Party Line

By David Codrea

While this is the December issue of GUNS, it will actually hit the newsstands in advance of the November elections. As such, this is the magazine’s last opportunity to highlight considerations affecting gun owners before we cast our votes.

A hidden camera video encounter between journalist James O’Keefe of Project Veritas and an alternate Democratic National Convention delegate for Hillary Clinton corroborated what many of us have been maintaining all along. Phrases like “common sense gun legislation” are ploys to suck in the well-meaning but gullible. Hillary’s true agenda is banning guns.

So much for the common “No one wants to take your guns” rebuttal, generally followed by contemptuous accusations that gun owners who think that are paranoid. Of course the gun-grabbers want to, and they’ve been working toward that goal incrementally for decades.

Case in point, back to Clinton, who true to her delegate’s admission, claims she has “a record of advocating for common sense approaches to reduce gun violence.” To paraphrase her perjuring husband, it depends on what the meaning of the term “common sense” is.

That gives her cover to describe semi-automatics, owned by millions of peaceable gun owners, as “weapons of war [that] have no place on our streets.” That lets her agitate for registration-enabling “background checks” while masking her intent to end private sales. That’s her pretext for denying due process to citizens not even charged with a crime, by using unknown sources and criteria under the banner of an undefined, but scary-sounding, “terror watch list.”

Her end game? We got a peek at those cards from one of her policy advisers, who told Bloomberg Politics, “Hillary Clinton believes a 2008 Supreme Court ruling that is the linchpin of an individual’s right to own a gun was ‘wrongly decided.’”

So she doesn’t think you have a right to own a gun. And her flacks explain that away by circling back to the playbook.

“Clinton worries that Heller may open the door to overturning thoughtful, common sense safety measures in the future,” Hillary’s adviser elaborated.

So what about Republican nominee Donald Trump? Hasn’t he also had his gun-grabber moments?

It’s true, back in 2000 he’d expressed support for “the ban on assault weapons and… a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” Since then, he’s changed his position, some would say in order to get elected, others would argue because he’s learned and grown.

Now he declares that gun ownership makes us safer, advocates for national right to carry, and observes “gun-free zones are target practice for the sickos.” Along with his evolution, he’s earned an endorsement from the National Rifle Association.

As for the next person to be a heartbeat from the presidency, Hillary has chosen Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, another guy who talks the “common sense gun safety law” game while racking up scores of 100 percent from the Brady Campaign, 10 percent from Gun Owners of America, and 7 percent from NRA. Trump’s pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has won “A” ratings from NRA and GOA, while the Brady Campaign has declared him “the perfect partner in crime” for Trump to “share the kind of anger, racism, and hate he preaches.” (When they can’t conceal their frustration at not being able to impose their real agenda, they throw tantrums and resort to libel.)

These are the major players, but still, they’ll accomplish very little without their respective political parties behind them. That’s why it’s important to understand the party platforms. I’ll get out of the way here and let you read them for yourself.

Democrats: Preventing Gun Violence

With 33,000 Americans dying every year, Democrats believe that we must finally take sensible action to address gun violence. While responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. We can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe. To build on the success of the lifesaving Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, we will expand and strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws; repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to revoke the dangerous legal immunity protections gun makers and sellers now enjoy; and keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines (LCAM’s)—off our streets. We will fight back against attempts to make it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to revoke federal licenses from law breaking gun dealers, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, intimate partner abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues. There is insufficient research on effective gun prevention policies, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must have the resources it needs to study gun violence as a public health issue.

Republicans: The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms

We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.

We salute the Republican Congress for defending the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the President from installing a new liberal majority on the Supreme Court. The confirmation to the Court of additional anti-gun justices would eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental protections. Already, local officials in the nation’s capital and elsewhere are defying the Court’s decisions upholding an individual right to bear arms as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald. We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.

We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban. We call for a thorough investigation—by a new Republican administration—of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of guns to known violent criminals.

Then there’s the very real difference between Trump, who has pledged to fix the immigration problem, and Clinton, who endorses amnesty and a “pathway to citizenship” for the millions here illegally. That’s not surprising, since all credible polls—and the California experience—confirm a demographic that overwhelmingly identifies as anti-gun and Democrat.

Bearing in mind the next president will set expectations for legislation, oppose or veto enacted bills, exercise executive authority, and use the bully pulpit to inform and lead the nation, the choices before gun owners seem clear. Add that the president will also nominate federal judges, especially those to fill Supreme Court vacancies, and nothing less than future “legal” recognition of the right to keep and bear arms is at stake, depending on how (or if) you vote.

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