Clinton and Obama on the 2A
Alphecca has a post on the subject. Who'd ever have dreamed that someday the two leading Democratic presidential candidates would be claiming they supported the Second Amendment individual right? (Both have fallen back to "but we can regulate it").
I've been involved in this issue for decades, and so have a long term view. It's been steadily downhill for the other side.
1960s: they think they can get national registration and permit systems, at a bare minimum. In fact, the predecessor to the Brady Campaign opposes national registration and permits because it's a sell-out, a compromise that would deprive them of even more. They get GCA 68, which the Washington Post denounces as a worthless compromise.
1970s, early. Still pushing for national registration and permits. No luck.
1970s, late. How about a ban on "Saturday night specials"? Nope. Or snub-nosed handguns? Nope again. Angry that the Carter Admin. made campaign promises and won't follow thru (I've got the memos somewhere, where a low-level govt official says that the message that there will be no push from the Administration had better come from somebody with a higher pay grade).
1980s. Fall WAY back to measures so minor that they sometimes outlaw nothing at all, or outlaw things nobody has. Supposed plastic guns and armor-piercing bullets. Only apparent motive is that the gun movement will be forced to defend them and thus take a PR hit. That is one very flimsy strategic goal.
Gun movement gets Firearm Owners' Protection Act. Gets it even though House is Democratic, and its leadership VERY strongly opposed. Majority of House signs discharge petition that gets it out of Judiciary Committee.
1990s: Antigunners finally score a few victories, Brady Act, AW "ban" (which is meaningless in impact) the wiping out of home FFLs. As a result, Demos lose control of both houses and the White House.
2000s: Antigun cause consists of calling for narrow things (so narrow I can't even recall them now -- secure storage, trigger locks sold with guns, etc.). Even these fail. AW "ban" expires and neither party wants to touch the issue.
2008: Democratic candidates don't even argue collective rights anymore.
Thanks, David, for the perspective and historical trends. I just wanted to add a comment:
What has hit me time and time again is what's happening in the wake of VA Tech and NIU. Perhaps fifteen years or so ago, maybe even ten, the ONLY thing we'd hear and see is that talk of gun control, how it must be passed, and how it would keep us safe. My how the winds of politics and public sentiment have changed - now look at what's happening:
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus membership numbering over 20,000 in less than one year - plust the media giving coverage to it.
Several states mulling over legislation that would expand concealed carry to include schools (eliminating them as "gun free zones"). Of course there is a lot of resistance....but there was a lot of resistance at first to general concealed carry provisions. That carry on campus legislation passed the Oklahoma house!
If these aren't strong indications of a changing attitude in the USA, I don't know what is. And look at what is going on with Heller - 30 long years of an outright local gun ban and now it seems very possible that it will be found unconstitutional.
The VPC and the Brady's must be feeling pretty overwhelmed these days. I wonder how some of those groups would even survive without the Joyce Foundation and similar big money political advocacy groups. In the wake of all this, it will be interesting to see how they change their strategies....because just going away they will not do.
Posted by: Carl in Chicago at March 30, 2008 02:29 PM
I bought my first gun when I was about twelve years old. 1960 or there-a-bouts. From a hoc shop, that's what we called Pawn Shops at the time. It was s single shot wood stocked .22 no name in white. I lusted over it it for weeks wondering how I would save the $7 dollars the man behind the counter wanted for it.
I worked odd jobs on the farms around, mostly shoveling pig crap out of the barns carrying across the lot to a manurer spreader outside the fence, for 50¢ an hour, half I had to give my folks so I would learn responsibility.
I hunted every day of the season rabbits squirrel the occasional pheasant, all with that .22.
In high school my pay was raised to $1.00 an hour and put up hay - I still favor long sleeved shirts on account - shoveled more crap and occasionally drove a JD tractor. I was never allowed to plow or plant, the farmers being too proud of their straight rows to let a kid screw that up.
I traded that old .22 and $25.00 for a newer Remington automatic.
All through high school I hunted at every opportunity recalling that the 'city' kids with wealthier parents drove pickups with filled gun racks in the back window parked in the school lot though they never hunted. Never locked the trucks either.
