Guns

The Brady Campaign Helps the NRA

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On Monday the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence endorsed Barack Obama, which makes you wonder if Sarah Brady is secretly rooting for John McCain. The Brady Campaign, which maintains that the Second Amendment, properly understood, does not protect an individual right to arms, correctly perceives that Obama's avowed belief to the contrary won't prevent him from supporting its agenda. But it's hard to imagine how this kind of support can do Obama any good on Election Day, although he may be far enough ahead at this point that the qualms of the pro-gun voters the NRA is trying to mobilize against him won't make much difference.

While the NRA clearly prefers McCain to Obama, it has not endorsed the Republican nominee, for reasons that are clear from the Brady Campaign's press release. The group praises the Arizona senator for supporting gun control measures such as closing "the gun show loophole" (i.e., banning firearm transfers that don't involve licensed dealers), while criticizing him for more recently "pander[ing] to the gun lobby whose opinions he once disdained." Still, as the Brady Campaign notes, since 1994 McCain has consistently opposed the federal "assault weapon" ban, an arbitrary, ineffective piece of legislation that for Obama represents the epitome of "reasonable," "common-sense" gun control. 

Correction: As a few commenters point out, after initially holding back, the NRA officially endorsed McCain last week.

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  1. I would like to meet the person who, in 2008, thinks gun rights are the biggest issue we face. I would first stare at that person very hard. I would break out a camera and take pictures. Then I would pull out a notepad and ask them questions. Not just about politics. Basic questions like where they were born and how they met their wife. I would ask them questions like that to see how they answered them. Were they lying? Were they making up answers on the spot? Because I would suspect that person was a joke, a gag, a prank gone to far. Because I cannot believe that in 2008, anyone who is a real person would actually be voting on gun issues first, foremost and primarily.

    I’m Max Hats and I cannot believe this message exists.

  2. You are probably literally correct, Max Hats. The problem is that there are N important issues and two major candidates. Assuming only two possible positions on those N issues, there are 2^N possible configurations of all positions… and still only two candidates.

    The preservation of individual human & civil rights is the issue on which I vote. The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of liberty (informally and misleadingly called “gun rights”) is a good proxy for this, because no one who claims to support individual rights can oppose the RKBA.

    As a result, it is evident that neither major party candidate is willing to support individual human & civil rights; therefore, I am voting for neither of them.

    Whichever one gets elected will be the head of a government I consider illegitimate and will peacefully but fervently oppose. It matters not who heads the criminal gang; it matters only that people start recognizing that the federal government is a criminal gang, and start treating it accordingly by subjecting it to natural law. As time goes on, and the government’s actions become more extreme (e.g., the banker bailout), the number of people who recognize this truth grows exponentially.

  3. I would like to meet the person who, in 2008, thinks gun rights are the biggest issue we face.

    After we take your guns, your other rights will be much easier to take.

    Post-Heller, I think it’s not that big of an issue because people feel gun rights are fairly safe. If an Obama SCOTUS overturns Heller, you there will be hell to pay.

  4. you can bet there will be hell to pay*

  5. Actually, the NRA did endorse McCain…

    http://www.nrapvf.org/news/Read.aspx?ID=11654&T=1

    I was going mention that as well. As a reluctant member of that organization, I got that email last week. (I’m also a reluctant member of the ACLU to balance it out).

  6. Post-Heller, I think it’s not that big of an issue because people feel gun rights are fairly safe.

    Correct sir. Which is why I, like MAX HATS, wonder why anyone has this as their top issue this year. That battle, thankfully, is won (for now).

  7. After we take your guns, your other rights will be much easier to take.

    Like what? The right to counsel? The right to challenge evidence against me? The right to get a trial if imprisoned by the government? The right to not have my phone calls listened to without a warrant?

    Because some of rights already went away for a while. The rest are still gone. The NRA sure doesn’t care. And at no point in the last 8 years have I been unable to buy an AR-15.

  8. As a reluctant member of that organization

    I agree. The Gun Owners of America is much more in line with my viewpoint. 😉 Unfortunately, no one gives a crap what they have to say, so it’s not clear how effective membership in that organization is.

  9. If that Brady fellow had half a brain . . .

  10. Because some of rights already went away for a while. The rest are still gone. The NRA sure doesn’t care. And at no point in the last 8 years have I been unable to buy an AR-15.

    Is it not possible that the actions of RKBA supporters have kept the government from violating our rights in even more egregious ways? It’s hard to prove a negative, so I’m not really waiting for an answer: it’s just some food for thought.

  11. If that Brady fellow had half a brain . . .

    ZING!

  12. Glad to see some fellow members of both the NRA and ACLU.

    As for Max Hats: Your snide ignorance and dismissiveness does not help your cause at all.

  13. Obama doesn’t want you to own and use guns AND he wants to listen in on your private phone calls.

  14. Is it not possible that the actions of RKBA supporters have kept the government from violating our rights in even more egregious ways?

    Indeed, I think we all remember the outrage on the right when it was revealed that the telecoms were allowing the government to spy on us. I got an NRA flier on just that issue!

    That totally happened. Right?

  15. Is it not possible that the actions of RKBA supporters have kept the government from violating our rights in even more egregious ways?

    It’s possible. But it isn’t likely. Considering the vast proliferation of guns in America (which, trust me, I think is a very good thing), it is not unreasonable to postulate that since most Americans are not civil libertarians, most Americans *who own guns* are not civil libertarians.

