the numbers from the view that incrementalism can work for us as well as it has worked against us. Let's take a look at where we stand in the 2004 election, so we can get an idea of what is at stake here.

In the House, we have 230 NRA A-rated candidates out of 435. This means that we have a pro-gun majority in the House. Even using the more strict GOA grading, we maintain that majority (but with much slimmer margins). In Texas, we will stand to gain 1 or 2 seats from the redistricting (most of the Dems being replaced were pro-gun too, so no strong gains).

Overall, our chances of maintaining or expanding our lead in the House look good.

In the Senate, the antis still lead. In March, the Senate voted 52-47 to attach an amendment renewing the semi-auto ban to S.1805. Four of the Senators who voted to renew the ban are retiring in strong, pro-gun states. This leaves those seats open to a competitive race and in some (South Carolina) GOA A-rated candidates have already won the Republican primary. In South Dakota, Tom Daschle (GOA F-rated) (who also voted to renew the ban) is in a very tight election against a GOA B-rated candidate, John Thune.

In some states (Alaska and Oklahoma), there are no anti candidates running. Senate candidates on both sides have strong pro-gun ratings from both NRA and GOA.

We have the potential to pick up as many as six pro-gun seats. Illinois is a very unlikely win; but we have better than 50% chances in the other races. The March 2002 vote in the Senate could easily swing from 52-47 in favor of the ban to 47-52.

Even if we pick up only half of the competitive seats for pro-RKBA candidates, we will still improve the margin by three seats. That means the 52-47 March vote to renew the ban would become a 49-50 vote against it.

This also means that we finally have the opportunity to repeal and change legislation for the first time since the 1986 FOPA. Not only that; but with pro-RKBA majorities in the House and Senate and control of both, we have much greater control over killing poison pills that might be attached.

Of course, the key to this, is we have to have somebody in the White House who is either A) sympathetic to our cause or B) unwilling to veto such legislation.

I propose that this election is the wrong one to send a protest vote. Whether you like George Bush or not, he represents the best chance we have seen in some time to see legislation repealed. Even if you don't believe he has any love for the Second Amendment, he does have a 100% record of signing every piece of legislation put before him. Instead of letting that be a negative, we can make it a positive by supporting pro-gun candidates for the House and Senate.

Finally, he also has a strongly pro-gun VP. Should we only win two Senate seats (49-49), the VP will cast the deciding vote on any gun legislation in the Senate. Either John Edwards or Dick Cheney will be in a position to make that vote, who do you want?

Now I don't think that even with electing GWB and several pro-gun Senators we will see sweeping repeals of stuff. The Dems can still filibuster and certainly will. If you are looking for repeals of the GCA 1968 and NFA 1934 and won't settle for anything less, then don't bother voting for GWB because you'll just be disappointed and those of us with more gradualist tendencies will not have to hear "I voted for GWB in 2004 and yet I still don't have my government subsidized M16/M203!" in 2006/2008. ;)

But if you want a good chance to repeal some of the smaller pieces propping up the larger structure of unreasonable gun laws directed at law-abiding citizens, I think this election is a very good one to move toward that goal.

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Jim March
July 16, 2004, 01:49 PM
DEAD on target.

Folks, whining about Dubya "not doing enough" when we don't hold the Senate yet is silly.

(Note: "we" in this case means gun owners, NOT necessarily "GOP". Pro-gun Dems are a good thing, and to be encouraged.)

Kinsman
July 16, 2004, 02:20 PM
I concur.
The senate (and house of commoners too) is more important than the white house....or at least, it's as important.

As for repealing old legislation, I doubt whether that would happen. Look at the tax code, and how it grows and grows. I'd like to see that change too.

jefnvk
July 16, 2004, 03:01 PM
Just an inquiry, how many senators right now would be willing to push pro-gun legislature? And is there anyone except Feinstein really willing to push gun control? Not just vote for it when it comes up, but to actively make it their mission to ban guns?

