Guns are back on the table
By Gerard Valentino
During the last ten years as concealed carry and castle doctrine laws swept the nation, Sarah Brady repeatedly remarked that the anti-gun movement would rise again. She was clear to remind everyone that all they needed was a good break. Since the Democratic leadership in the House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and all of the Democratic front-runners for the 2008 presidential nomination have dubious records on guns, it turned out to be exactly the break Brady and people of her ilk hoped for.
Right now, President George Bush is a buffer between the newly minted anti-gun Congressional leadership and the destruction of our gun rights. But that protection is short lived considering he is in the twilight of his presidency.
Lining up to take his place is a long list of candidates with a poor record on guns. Both Rudolph Giuliani and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) have supported gun-control during their time in public service. Giuliani used his position as mayor of New York to further disarm New Yorkers and make it nearly impossible to get a permit to legally carry concealed weapons. McCain has spent the better part of the last decade trying to close the imaginary “gun-show loophole” despite the fact that it doesn’t exist.
Lucky for the Republicans that gun owners are terrified at the prospect of Senator Barak Obama (D-IL) or Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) becoming our next president. That leaves the gun vote on the table for the taking if the Republicans can find a way not to completely alienate gun owners.
Pro-gun voters are concerned that once an anti-gun president is elected it will open the flood gates for the Brady anti-gun gang. Thankfully, such a turn in the fortunes of gun owners would only be on the federal level. The states are still actively passing castle doctrine laws that protect homeowners who are victims of home invasions and making concealed carry laws more permissive.
Another federal assault weapons ban, however, could put a damper on the states ability to reaffirm constitutionally protected gun rights.
Less than a year ago, gun rights activists were trumpeting the end of gun-control as we know it. Now, with the congressional power shift energizing the anti-gun lobby, the battle will surely be rejoined.
Gun rights activist will need more help than ever before in fighting to keep safe the right to bear arms.
Don’t think for a minute that hunters, target shooters or even air gun aficionados will be safe from the coming storm. Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has already introduced HR1022 which is even more restrictive than the original Clinton assault weapons ban. They have already made promises to go after semi-auto shotguns, pump action shotguns, most semi-auto pistols and inexpensive, so called “Saturday night specials,” in an effort that will assure that the poor won’t have access to self-defense.
The legislation is written so that it would ban any gun specifically designed or used by the military. That covers some of the most popular sporting shotguns, bolt action rifles and handguns used by sportsmen. It would also include just about every handgun used by law-abiding citizens for self defense.
An anti-gun president can also use the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to harass gun shop owners and gun show promoters just as Bill Clinton did. He made sure that people who legally sold guns out of their home as a way of making ends meet were forced out of business due to harassment from the BATF. Plus, through executive order, a president can ban importation of certain firearms. Another anti-gun use of the executive branch that was perfected by Bill Clinton, and will certainly be used if Hillary or Rudolph Giuliani are elected president.
Although many credit gun owners with the defeat of John Kerry (D-MA) and Al Gore in their bids for the presidency, even if they would have won, the Republican controlled House and Senate were sure to scuttle any talk of gun-control.
Now, with the Democrats in control of Congress the entire dynamic changes and it is even more vital that gun owners vote their rights. Otherwise, our rights will be taken away at the whim of Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein (D-CA), George Voinovich (R-OH) and others in the anti-gun movement.
Since 1994 gun owners had the luxury of enjoying a long period of quiet at the federal level. That golden era is over and the sooner gun owners realize it the better. Otherwise, there is a real chance that instead of going on the offensive and trying to get an expansion of permission gun laws, gun owners will be forced to fight to keep the gains made since the Republican revolution.
Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair.