Democrats and the 2nd Amendment

By Zak Johnson of Portland, Oregon. Zak is one of the co-founders of the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon.

When asked why Al Gore didn't become president in January of 2001, most Democrats refer to the theft of Florida. Point taken. But Al Gore's campaign spokesman, Doug Hattaway, mentions another state--Tennessee. And the reason, says Hattaway, that Gore lost his home state of Tennessee--along with the rest of the South and the Intermountain West--was because of the gun issue.

As Democrats, we OWN the civil rights issue. The Bush administration daily violates the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments (unless you consider confessions under torture not to be self-incrimination). Tom Delay's cronies continue to violate the 13th amendment in the U.S. Mariannas. It has never been clearer that the Democratic Party is the nation's primary defender of the Constitution. This is an unequivocal, easy-to-understand position that resonates with voters. It's a uniting position as well, one that should attract patriots to the Democratic banner.

But to promote that message requires consistency on the whole Constitution. Frankly, the Party's reputation on the 2nd Amendment is, as Montana Democratic Chairman Bob Ream has said, that people think we want to take their guns away. If you think Ream is wrong, ask yourself again about why Al Gore lost Tennessee or why Kerry lost the staunchly Democratic state of West Virginia (among others.) It's the gun issue.

The perception that Democrats are anti-gun also hurts the party badly among our natural constituencies like hunters, most of whom consider themselves environmentalists, and rural residents in general. But for the 32% of voters (according to a PEW poll) who will not vote for someone they perceive as disagreeing with them on the issue of gun control, it's not about hunting, or even about crime prevention and self-defense. It's about something deeper.

At the SCC meeting, I heard Jason Brown (Democratic nominee for Oregon House District 23) explain it this way:

"I'm a Quaker and would never personally own a gun," said Brown. "But it's [the right to bear arms] in the Constitution and there's a reason it's in there. It's what supports the right of the people to change their government."

Exactly. Supporting the 2nd Amendment is the key to supporting the rest of the Constitution. And supporting the Constitution--as it is written--is the key to supporting our national identity and the rule of law.

While, yes, there are some nationally prominent and a few local Democratic politicians who are outspoken in their desire to restrict gun ownership and carrying rights; the national party, the state party, and the rank and file Democrats in most districts have no impulse to curb 2nd Amendment rights.

This was amply demonstrated at the DPO state central committee meeting on Sept 9 where the party voted to found The Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon. This follows on the DPO SCC's passage last year of Resolution 2005-008, discussed here on Blue Oregon, which also clearly supports 2nd Amendment rights.

Jason Brown's support for the 2nd Amendment is echoed by every Democratic candidate I've spoken to about it this fall--Carol Voisin, Lee Coleman, Paul Evans, and on down the line.

It ought to be echoed by any Democrat who wants to do two things: support the Constitution and win elections. But relax. Read Resolution 2005-008; the DPO already is pro-2nd Amendment. And that's what the Gun Owners Caucus was founded to let people know.

Contact me if you want to help spread the word.

Comments

  • spicey (unverified)
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    it's well past time to change the 2nd Amendment. Bowling for Columbine. Need I say more? It's just ridiculous the amount of guns that are in this country. Yes, I want to take away your guns. All of them.

  • John Napolitano (unverified)
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    I never owned or touched a gun, but I will defend other people's right to bear arms that is in the Oregon and US constitutions. One thing we learned in the past five years is that the second amendment may be one of the things that keeps our country from becoming a totalitarian state in the hand of the neoconservatives.

    On the other hand, we may have disagreements on the boundaries of the constitutional rights. For example, I believe that the local communities have a right to decide if guns should be allowed in their public schools or not. Some organized gun rights groups feel that guns should be allowed in schools everywhere and at all times. And they believe that we should not have any concealed handgun licensing either, something I disagree with. Where do ordinary Democrats stand on those issues? Do we need to cave in to the positions of groups that IMHO are out of the mainstream, before we can change the perception of Democrats as being those who want to take guns away from law abiding citizens?

  • James Caird (unverified)
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    I appreicate your issue and understand the wisdom of your position.

    But I have to ask, have you ever had a bipolar drunk with a concealed-weapons permit and a fully automatic AR-15 assault rifle (that he bought the day the ban was lifted) use his wepaons to intimidate you?

    I have. And the sheriff's deputy I called told me this creep had broken no laws.

    Our gun laws are ridiculously lax. The NRA's zero-tolerance for regulation causes a situation where irrepsonsible people are legally allowed to have and carry guns, even when common sense suggests they shouldn't be allowed within 100 feet of deadly firearms, much less posess them.

    Liberals should stand up for common-sense gun laws rather than the free-for-all we have now.

  • brett (unverified)
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    FWIW, Bill Clinton propounded the same theory about the NRA costing Gore the election, citing Arkansas and Tennessee.

    It may be politically better for Dems to support gun ownership -- hey, it worked for Howard Dean -- but I still think it's a moral outrage to not ban 'em. Unrestricted access to concealable weapons is the main reason the US has homicide rate so much higher than the rest of the world. And the claim made in this post that opposing gun control is somehow supporting the Constitution doesn't square with decades of legal and judicial reasoning and research that shows that the framers intended to permit ownership only within the context of regulated militias.

    If you're such an absolutist on the 2nd amendment, doesn't that position require unrestricted access to machine guns? Bazookas? IEDs? RPGs? Nukes? Seems like Iraq is an NRA wet dream -- wouldn't you feel safer there?

  • Marvin McConoughey (unverified)
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    I don't like guns, don't own one, and do not advocate killing animals or birds for sport. But I in a small minority and millions of Americans feel more secure with having a gun available. The hunting impulse is probably part of our genetic inheritance. The gun issue, and the added telephone tax that Albert Gore pushed through, were tipping point issues that, combined with other factors, cost him dearly during the presidential election.

  • LT (unverified)
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    I have friends who are active gun owners and hunters. I have no problem with gun ownership.

    However, I know that Dianne Feinstein became Mayor of SF because someone walked in and gunned down Mayor White right in front of her--she was next in line of succession.

    I support the right of hunters and people who want to have guns in their possession (as long as there is protection so that kids in the household don't get hold of the guns the way some school shooters have).

    But I will defend Sen. Feinstein from any attacks on her right (or the right of Sarah Brady) to support gun control.

    People have the right to political beliefs formed by life experience.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    I'm pretty sure that murders aren't committed by those with concealed weapons permits very often. Its those that don't have them that are usually the murderers. Just an observation.

  • no standing army (unverified)
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    right on. the more gun owners groups that exist, the more possible it is to dilute the influence of the national republican rifle association.

    one note...

    "I'm a Quaker and would never personally own a gun," said Brown. "But it's [the right to bear arms] in the Constitution and there's a reason it's in there. It's what supports the right of the people to change their government."

    i realize this is just campaign rhetoric, and probably what people want to hear, but it's just wrong. the reason we have the 2nd amendment as it is ("A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed"), is because it was a poorly phrased compromise between those who wanted a ban on a standing army with universal local militia membership for defense, and others who wanted a strong standing army for defense.

    jefferson tried to dismantle the army, but obviously he did not succeed. with a standing army, a militia is neither necessary, nor is it an effective counter force. so the 2nd amendment is basically a historical novelty. but whatever, i it is there, and i have no problem with it. good work on co-founding Gun Owners Caucus of the DPO.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Spicey writes, "it's well past time to change the 2nd Amendment. Bowling for Columbine. Need I say more?"

    Yep.

    What you have just advocated is not only the removal of EVERY gun from America, but all the components of making something that might go boom.

    Today, stopping for lunch in town here in Prineville, I talked with a bow hunter on his way out into the Ochoco's. Would you take away his bow that can kill a deer at 50+ paces?

    Some argue the other end of the spectrun - okay, how large of a gun can you own, Atomic? But the other end of the spectrum is just as valid - no guns? No hunting, no target shooting (my occasional hobby), no bows, no black powder, no knifes, no finger nail clippers, etc. etc. -- How far to you go?

    The Constitution was the result of several well thought out compromises. The people then feared the excesses of government. In this day and age, we on the progressive/liberal side should well understand that this fear of government excess was real. I don't really think that my having a couple of small guns will actually stop governmental excess, but then again, the millions of guns in this country do add up.

    I like Zak quoting Jason Brown. It shows the balance we need, and what we on the "liberal" side ought to be considering.

  • Will WM (unverified)
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    Zak,

    I fully agree that we must uphold all constitutional amendments. If we are to pick and choose, as this administration seems to do freely, we lose the rights and privileges afforded to us by this crucial document.

    I also agree with James that gun laws do need to be revised. I am not against private citizens owning guns and using them responsibly. However, it seems that the guns are getting into the hands of irresponsible people, and this further fuels the anti-gun debate.

    To reiterate, it is not mutually exclusive to be pro-2nd amendment and pro-gun control. Control and regulation do not mean that we want to rip guns and ownership rights out of responsible owners hands. In fact, we'd like to make it easier for responsible owners to enjoy their rights.

  • KISS (unverified)
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    The gun issue has been mostly a red herring or at best liberal gut-wrencher for years. Like the repugs dems pick and choose hot-button issues to stimulate their getting-out-the-vote. You either accept the Constitution or you don't. The finest example of freedom the world has ever known. To some of us it is greater in freedom than the bible will ever be. Would screw with freedom of the press, just because of media ownership by neo-cons? I think not. Yup a bunch of bad guys use guns for very bad pruposes..than there is bomb issues, knives, and poisons Where do you go to prevent these terrible things. End gasoline use because of Molotov cocktails? Knives? Used in homes and restaurants and poisons found in medicines? As trite and corny as it sounds people kill people and will find a method to do so. Social engineering is not acceptable from either of both parties. So let us put lunatic ideas away and get down to business of cherishing all of the constitution.

  • VR (unverified)
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    It is already against the law to kill people. What do more gun laws do? Has a crook ever started to kill someone, and then thought to themselves "Gee, I could get in trouble for having this gun" and went home quietly without harming anyone?

    We should be working on training, and restrictions that help prevent accidental gun deaths.

    Quick, with a show of hands, can ANYONE find a killing that has been committed with a LEGALLY owned fully automatic assult rifle? (Do you know how hard it is to get a license for a fully automatic weapon?)

    Now, with a show of hands can ANYONE find a killing that has been committed with a baseball bat?

    Sensationalistic things like Columbine do no one any good in these discussions because there will always be crackpots and they will always find a way to do damage. A better solution than laws to restrict guns is making sure people can afford to have gun safes, and better gun locks, and things like that so that the crackpots can't at least use the legally owned weapons.

    But no matter how many laws there are - criminals by definition don't care.

    I am not worried about the fellow with the concealed carry permit because it makes him feel safe or in control- I am worried about the other guy with a gun down his pants cause it makes him feel powerful.

  • CooleyHigh (unverified)
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    James: I hope we don't start writing our laws around bipolar drunk people.

    I have had people intimidate me with cars and with tennis rackets. Not sure what the answer is to that though... They are not protected by the constitution.

  • Wile E. Coyote (unverified)
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    I love it. The point the author of the article is trying to make is that Democrats are really the "defenders of civil rights" and the "protectors of the constitution", and yet nearly all of the posts on here talk about how my second amendment rights should continue to be violated.

    Dems are hypocrites when it comes to civil rights. You protect the right to an abortion - which is no where in the constitution other than in the constitution's "penumbra" -- and yet Democrats are the first ones to trample the private property rights found in the fifth amendment.

    You want to protect porn and the right to burn the flag, but God forbid we talk about God or America's christian heritage in a public school.

    The right to the initiative (in Oregon's constitution) is guaranteed, but the efforts to limit the use of the initiative is led by the corrupt Billy Bradbury.

    Civil rights? All the democrats know about civil rights is how to violate them when doing so is convenient for them. Gimme a break.

  • (Show?)

    "with a standing army, a militia is neither necessary, nor is it an effective counter force. So the 2nd amendment is basically a historical novelty.

    I believe this view is wrong and dangerously naive.

