Quiet No Longer
By Gerard Valentino
Over the last 12 years gun-control was the equivalent of a political black hole with Congress firmly in the grasp of the GOP. Now, as Democrats control our nation’s legislative bodies, the quiet enjoyed by pro-gun activists on the gun-control front will surely come to an end.
Although not heavily covered by the establishment media, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and her cohorts in the anti-gun movement have already renewed their drive to protect criminals by disarming law-abiding Americans.
Everywhere, pro-gun groups are prepping their members for what is sure to become an issue in the 2008 presidential election. The fight could last much longer if a Democrat like John Edwards, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), or even some of the Republican front runners wins the presidency.
Gun owners everywhere remember the dark days of the early Clinton administration. During that time anyone with a gun in their nightstand drawer was portrayed by Democrats, and the anti-gun movement, as a redneck militia member intent on arming society as a whole. The establishment media was more than happy to further that portrayal by covering every story that tied guns to crime. While ignoring the overwhelming number of times guns were used to deter crime.
Even the lack of shootings predicted by the leadership of the anti-gun movement, after legal concealed carry swept the country , did little to persuade the establishment media that law-abiding gun owners were not little more than sociopath spree killers in waiting.
The 1994 Republican revolution broke the back of the anti-gun movement but Sarah Brady freely admitted that she knew the Democrats would one day return to power. When that time came she promised her movement would rise from the ashes. Well, that day has come and already there is a new Democrat pushed assault weapons ban even more restrictive than the Clinton ban, which was allowed to sunset during Republican control of Congress.
Leaders of the anti-gun movement yearned for another Columbine-style massacre or killing spree to reenergize their misguided agenda, which is more about taking guns away from the law-abiding than stopping the next school shooting. They lurked in the woods and bided their time, waiting for the exact moment to strike. Even before the Virginia Tech massacre, that moment seemed imminent, with polls showing anti-gun presidential candidates, from both parties, as front-runners.
Even the pro-gun victories at the state level over the last year will do little to help if the federal government flexes its muscle on the gun issue. Unless, of course, the Democrats learned their lesson from the last time they made gun-control a major issue during election season. My guess is they did and instead of campaigning on a gun-control platform they will take a page out of Ohio Governor Bob Taft’s book and run on a pro-gun platform and then do everything to stall pro-gun reform.
Such a plan worked twice for Taft, and in four straight gubernatorial elections for the Republicans in Ohio. It wasn’t until avowed Second Amendment Democrat Congressman Ted Strickland ran on a pro-gun agenda that gun owners had a viable second option.
The first two years of Strickland’s term could be a portent of things to come as gun owners wonder whether he will stand by his pledge to defend their rights. If he doesn’t, it will make it that much harder for a Democrat running for president in Ohio to make the same pro-gun promises that Strickland broke.
Gun-owners in Ohio may have cast their lot with Ted Strickland, but they do not trust any Democrat to keep their word on the Second Amendment. Which means they are looking for a reason to return to their traditional Republican voting pattern. A situation that is unfair to Strickland who, as a congressman, always voted for gun rights.
As usual, Ohio’s political landscape directly reflects the national scene as the build up for the 2008 presidential election begins.
Some are arguing that the Democrats have learned their lesson on the gun issue. The number of co-sponsors of the new assault weapons ban which at last count is well over 30 tells us otherwise. Their action speaks much louder than their campaign rhetoric claiming they are no longer pushing an anti-gun agenda which could expose their duplicity on this issue.
Let’s hope, for the sake of the Republicans in congress that the Democrats continue to make the mistake of pushing gun control. It just might be the spark that pushes the Reagan Democrats squarely back in the Republican camp.
Gerard Valentino the Central Ohio Chair for Buckeye Firearms Association, BuckeyeFirearms.com, is a professional freelance writer in Columbus, Ohio.