When delegates to the Republican National Convention adopted their party platform for 2012 yesterday, it included what Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, called the “strongest pro-gun-rights platform I’ve ever seen.”
Examiner dug up the 2008 GOP plank on Second Amendment issues and compared it with the new version, and the improvements are striking. Here is the 2008 version:
“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.”
And here is the “new and improved” 2012 version that a lot of people are talking about, including the Washington Times:
“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.”
Gottlieb, who returned from Florida late Tuesday, noted in a press release that, “This is strong stuff that squarely puts the GOP behind, ahead of and alongside every one of this nation’s millions of law-abiding gun owners. I was delighted to see such a bold position put forth because it clearly provides a contrast between those who offer lip service to the Second Amendment, and those who live by it.”
This might be seen as a not-so-subtle allusion to Democrats who have been tramping the landscape mouthing their “support” for the Second Amendment, despite voting records to the contrary. Whether this bunch includes “F”-rated Washington gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee is up to voters to decide, as this column has noted here and here.
When Democrat Inslee was in Congress the first time, representing the Tri-Cities area, he voted against the Brady Law but for the Clinton semi-auto ban that included a prohibition on normal capacity ammunition magazines. He lost his seat over that one in 1994. After moving back to western Washington and being elected for a second tenure, Inslee was not a friend of gun rights issues.
By adopting such a pro-gun-rights position, the GOP is unabashedly reaching out to the nation’s 90 million gun owners, many of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because they consider themselves liberals on other social issues. The gun rights purists would argue that there is no other issue quite so important as the right to keep and bear arms, for it is that right which protects all the other rights.
How fragile that right to bear arms might be came into focus earlier this summer in the wake of the Batman movie massacre in Colorado. The bodies had not yet been removed from the crime scene when the first calls for “re-examining” the ban on so-called “assault weapons” were heard. That, combined with the continued slaughter in Chicago and a spike in homicides in Seattle, have placed gun rights in the crosshairs of the gun prohibition lobby.
According to Gottlieb, their attempts to exploit these criminal attacks gained no traction with party platform architects.
“I think it is important to American gun owners that, even in the wake of the tragedy in Colorado, and the soaring homicide rate in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago that the GOP platform framers can intelligently separate the acts of criminals from the civil rights of peaceable citizens,” Gottlieb said. “Others would dredge up cliché-ridden programs that have been demonstrable failures, and that punish law-abiding citizens for the acts of social losers, thugs and lunatics.”
Gottlieb has perhaps nailed it. After every recent high-profile shooting, including last Friday’s incident near the Empire State Building that anti-gunners initially thought was the handiwork of a nut instead of police gunfire, gun banners trotted out the same tattered agenda they have been pushing for several years. They want to restore the semi-auto ban, ratchet down on gun shows, make it impossible to sell or give a firearm to a family member or personal friend without invasive paperwork and government oversight, tighten down on concealed carry, and place other limits on law-abiding gun owners because criminals – gasp! – violate existing laws.
This week, the Republican platform offers up a stark contrast, and one around which the GOP undoubtedly hopes gun owners will rally in November.
Assault on Weapons: The Campaign to Eliminate Your Guns
These Dogs Don’t Hunt: the Democrats’ War on Guns
Shooting Blanks: Facts Don’t Matter to the Gun Ban Crowd
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Second Amendment Foundation
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
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