    The whole point of the 2nd amendment is to provide for a counter force against tyranny by a totalitarian regime and/or a military coup. The reason many founding fathers were opposed to a standing army was because of the potential for generals to form their own power bases and stage a military coup.

    Having a standing army without a citizen militia with access to arms would make it much easier for the military to take over and control the country. If you think this is far fetched because our modern day military is so technologically advanced, consider the difficulty our military is having in maintaining control in Iraq.

    Anyone who has spent significant time in a third world country and/or has lived through a third world military coup, as I have, realizes how fragile our freedoms really are in this country.

    You realize how it is not so far fetched to imagine that some day some president might get elected through fraudulent means and attempt to impose a military style tyranny over the United States.

    If that happens, and all the citizens have been disarmed, how will we fight back?

    On the other hand, what if some day, a couple hundred years from now, the US military isn't as dominant as it is today, and the US is seriously threatened by a foreign military power? That power would think twice about invading a country where all citizens have access to weapons vs a country that has been completely disarmed.

    As Erin Brockovich has said, if we give up one of our Constitutional rights, we're not going to win them back later.

    It's easy to think that in today's modern and enlightened world, we would never have reason to fear a military coup by our own government, and we would never have to fear a foreign invasion where citizens might have to defend themselves and their country. But it's happened before in our nation's history, and it could very well easily happen again. If not in our lifetimes, then in our children's or grandchildren's lifetimes.

    This is what the 2nd amendment is all about. It’s not about hunting. It's about maintaining another Constitutional check and balance on government power. The ultimate check and balance. It's the ultimate last resort the people have to make sure our government and/or military does not try to impose martial law or establish a totalitarian regime.

  • Jim Pozey (unverified)
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    Democrats own the civil rights issue?

    Only if you don't think property rights are a civil right.

    Which of course many Democrats don't.

  • (Show?)

    "with a standing army, a militia is neither necessary, nor is it an effective counter force. so the 2nd amendment is basically a historical novelty.

    This is wrong. The whole point of the 2nd amendment is to provide for a counter force against tyranny by a totalitarian regime and/or a military coup. Having a standing army without a citizen militia would make it much easier for the military to take over and control the country. If you think this is far fetched because our modern day military is so technologically advanced, consider the difficulty our military is having in maintaining control in Iraq.

    Anyone who has spent significant time in a third world country and/or has lived through a third world military coup, as I have, realizes how fragile our freedoms really are in this country.

    You realize how it is not so far fetched to imagine that some day some president might get elected through fraudulent means and attempt to impose a military style tyranny over the United States.

    If that happens, and all the citzens have been disarmed, how will we fight back?

    On the other hand, What if some day a couple hundred years from now, the US military isn't as dominant as it is today, and the US is seriously threatened by a foreign military power? They would think twice about invading a country were all citizens have access to weapons vs a country that has been completely disarmed.

    As Erin Brockovich has said, if we give up one of our rights, we're not going to win them back later. At least not without great difficulty.

    It's easy to think that in today's modern and enlightened world, we would never have reason to fear a military coup by our own government, and we would never have to fear a foriegn invasion where citizens might have to defend themselves and their country. But it's happened before in our nation's history, and it could very well easily happen again, if not in our lifetimes, then in our children's or grandchildren's lifetimes.

    This is what the 2nd amendment is all about. It's another check and balance on government power. It's the ultimate last resort the people have to make sure our goverment and/or military does not try to impose martial law or establish a totalitarian regime.

  • Shaun (unverified)
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    A well-thought out approach to the issues that keep Democrats out of public office in this country. Although I myself do not own a gun, I completely agree with Zak. Democrats should drop this issue of gun-control, and stand behind the constitution as MOST Americans understand it... as guaranteeing the right to bear arms.

    It's simple... if we continue to make gun-control an issue, we WILL NOT be able to make positive changes in other public arenas simply because we won't have the opportunity. We have to pick and choose which issues are worth fighting for AT PRESENT, and which issues can be dealt with in the future.

    We're all familiar with the phrase "Gun's don't kill people, people kill people". There is truth to that statement. As Democrats, we should be interested in changing the social phenomenon that CAUSES people to CHOOSE to commit murder with a firearm. At present, we spend six to ten times MORE per year to house a prisoner than we spend on the average student. Our schools are funded with property taxes, which naturally puts our poorest students at a crippling disadvantage. We have a strange approach to drug control in this country which leads to street violence. There is a growing gap between the rich and the poor. There is no safety net for our citizens. Hopelessness, loneliness, desperation, fear, anomie... these are the REAL causes of gun violence.

    There is a lot of work we as progressives can do toward curbing gun violence OTHER than simply taking them away... but if we continue to ignore or marginalize the feelings of Americans who love their guns, we'll never get a chance to do it.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)
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    It is a mistake to interpret "Bowling for Columbine" as an anti-gun movie. Moore makes a point of the fact that Canada has a gun ownership rate comparable to the United States yet it also has a considerably lower gun violence rate. "Bowling for Columbine" is more about fear than it is about guns. Specifically, it is an examination of how America is acountry swimming in a sea of fear which, when combined with easy access to guns (such as shown in the movie) naturally results in outbursts of violence like the school shootings in Columbine.

    It is fear, not guns, that is at the heart of our national crisis of violence.

    And it is Republicans who overhwelmingly campaign on the unofficial slogan "Be Afraid!"

  • LT (unverified)
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    It's simple... if we continue to make gun-control an issue, we WILL NOT be able to make positive changes in other public arenas simply because we won't have the opportunity.

    Shaun, are you saying that a "gun rights" candidate will always win against a "gun control" advocate in every election in this country? That voters have no right to debate the details because it is all about a 2 word culture?

    I've seen a Democrat who was an NRA member defeat an incumbent Republican and a Democrat who was not an NRA member defeat an incumbent Republican. I think the issue is more complex than you portray.

    I liked Steve Bucknum's comment.

  • (Show?)

    I don't think this is an either/or proposition. Dems should be full-throated defenders of gun rights--and I think most are. This doesn't mean being a stooge to the NRA. We can regulate gun shows, armor-piercing bullets, and automatic rifles without violating the constitution. I think where Dems get into trouble is failing to make any distinction and then being mealy-mouthed about the issue. Stand with the 99% of reasonable gun owners in the country, but don't be absolutist on the issue. If the debate is shifted to the radical views of the fringe, you won't see the GOP trundling it out at every election.

  • James Caird (unverified)
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    Jeff makes a lot of sense. People can support gun ownership without accepting the NRA's absolutist positions.

    And can we once and for all get over the infantile macho fantasy of citizens with rifles defending the country from a fascist neocon takeover.

    If the country is so far gone that the government can convince the millions of citizens in the Army (including my best friend from high school, who is a major) to oppress and imprison the rest of us, then things have slipped a little too far for that kind of "Wolverines" type insurgency to have any meaning.

    Those arguments are ridiculous and simply distract from responsible discussion of how to apply common sense gun laws.

    Rather than caving in to the NRA on this issue in order to win votes, Democrats and liberals should do a better job of explaining and "selling" their ideas to the voting public.

    It's called leadership!!

  • Diana Madarieta (unverified)
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    Do the following things infringe on my 2nd amendment rights:

    Having to have a background check to ensure that I am not a criminal before purchasing a firearm.

    Locking my gun up so that my 11 year-old-daughter does not have access.

    Leaving my gun at home when I volunteer at my daughter’s school.

    Giving up my right to bear arms when I beat my husband, sexual abuse a child or sell drugs to kids.

    Get some live fire training (similar to what the police go through) before I carry my gun (concealed) into your grocery store.

    I ask this because these are examples of the laws that Democratic (and even some Republican) legislators in Oregon have worked on over the past 10 years.

    Of course, the NRA, Oregon Firearms Federation and other extreme gun lobby organizations have fought against ANY type of regulation on firearms in this state and across the country.

    In fact the gun lobby is working hard to make sure that anyone from any state can carry their concealed weapon in Oregon, that any one can buy a gun at a gun show, no questions asked, that you can shoot anyone who you are afraid of, whenever and wherever you are and that sex abusers and drug dealers can continue to get concealed weapons.

    My question for the Democratic Gun Caucus is what’s next; it’s easy to say you support the 2nd amendment. But do you support common sense gun laws that help keep guns out of the hands of kids and criminals?

    A little disclosure, I have lived most of my life in a house with guns (currently we have three, all locked up of course) and I work for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

  • (Show?)

    Most people vote on more then one issue. Maybe the author of this article is saying we need to look at it as more then just black or white. There are many issues this are done with and in fact abortion is a very divisive issue among voters.

    Both parties need to understand you can't advocate hard for one right while saying the other should be eliminated without looking like hypocrites.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    It will be an icy cold day in Venezuela before any 2nd Amendment true believers will vote for a Democrat. As far as many of us are concerned, the 2nd Amendment protects all the other ones.

    Look at the decrease in OSP officers (or even the Portland P.D.) while the number of citizens and vehicles continue to increase. Not to mention the audacious nature of many repeat offenders. When an OSP officer is forced to run for his life (with the nearest back-up a half hour away), the good guys have thrown in the towel.

    If you can't protect yourself, you are unprotected.

  • Shaun (unverified)
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    LT wrote: "Shaun, are you saying that a "gun rights" candidate will always win against a "gun control" advocate in every election in this country? That voters have no right to debate the details because it is all about a 2 word culture?"

    The broad idea in my statement was about tackling the REAL causes of gun violence (fear, hopelessness, poverty, bad drug enforcement policies, etc). Zak has made a strong case that we- as a party with an anti-gun reputation- have suffered severe losses in elections.

    My point, should you choose to see it, was that we should stop alienating voters with anti-gun retoric, get elected in more states nationwide, and work on a "gun control agenda" THROUGH improvement of our social instituations (better schools, drug programs, jobs, housing, medicine, etc). A society with better prospects in life is a society with a more peaceful, responsible attitude toward guns.

    Sure we have a right to debate the issues, but we can't do much about them if we aren't in office.

  • (Show?)

    I think guns are a lot like abortions. And not just as a hot-button political issue.

    They oughta be safe, legal, and rare. Anyone should have the right to own one, but it'd be nice if no one ever felt as if they're forced by circumstances to have one.

    It's not a perfect metaphor, but it's an interesting one to explore.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    And just who would take all those guns away? The National Guard? Sorry, they are otherwise engaged. License all guns, that is not against the 2nd amendment. In order to get a license one would have to take a safety class and a test. This will never happen, but it would be a rational approuch.

  • Dan E. (unverified)
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    I love it. It's great when Democrats show their true colors.

    There is a reason that the right to bear arms was second on the list, only after the right to free speech. That's how important it is.

    For all you D's whose litmus test for candidates is whether or not they are pro-choice...that's how a lot of us conservatives feel about the Second Amendment. If a candidate understands the role of the Second Amendment and supports the right to bear arms, chances are good they understand the role of government and how government answers to the people - not the other way around. You can't just pick and choose which parts of the constitution you think are worth protecting.

    In 1911, Turkey established gun control...and exterminated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915-1917.

    In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control and exterminated 20 million dissidents between 1929 and 1953.

    In 1935, China established gun control and exterminated another 20 million dissidents between 1948 and 1952 in the Cultural Revolution.

    In 1938, Nazi Germany established gun control...and I think we all know what happened.

    In 1956, Cambodia established gun control and over one million "educated" people were killed...some just for wearing eyeglasses...between 1975-1979.

    In 1964, Guatemala established gun control, and promptly exterminated over 100,000 Mayan Indians between 1964-1981.

    In 1970, Uganda established gun control and over the next decade, murdered over 300,000 Christians.

    You "progressives" aren't the first to suggest gun control. Some of your ideological heroes have done it too. Even an "enlightened" government needs to control those people who don't agree. It's just so much easier when they can't shoot back, isn't it?

    And for posters like Spicey...I have just two words: Molon Labe.

    Come and get 'em, Spicey. Come and get 'em.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Mister Tee, I'm afraid that's a rather silly take on Democrats. I'm going to have to admit that I own quite a few of those gun things, um, large caliber ones. I also have made some rather strong statements in support of the 2nd Ammendment, the DPO actually adopted one as official policy (that would be Democratic Party of Oregon - Res 2005-008). I and about 4000+ other Democrats voted for me in the 2nd Congressional District Democratic Primary. That would be US Representative. I didn't win that, but that's a few Democrats and the Voter's Pamphlet made my perspective pretty clear.

