Politics, parties and PACs

by Jim Irvine

No matter how much the media want to make it a partisan issue, one can not accurately predict a candidate's position on the Second Amendment by looking at his party affiliation. Telling a lie often enough may make more people believe it, but it does not change the facts.

One could make a case that the gun issue is an urban versus rural issue. This is far more accurate than the typical Republican vs. Democrat argument, and may have been fairly true 20 years ago, but it is clearly not the case today.

Many inner city candidates have told me that their district is pro-concealed carry. Crime is not something inner city people watch on TV with the disconnected feeling that "it won't happen to me." Crime is something that happens on their street, to their friends, family and neighbors. They know the police are not there to protect them, so it's up to them to protect themselves and those they love. They get it, and they overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

Politicians will say and do things to help others in their party. They see it as part of the job. It could be Governor Strickland praising President Obama. It could be any Republican praising Senator Mike DeWine or Bob Taft, or it could be Sarah Palin praising John McCain. It is a part of politics and it should not surprise us. You don't have to like it. You can say, "I'd never do that." Fine. Don't run for office. But there is also no point in complaining about those that make a different decision doing the job they have chosen.

The Republican Party supports Republicans, no matter what their stance on firearms or your Second Amendment rights. The Democratic Party supports Democrats, no matter what their stance on firearms or your Second Amendment rights. Buckeye Firearms Association support candidates who support your Second Amendment rights, no matter what party they belong to.

This has the effect of making both parties care more about our issue, and work with us to educate their candidates. The bottom line is that gun owners win.

Politicians generally have ideas they want to implement. They think they can make our world a better place to live. To advance their ideas, they need support from other lawmakers. They take time to educate other legislators about their ideas and they listen to and learn from fellow law-makers. It is not just a casual "I'll vote for your bill if you vote for mine."

Members of the same party often share similar ideas on multiple issues. That makes it easy for them to garner support. The party with a majority in any house "controls" it by virtue of their leadership position. As Ohio gun owners know all too well, the leader of the House or Senate can delay or kill any bill, no matter how many legislators support it. (There is a mechanism by which legislators can vote on a bill over the leader's objection, but that happens less often than a veto override.)

When it comes time to vote, most votes are cast on the merits of the bill, not the person or party sponsoring it. Media love to report "party line voting," but it is rarely the case. During President Bush's first two years in office, the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. Only two of the 435 people in Congress voted with the President 100% of the time. One of those people was Democrat James Traficant. When it comes to talking during election time, party loyalty is a priority. But when casting a vote, the issue and not the party normally becomes controlling.

Pro-gun voters are sick of candidates like Bob Taft and Al Gore who talk a great story about how they "support the Second Amendment," but do everything in their power to stop, limit, regulate, tax, and prohibit the proper exercise of your rights. It does not matter what they say when compared with what they do and how they vote.

The same is true of a candidate who voices support for versus a candidate who does not support our rights. It happens in both parties, but it does not really matter, as long as that person is still standing there on our side of the issue when it comes time to vote or sign legislation. Every candidate has voiced support for another person we disagree with, but what matters is that they are there for us when we need them on our issue.

In this political season many statements will be made by political candidates regarding firearms. Those statements will be reprinted, quoted, misquoted and taken out of context by others with different political goals. I hate "dirty politics" as much as anyone, but I know I can't stop it. What I can do is study those quotes and work to understand the context in which they were made. John Kerry and Charlton Heston might have uttered the same words, but they had polar opposite intentions regarding your guns.

The job of Buckeye Firearms Association, a political action committee (PAC), is to be expert on our issue and endorse the best candidate. By treating both parties equally and fairly, we earn the respect of both. It does not matter who introduces a bill, who votes for it or who signs it. What matters is that our laws are reformed to protect and restore your right to keep and bear arms.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association chairman.

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