That's a heck of a platform!
I can remember when the very best you could hope for was something like "We support the Second Amendment." Heck George Bush Sr. resigned from the NRA and imposed import bans, and even his son said that he'd sign a renewal of the "AW" ban. But the current GOP platform is:
"We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizens’ God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court's decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend their homes and communities. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners. We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban. We condemn the reckless actions associated with the operation known as "Fast and Furious," conducted by the Department of Justice, which resulted in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent and others on both sides of the border. We applaud the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in holding the current Administration's Attorney General in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with their investigation into that debacle. We oppose the improper collection of firearms sales information in the four southern border states, which was imposed without congressional authority."
UPDATE: I'm not saying this is a guarantee of what a party or a candidate will do .... although I doubt Obama will run on a platform anything like this! But look at it in terms of evolution of how a party wants to be seen. [corrected, and italics tag closed] That offers a key as to what they see is in their own partisan interest, and that is a good predictor of political behavior.
The 1996 GOP platform devoted one sentence to the right to arms, and then dealt at length with the gun control measures it would push anyway:
"We defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. We will promote training in the safe usage of firearms, especially in programs for women and the elderly. We strongly support Bob Dole's National Instant Check Initiative, which will help keep all guns out of the hands of convicted felons. The point-of-purchase instant check has worked well in many states and now it is time to extend this system all across America. We applaud Bob Dole's commitment to have the national instant check system operational by the end of 1997. In one of the strangest actions of his tenure, Bill Clinton abolished Operation Triggerlock, the Republican initiative to jail any felon caught with a gun. We will restore that effort and will set by law minimum mandatory penalties for the use of guns in committing a crime: 5 years for possession, 10 years for brandishing, and 20 for discharge."
The platforms give us insight into what politicians, esp. GOP politicians, judge are the positions that will gain them office or keep them there. In 1996, it was lip service to the Second Amendment, then tell everyone all the forms of gun control you support in reality. In 2012, the key to political survival is instead lots of discussion of the 2A, and none about the virtues of gun control.
The 2000 GOP platform said:
"We defend the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and we affirm the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. Because self-defense is a basic human right, we will promote training in their safe usage, especially in federal programs for women and the elderly. A Republican administration will vigorously enforce current gun laws, neglected by the Democrats, especially by prosecuting dangerous offenders identified as felons in instant background checks. Although we support background checks to ensure that guns do not fall into the hands of criminals, we oppose federal licensing of law-abiding gun owners and national gun registration as a violation of the Second Amendment and an invasion of privacy of honest citizens. Through programs like Project Exile, we will hold criminals individually accountable for their actions by strong enforcement of federal and state firearm laws, especially when guns are used in violent or drug-related crimes. With a special emphasis upon school safety, we propose the crackdown on youth violence explained elsewhere in this platform."
It actually says more about enforcing firearms laws than about the right to arms.
The 2004 GOP platform had this to say:
"Republicans and President Bush strongly support an individual right to own guns, which is explicitly protected by the Constitution's Second Amendment. Our Party honors the great American tradition of hunting and we applaud efforts by the Bush Administration to make more public lands available to hunters, to increase access to hunting clinics and safety programs for children and adults, and to improve opportunities for hunting for Americans with disabilities.
We believe the 2nd Amendment and all the rights guaranteed by it should enable law-abiding citizens throughout the country to own firearms in their homes for self-defense. We applaud those seeking to stop frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers which is a transparent attempt to deprive citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights. We oppose federal licensing of lawabiding gun owners & national gun registration as a violation of the 2nd Amendment and an invasion of privacy of honest citizens"
The 2008 GOP platform provided:
"We uphold the right of individual Americans to own firearms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We applaud the Supreme Court's decision in Heller affirming that right, and we assert the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. We call on the next president to appoint judges who will similarly respect the Constitution. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend themselves, their property, and communities.
We call for education in constitutional rights in schools, and we support the option of firearms training in federal programs serving senior citizens and women. We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of the Armed Forces who have suffered trauma during service to their country. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, which are transparent attempts to deprive citizens of their rights. We oppose federal licensing of law-abiding gun owners and national gun registration as violations of the Second Amendment. We recognize that gun control only affects and penalizes law-abiding citizens, and that such proposals are ineffective at reducing violent crime."
It will be interesting to compare that to whatever comes out as a platform statement from the Dems' Convention.
Posted by: USCitizen at September 1, 2012 05:20 PM
It would be more interesting if you could believe anything said by any member of either party.