Justin
July 16, 2004, 03:19 PM
Charles Schumer and Barbara Boxer spring to mind.

In the House the biggest gun grabber is Caroline McCarthy.

Gordon Fink
July 16, 2004, 03:25 PM
So why hasn’t our great pro-gun President rescinded even one lousy executive order?

~G. Fink

Bartholomew Roberts
July 16, 2004, 03:36 PM
So why hasn’t our great pro-gun President rescinded even one lousy executive order?

A. I did not make the argument that Bush was pro-gun. I pointed out that whether he was sympathetic to us or merely didn't want to veto bills, he would be a better president for us than Kerry.

B. The Bush Administration reversed the Clinton Administration's interpretation of the Unsoeld amendment banning the import of foreign made parts that could be used to assemble foreign semi-autos. Under the Clinton interpretation, no import was allowed at all. Under the Bush administration, import for repair and replacement was allowed.

Add to that the decision by Justice to acknowledge the Second Amendment as an individual right and that is more anti-RKBA executive decisions reversed by this administration than any administration since the 1968 GCA came into effect.

Sam Adams
July 16, 2004, 04:08 PM
So why hasn’t our great pro-gun President rescinded even one lousy executive order?

That's not really the point. The point is: who would you rather have (from our pro-gun POV) in the White House, Bush and his very conservative VP who reportedly owns HUNDREDS of machine guns, or a Massachusetts lieberal who makes Ted Kennedy look moderate and who pretends to be our friend while being one of the most committed anti-gunners in the anti-gun Senate - plus the Breck Girl, a freakin' trial attorney (and I say that as an attorney).

The President appoints all federal judges, who serve for life. I think that there's a chance that *****lery or Upchuck Schumer could end up on the Supreme Court, possibly even as CJ - but not under Bush. Likewise, the Prez appoints the head of the BATF and the Attorney General, and can write Executive Orders. Kerry would be the ultimate disaster for gun owners, and all of these powers would be used to remove our rights one-by-one. Kerry is an anti-gun ideologue (unlike Billy Jeff, who only cared about what would make his poll numbers [or his pole] rise), and would undoubtedly surround himself with similarly inclined people.

Keep in mind that the general election is not the place to be idealistic - that's what the primaries are for. The general is for preventing disaster and making sure that someone who will at least hear your POV and honestly consider it (because you were a loyal trooper and helped out and/or voted for him and his party) gets into office.

Besides, voting for a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate isn't the least bit practical. Even if elected (about as likely as transforming a pile of shiite into a gold brick), they'd have no legislative support and therefore couldn't get anything done. Staying home is also no real option - IMHO, if you do that you have lost the right to complain.

Monkeyleg
July 16, 2004, 06:59 PM
My opinion as to GW's pro-gun stance hasn't changed since 2000. I think he's more pro-gun than he lets on. And I think Mr. Roberts is correct.

In his second term, he doesn't have to worry as much about fallout.

So, what's achievable? The gun lawsuit immunity bill. With enough cooperation from the Fraternal Order of Police, a repeal of the Lautenberg amendment.

If we see the AW ban sunset, and any efforts by DiFi & Co. to replace it fall short, we could see a reversal of the '89 executive order (I think it would have to be introduced in congress, and Bush would just "go along"). After all, if TEC-9's and AR's and other American-made EBR's are legal again, why not allow imports?

As Bartholomew says, it's all incrementalism. And, at least for the moment, we have the momentum.

stevelyn
July 16, 2004, 08:01 PM
In some states (Alaska and Oklahoma) there are no anti-gun candidates running.

Ahembull******coughcoughgagAhem.....Not entirely true. In Alaska, Lisa Murkowski has gotten the support of the NRA for a reason.
Her demoscat challenger and our (thankfully) former governor Tony Knowles is running for her seat. Knowles is not pro 2A by any stretch of the imagination. And IIRC he verbally supported the AWB although he didn't actively pursue anti-gun legislation.

