Op-Ed: Friendly Fire
If McCain’s going to claim he’s a conservative on guns, then he’s got some explaining to do.
May 17, 2006
By John R. Lott. Jr.
With presidential primaries just over two-and-a-half years away, John McCain is moving back towards Republican conservatives. On some issues, from campaign finance to illegal immigration to global warming, he isn’t even trying to convince conservatives that he agrees with them. But he realizes he can’t oppose them on everything. So, on other important issues, such as taxes, abortion, and guns, he’s brandishing his conservative credentials.
It is quite a contrast to his 2000 presidential campaign, when he openly criticized and needled conservatives. This last Saturday, he even gave a graduation talk at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University (though, for balance, he will also be addressing this week graduates at New York City’s very left-wing New School).
Reporters speculated on Meet the Press on Sunday that McCain wants to make amends with conservatives well before he officially announces his candidacy for president next year. So can he convince people he is still sufficiently conservative?
Let’s consider just one of these issues: McCain’s claimed pro-gun record. This was true a decade ago, but since then, on issues such as regulating gun shows, banning less expensive guns and so-called assault weapons, and requiring gunlocks, McCain has supported central portions of the gun-control agenda. Indeed, in a couple cases, McCain authored the proposed legislation himself.
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