Posted by: David at September 1, 2012 05:35 PM
To paraphrase Neal Knox quoting Senator Everett Dirksen, they have felt the heat and seen the light.
It means something; probably not that much, but certainly movement in the right direction.
Posted by: Harold at September 1, 2012 05:54 PM
Lets not forget that Reagan signed the bill that included the Hughes Amendment.
Posted by: Jim K at September 1, 2012 06:39 PM
And the rest of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, which saved the nation's gun culture when the BATF's abuse of the GCA of '68 was threatening to extinguish it. Not to mention the interstate travel protections which also helped it.
It will be a generation or likely more before we possibly get the Hughes Amendment reversed. But that we even have the possibility is because things like FOPA helped us stay alive during our darkest period.
Posted by: Harold at September 1, 2012 07:33 PM
I'd also note that the issue was completely different in 1986 as it was today, re: the Hughes Amendment.
Posted by: Sebastian at September 1, 2012 09:37 PM
And them Romobama imposed another aw ban. Platforms mean nothing- this guy is just another anti gunner- when the 86 ban is lifted and the import BS stops then I will listen- but I will not listen to any more promises nor vote for people with anti gun records. I have had enough.
Posted by: David McCleary at September 2, 2012 12:14 AM
"[...] I will not listen to any more promises nor vote for people with anti gun records."
It may still be worth voting for the lesser of two evils to try to get better Supreme Court nominees.
Posted by: Steve at September 2, 2012 03:30 AM
Ya I fell for that BS with Dole and McCain-- No more! The gop better wake up if they want my vote!
Do not let them fool you, Romney will not protect gun rights nor will he roll back any BS federal gun laws.
Posted by: David McCleary at September 2, 2012 07:55 AM
I was against before I was for it:
Look at his record not what he says!!!
Posted by: David McCleary at September 2, 2012 08:01 AM
We know Obama will choose another anti if he gets another Supreme Court pick. We don't know for certain about Romney.
Posted by: Steve at September 2, 2012 10:59 AM
Sure, so stay home on election day and let Obama get reelected because that will show 'em! Too often we're our own worst enemy.
Posted by: Jim at September 2, 2012 01:02 PM
Calls for reciprocity between states issuing ccw.
No call for "shall issue" in states where you can't get one. Wake me up when the GOP gets serious about RKBA.
Posted by: Robbie at September 2, 2012 01:40 PM
Romney loves me, this I know
For the SCOTUS tells him so.
Ask any Massachusetts subject how much Romney loved them pre-Heller, 2002-2006.
Posted by: Henry at September 2, 2012 04:36 PM
One of the many things I admire about you is your historical perspective. In this day and age of fleeting sound-bytes and instantaneous, phoney outrage, you tend to help provide a thoughtful, long-term perspective. I respect and appreciate you for that.
Posted by: Carl from Chicago at September 2, 2012 06:18 PM
Thanks for the analysis, David. Very gratifying.
I think you can thank the Ron Paul people for some (maybe all) of that language.
Posted by: Charles Curley at September 2, 2012 08:20 PM
Great analysis David!
I can't wait for Romney to make another pick like Roberts- ya he is a great limited government conservative- the taxing power is unlimited uh --Ya right
Posted by: David McCleary at September 3, 2012 10:42 AM
There seems to be an unclosed italic tag in this post.
Posted by: Bruce H. at September 3, 2012 08:47 PM
Quite honestly, this is the first major election I'm old enough to vote in. My mom's always saying that she's never been thrilled with any candidate running for president, and now I get what she means. I've listened to my grandfather rant over why he won't vote Obama, and then he spouts things he's seen in ads, without any fact-checking at all. It's my generation that will pay back all of this money theoretically, so to have older voters voting blind without really researching either side, or looking at each parties records while in office, it's terrifying.
Posted by: Sarah at September 4, 2012 06:57 AM
David McCleary: I to am not happy with Roberts but comments from people I respect have me at least believing that he, with foresite, set it up so congress has to start actually doing their job. First order of Business repealing it. To often I think congress passing things relying on the Supreme Court to strike it down so they look like they are doing something. What we need are people who actually are not just voting present and getting a salary.
Posted by: Rich at September 4, 2012 11:43 AM
Harold @ In many states the FOPA has proven to be as worthless as the paper it was written on.
Posted by: Jim K at September 4, 2012 08:37 PM
@ Rich do not be fooled -- I hope you are right about Roberts and I have read some interesting takes on the decision also but I doubt the Republic will be saved. I think the "restriction on the commerce clause” will be no restriction in the long run and an unlimited power to tax is the end of the republic!