It's true that under Tony Knowles, Alaska's concealed carry law had a lot of bugs worked out of it to the present CHL statute currently in force (VT style carry and reciprocity law excepted) And it's also true that he signed all the bills that landed on his desk.

But the reason, and the ONLY REASON he signed pro gun legislation was because he had absolutely no other choice. You see ol' Tony had a VETO PROOF majority in the legislature keeping him honest in carrying out the Peoples wishes. It was either sign it or have the legislature overide his veto. Having a veto overidden would be a little embarrassing and could be used against him in his run for the Senate. Yes, he knew he was running for the Senate long before he left the governor's mansion. It was all part of the plan.

Here in Alaska he has remained conspicuously quiet on RKBA. He knows he won't get any mileage with the voters on it here. Actually it'll probably sink him. But if he manages to get to the Cesspool-on-the-Potomac, you can bet he'll be selling out our rights to the likes Daschle, Hitlery, Schummer, the Drunken Irishman and other members of the American Eastern Block states in the name of party continuity.

Now I'm voting for Michael Badnarik for POTUS, but I have no reason not to support our current Congressional delegation. I feel they represent Alaskans rather well. There are issues on which I disagree with their positions, but not many. At least none that I would vote for Tony Knowles on.

Lone_Gunman
July 16, 2004, 08:05 PM
Bush signed the Campaign Finance Reform law after saying he thought it was unconstitutional. The First Amendment took a major hit as a result, and now you expect me to believe he would stand up for the Second Amendment?

With the Republicans in control of the House, Senate, and Presidency, if they were going to repeal some gun laws they would have at least made some gesture toward that. No one has even hinted that is their intention. No one has even hinted they would consider it.

Sorry, but when he knowingly trashed the First Amendment by signing campaign finance reform, and then quickly followed that up with the biggest Medicare expansion since LBJ, I quickly lost my interest in supporting him.

I've had no bigger disappointment in a President in my lifetime.

boofus
July 16, 2004, 08:14 PM
W did sign the Tiahart legislation that will end Klinton's unconstitutional and blatantly ILLEGAL ATF schemes. They were keeping the NICS data from approved firearm purchases and in effect creating a federal firearms registry. One of the stipulations from the 1986 FOPA was that no federal agency would do a general firearm registry. The Brady Bill also forbade it.

So while gunowners are getting bent, paying $10000 for M16s and $15000 for MP5s because of the machinegun ban from the FOPA, the Klinton govt was willfully breaking their end of the bargain and creating a firearms registry.

May klinton and his demon spawn offspring water the Tree of Liberty.
:cuss: :fire: :banghead:

Spite is a good enough reason for me to vote for W again. He does have a knack for driving leftwingers crazy. Let's see how the left likes to have people pissing on their rights for a change.

Treylis
July 16, 2004, 08:22 PM
Some of us prefer to think ahead longer than just the next election.

Henry Bowman
July 17, 2004, 09:16 AM
Jim March said:(Note: "we" in this case means gun owners, NOT necessarily "GOP". Pro-gun Dems are a good thing, and to be encouraged.)
And anti-gun RINOs are a bad thing, and to be discouraged.

Both of these are reasons why the primaries are soo important. Otherwise we (such as in Ohio) end up with 2 anti's from which to choose on the ballot.

Bartholomew Roberts
July 17, 2004, 09:21 AM
stevelyn:
Knowles is not pro 2A by any stretch of the imagination. And IIRC he verbally supported the AWB although he didn't actively pursue anti-gun legislation.

Knowles has gone on record publiclyu saying he would have voted exactly the same as Murkowski in the March 2004 votes. I'd still prefer Murkowski win in order to insure Kennedy, Feinstein and Schumer don't move any closer to Chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee.

Lone_Gunman
The First Amendment took a major hit as a result, and now you expect me to believe he would stand up for the Second Amendment?

I've gone over this point twice now and yet people keep ignoring it. Please feel free to suggest any way I can make this more clear. Whether GWB supports the Second Amendment or not, HE DOESN'T VETO ANYTHING. Can you say the same for Kerry? If we control Congress, we have two effective choices - a guy who may or may not be on our side; but has never vetoed a single bill and a guy who is obviously not on our side and would likely veto any attempt to repeal legislation.

With the Republicans in control of the House, Senate, and Presidency, if they were going to repeal some gun laws they would have at least made some gesture toward that.

The Tiahrt amendment to the appropriations bill restored "kitchen table" FFLs and many other reforms to the FFL system, including ending NICS abuse. Many of those reforms were struck out in committee though the ending of NICS abuse survived.

So the Republicans DID try (and with worse odds at that) and were at least partially successful. It would be nice to know what we could do with better odds - especially considering that the realistic alternatives are the Democrats and Kerry.

Treylis:
Some of us prefer to think ahead longer than just the next election.

Thanks for the chuckle; but I find it ironic when a supporter of a party that has been around for over 30 years without ever getting more than 1% of the vote says that they are planning further ahead than just the next election. You certainly couldn't tell it from past results.

Perhaps you meant they were planning way, way ahead of this election - like 100 years from now? ;) In that case, the fact that they will lose this election in the same dramatic fashion as the previous eight elections will hardly impact their long range plan.

Lone_Gunman
July 18, 2004, 11:28 PM
Bartholomew,

It is a bigger issue than just the 2nd Amendment. I think he doesn't care about our freedoms in general, or Constitution in specific, if he is willing to sign law that he thinks goes against the Constitution.

The only reason he would do that is because he thought it would be politically popular to do so. He wants the votes so he can stay in power.

The fact that he will not use the veto is not a good thing, just means he is spineless and won't stick up for us when we need him the most. It also means he will not veto a renewal of the AWB when it is sent to him next term.

Another problem with Bush is that he has increased federal bureacracy and spending. I believe that the Medicare Reform Bill expanded medicare more than anyone since LBJ. At the same time, he gives us a piddly tax cut, but sooner or later someone is going to have to pay off Bush's tab.

I have voted straight Republican in every federal election since 1980, and donated money to the Republicans in 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000.

I still strongly support conservative candidates. I haven't changed, the Republican party has. I won't vote for liberals, no matter what party they are in.

rayra
July 19, 2004, 12:39 AM
I've voted both parties in the past, and have been 'Independent' since '92.

I voted Bush in 2000. I'm unhappy with the spending, the immigration stance, anything that INcreases the Welfare State and regardless of what George Bush does re the AWB, I'm voting for him again this November.

I've seen the pathetic stance of the Dems and their Fellow Travelers - their completely insane stance on the WoT and their hypocritical reversals during the election year and their statements across the country supporting Islam over Judeo-Christian foundations of this country are disgusting and very dangerous to this Nation as a whole.

The Libertarians? feh. I'd ask the elder strict-constitutionalist isolationist wing to renounce Buchananite nonsense and rejoin the Republican Party and return it to what it was 20yrs ago. The younger anarchist dope-smoking branch of the Libertarians can sod off back to the Liberal camp.
Their candidate, regardless of his 2nd Amendment bonafides is a non-starter for me. A wasted vote.

We are 25yrs into the Islamic Jihad on the West. 9/11 was a 'Pearl Harbor' -type event, capping decades of attacks and murders of Americans in the name of Allah. Bush can abuse practically any issue he wants, and he will STILL be far and away the leading candidate for me - the others are dangerous to the survival of the Nation as a whole.

Akurat
July 19, 2004, 05:55 AM
I agree. As most politicians try to do these days, Bush plays both sides of the fence on alot of issues. Its troublesome but would he have gotten the moderate/independent votes in 2000 without doing so? Probably not - Looney Gore would be our President, and you can be asured he would have made arguments for extending the AWB based upon "anti-terrorism" pretenses. That very well might have worked. As it stands we do NOT have a President pushing for renewal (in fact he issued a memo to Republicans in Congress saying he did not want the issue to even come up). He is NOT actively pursuing any detrimental gun law for that matter...as so many here are paranoid about.