    The National Guard/Standing Army/Militia argument has managed to surface once again, odd, nowhere in the literature of the time did that particular issue arise in re: 2nd. Hunting actually did, as a secondary note. There seems in those circles to be an impression that the Framers were damn near illiterate and didn't mean what they said, read the 2nd and look up the words as defined at the time, it means exactly what it says.

    Concealed Carry Permitees almost never commit firearm crimes, carrying concealed has had a varied reputation throughout history, as far as perspective goes and no major organization I know of has proposed that concealed carry not involve permitting. It has been proposed widely that States recognize each other's permits.

    Tactical nukes, etc: arms as defined at the time are today called small arms, rifles and pistols; cannons etc were not involved. The results of an accidental discharge of a cannon (or 105mm Howitzer, or bazooka, or nuclear missle, or etc) have never been contemplated as acceptable.

    Gun Control is not about safety, though many adherents think that's what is meant. There used to be a very vocal arm of the AMA who espoused Gun Control, right up to the point where it got very public that Doctors killed more people than guns, I don't mean people just died, I mean they killed them. oops. Safety? Ok. You're more likely to have a death in your household because of your swimming pool than having a gun. I propose that since you're a threat I should be able to come to your property and force you to fill in that pool, or rather, lock it up. (I'm not sure how that works or exactly how it is you propose to lock my guns up) Widespread acessibility of firearms? Does that mean my local gun shop or does that mean criminal activity? Gun shops are very regulated, criminals are not, hmm, criminal is the operative word.

    "macho fantasies" ahahahaha. Hmm, guns can be very dangerous, I think was involved in your "common sense gun laws" and they've proved to be just that in, oh say Iraq. Common sense tells you that a gun will just lie there doing nothing until some human picks it up and does something with it. There are people who should not have guns, they're already proscribed. There are actions you shouldn't take with a gun, they're already proscribed. There are guns of the "pray and spray" variety that are proscribed - full automatic firearms (machine guns) and sawed off shotguns.

    Dianna, do you mean to represent to the readers that the Brady Organization has another agenda than the complete banning of firearms? If you mean that, then you'd better take another look since they have stated in public, in print and spoken word that that is their end goal. Your questions may involve common sense for yourself, that's fine. I would teach firearms safety and shooting to my 11 year old rather than depend on a lock. Some of your slams against the NRA are nonsense, they've never advocated ownership for felons, in fact have advocated severe penalties and their enforcement for violations. Background checks as in "instant check" have not raised objections, waiting periods and other onerous requirements have. NRA has never raised objections to training for concealed carry, they sponsor such and other safety programs. I don't mind if you don't like guns or whatever it is that you're edging around, but spouting the "Brady" line without knowledge of the organization policies that you're labeling extreme is rather hard on your credibility. If you like your guns locked up, that's surely your perogative, it will be too bad if you ever need one suddenly. Yes, I think the NRA is silly about Republicans, I know the Brady bunch are dangerous re: 2nd.

    Zak has a fine idea, and that is winning gun owners back to the Democratic Party. Those of the Republican (Bush) turn of mind won't come over but the ones worried about gun banning will, assuming we don't just drive them off with "gun control." If you don't get the arguments about safety etc, get this: For many of these people owning a gun is the one tangible example of their Constitutional Rights that they have. They don't own newspapers or talk on the radio, they only go to one church (or don't), the FBI hasn't done a sneak & peek on them, they haven't been in court, etc and they tend to not have buckets of money. Oh well, some of you will continue to think that you're doing all of us a favor by making the 2nd "optional" just like GWB & the 1st, 4th, etc. You're keeping good company there, and yes, I know, it's for our security.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Sure we have a right to debate the issues, but we can't do much about them if we aren't in office.

    That's fine as far as it goes, and Chuck handled some of this question.

    But here is my concern. There were some who wanted all to be gun control people, and others who said "become sympathetic to the NRA or you will never win another election".

    Oregonians can't do much about the voters in Tenn. or Texas or Montana. But exactly which Oregon elections were decided by the gun issue? When the gunshow loophole question was in front of the public, which Democrats lost for being on the "wrong" side of that issue?

    The above quote makes it sound like no Oregonian ever won an election without being on the "correct" side of the gun issue. But as I said, I've seen Dems on both sides of this issue win--from a man who grew up hunting to someone who became the first member of Congress from a particular district without ties to the NRA.

    And living in Salem, gun issues have never been the sole deciding factor in legislative elections. So which Oregon elections have been lost on this issue and when? Or is this about other states?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I'm not clear, and neither is the Supreme court, on wat form of gun ownership is guaranteed by the Second Ammendment. I am clear on the political implications of gun rights.

    I began my 1996 campaign for the legislature believing that banning handguns would be a good idea. By the end of my 1998 campaign, after knocking on about 24,000 doors, I was convinced that gun control, beyond simple efforts, such as requiring background checks, was a losing issue for Democrats. A substantial number of blue collar Democrats will vote against their own economic interests in order to feel secure in their right to own guns.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Chuck:

    I was referring to single issue voters ("2nd Amendment True Believers") of all stripes, not just Democrats. When voting for a seemingly benign measure or local candidate, they can be quite progressive.

    But when the 2nd Amendment is politicized, all other considerations fly out the window. Civiletti proved my point: he was fortunate to receive many votes from those who had an opinion on gun control that agreed with his, or for whom the topic wasn't a motivating factor.

  • Jesse (unverified)
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    James Caird: But I have to ask, have you ever had a bipolar drunk with a concealed-weapons permit and a fully automatic AR-15 assault rifle (that he bought the day the ban was lifted) use his wepaons to intimidate you?

    I have.

    No, you haven't. The "assault weapons ban" had nothing at all to do with fully-automatic firearms. It banned semi-automatic firearms that merely looked scary. AR15 rifles were fully legal while the ban was in place. The only difference between before and after the ban were cosmetic features.

    Fully-automatic firearms have been strictly regulated since 1934 and still are. In order to purchase one, you need to go through an FBI background check, get permission from your local chief law enforcement officer (who doesn't have to give it to you if he doesn't want to), be fingerprinted and photographed, pay $200 to the ATF, and wait 4-6 months. And the absolutely cheapest, bottom of the line one you'll be able to find will still be over $5,000.

    And if the police said he'd broken no laws by pointing them at you, you're clearly not telling the other half of the story. What had you done to provoke him?

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    I'm surprised at the number of comments, since there really isn't a debate here. Every post except 4 has been in favor of the right to bear arms. And I wonder if some of those 4 weren't trolls (I'm thinking of you, Spicey).

    Here's my comment: Nice work, Zak. It's about time Oregon Dems had a gun owners caucus. I'll see you at the next caucus meeting.

  • Hosea Jimeneza (unverified)
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    National dummycrats hate guns and want to disarm me. They are not going to change, and I won't vote for any dummycrat for national office.

    Guns aren't the only reason that I won't vote for dummycrats.

    National dummycrats are as worthless on national security as an udder on a bull. They are responsible (Chrch commission) for castrating our intelligence agencies. They reduced the CIA to an organization that is so blind and inept that it couldn't collectively find its butt with both hands and a flashlight, much less figure out what is going on in the terrorist world. At least "evil" Bush is trying to correct 30 years of dummycrat lead destruction of the CIA.

    National dummycrats believe in redistribution of wealth and income. They think that they are playing Robin Hood, but what they are really doing is robbing Peter to buy the votes of Paul and Mary. They are Marxists - "...from each according to their ability, to each according to their need." This policy has always failed and always will because it leads people into dependency on someone else. In short, dummycrats are economically imoral. They are nothing but thieves.

    I wouldn't trust any of the Durbins, Feinsteins, Lautenburgs, Kerrys, Kennedys, and the rest of the dummycrat clowns with the power to affect my pocket book, my guns, or anything else. That collection of idiots would protect my library card, but not my right to own a gun.

    What a bunch of fools!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The Colonel (unverified)
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    The Second Amendment was never intended to restrict gun ownership only to those who were members of a militia. In fact, militias were made up of ordinary citizens, mostly farmers, who had their own personal firearms, not government-issued weapons. Ownership of a firearm was not made contingent on membership in a militia, it simply made militias possible.

    At the time the Constitution was written, a firearm was necessary equipment for the average American, who lived essentially in the wild. Wolves, grizzly bears and hostile natives were plentiful through many of the colonies, and a musket to protect one's family, crops and flock could mean the difference between survival and starvation (or perhaps dismemberment).

    Certainly times have changed, but the Founding Fathers counted on later generations to interpret the Constitution as contemporary circumstances dictated. While the NRA's no-holds-barred approach is not practical in today's American society (or what passes for society), the only chance to deal effectively with the issue is to have all participants setting aside the juvenile name-calling and dismissive attitudes and have a serious discussion. "Dummycrats"? Grow up or shut up.

  • Hosea Jimensa (unverified)
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    Dear Colonel

    "Dummycrats? Grow up or shut up"

    I am grown up, sir. Evidently, you can't handle either the First or Second Amendmentments.

    Using your idea of interpreting the Constitution as contemporary circumstances dictate renders the Constitution meaningless. That silly approach allows an unelected judiciary to do anything it damn well pleases.

    The courts were supposed to enforce original Constitutional intent, and let the people decide if they want to change the Constitution.

    In other words, the people are in control through elected representatives, and the court is there to assure that the legislative branch does not run amok and stomp all over Constitutionaly guaranteed personal liberties.

    Dummycrats want unelected educated elite judges (who think like they do) to use their power to eliminate the "socially undesirable" liberties that the Constitution protects.

    Dummycrat is an apt description for fools who want judges to change the meaning of the Constitution to whatever is currently popular. Why even have a Constitution if this is the appropriate judicial approach?

  • Publicus (unverified)
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    The Democrats OWN the Civil Rights Issue? This the same party that that opposed the abolition of slavery. Ran against Lincoln on a pro SLAVERY platform. When they lost the election the states they controlled began seceding from from the United States and started the Civil War. After the War Democrats opposed ANY rights for former slaves. The United States had to ARM Southern Blacks in order to protect them. Democrats opposed giving blacks the vote. Democrats opposed Womens sufferage. Democrats created segration. Democrats created the draft. Democrats passed probition. Democrats created personal income tax to pay for communist style social welfare in our country. Democrats opposed desegration. Democrats opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Democrats oppose the second ammendment which protects one life & liberty from violence by criminal or government. So when was it that Democrats suddenly began to own civil rights?

  • wacky (unverified)
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    Something we're missing here is that gun control is another issue with a serious urban/rural split.

    I grew up urban and I thought of guns as primarily things criminals used to kill people. I've lived rurally for more than a decade now and my view of guns has changed dramatically. Now I see them as about predator control and meat acquisition. In the city guns were something to be feared, in the country they are a tool.

    When I heard gunshots at night in the city I associated them with people being hurt or killed; now I hear a gunshot at night and I think “I hope they got that raccoon.” Beyond the intellectual arguments there are fundamental differences in how rural and urban people perceive guns.

    If Democrats want to get back some of these rural voters they need to be able to understand and talk about guns the way that rural people do. Most of them aren’t NRA fanatics but most of them own a gun or two and don’t quite understand what all the fuss over who buys them and how is about.

  • Average Joe (unverified)
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    Why is that whenever a heated conversation takes place people feel it necessary call people names like "dummycrat" and "elitist judges" and tell people to "grow up"? What is the point? Does anyone think they are furthering the conversation? No, I think not. Rather it is just a way of sidetracking the conversation. The reality is that by posting this sort of trash talk people are only degrading their own argument.

  • The Colonel (unverified)
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    A short historical note on the "ownership" of the civil rights issue. Yes, Southern Democrats opposed passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And when President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, Democratic leaderhip in the South flocked to the Republican party, not wanting to be any part of a political party that would endorse such legislation. That is, in part, why Republicans now dominate in the South.

