Democrats mistaken to think Supreme Court ruling took guns off the table in 2010 election

by Chad D. Baus

As the dust begins to settle on the historic McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court ruling, the analysis of the political fallout has begun in earnest.

One opinion piece, scurrilously mislabeled as a "news article" by The Politico, deserves some attention.

According to a June 29 article by Kasie Hunt, entitled "Democrats quietly cheer high court gun ruling", Democrats "won the day in politics" when the McDonald ruling was announced:

For them, the court's groundbreaking decision couldn't have been more beneficial to the cause in November. Now, Democratic candidates across the map figure they have one less issue to worry about on the campaign trail. And they won't have to defend Republican attacks over gun rights and an angry, energized base of gun owners.

"It removes guns as a political issue because everyone now agrees that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and everybody agrees that it's subject to regulation," said Lanae Erickson, deputy director of the culture program at centrist think tank Third Way.

A House Democratic aide agreed that the court's decision removed a potentially combustible element from the mix.

"The Supreme Court ruled here that you have a fundamental right to own and bear arms, and that means at the national level it's harder — whether it's Republicans or whether it's the [National Rifle Association] — to throw that claim out: If Democrats are in charge, they're going to come get your guns," said the aide. "It pretty much took that off the table."

Wow. I haven't heard that much wishful thinking since President Obama claimed the recession was over.

For any Democratic candidate tempted to believe this rubbish, I have two words:

Elena Kagan.

Notably missing from Ms. Hunt's article is any mention of just how narrow the margin of victory was in this case. Just five Justices comprised the majority in this case. Four others sought to overturn the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and three of those were appointed by Democrat presidents, including Sonia Sotomayor by President Obama just last year.

With Justice John Paul Stevens' retirement (the fact that he needed to retire could not have been more evident from his rambling dissent to McDonald, or from Justice Antonin Scalia's scathing response to same), the opportunity now exists for the Democrat to place yet another appointee with extremist, anti-gun view of the Second Amendment on the high Court.

But if The Politico's Ms. Hunt and the left-wing spin-meisters she quotes are to be believed, pro-gun voters are so euphoric about the narrow 5-4 victory that they won't be the least bit concerned about what could happen to the McDonald ruling in the future, should the balance of power on the Court tilt just one more vote to the left. No, to Hunt and The Politico, the gun issue has been "neutralized" for Democrats.

I beg to differ.

There isn't a self-respecting pro-gun voter watching the Kagan confirmation hearings that is going give a pass to Democrats (or Republicans, for that matter) who vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, and our friends at the National Rifle Association are doing everything they can to make sure every pro-gun voter is watching:

From the NRA press release that accompanied the release of this advertisement:

We have carefully examined the career, written documents and public statements of nominee Elena Kagan and have found nothing to indicate any support for the Second Amendment. On the contrary, the facts reveal a nominee who opposes Second Amendment rights and is clearly out of step with mainstream Americans.

Therefore, the NRA is strongly opposed to Kagan's confirmation to the Court.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she refused to declare support for the Second Amendment, saying only that the matter was "settled law."

This was eerily similar to the scripted testimony of Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year, prior to her confirmation to the Court. When pressed on the Second Amendment then, Sotomayor also referred to the issue as "settled law."

But in the recently decided case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, Sotomayor ignored the "settled law" of the Heller decision and signed a dissenting opinion that declared, "I can find nothing in the Second Amendment's text, history, or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as 'fundamental' insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes."

It has become obvious that "settled law" is the scripted code of an anti-gun nominee's confirmation effort. The NRA is not fooled. No member of the U.S. Senate should be either.

...The NRA is strongly opposed to the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. This vote matters and will be a part of future candidate evaluations.

So while Hunt claims the McDonald ruling prompted a "Democratic sigh of relief," the fact is that Democrats and Republicans who vote to confirm Elena Kagan will be ensuring the gun issue will be anything but neutralized in November 2010, and for years and years to come.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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