Kerry will strip your gun rights. Bush has shown to be little to no threat to your gun rights. Yes he SAID he would sign the AWB, but behind the scenes he's driven the point home that didn't want to see it come up. He is playing both sides. Don't like it one bit, but can't blame him. :scrutiny:

Lone_Gunman
July 19, 2004, 10:39 AM
Kerry will strip your gun rights.

Not necessarily. The republicans will still control the House and Senate, and will have to send him legislation to sign.

Bush has already proven he will sign anything they send him, so it won't be a lot worse if Kerry is there.

The worst he could do is actively ask for gun control, but a Republican majority in the Congress would not have to do anything about it.

He could also do some bad executive orders, but Bush is just as likely to do that; his father sure did.


All that said, I am not at all a supporter of Kerry. He is one of the worst candidates the Democrats could have picked.

Bartholomew Roberts
July 19, 2004, 10:59 AM
He could also do some bad executive orders, but Bush is just as likely to do that; his father sure did.

Actually, the only RKBA related executive ruling from the Bush Administration has been less restrictive (allowing import of replacement/repair parts rather than a total ban) instead of more.

Spot77
July 19, 2004, 11:15 AM
Lone_Gunman,

Thanksfor playing Devil's Advocate (no pun or reference to Kerry intended ;) ).

I see our point, but what makes me disagree with you is that I think Bush will stick to to stronger Repuublican principles as a lame duck. After all, with nothing to lose, why try to please the liberals?

Bush knows the AWB won't make it to his desk before election day, and he won't care about it in his second term.

rick_reno
July 19, 2004, 12:01 PM
I think your Congressional estimates are inflated. I expect Bush will win the election - by a narrow margin - what that means for gun issues is up in the air. I'm convinved he doesn't have any coat tails to drag Congressional races along with him and based on the two special elections that were held earlier this year (IMHO - this is the only indicator that has any bearing on what we're likely to see, both went Democratic) I expect Congress to shift slightly. Our only hope is that Shrub learn the "V" word...a part of his vocabulary that has been missing in the first 4 years.

Bartholomew Roberts
July 19, 2004, 01:15 PM
based on the two special elections that were held earlier this year (IMHO - this is the only indicator that has any bearing on what we're likely to see, both went Democratic) I expect Congress to shift slightly.

rick_reno, I think we have been over the two special elections before and why those are not reliable indicators of this November.

In South Dakota, the special election was held on a short time frame to replace the Republican congressman who was forced out via intoxication manslaughter charges (IIRC). The Democratic candidate was the same person who had campaigned earlier and had good name recognition and started out with a 30 point lead; but a few months later won by less than 1 point against a relative unknown that she now has to face again in November.

In Kentucky, the Republican candidate was an obscure state senator facing the son of a well-known Kentucky politician, a former Governor of the state, and a 12yr veteran of Kentucky politics running in a district that is 60% Democrat by registration. Even then, the candidate basically ran as a conservative and adopted many Republican ideals (including a pro-gun stance which is relevant to this discussion).

Right now, NRA A-rated candidates have a 25 seat advantage in the House. You are going to need to see more than a "slight" shift in order to change that and I don't see anything that suggests even a slight shift to the anti side in the House.

In the Senate, it will be closer and I'd be amazed if we picked up all five of the seats where we are competitive; but it is a real possibility and I think the odds are better than 90% to pick up two seats (enough to tie the Senate and throw the vote to the VP).

Moparmike
July 20, 2004, 04:01 AM
I will be voting to oust Senator Lincoln with a pro-gun senator, and to keep my current pro-gun Rep in there. I will be voting for a pro-gun POTUS candidate, and he doesnt have an (R) or a (D) after his name.

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