    As to our friend who insists on the use of "Dummycrat," if the judiciary ignored the world we currently live in when interpreting the Constitution, "seperate but equal" would still be the law of the land, among other anachronisms. And with regard to my inability to deal with the First Amendement, I'll assume you are referring to freedom of speech. To spare you further self-inflicted embarassment, your First Amendment free speech protections do not attach in this forum, as it is a private (non-governmental) forum. If you are going to shreik about the Constitution, learn a little more about it.

    If you can't add something intelligent to the conversation, don't bother.

  • Hosea Jimensa (unverified)
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    Dear Colonel

    Sorry, you got it wrong again. "Seperate but equal" was stuck down by appropriately applying the Constitution and its Amendments with their original intent. The reason "seperate but equal" stood so long, is because judges considered "the world we live in" when reviewing the issue.

  • Henry Bowman (unverified)
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    I love this.

    The article proposes that Democrats position themselves as true believers in the Second Amendment. Immediately, some of the commenters begin screaming, "No, guns scare me, and I want to crush them all!" Others take the "moderate" anti-gun line of "I believe in the Second Amendment except for any arbitrary exception I claim is 'reasonable.'"

    One yahoo asks if "leaving my gun at home when I volunteer at my daughter’s school infringes on my 2nd amendment rights." If that school happens to be Columbine or Ecole Polytechnique on a bad day, it may mean the difference between you and your daughter being alive or dead. Does being killed sound like an infringement of your rights to you? (The Israelis have had no school shooting deaths -- guess why?)

    One guy even comes right out and admits it: I was a candidate who wanted to ban guns, but I learned that it was a losing issue. Was he persuaded by his constituents' logic? No, he was persuaded by his unelectability. This man is a veritable poster boy for the gun-owner's understanding of the modern Democrat: "They really want to take away my guns, but they will shut up about it and even lie about it just to get elected. Once they get elected, then I am in trouble." Thanks for witnessing, Tom.

    Similarly, check out all the phony "pro-gun" organizations run and staffed by Democrats whose policy positions just happen to be in lock-step with the Brady Campaign's -- the ones who are perpetually stymied by the question, "Give me an example of a proposed gun law that you think is UNreasonable." And true to form, another poster outs them: "the more gun owners groups that exist, the more possible it is to dilute the influence of the national republican rifle association." Here's a clue: not only don't Potemkin-village "gun associations" fool gun owners, they teach gun owners that Democrats consider them stupid. Way to do the outreach, folks.

    If the author wants to know why Democrats will never take back the Second Amendment vote, he has only to look at the Democrats who responded to his column, and reflect that he would never -- NEVER -- see people with such hoplophobia posting on a Republican blog. Gun owners see Republicans as BELIEVING in the Second Amendment, and Democrats as PRETENDING to believe in it. Today's Democrats are like the speaker in the old joke: "Sincerity is everything. Once you learn how to fake sincerity, you've got it made." Gun owners can smell fake sincerity. If Democrats want to look pro-gun, they have to BE pro-gun. And I just don't think you can do it, because if you could, it would conflict with the other paternalistic, nanny-state principles that make you Democrats in the first place.

  • Henry Bowman (unverified)
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    [post got truncated]

    "Give me an example of a proposed gun law that you think is UNreasonable." And true to form, another poster outs them: "the more gun owners groups that exist, the more possible it is to dilute the influence of the national republican rifle association." Here's a clue: not only don't Potemkin-village "gun associations" fool gun owners, they teach gun owners that Democrats consider them stupid. Way to do the outreach, folks.

    If the author wants to know why Democrats will never take back the Second Amendment vote, he has only to look at the Democrats who responded to his column, and reflect that he would never -- NEVER -- see people with such hoplophobia posting on a Republican blog. Gun owners see Republicans as BELIEVING in the Second Amendment, and Democrats as PRETENDING to believe in it. Today's Democrats are like the speaker in the old joke: "Sincerity is everything. Once you learn how to fake sincerity, you've got it made." Gun owners can smell fake sincerity. If Democrats want to look pro-gun, they have to BE pro-gun. And I just don't think you can do it, because if you could, it would conflict with the other paternalistic, nanny-state principles that make you Democrats in the first place.

  • Zak J. (unverified)
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    Mr. Bowman says, "Gun owners can smell fake sincerity."

    I agree, though I would add (or at least hope) that most people sense a fraud most of the time when it comes to issues they are informed about.

    But the history of liberals opposing gun rights is neither long nor set in stone, as shown by this 1960 quote by archliberal Hubert H. Humphrey:

    Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. [...] the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible. (Click & scroll down for source.)

    The political outlook of parties changes over time, but the Constitution only changes by the amendment process. I sincerely hope that everyone in this country would take the time to read that document and demand that their leaders respect it, as well as respecting it themselves. We do otherwise at our peril.

  • no standing army (unverified)
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    Adam,

    you may have misunderstood me; i fully support the 2nd amendment, and would prefer that we not have a standing army in peace time.

    that doesn't change the fact that the 2nd amendment was kind of a clumsy compromise between the no standing army/mandatory militia supporters on one side, and the standing army supporters on the other. those supporting the former position (hamilton and jefferson, agreeing ironically), thought a standing army of volunteers would be filled by those mainly interested in escaping poverty, and that such an army could breed a military culture at odds with civilian culture.

    here's Hamilton...

    "If standing armies are dangerous to liberty," Hamilton wrote, "an efficacious power over the militia, in the body to whose care the protection of the State is committed, ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions." A citizen's militia, Hamilton noted, "appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it..."

    Jefferson, in failing to dismantle the army, decided that the next best option was to have universal conscription, but that failed too.

    there's no denying that an armed populace could attempt to fight a military state, and they would have a much better chance that a populace not legally allowed to be aremed. however, that doesn't mean that the 2nd amendment was included for that reason. indeed, at the time of the framing it was up in the air whether a standing army would even exist outside of time of war.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    Rubbing hands, gettin' down to the nitty gritty:

    Garrett writes: I'm pretty sure that murders aren't committed by those with concealed weapons permits very often. Its those that don't have them that are usually the murderers. Just an observation.

    The statistics out of Texas (not Oregon--we don't keep such statistics) is that less than .01% of murders are by folks who possess the Texas equivelent of our CHL--that was 1 murder in 2004. He went to prison. As I said, Oregon doesn't keep statistics on this.

    LT writes: However, I know that Dianne Feinstein became Mayor of SF because someone walked in and gunned down Mayor White right in front of her--she was next in line of succession.

    This happened back in 1978. Now, if I was in a car wreck in 1978, and still was afraid of and massively fixated on the banning of cars (motophobia?) you would tell me to see a psychiatrist. At what point do we tell her to get over it, and move on. This is standing in the way of progress.

    Steve Bucknam writes:

    don't really think that my having a couple of small guns will actually stop governmental excess, but then again, the millions of guns in this country do add up.

    I must agree. Consider for a moment that the massive and powerful US military is engaged in a country the size of California with a population base (steadily being reduced thanks to our buffoon in chief's cabal of arrogance) the size of Oregon's. We can't even control THAT country. No way in hell the full might of the US military could control a country the size of the USA, There are 700,000 law enforcement personel in the US. Add to that 1 million soldiers, and the desire to NOT use weapons of area denial, and there is zero possibility of them holding on to other than the most remote and isolated spaces. And there are enough guns in the us to supply most adult males with a weapon as well as about 1/2 the adult females.

    Will WM:

    I also agree with James that gun laws do need to be revised. I am not against private citizens owning guns and using them responsibly. However, it seems that the guns are getting into the hands of irresponsible people, and this further fuels the anti-gun debate.

    To reiterate, it is not mutually exclusive to be pro-2nd amendment and pro-gun control. Control and regulation do not mean that we want to rip guns and ownership rights out of responsible owners hands. In fact, we'd like to make it easier for responsible owners to enjoy their rights.

    Will: guns always get into the hands of irresponsible people. Even in countries where they don't allow civilian ownership of guns, they get into the hands of irresponsible people.

    Now, if you mean, CRIMINALS??? Then for the interests of proliferation, it doesn't matter whether or not we support the second amendment. Doesn't matter at all. You can pass 1 million laws, and criminals will still steal guns. You could sentence them to death, and they will still get guns. doesn't matter what pretty law, and what grisly punishment you decide. You don't legislate for the people who break laws. You legislate for those who OBEY those laws. That is an important distinction.

    How much more regulation would you like? What would be good enough for you? Stop and think about this...I am a responsible owner, but at some point, someone will pass a law that tells me to comply with something I cannot agree with, and at that point, you make me a criminal. An irresponsible gun owner. Of course, I am sure that jail space will be made for me and my family, right????

    I am curious how "control and regulations" as they exist now make it "easier" for me to enjoy my rights? Phooey. You are so full of orwellian doublespeak, I am tempted to declare war on EastAsia now and save you the trouble.

    Jeff Alworth writes:

    I don't think this is an either/or proposition. Dems should be full-throated defenders of gun rights--and I think most are. This doesn't mean being a stooge to the NRA. We can regulate gun shows, armor-piercing bullets, and automatic rifles without violating the constitution. I think where Dems get into trouble is failing to make any distinction and then being mealy-mouthed about the issue. Stand with the 99% of reasonable gun owners in the country, but don't be absolutist on the issue. If the debate is shifted to the radical views of the fringe, you won't see the GOP trundling it out at every election.

    Gun shows are quite regulated. When was the last shooting you saw at a gun show? When was the last time YOU got in with your loaded handgun or rifle? When was the last time someone went in to buy a 600$ gun when they could get the same gun at the MLK and Ainsworth safeway parkinglot for 60$. Stolen and untraceable. This logic is so broken it cannot be repaired.

    ALL rifle bullets for hunting are armor piercing. The only way to outlaw them is to outlaw hunting. Don't even THINK about putting that albatross around our necks. If we tried to outlaw hunting, our party would be as welcome in rural america as Nader at the Gore family picnic. Automatic rifles were outlawed in 1934. I don't think we need to outlaw them AGAIN...do you?

    And lastly, to your post: you don't get it. This ISN"T the radical view of the fringe. On this issue, the NRA is the moderate voice (think not? Look at the GOA or JFPO). Reframe your thinking by considering them thus, and you will gain a better understanding of what they are saying.

    James again writes:

    Rather than caving in to the NRA on this issue in order to win votes, Democrats and liberals should do a better job of explaining and "selling" their ideas to the voting public.

    You can't sell what folks ain't buyin, and they are plum full o' pork bellies right now. Seriously. They aren't buying. You can't sell an emaciated carcass to the butcher and expect people to run to buy it. Thats what our party is peddling: A dead horse.

    Tom writes:

    I'm not clear, and neither is the Supreme court, on wat form of gun ownership is guaranteed by the Second Ammendment.

    well...er...no sawed off shotguns <18". According to Miller V. US. Thats about it. The Supremes have been very quiet on this issue. Oh, and I would keep it >18.5" if you don't wanna talk to the BATFE. They aren't nice.

    The Colonel writes:

    The Second Amendment was never intended to restrict gun ownership only to those who were members of a militia. In fact, militias were made up of ordinary citizens, mostly farmers, who had their own personal firearms, not government-issued weapons. Ownership of a firearm was not made contingent on membership in a militia, it simply made militias possible.

    Ahhhh, but it was for the militia, Colonel:

    But there is a catch. See...we are ALL members of the militia. The "Unorganized militia." as defined by "10 USC CHAPTER 13 - THE MILITIA". At least if you are ablebodied, between the ages of 17 and 45 and male, or a female who is in the National Guard. Thats what they call the "unorganized militia". Oh, and the latest update to this law was 1993, so it's not just an atiquity.

    Seriously. Please read this. I doubt most folks realized that THEY were once in the militia.

    After seeing the cry from the Brady folks and their supplicant groups that "blood would be flowing in the streets" over: the expiration of the assualt weapon ban the castle doctrine laws the establishment of concealed carry in 32 of the 48 states (excepting AK and VT--they even have a CHL equivelent--carry what you want.)

    and then seeing nothing except for a drop in crime--due, no doubt, to many factors, but still including these above items.

    Nothing. No blood in the streets, no increase in the chaos in our schools. Fewer dead folks overall. I am prone to just ignore what they say and dismiss them as the chicken-littles they have proven to be. The sky is not only NOT falling, its holding up nicely after all :-)

    My suggestion is for us to roll over and play dead on this issue. That is my serious suggestion. Do whatever they want. Abstain from voting or vote with them. Voting against them gets us no-where except OUT of office.

    Either we believe in the 2nd as well as the 1st, 3rd, 4th and so on, or we get stupid and lose. Our choice.

  • scott wilkinson (unverified)
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    response to Dianas' comments:

    This is why few anti-gun democrats have any credibilty talking about the gun issue -

    <hr/>

    Do the following things infringe on my 2nd amendment rights:

    Having to have a background check to ensure that I am not a criminal before purchasing a firearm.

     No, but neither should I be subject to the law if I choose to    
     give a gun to my son or father, or sell one to a friend whom I    
     know not to be a criminal.
    

    Locking my gun up so that my 11 year-old-daughter does not have access.

     That is your choice.  I prefer to keep a gun available to you in
     case of an emergency.   Laws that prevent me from doing so (as in 
     Washington DC) do violate the 2nd.  If my carelessness does
     contribute to an injury there are a number of laws (reckless 
     endangerment for example) that can be used to prosecute 
     such "crimes".
    

    Leaving my gun at home when I volunteer at my daughter’s school.

     Prohibiting law abiding citizens from carrying their legally
     owned concealed weapons anywhere (even at a school) serves no 
     purpose, other than to create "criminal safe" zones.  Notice that
     many mass shootings happen at schools, not at police departments.
    

    Giving up my right to bear arms when I beat my husband, sexual abuse a child or sell drugs to kids.

     Commission of a felony abrogates your right to arms and the NRA 
     has never tried to change that.
    

    Get some live fire training (similar to what the police go through) before I carry my gun (concealed) into your grocery store.

     The requirement to get a permit to carry concealed does violate 
     the 2nd.  Anyone who owns a gun should know how to use it but guns
     are pretty simple, and a poor nurse going home at 2 AM to a bad 
     neighborhood needn't be an expert.  Reqquiremts such as this 
     penalize the poor more than anybody.
    

    I ask this because these are examples of the laws that Democratic (and even some Republican) legislators in Oregon have worked on over the past 10 years.

    Of course, the NRA, Oregon Firearms Federation and other extreme gun lobby organizations have fought against ANY type of regulation on firearms in this state and across the country.

    In fact the gun lobby is working hard to make sure that anyone from any state can carry their concealed weapon in Oregon, that any one can buy a gun at a gun show, no questions asked, that you can shoot anyone who you are afraid of, whenever and wherever you are and that sex abusers and drug dealers can continue to get concealed weapons.

      I can use my drivers license to operate a car in Oregon, why not 
      my concealed carry permit.   Don't you want to treat guns like
      cars?
    
      Anyone who buys a gun from a "licensed" gun dealer has to go 
      thru the background check, at a gun-show or not.  Makeing it 
      illegal for me to go to a gun show a and buy a gun from an 
      individual (perhaps a friend I run into there) wihout going thru
      the background check violates the 2nd.
    
      The NRA does not advocate shooting anyone you are afraid of.  We
      do think you have the right to "stand your ground" and expect the
      system to "prove" that you acted not in self-defense rather than
      making the citizen "prove" that he did.  You shouldn't have to 
      run in the face of an attack because you're more scared of the 
      state prosecuting you than you are of the criminal.
    
      The NRA does not advocate that drug dealers or sex abusers 
      be able to "continue to get concealed weapons".  But guess what -
      they are criminals, they will continue to violate whatever laws
      the want.
    

    My question for the Democratic Gun Caucus is what’s next; it’s easy to say you support the 2nd amendment. But do you support common sense gun laws that help keep guns out of the hands of kids and criminals?

    A little disclosure, I have lived most of my life in a house with guns (currently we have three, all locked up of course) and I work for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

    <hr/>

    Diana, is there any gun law you would oppose? My guess is no. And that is the problem with the democratic party, you've never met a gun law that you thought wasn't "reasonable". Don't expect gun owners to start believing you now.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    Oh, and since we are giving disclosure, I own multiple firearms, I shoot BB guns with my daughters in the backyard. My 8 year old loves to shoot (real guns, bb guns and bow). I do keep my firearms locked up in a safe. I have taken safety courses, and highly recommend them. Ummm I belong to OFF, as they give those safety courses.

    I vote dem 99% of the time. I belong to the Pink Pistols, and have started listening to what the other side is saying...start with The High Road, and then move on from there. You will get a true glimpse into what the other side is saying.

  • Diana Madarieta (unverified)
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    We could debate guns and gun laws forever, the question is, does the gun issue hurt Dems. I would love to hear examples of folks who lost on this issue.

    I know that it hurt Jay Insley in Washington (when he represented rural Washington state), but I also know that Furse used it against Witt, Wu against Bordinaro, Deckert against Qutub, Galizio against Gallagher.

    Recently Colorado Democratic Congressional candidate Ed Perlmutter used the issue of concealed weapons in schools against his primary opponent and won. In Maryland, Democratic incumbent John Giannetti was unseated in the primary after his opponent used his opposition to a state assault weapons ban against him.

    Will the Rs boot Gordon Smith? he voted to support the renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban (semi-automatic).

    DeFazio who is no anti-gun Democrat had his support of background checks used against him by Steve Webb in 98, but it didn't work.

    In fact I just don't see the Rs using the gun issue against Democratic candidates as much as folks seem to think they do. The gun lobby position on issues like background checks and guns in schools polls terribly across the board, and especially among women. Gun owners are quite comfortable with our positions on gun safety, except for the small and vociferous fringe that fills up everyone’s email whenever an issue comes up. If this issue worked for Republicans, wouldn't they would be clamoring for recorded votes!

    And Scott, I would not support an outright ban on handguns or hunting rifles and yes, I would love to see guns treated like cars, license shooters and register weapons.

    Also, I have to question the comment about the NRA being the moderate voice on guns in this country. Gun owners have left the NRA in droves over the years because they have moved way to far to the fringe. I think that the NRA's support of Republicans will actually hurt them eventually, because the Rs have become so anti-union and anti-environment.

    Visit www.nraleaders.com to learn more about how moderate the leaders of the NRA really are. Here is a great example from Jeff Cooper who was reelected to the board after saying this.

    "…the consensus is that no more than five to ten people in a hundred who die by gunfire in Los Angeles are any loss to society. These people fight small wars amongst themselves. It would seem a valid social service to keep them well-supplied with ammunition." Jeff Cooper, NRA Board Member in Guns and Ammo Magazine

  • jj Ark (unverified)
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    ahhh...I am done being nice on this topic.

    I tell ya what: lets license guns along with books. I wanna see folks have to get a license to read the bible. Or Ayn Rand. Or...Or...see where this is heading. Get your head out and READ the 2nd. It means what it says. No hokey pokey. People aren't buyin the funny dances on this. They just aren't. We are looking down a cliff, and we hold the rope. You wanna hang on, or you wanna try and dance. I suggest hanging on. Drop this issue. Completely in deeds and words, and we might have a chance on this.

    Look, I have spent the last 2 years reading the stuff from the NRA, the JPFO, and GOA. I have met with these folks, and have talked with them. I have gone shooting with them, eaten lunch with them, and taught thier kids stuff. You think the NRA is the extreme? HAH! Not by a longshot.

    They ARE the mainstream. You can try to marginalize them, but to do so puts you in the land of pollyana. Oh, and you might want to note that you won't be the polyana in office.

    Jeff Cooper? I could find horrible quotes about anyone. Margaret Sanger, the founders of the ACLU, the Pope, and the Big Dog himself. Truth is, if you wanted to, you find horrible quotes about anyone.

    Get off your duff, go shooting, and learn from these people. Quit assuming that you have the answer for them. I can tell you that you don't...at least not if THIS is your answer to the guns and 2a issue.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    you know...I was talking with my 9 year old at dinner about this controversy, and 2 things stood out:

    1. she really doesn't like bush. She inherently dislikes people who cheat and lie. Good kid. Good instincts.

    2. she suggested we put our money where our mouths are. Actually, she said we should "prove what we say." She might be on to something there.

    What should we do to demonstrate that we don't hate guns? Is the duck hunting/vote for AWB enough? Keep in mind that 1/2 the households in the US have a firearm, and that only 20% of Americans hunt.

    Ideas?

  • (Show?)

    Do the following things infringe on my 2nd amendment rights:

    Having to have a background check to ensure that I am not a criminal before purchasing a firearm.

    No.

    Locking my gun up so that my 11 year-old-daughter does not have access.

    Probably not.

    Leaving my gun at home when I volunteer at my daughter’s school.

    Probably not.

    Giving up my right to bear arms when I beat my husband, sexual abuse a child or sell drugs to kids.

    No.

    Get some live fire training (similar to what the police go through) before I carry my gun (concealed) into your grocery store.

    Yes.

    Since the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, you can't make people take a test to be able to exercise that right. It can't be compared to driving a car, because people don't have a constitutional right to drive a car. Voting is a constitutional right. You can't make people take a test in order to be able to vote.

    On the other hand, people who have committed crimes forfeit many rights, and the right to carry arms should be one of them.

  • (Show?)

    Anyone who buys a gun from a "licensed" gun dealer has to go thru the background check, at a gun-show or not. Makeing it illegal for me to go to a gun show a and buy a gun from an individual (perhaps a friend I run into there) wihout going thru the background check violates the 2nd.

    I don't know about that. I don't think that it would be a violation of the 2nd amendment to require everyone to get a background check in order to obtain a gun legally. If they can set up credit card machines at trade shows and gun shows, they can set up background check computers and what not. It's not really infringing upon any law abiding citizen's right to obtain a gun.

    Sure, anyone can buy a gun in a parking lot if they want to, along with some crack and heroin also, and maybe even some oral sex. That doesn't mean we should make it legal. It doesn't mean background checks are worthless and don't serve any purpose.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    Sure, anyone can buy a gun in a parking lot if they want to, along with some crack and heroin also, and maybe even some oral sex. That doesn't mean we should make it legal. It doesn't mean background checks are worthless and don't serve any purpose.

    You aren't getting the point. Criminals arent buying their guns from gun shows or shops, or even collectors.

    Why would you buy a gun from a legitimate source for 600$ when you can buy a stolen, untraceable gun on the street for 60$.

    My point isn't that crack, heroin, or oral sex in public should be legal. its that gun shows aren't the suppliers of the tools for criminality. Passing more laws to regulate gunshows won't curb crime in the least. Outlaw the theft of guns, if you want to stop criminals from getting guns. Oh, wait. oops.

  • byard pidgeon (unverified)
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    If gun issues override all others in determining who wins or loses an election, this country is already well along on the road to ruin.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Lessee, there's so much to choose from...

    byard, I really do think that violations of the Bill of Rights ought to trump most other issues, I really think GWB ought to go down hard for his.

    Henry, I don't think you've met this Democrat since you don't think it's possible. Now I do hunt big game with firearms, I do shoot National Match High Power - 30-06 M1, I do shoot High Power Sporting Rifle, either 30-06 Ruger or 45-70 Marlin, I shoot Combat Pistol - .45 Commander, I have the gear now for Cowboy Action, matched .45 Colt-Uberti SAA, 45-70 Lever, 12 ga side by side hammer "stage coach". I load most of my own stuff, I've studied the 2nd extensively, I firmly believe the "left" has more to fear from "gun control" than the right does, and I have spent my time and money and some other's money and time running for US Rep as (gasp) a Democrat. I am one of the original signers of the Gun Caucus, and an informal advisor and friend of Zak - the founder. The Gun Caucus was passed by acclaimation at DPO 3rd qtr SCC, no votes dissenting. I wrote, lobbied, and sheparded Resoluton 2005-008 and I defy you to find a more straightforward and clear affirmation of the 2nd by any political party.

    JJ, Get involved with your County Dem Party, there'll be plenty to do. We cede this argument at our peril. WE let it go before and you can see what it's done.