My first year in the service I bought my first handgun from the PX, a Ruger .22 pistol.
After the service I toyed with getting my own ffl for $25. Encouraged by the ATF. Several friends did a kitchen table business and I rarely paid much over wholesale.
Those were great times! I remember John Kennedy was about as pro gun as one could get - then the tragedy - and the CGA 1968.
Amazing how back then you could walk into any drug store or hardware store and buy just about any gun you could imagine, or order surplus out of the back of magazines and get them delivered right to your door.
I've had one AD, I was putting the safety on that old Remington and it discharged straight up into the air, even then we had been taught to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. The screw holding the safety worked loose, but a drop of nail polish in the threads and the problem was solved never to be repeated.
I miss those days.
Posted by: Tom Gunn at March 30, 2008 02:48 PM
I would caution you not to be too enthusiastic for a moment. I tend to be sort of bi-polar about this issue. I see the same things that you do, and I get excited, and wonder how much this will increase with time, especially with a good Heller ruling.
On the other hand I see new laws being suggested that scare the heck out of me, ones that push harder than anything to date. Ammunition encoding that leads shortly to an ammunition ban, things like that. I worry about what would happen with a Clinton or Obama presidency backed by a democrat congress. They may not vocally support a collective 2A interpretation, but that by no means makes them any less anti-gun, unfortunately.
Just some thoughts, I may be wildly off base, of course...
Posted by: David at March 30, 2008 03:33 PM
"the wiping out of home FFLs"
A 75% reduction in gun dealers isn't good for the long term survival of the gun culture.
Posted by: Rob at March 30, 2008 03:54 PM
While I agree in principle and haven't been playing this game hardly as long as you, I'd like to point out a few flies in the ointment of our general winning, which critically includes a nationwide sweep of "shall issue" concealed carry licences laws starting with Florida in 1987:
"Supposed [...] armor-piercing bullets." This law did outlaw SLAP and e.g. our M61 7.62 NATO AP round, too much hard metal, too little copper or the like. Not a good precedent, but didn't outlaw all centerfire rifle ammo like they desired.
"Gun movement gets Firearm Owners' Protection Act." And gets a dangerous precedent, the outlawing of sales to civilians of newly manufactured machine guns. Which includes the standard issue infantry rifle of then and today. Given the latter, I can't score that part of it as being anything but VERY BAD, even if this one true compromise (we both gave up something) e.g. eventually allowed people to travel through NJ without the NJ State Police locking them up.
In the short term, a net gain. In the long term, I'm not so sure.
"Antigun cause consists of calling for narrow things (so narrow I can't even recall them now -- secure storage". Which at the state level has already killed children. Another way to outlaw home self-defense, one we see an extreme of in D.C.
"trigger locks sold with guns", ditto to all of the above, except I don't know of any victims of it. Here we have another dangerous precedent, a potential for a presumption that if you live in such a state you should use one. Don't know if any ambitious prosecutor has used this yet.
At the national level, we're winning big, witness the "Veterans Disarmament Act" being passed without a single recorded vote after I presume a committee in the House: not in the Senate committee, Senate or House floor. In the latter, the vote was snuck in after the holiday customary ending of real business.
Not exactly a Profile In Courage, the Dems know this is pure poison to their current national power and the rest of their agenda, and clearly many acutely remember being in the wilderness for a dozen years and don't want a repeat.
My prognosis is good for now although the national Dems may need a reminder at some point soon, but guarded in the long term as the gun-grabbers shut down everything they can locally. Rifle ranges, school target rifle teams (even in Arlington, Virginia, home of the US military!), etc. An aspect of the hard Left's "march through the institutions".
My greatest problem with Fred Thompson was his voting for a law that would make felons out of parents who's children used their "assault weapons" in practice or whatever, if they didn't do things just right.
Pure poison, these laws and actions that create "friction" and/or criminalize various parts of simply keeping and bearing our arms, for demographics will kill our RKBA in the long term if we don't replace ourselves. In the end it comes down to raw political power AKA votes, so take someone who's never fired a gun before to your range soon....
Posted by: hga at March 30, 2008 04:28 PM