Posted by: David McCleary at September 6, 2012 09:49 AM
Response to this posting by Jim on September 2, 2012 at 01:02 PM - "Calls for reciprocity between states issuing ccw. No call for "shall issue" in states where you can't get one. Wake me up when the GOP gets serious about RKBA."
The purpose of the NATIONAL platform for the Republican NATIONAL Convention is to express NATIONAL policy. So this document focuses on the federal government snd not the states. And since forty states have a "shall issue" statute, there is little reason for that to be an issue in this NATIONAL policy statement. For that very reason, without referencing H.R. 822, the NATIONAL Republican platform states the GOP supports "the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents."
Posted by: Truth and Freedom at September 6, 2012 09:14 PM
Right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation
We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements--like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole--so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.
Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform , Sep 4, 2012 (www.ontheissues.org/Archive/2012_DNC_Platform_Gun_Control.htm)
Posted by: Truth and Freedom at September 6, 2012 09:23 PM
My mistake in my first posting.
The following comment was posted by Robbie on September 2, 2012 01:40 PM not Jim on September 2, 2012 at 01:02 PM:
Calls for reciprocity between states issuing ccw. No call for "shall issue" in states where you can't get one. Wake me up when the GOP gets serious about RKBA.
Posted by: Truth and Freedom at September 6, 2012 09:40 PM
It's nice that about 40 states now honor the "bear" part of RKBA with shall issue and/or Constitutional carry. About 100 million people live in the states that don't.
What is the objection to a national policy statement insisting they do?
It's a "national" Bill Of Rights isn't isn't it?
Posted by: Robbie at September 7, 2012 06:29 PM
No real objection except that the purpose of the NATIONAL party platform focuses on the federal government rather than urging states to enact certain public policy. That is the job of state officials and state parties which often enact their own platforms and pursue a legislative agenda.
Obama's Democratic Platform Calls for More Restrictions on Gun Owners' Rights
Posted by: Truth and Freedom at September 7, 2012 07:26 PM
I'm pleased there is more good 2A stuff in the new platform, didn't mean to sound dismissive of it all. Just wish they'd gone further on carry.
They seem to treat carry as a state granted privilege justifying enforced reciprocity between granting states, but not as an individual right which all states should be required to honor.
Like any other guaranteed individual right, I believe Congress or the courts should demand that every state and local government recognize and honor the right to bear.
I wish the GOP had been willing to place that in the platform.
Posted by: Robbie at September 7, 2012 07:59 PM
That may very well be "in the cards" in the future given the very significant progress improving the national GOP platform for the past four conventions (detailed well by Dave Hardy above).
Given what little was mentioned just back in 1996, the following is a very strong statement this year in support of our right to carry firearms for self-defense:
"We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizens’ God-given right of self-defense. . . We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be . . .
Such language and supportive position is unprecedented for inclusion in the platform of one of our major national political parties.
GOP set to OK most pro-gun platform ever -- www.washingtonexaminer.com/gop-set-to-ok-most-pro-gun-platform-ever/article/2506043
Posted by: Truth and Freedom at September 8, 2012 11:01 AM
Also, for your information and use, here are other pro-gun/hunting excerpts in the 2012 Republican National Convention platform:
An American Century (Defense and Foreign Policy)
We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of our Armed Forces who have had representatives appointed to manage their financial affairs.
Sovereign American Leadership in International Organizations
Under our Constitution, treaties become the law of the land. So it is all the more important that the Congress – the Senate through its ratifying power and the House through its appropriating power – shall reject agreements whose long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear. These include . . . the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
District of Columbia
As the center of our government, the District contains many potential targets for terrorist attacks. Federal security agencies should work closely with local officials and regional administrations like the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority. A top priority must be ensuring that all public transportation, especially Metro rails, is functioning in the event of an emergency evacuation. Also, to ensure protection of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, we call on the governing authority to pass laws consistent with the Supreme Court’s decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases, which upheld the fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
Energy, Agriculture, Environment
A Republican Party Committed to Conservation
Conservation is a conservative value. As the pioneer of conservation over a century ago, the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles. For example, we believe people are the most valuable resource, and human health and safety are the most important measurements of success. A policy cannot be good for the environment over the long run if it is bad for people in the short run. Public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands.
Posted by: Truth and Freedom at September 8, 2012 11:05 AM