    James, Red Dawn movie magic to the side, I do not claim to be a world class Nat Match shooter, but, at 600 yds (yes 1/3 mi) with iron sights, a WWII semi-auto rifle I can make a human sized target grow holes - that is a horrid prospect for any sane human (soldier) and virtually impossible to defend against. The junk that floats around in Iraq has no similarity to most US civilian weapons. No military wants to be in such a position. It will not "win" a war, but it makes it horridly expensive, add in the factors of elite (monied) interests and such a thing becomes untenable. It is not the "doing" it is the deterrent. We never nuked the USSR.

    Re: US v Miller, the Supremes did not rule on the case, it was ruled moot as the appellant was deceased (Miller). My personal opinion, the Supremes will go very far to avoid having to rule on such a case. The 14th makes the point that all Rights pertain to all, they cannot be reserved to the States or localities. Thus NYC, DC, etc gun bans or draconian licensing requirements would be in violation of the 2nd by way of the 14th. I have no intention of committing a felony possesion in one of those localities to have standing in SCOTUS and I don't know of any others who do. Besides, the ACLU won't take 2nd cases. (maybe they need to change their name)

    Look here, the Caucus can use any help it can get from supporters of the 2nd and Democratic principles, Zak gave a contact point, please use it if you're interested. There are kindred spirits and a place for those disaffected gun owners in Democratic poitics. How exactly does one propose to affect change if they won't come out and play?

    Finally, do I have problem with disputing those who'd abridge my Civil Liberties? Not in the least. I regularly scorch Geo II for it, and his fellows are on the same short list. You bet I'll defend their 1st right to be asses in public, I'll also do what I can to see they have no power to ass ert themselves. ok, sorry for the pun...

  • James Caird (unverified)
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    Guns don't kill people, bullets do ... of course the guns make the bullets go really fast.

    What I find most interesting about this discussion is how easily "gun-free-for-all" supporters put words in the mouths of people who support rational gun laws.

    Maybe you should stopp for a second an dlisten to what people are actually saying.

    REAL MEN DON'T NEED TO CARRY GUNS TO FEEL SAFE

  • James Caird (unverified)
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    Red Dawn movie magic to the side, I do not claim to be a world class Nat Match shooter, but, at 600 yds (yes 1/3 mi) with iron sights, a WWII semi-auto rifle I can make a human sized target grow holes - that is a horrid prospect for any sane human (soldier) and virtually impossible to defend against. The junk that floats around in Iraq has no similarity to most US civilian weapons. No military wants to be in such a position. It will not "win" a war, but it makes it horridly expensive, add in the factors of elite (monied) interests and such a thing becomes untenable. It is not the "doing" it is the deterrent. We never nuked the USSR.

    Chuck, any chance you can put this in English so I could figure out that the hell you're talking about!

  • average joe (unverified)
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    Byard is right though. While every fundamental right is important and none should be over looked in evaluating candidates for office, give me one candidate who is right on issues such as health care, senior issues and education but wrong on the 2nd amendment and another candidate who is wrong on the issues but right on the 2nd amendment and I for one will support the first rather than the later - 2nd amendment or not.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    James Caird writes:

    Guns don't kill people, bullets do ... of course the guns make the bullets go really fast.

    er...no people kill people. Rope, baseball bats, saps, tazers, swimming pools, poison, pillows, axes, cars and guns with bullets in them, are all the tools used to kill people. I am beginning to wonder if you actually get that distinction, tho.

    What I find most interesting about this discussion is how easily "gun-free-for-all" supporters put words in the mouths of people who support rational gun laws.

    could that be that the suppositions behind such "rational gun laws" are inherently flawed? One would think that if the arguements presented were ironclad, they wouldn't be so easy to convolute.

    REAL MEN DON'T NEED TO CARRY GUNS TO FEEL SAFE

    awwww... this just BEGS a response:

    How about this: REAL MEN CALL 911.

    which is all nice and good...but here is a news flash for you: THE PEOPLE WHO ANSWER THE CALL AREN'T REQUIRED TO PROTECT YOU. You are required to provide for your own safety. The police will help when and if they can, but they are a bit outnumbered. There are 700,000 of them (including customs, ICE and TSA agents), 10 MILLION lawbreakers and 370 Million citizens of the US.

    Doubt it? Read more...here are the relevant court cases all laid out for you nice and easy:

    Riss v. City of New York, 22 N.Y.2d 579, 293 NYS2d 897, 240 N.E.2d 860 (N.Y. Ct. of Ap. 1958); Keane v. City of Chicago, 98 Ill. App.2d 460, 240 N.E.2d 321 (1968); Morgan v. District of Columbia, 468 A.2d 1306 (D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1983); Calogrides v. City of Mobile, 475 So.2d 560 (S.Ct. A;a. 1985); Morris v. Musser, 478 A.2d 937 (1984); Davidson v. City of Westminster, 32 C.3d 197, 185 Cal.Rptr. 252, 649 P.2d 894 (S.Ct. Cal. 1982); Chapman v. City of Philadelphia, 434 A.2d 753 (Sup.Ct. Penn. 1981); Weutrich v. Delia, 155 N.J. Super 324, 326, 382 A.2d 929, 930 (1978); Sapp v. City of Tallahassee, 348 So.2d 363 (Fla.Ct. of Ap. 1977); Simpson's Food Fair v. Evansville, 272 N.E. 2d 871 (Ind.Ct. of Ap.); Silver v. City of Minneapolis, 170 N.W.2d 206 (S.Ct. Minn. 1969) and Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 61 (7th Cir. 1982)

    So you want to deprive folks of their most effective means of protection? Fine. But don't expect them to elect you when they find out that you are out to deprive them of what THEY consider their God-given right of protection.

  • Hosea Jimensa (unverified)
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    Re: James Caird "REAL MEN DON'T NEED TO CARRY GUNS TO FEEL SAFE"

    Does this mean that the male U.S. soldiers and marines in Iraq are not real men because they carry guns to feel safe???

    Some men carry guns in the Alaska back country because they desire an equalizer to prevent some upset bruin from chewing on their tender body. I guess these men couldn't be considered prudent, and should be dissed as not being REAL MEN.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    James wrote:

    Chuck, any chance you can put this in English so I could figure out that the hell you're talking about!

    How about English from Japanese:

    "You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass."

    -- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

  • Kirk Parker (unverified)
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    Brett,

    "Unrestricted access to concealable weapons is the main reason the US has homicide rate so much higher than the rest of the world."

    If that were true, then wouldn't the homicide rate have risen as state after state passed shall-issue carry laws over the last 20 years? Instead, the rates have held steady, and sometimes even dropped. Meanwhile, in the real world, most homicides are committed by people who already have a criminal background, who--if they have even a single felony or domestic-violence misdomeanor conviction--are already banned from owning firearms by existing law.

    Diana,

    Regarding the reasonable restrictions you cite, do you have any requirement that the regulations be both necessary and helpful before you want them imposed?

    I'm particularly struck by the training-requirement issue, as your neighbors to the immediate north, who've had shall-issue concealed carry longer than almost any other state, have absolutely no training requirement for granting a CCW--just a background check is all that is required.

    Now, I wouldn't blame anyone whose first reaction to that is, "What--you don't have to ever even have fired a gun to get a concealed carry permit???" That seems like such a logical conclusion.

    But take a look, instead, at the statistics: does Washington have any higher a rate of accidental or criminal incidents with permit-holders than Oregon does? I suspect not, though it's a bit hard to tell because the absolute rates of such problems are so low that it's hard to do meaningful statistics on them. But in the absence of any demonstrated problem in the first place, it's hard to avoid pinning that dreaded 'statist' label on anyone who says "but we need a restriction anyway."

    Chuck,

    One minor quibble: Vermont has always had permittless concealed carry, and Alaska went to permitless carry after a few years of having a shall-issue permit system.

    Zak,

    If Hubert Humphrey were still the face of the Democrats, I'd certainly be finding a lot more Democrats to vote for!

    Finally, to all you who speak of the NRA as extreme: they're not. If you want to see what an extreme pro-gun group looks like, take a gander at the JPFO or the Second Amendment Foundation.

  • kirk Parker (unverified)
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    Adam,

    f they can set up credit card machines at trade shows and gun shows, they can set up background check computers and what not.

    You're also not getting the point that, for licensed gun dealers, they already have to do background checks at gun shows and this has always been true ever since there have been background checks!

    And kudos to all those who mentioned JFPO and SAF already!

  • Matt (unverified)
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    Zak may be pro-gun, but he is in great denial. The Democrat leadership (Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi, Schumer, Durbin, etc.) are all incredibly anti-gun. Nice try, but Zak needs to stop spreading his lie that the Democrat platform is pro-gun. Democrats stomp on the constitution and are frauds to try and pretend to be constitutionalists. The people of this country don't have the wrong "perception" on this issue. The Democrat voting records are crystal clear, and Zak’s condescending words simply aim to confuse. He should work harder on changing his party’s position, not on changing public perception.

  • Shannon (unverified)
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    I'm not a big fan of guns, latte-swilling liberal urban mother that I am. However, I think banning personal ownership of guns is illogical, as well as not practical. When I think of what bothers me about guns, it is of course their capacity for violence.

    So let's suppose you make gun ownership illegal. What is the penalty for breaking laws? Going to prison. Which is an appropriate place for people who have broken laws AND seriously harmed other people. You can send someone to prison for illegally possessing a firearm. But I think that trying to prevent violence with a prison sentence is like trying to treat diabetes with a brownie. It's adding fuel to the fire.

    I agree with Shaun. Deal with the fear, and the poverty, and all the underlying issues that predispose people to resort to violence. Fund schools not prisons. Get rid of unnecessary black markets, like the ones created by Prohibition laws (remember the '30s?). And then you'll see the murder rate go down and the right to bear arms becomes less of an issue.

    And thanks to whoever mentioned that Bowling for Columbine was more about fear than guns. Despite the rather agonizing interview with Charlton Heston about the possible role of the NRA in gun violence incidents, I think the message was, "Why here? Why does the US have so much gun violence when other countries have more guns?" That question is still not completely answered in my mind.

  • Matt (unverified)
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    Zak may be pro-gun, but he is in great denial. The Democrat leadership (Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi, Schumer, Durbin, etc.) are all incredibly anti-gun. Nice try, but Zak needs to stop spreading his lie that the Democrat platform is pro-gun. Democrats stomp on the constitution and are frauds to try and pretend to be constitutionalists. The people of this country don't have the wrong "perception" on this issue. The Democrat voting records are crystal clear, and Zak’s condescending words simply aim to confuse. He should work harder on changing his party’s position, not on changing public perception.

  • jrw (unverified)
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    Want to reduce gun violence?

    Insist on educating everyone about how guns work. Gun safety classes for all kids--after all, you don't necessarily know when they're going to stumble across an improperly secured gun. Doesn't necessarily need to be live fire--the simple principles of the Eddie Eagle course would work.

    Promote accurate depictions of gun use in TV and movies instead of creative portrayals by folks who've never been within miles of a Real Gun.

    I learned how to safely handle guns from folks who went through WWII and boot camp. I don't fear guns, demonize guns, or idolize guns. I do hunt, am a registered Democrat, and vote Democrat at least 98% of the time--on the Left side as well.

    From personal experience, I suspect there's a lot more folks out there like me than you hear about. We just tend to not speak out very often on the issue.

    Additionally, the national Democratic voices on the issue tend to be from the East Coast--and there are different issues in the East, especially with regard to hunting. Lots more people, lots more possible problems.

  • (Show?)

    Matt, Ok, you've goaded me into a reply...well done.

    I think the range of opinions expressed on this blog shows in itself that you're wrong. Clearly the members of the national Democratic Party have a wide range of opinions about guns, including those who passionately support a broad interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Harry Reid, the senate minority leader, gets money from the NRA. Do you think they support gun control activists? Ever heard of Brian Schweitzer, Democratic governor of Montana? He has more guns than Chuck. ; )

    So it's not denial or condescending or inaccurate to say there are many Democrats who support a broad interpretation to the 2nd Amendment, or that these Democrats tend to be concentrated most in the South and West. Democratic Gov. of New Mexico Bill Richardson summed things up very well when he said the East Coast party wing must not believe they can use gun control as a national litmus test on who is and isn't a good Democrat.

