Friday, April 25, 2008

Dems Cave on Guns

Lost in the huffing and puffing over Obama's "bittergate" remarks on gun owners is the fact that he and the rest of the leading Dems have completely caved on the issue of gun control, much as they did on the death penalty after the disastrous 1988 prez race of Dukakis. After that Dem prez candidates had to show they could execute the young and mentally ill to get elected. Now there will be no more pushing for assault weapons bans, handgun restrictions, heightened gun registration, or anything else. West Virginia and other states that used to go Dem but went for Bush need to be fought for, and since Kerry's defeat it is clear that kowtowing to the NRA has been an aim of the Dems. (And, ironically, Kerry was a card-carrying NRA member and longtime hunting gun owner, but when he showed up shortly before the election in Ohio in a frou-frou designer hunting outfit, he might as well have bowled a gutter ball in Altoona and denounced xenophobia by rural religious gun nuts.)

So, in the awful ABC debate that also saw Hillary ready to defend the entire Middle East against Iran (or maybe Syria?), Obama agreed with the NRA position on the Second Amendment as it relates to the case before the Supreme Court about D.C.'s gun ownership restrictions. He said it guarantees an individual right to own guns, against the traditional interpretation that the Second Amendment is about a "well-regulated militia." In any case, even the slaughter at Virginia Tech last year has not moved the Dems (and certainly not blind duck Hillary) to push for what Hillary's husband got, restrictions on the most extreme of assault weapons. By my calculation if the madman at Virginia Tech had only had guns allowed during the 1990s, he would have been able to kill only about a third fewer than he did because of the fewer rounds of shots one can get off with those allowed guns. But, we cannot pursue such matters any more. The NRA and the gun nuts must be assuaged, even though I fear that is hopeless for Obama now.


Shag from Brookline said...

We all await the Supreme Court decision in the Heller case. I wonder what the timing will be in relation to the November elections? There were a total of 69 briefs filed in the case, with about 2/3rds supporting an individual right to keep and bear arms and about 1/3rd supporting the District of Columbia and/or a collective right. Don't expect long range considerations by the politicians other than their next elections. What better way to start a revolution than with arms as words are so boring.

Jack said...

It seems very unlikely that the current Supreme Court will interpret the Amendment with a focus on the "well-regulated militia" phrase. Thinking that it would be worth while to go back to only the original source, I combed through the Federalist Papers in hopes of finding some specific reference to group vs individual right to own guns. Oops!
If anything it appeared more focused on the individuals' rights. It would seem that our fore fathers didn't predict the social changes that have taken place. The very use of the word militia implies that citizens might be called up at a moment's notice to participate in some military action. It makes sense in such a context that the original idea was that individuals needed to have their own guns at the ready in order to serve in such a militia. Maybe I've over looked some good discussion at the time, but the few references that there are in the Federalist Papers only repeats the concept of the individual who may then serve in a militia in a useful manner, i.e. with his own gun.

Given the direction in which our government has been headed, maybe it's just as well that individuals have such a right. Instead of focusing on the need to restrict gun ownership, it may be more useful to spend more time educating gun owners regarding the venal nature of their current government and the idiotic choices that they have been making in the voting booths.