    In summation, I don't believe the national Democratic Party is thoroughly anti-2nd Amendment, but I KNOW the Democratic Party of Oregon isn't.

    See you all at the range.

  • Dan E. (unverified)
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    As a gun owner, I applaud your efforts. The Second Amendment should not be supported by just one party. The principles at stake are too important to be supported by only one ideology.

    However, as a Republican, I laugh in my sleeve. Don't get me wrong, I'm not laughing at you - I choose to believe you have the best of intentions. But the record of your party and the agenda of your leadership is so completely and utterly abysmal on the issue, I am hard-pressed to expect any real change. And quite frankly, I would expect the same reaction if I started the "environmental caucus" within the Republican party. I would be marginalized by my own party members who think I am just trying to kiss up, and I would be looked upon with great suspicion by you folks who would think it was just a ploy to win votes. Clearly, that is a reaction of some folks here who look upon supporting your efforts as just a way to gain electoral success, rather than preserving a critical freedom. Let's face it, neither party tends to embrace people of the other party who cross over on issues. They still are treated like crap by both sides, which isn't a big incentive to EVER want to try something like you are doing.

    My support and encouragement here certainly won't win you any friends or admiration, so I hesitate to give it. But please know that supporting our freedoms is more important than an R or a D behind our names. If you are serious about your efforts and your intent, then I wish you every success. If you aren't serious...well, it will be obvious soon enough. I hope it is the former.

  • Brad (unverified)
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    Zak Johnson

    Your claim the Democratic Party is not anti-gun is not credible.

    Even though in some localities some Democratic politicians have stopped pushing for gun control, the Democratic Party remains the party of gun control, just as it remains the party of 'reproductive rights'. All that a pro-gun single issue voter has to do is pay attention to the continued efforts to push ever greater gun control laws in those states where the Democratic Party has domination such as California or New York (the temporary aberration of RINO Governors notwithstanding). Even at the national level the party can't help itself from howling over the sunset of the awful law which banned so-called "assault weapons", or the resistance to repealing the D.C. ban on firearms ownership.

    I can't help but laugh over the new party line which I've seen some politicians mouth, "Yes I support the second amendment, BUT the assault rifle ban must be renewed, and state and city governments should be able to sue the gun industry out of existance and ... and ... and..."

    I also find your claim the Democratic Party fully supports the other parts of the Bill of Rights not credible. The McCain-Feingold bill was a huge violation of the 1st amendment.

  • Brad (unverified)
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    The grand compromise

    I have a modest proposal to those who support gun control and those who oppose it, a compromise law. Unlike some phony compromise proposals where only one side gives anything away my proposal involves real compromise. But even so it can illuminate the hostility of the gun control faction because they would never-ever go for it. So here it is...

    Hangun registration/licensing has been the holy-grail of the gun-control movement since the crusade began in it's current form in the 1960's. I propose a universal handgun license law. Without the license possession of a handgun would be a crime punisable as a misdemeanor or a felony (known as a 'wobbler').

    But, the handgun license would be not be some New York style Sullivan Law sham wherby only the rich, powerfull or connected could ever manage to acquire the permit. Instead the qualifications for granting the license should follow the typical provisions of 'shall issue' CCW laws used by those states which issue fair concealed carry weapon permits. And the hangun license would allow purchase, possession and the person to carry the loaded pistol in any city, state or territory of the United States.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Do you think the felons that are currently (and illegally) in possession of a firearm will turn them in?

    Because they won't qualify for the handgun license. Passing a law is only the first half of the equation. The second half is enforcing the law against those who intentionally refuse to comply. That means you are going to be prosecuting a whole lot of gun owners who did nothing wrong, except to refuse to comply with a law they view as unconstitutional. Will you have sufficient resources available to prosecute these dissenters and still operate Wapato jail? Will you have sufficient political will to treat the criminals who brandished a weapon in the comission of their crime more harshly than the dissenters? You're going to need more jails.

  • jj ark (unverified)
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    wanna know what I think of "the grand compromise?"

    Would you shut up?

    Wait!

    I don't mean any offense. None.

    really. Lets carry your compromise one step further: would you willing to compromise on your freedom of speech? (thus the above comment.) how about just a couple of soldiers in your home during the time of peace? How about we cut out the due process clause and just sentence you without a trial?

    The Constitution is clear as day, when planely (sic) read. Only when one starts convolutions of tongue and character does one end up with a wishy washy interpretation of the Amendments.

    Lest we forget that the Second Amendment is the ultimate stalemate that keeps the First amendment in place, unchecked. Indeed, as seen above, it should be in use as a barometer for the unceasing winds of politics. Invariably, those that wish to disarm the populace would dominate that same populace. History couldn't possibly be more clear on the subject. You can be assured that if the 2nd falls, the others aren't far behind.

    246 MILLION people dead in the 20th Century cannot be wrong.

    Seriously.

  • Brad (unverified)
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    jj ark

    Thanks a lot for spoiling my point. You must be one of those people who believe the law making it a crime for a convicted felon to posess a firearm is an unacceptable compromise! Or who thinks that requiring any permit process at all for carrying a loaded and concealed firearm is an unacceptable compromise. While I can appreciate your zealotry all you do is provide the perfect example for the anti-gun side to claim our side is composed of nothing but zealots!

    As for my proposal you obviously don't appreciate the current state of affairs regarding handgun laws. My proposal would enable a huge proportion of the American populace to exercise their right to armed self-defence which they are denied under current law. Maybe you are lucky enough to live in a state with reasonable laws, well I and many other poor souls do not. How do you think someone in Chicago or Washington D.C. feels hearing you whine about unacceptable compromise when they can't even own a handgun legally at all right now, let alone carry one for self-defense.

    Don't you see my proposal is even in your own self-interest? You would be able to travel to any place in America and still be able to defend yourself with a handgun. Or maybe you never cross state lines? Nice and safe in your bunker? That may be fine for you but what about the rest of us.

    You obviously also don't appreciate how my proposal checkmates the anti-gun crusaders. A refusal to accept my compromise would expose their true final agenda which is total firearms confiscation.

    But since your clever advice is 'shut up', I suppose I am wasting my time reasoning with you.

  • jrw (unverified)
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    Brad--

    You must not live in the state of Oregon.

    IIRC, In this state, if you do not have a CCW permit, you are required to wait before you pick up a handgun after purchase (it's been a while since I bought a handgun so things may have changed). Personally, I'm right happy with that sort of thing and don't see the need for anything more than that.

    (and if you don't live in Oregon or have an Oregon connection, then what brings you to this blog? The T-word?)

    To Dan E--

    You forget your Republican history. Environmentalism used to be as much a Republican issue as a Democratic issue, at least until conservative, resource-extractive interests made it impossible for moderate Republicans and Republicans with principles other than Rich Good, Poor Bad to participate in the GOP (I refer you to the sobriquet RINO which is thrown at anyone who varies in the slightest from the current Party line, even if they are esposing classic Republican positions).

    Furthermore, if you poke around in the leadership of various mainstream national environmental organizations, you'll find more than a few folks with "R" on their voting card. Why d'ya think some of 'em don't endorse?

    The gun control caucus in the Democratic Party is an East Coast/West Coast issue. Again, as I said previously, East Coast hunting issues differ from West Coast hunting issues (which area primarily uses 30.06 rifles to hunt deer and which area uses shotgun slugs, and why? Think about it, if you've ever been to the East Coast).

  • Orygunner (unverified)
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    I applaud the efforts of some Democrats to reverse their party’s historical anti-Second Amendment bias, though it seems to me that they’re fighting an uphill battle, as clearly evidenced by the comments of many of the people here. I would also suggest that general statements about Democratic support for the Second Amendment are fine and dandy, but what stance do the state Dems actually take on nitty gritty policy details? “Assault weapon” bans? “Saturday night special” bans? The “gun show loophole”? Restrictions on concealed carry? Mandatory child locks and “child access prevention” laws? Ballistic fingerprinting? Handgun licensing? State preemption? I would venture to guess that the great majority of Democrats are on the wrong side of all of these issues.

    And how can independents like myself justify voting for Dems when 4 out of the 5 Democrats representing Oregon in the U.S. Congress have earned a well-deserved “F” from the NRA? From the comments posted here, most Dems simply dismiss the NRA as an “extremist” organization, but that just shows what most liberal Democrats actually think about gun rights--only extremists would join a group that actually believes Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. Actions speak much louder than words, and until I am presented with a Democratic candidate who has a clear record of supporting gun rights, I will continue voting third party.

    But I wish you the best of luck on your quest to change the knee-jerk anti-gun mindset of your fellows Democrats. You’ll need it.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    Brad:

    First things first:

    Don't shut up. I was using that phrase to starkly illustrate my point. I am sorry that you didn't catch it. My apologies. My wife says that it was a terrible way to illustrate my point, and I don't get a bisquit. I apologize.

    Now:

    Thanks a lot for spoiling my point. You must be one of those people who believe the law making it a crime for a convicted felon to posess a firearm is an unacceptable compromise!

    No. You are incorrect. Once someone is incarcerated, they have broken the social contract. In doing so, they forfeit certain rights as well as priveleges.

    Or who thinks that requiring any permit process at all for carrying a loaded and concealed firearm is an unacceptable compromise.

    I think it's silly. Only the honorable bother with them, but if the state feels safer, I suppose we might as well make things nice and easy for the state, eh?

    My proposal would enable a huge proportion of the American populace to exercise their right to armed self-defence which they are denied under current law.

    your proposal would be a nation gun registry. Wanna watch how that has gone? Take a peek at Nazi Germany, Australia, and most recently, Canada. Or maybe you would prefer to look at England. In the eyes of the average gun owner, this goes contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution. Good luck getting it voted in.

    Maybe you are lucky enough to live in a state with reasonable laws, well I and many other poor souls do not. How do you think someone in Chicago or Washington D.C. feels hearing you whine about unacceptable compromise when they can't even own a handgun legally at all right now, let alone carry one for self-defense.

    Their State's problems are THEIR problem. Its THEIR elected representatives, not ours, making the rules for them...well, except DC. They are just a mess all around. If they want change, elect those who will make change. I haven't ever been to Chicago, but I have been to Browns, and to Timber, and to the State forests, and the people who shoot in those places wouldn't be happy about that compromise.

    Don't you see my proposal is even in your own self-interest?

    Having the Federal government know that I have firearms is a good thing?

    Again, we are back to 1st amendment again. Shall I register the copy of the Koran I own? How about the copy of The Anarchist Cookbook? Whenever someone wants me to register what I own, I am always a bit suspicious. Just why is it important that my ownership of something be on the records someplace? I think we can both figure that one out and come to the same conclusion.

    You would be able to travel to any place in America and still be able to defend yourself with a handgun.

    I would be able to travel by car to anyplace in America. In case you haven't looked recently, firearms aren't permitted on the Bus, the Train, Airplanes, Reservations (without the consent of a Tribal judge or Elder), federal property, and several municipalities.

    Nice and safe in your bunker? That may be fine for you but what about the rest of us.

    Actually, I was out at Oregon Flock and Fiber today. It was a beautiful day. My wife came in second in the wool-spinning Spin-off. I don't own a bunker. I live in SE Portland in a rambling 125 year old farmhouse within sight of downtown. I do have a disaster kit tho ;-)

    You obviously also don't appreciate how my proposal checkmates the anti-gun crusaders. A refusal to accept my compromise would expose their true final agenda which is total firearms confiscation.

    To what end? We give them exactly what they want? A national registry of firearms owners? mmmm...Once you bargain away a right, you won't ever get it back...especially if you ever need that right.

    But since your clever advice is 'shut up', I suppose I am wasting my time reasoning with you.

    That wasn't my clever advice...that was my horrible analogy. Please don't shut up. I want to hear your voice, but don't be upset if your ideas get shot down. I know I don't.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    IIRC, In this state, if you do not have a CCW permit, you are required to wait before you pick up a handgun after purchase (it's been a while since I bought a handgun so things may have changed). Personally, I'm right happy with that sort of thing and don't see the need for anything more than that.

    There is no mandatory waiting period in Oregon involving a CCW in any form. This type of waiver for the waiting period does exist in other states, but in Oregon, provided you pass the NICS (Brady) check, you walk away with your firearm. NICS usually takes about 15 mins, but once it took me about 5.

    In the event of a NICS failure (or a "hold" for incomplete records, or mismatched info in the NICS database), they can hold your firearm for up to three business days while you sort things our (or they do is the more typical scenario.) After that three days, if they fail to find cause to deny sale, the sale goes through. Possession of a CCW does nothing to effect this NICS check/timeframe whatsoever nationwide, and our state is not different.

    For the relevant laws look at packing.org, and do a search for NICS in any search engine.

    Sorry. Just passing along info.

    Now, my opinion of NICS: its fine for what it does, but it doesn't stop criminals from getting guns. They just go to the safeway at Ainsworth and MLK and buy them from the caddy with the trunk open. 30 seconds. No NICS.

  • jrw (unverified)
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    JJ Ark--what you cite is familiar to me for purchasing long guns.

    Are you saying that it's changed again for handguns (there used to be two separate rules for long guns vs handguns)?

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    The rules are the same for both.

    Fill out the form, give them your thumbprint, they call NICS and if you have no felony conviction, and no restraining orders, you pay your money and walk out the door.

    Now, I only started shooting a few years ago, so I can't speak to before then, but with all my firearms, that has been the case.

  • Orygunner (unverified)
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    Truly amazing. I expressed support for the gun owners caucus in my first post here, but I am now 100% convinced that Dems will never get their heads out when it comes to the gun issue. It will be nothing but platitudes about how they support the Second Amendment while they do everything they can to undermine it. I just heard Blue Oregon's Kari Chisholm on Air America talking about the gun owners caucus. His honesty was refreshing. He basically admitted straight out that the gun owners caucus was little more than a way for Dems to spin the gun issue, to try to dupe gun owners into believing that Dems supported the 2A. He said the Dems'strategy was to focus on hunters' gun rights but to still try to ban ban ban those evil ugly guns, er, "assault weapons," and "cop killer" bullets (i.e., any bullets any gun grabber wants to ban). Straight from the Brady Ban-Them-All playbook. Very nice. Y'all almost tricked me. Thanks to his refreshing honesty, I will continue to see the Democratic Party as the anti-Second Amendment party. And I don't vote for people who try to undermine my civil liberties.

    Thanks Kari for clearing that up for me.

  • Zak J. (unverified)
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    Hi Orygunner, As a founder of the GOC, I've greatly appreciated the use of this forum for getting our message out. I've just listened to those comments, which you can find on KPOJ's podcast for 9/26/06. Please understand that Kari is speaking as an individual. He is not a member of the GOC and the views which he expressed on Air America, while they may be echoed by some Democrats, are not the views of the GOC members.

    Kari was correct in saying that gun education is important, but I feel he only expressed half of the equation. Gun education is important for the GOC to provide to liberal Democrats, especially those who find themselves talking about banning this or that arbitrary weapon type and criminalizing law-abiding gun owners just because of some perceived combination of characteristics that makes a weapon look scary, e.g. assault weapons. Fact is, when it comes to assault weapons, despite the media claims, criminals rarely use them.

    For anyone who would like to develop good public policies for gun ownership based on facts, I suggest they start with reading liberal academic and ACLU member Gary Kleck's book Point Blank which remains a classic in its field. Kleck's findings that firearms are used in this country approximately 1,000,000 times each year for self-defense seems like a good place start the public policy discussions to me.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    Perhaps we should organize a shoot for folks who want to experience first-hand the what and how of guns, target shooting and camraderie. As someone once said about shooting: Its the most fun you can have with your pants on.

    I will gladly organize just such a shoot. I will pull in some other shooters with me from the Pink Pistols. This would be in the State forest about 1 hour from SE 39th and Hawthorne in Portland.

    IF there is any interest in such an outing, please get in touch with me at demshooting (remove this part here) at (remove this part as well) scooternut dot com.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    If the Dems are serious, there is one show of good faith:

    Find a spot to open PUBLIC shooting ranges within 15 mins of the major cities in Oregon.

    If we put ranges inside or very close to Pdx, Eug, Salem, Corvallis, Bend, Medford, KFalls, Coos Bay, and so on, we would be golden.

    Thats called putting our money where our mouth is.

    Yeah, right...not gonna happen, but it is a way to quickly prove the Dems' committment to the 2nd.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Okay a late entry, days after most of this is done.

    One interesting thing I didn't see out of 80+ entries -

    Nobody pointed out how the Republicans have been a party that is anti-gun. If you are going to select a few votes here or there by Democratic Party members and then hang the Party with the label, "anti-gun", well, what's good for the goose ...

    Let me mention Mr. Brady. He was Reagan's press secretary that took a bullet in the head, then became an anti hand gun advocate. A lot of the Federal anti-guy legislation that has passed since that incident in 1981 passed with Republican's in support because of Mr. Brady.

    A quarter century of anti-gun votes by Republicans. Hmmm. Odd how that gets left out of these debates.

    The distinction between "The Party" and members of the Party seems lost.

    The Democratic Party of Oregon passed a resolution of unconditional support of the Second Amendment in July of 2005, and passed the Gun Owners Caucus into existance in September of 2006. That's "The Party". Whatever else anyone in the Party does or says isn't "The Party", it is rather freedom of speech in a big tent Party. To say it is not credible that the Democratic Party support the Second Amendment and gun ownership only shows a complete ignorance of the basic facts of what is "The Party". The Party consists of Delegates. Those Delegates are elected from each County at their Central Committee meetings. The County Central Committees are made of elected precinct committee men/women. There is no other institution known as the Democratic Party, it is only these delegates elected County by County around the State. Neel Pender is not "The Party", he is staff. So, it is entirely "credible" that the Democratic Party of Oregon has taken the positions that it has - it is very simple - it is reality. To say otherwise is to deny reality.

    And of course, when you can't win a fight with the truth, you try to win it with untruths. This seems to be the Republican strategy for this century.

  • Orygunner (unverified)
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    Steve, I don't disagree that there have been some anti-gun Republicans. Hell, Reagan signed one of the most egregious violations of the Second Amendment in American history, the so-called Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986. I'm certainly no fan of the Republican Party. But let's be honest--of the two major parties, which has come out most forcefully against gun rights in recent years? Which major party lends the most support to the policies advocated by Brady's organization and other radical anti-gun groups? In Oregon, which party has the most outspoken anti-gun legislators (cough...Ginny Burdick...cough)? To quote George Tenet, it's a "slam dunk." The Dems are by far the most anti-gun party in the United States, with the possible exception of the Greens. Not all Dems, but a significant number.

    I just looked at the proposed renewal of the "assault weapons" ban. The House version is H. R. 1312 (do a search in Thomas to find the text). There were 94 cosponsors of this anti-freedom bill, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM DEMOCRATS! Every single one of them, including my esteemed Democratic rep in Congress, Blumenauer. That's nearly half the Dems in the House jumping on board to support not only the renewal of this absurd, ineffective, fear-mongering, anti-constitutional piece of legislation, but also to expand it to include far more firearms than even the original. It would have classified Mini-14s, M1 Carbines, and Kel-Tecs as "assault weapons"--it would have banned the importation of standard capacity magazines--it would have banned private sales of "assault weapons." This was not in the distant past. This was last year. The Dems can spout off about how they "support the Second Amendment" all they want, but actions speak far louder than words.

    Crap like this is why I do not and will not vote for Democrats. I've never voted for a Republican in my life and probably never will. I have voted for plenty of Dems in the past, but no longer. I absolutely will not vote for people who are falling all over themselves to take away Americans' civil liberties.

    I appreciate the efforts of the Gun Owners Caucus to change Democratic views on guns, but they are fighting an uphill battle, not made any easier by the denial so many Dems seem to be in over their party's anti-gun propensities.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Orygunner --

    Looks like just you and me left on this thread.

    Look at what you wrote, "That's nearly half the Dems in the House jumping on board to support not only the renewal of this absurd, ineffective, fear-mongering, anti-constitutional piece of legislation...".

    Hmm. "nearly half" is less than half. The Republicans move in lock step anymore, doing everything in the 90 to 100% range together. I think my point is made that the "Party" and the elected folks are different. My point has not been eroded that the "Party" at least in Oregon has taken a position for the Second Amendment, no matter what less than half of the Democrats in Congress did or did not do.

    In July of 2005, the margin in favor of the Second Amendment resolution was roughly 80% in favor to 20% opposed. The Gun Owners Caucus vote was 100% in support.

    There will always be Democrats out of step with the "Party". Unlike the Republicans, we encourage diversity of opinion.

    In any case, if everything you suggest and infer were true, and you wanted to make a change in this Country regarding the gun laws, you'd have to become a Democrat, as you indicate that this is where the change needs to happen! If what you infer is correct, 100% of the Republicans are already 100% in support of your position on guns, so the only work left to be done is with those rebel Democrats.

    But of course, you are wrong. How in the world have the Democrats by themselves managed to pass anything with the Republicans in the majority in the House since 1994? I was born in 1952, the last year that Harry Truman was President. Since then we have had 34 years of Republican Presidents, and only 20 years of Democratic Presidents (37% Democrat, 63% Republican). If the laws on guns are so bad now, how did the Democrats manage it all?

    If you are upset with the status quo, you really can't blame the Democrats. The Republicans now control the Presidency, the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court.

    Take your fight to the people with the power, or give the power to someone else.

  • Orygunner (unverified)
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    Yes, "nearly half" is less than half (46.8% to be exact). But this is nearly half of the Dems in the House that COSPONSORED this anti-freedom bill. How many more would have gladly voted for it? Do you really think Wu wouldn't have voted for it? Hooley? Puuuleeez. It would have been a majority, almost certainly an overwhelming majority. Defazio would probably have been the lone Oregon Democrat to not vote for it. He's one of the only Oregon Dems I have any respect for.

    And nowhere did I say that Republicans are 100% pro-gun. Nowhere. Matter of fact, I pointed out that Reagan, the Republicans' God, signed what I consider to be the most egregious violation of the Second Amendment in American history. I loath the Republican Party, but not for their stance on guns, which I consider vastly superior to that of the Democrats.

    Yes, I am upset with the status quo. Not just re. guns, but since this thread is about guns, what have the Dems done to advance gun rights? What have they done to try to undo the violations of gun rights they have perpetrated at both the national and state level? Nothing? Yes, nothing. Absolutely nada. The Republicans haven't done much better, but they allowed the AWB to sunset and they did pass a bill protecting the gun industry from anti-gun fanatics and a bill protecting citizens from the gun grab that the (Democratic) authorities in NOLA perpetrated after Katrina. I don't think gun laws are all that bad in the US, though they could be better. But I am absolutely convinced that if the Dems were in power as the Republicans are now, they would do everything they could to erode gun rights. If you doubt me, check out which states have the most oppressive gun laws. They aren't exactly Republican strongholds.

    As I noted in my first comment, the Dems can give lip service to how they "support the Second Amendment" but no one has bothered to respond the specific policies I mentioned. I'll reiterate: --"Assault weapon" bans? --"Saturday night special" bans? --The "gun show loophole"? --Restrictions on concealed carry? --Mandatory child locks and "child access prevention" laws? --Ballistic fingerprinting? --Handgun licensing? --State preemption? --.50-cal bans? These are all policies advanced by Democrats. Not all Democrats, but Democrats nonetheless. And they are far from an insignificant minority.

    I'll end by asking this: The members of which party pushed anti-gun legislation in the last legislative session here in Oregon? I'll give you hint, it wasn't the Republican Party.

  • Zak J. (unverified)
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    Hi JJ Ark, Your email or website entries as posted here don't seem to be working. Please contact me about follow-up to your ideas via the Gun Owners Caucus blog: Blue Steel Democrats, which contains contact information for some of those involved in the caucus.

    Thanks.

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