    And so as a practical matter, no, it is not plausible to conclude that the RKBA has had a significant impact on the government’s penchant to abridging rights.

    Unless there’s been a rash of otherwise law-abiding citizens taking potshots at cops for oppressing them that I am not aware of. In which case I will stand humbly corrected.

  16. I don’t think it’s that ridiculous for someone to vote based on the gun issue, especially if they’re voting the old “lesser of two evils.”

    It’s one of the few things the candidates have clearly-defined differences on.

  17. “Because some of rights already went away for a while. The rest are still gone. The NRA sure doesn’t care. And at no point in the last 8 years have I been unable to buy an AR-15.”

    And while its doubtful you’ll get any of those lost rights back under obama (note how he caved on the FISA bill), you’ll probably also lose the ability to legally buy that AR15 in the next four years.

    You are correct in that gun rights aren’t the only issue, but neither candidate has a clue how to effectively deal with the economy, and for all the bluster I don’t see the Supreme Court revisiting the abortion issue anytime soon. Heller, OTOH, leaves a lot of questions unanswered as to the extent of the right protected under the constitution, and will in all liklihood be revisited in the short term.

    Moreover, the one that wants to take away your ability to own an AR15 or M16 is also the one that wants you to fork over more of your hard earmed paycheck in taxes for more government intervention in the market for health care, public education, etc.

    Not that McCain or the republicans are perfect – they’re certainly not. But I like a divided government, and in balancing all the issues, I find a moderate republican with a democrat house & senate to be a slightly less dangerous choice than a far left democrat like obama with an agreeable democrat house & senate as his willing accomplices.

    (…and another proud member of both the NRA and ACLU here also…)

  18. Remember the outrage from the ACLU after the kelo decision? How about the American Kennel Club? The bastards!

  19. I also do the NRA & ACLU daily double.

    They have been willing bedfellows on their own before–most notably in opposition to MCCAIN-Feingold.

  20. The NRA did endorse McCain (rated C- by them), much to the chagrin of NRA Board Member Bob Barr (rated A).

  21. John Hinkley, get thee to a time machine and go back to 1981; this time, aim between the eyes.

  22. I would like to meet the person who, in 2008, thinks gun rights are the biggest issue we face.

    [Raises hand] Why should I trust a politician who doesn’t trust me?

    Yes, there are other important issues. But most of the problems we face could be solved by government getting out of the way and turning the People loose to solve them. I’ve never met a person who was anti-gun, and pro individual freedom. Almost all really anti-gun folks I know, whether personally, by reading what they write, or by watching what they do, hold individuals in contempt. They are nanny-statists of the worst order.

    Nor do they respect any of the other civil rights. For example, Obama threatening TV stations that ran NRA ads.

    McCain is marginally better on gun control, and I think he’s smart enough to know better than to screw over gun owners, so that’s where my vote’s going.

    Obama? I think he’s still so immersed in Chicago-style politics he’ll go after guns regardless of the consequences.

    Correct sir. Which is why I, like MAX HATS, wonder why anyone has this as their top issue this year. That battle, thankfully, is won (for now).

    Dream on. All it will take is the replacement of the right Supreme Court Justice, or a president who will sign a UN treaty banning guns and say, “It wasn’t my fault.”

  23. As others have noted, NRA did in fact endorse Sen. McCain a week ago today – the same McCain they called “one of the premier flag carriers for the enemies of the Second Amendment” just a few years ago.

    Nobody really believes NRA’s schtick anymore.

    By the same token, I think some people need to believe our endorsement somehow hurts Obama – especially while they watch Sen. McCain’s fortunes sink like a rock – but it’s a little silly.

    Since the Heller decision sucked the poison out of the issue, the NRA’s million-dollar scare tactics have fallen flat. CQ’s PolitiFact.com called called one NRA mail piece against Obama “intentionally dishonest” and “pants on fire wrong.” But after Justice Scalia essentially ratified gun control and gun rights at the same time, flat-out lying is all NRA has left.

    Survey after survey shows Americans want the right to own a gun and they want gun control. About 90% are against a total gun ban while 80% want gun registration, according to a June CNN poll.

    Sen. Obama is right in the middle where the American people are. (For that matter, so is the Brady Campaign.) After Heller, gun control isn’t nearly the hot button it used to be. If it were, he wouldn’t be even or ahead in states where NRA went on tour announcing their endorsement – Pennsylvania, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada – or others like North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and others.

    Like most social issues, guns aren’t near the top of any survey of national priorities, especially now that the economy’s in the tank. Either way, no one can argue seriously that an endorsement by the nation’s leading gun control group is somehow going to change that to the detriment of Sen. Obama.

  24. “Correct sir. Which is why I, like MAX HATS, wonder why anyone has this as their top issue this year. That battle, thankfully, is won (for now).”

    Heller, or more aptly, the 2nd amendment issue, is far from over just because Heller was decided. Heller was only a foot in the door – it left big questions unanswered as to the extent of the right which leave huge areas open for regulation, or even outright prohibition, under the next president. No recognizable standard of review was enunciated nor was the issue of incorporation addressed. If you think Heller was the end of the issue, you are sadly mistaken.

  25. “…a president who will sign a UN treaty banning guns…”

    …is a President who deserves (and will probably receive) impeachment. Treaties are “law of the land” only to the extent that they do not violate our Constitution. The government can only agree with other governments to do what the Constitution allows it to do, and no more. Not that our leaders haven’t continually overstepped their formal limits, of course, but the law restraining them exists, if we have the wits and guts to enforce it.

  26. “UN treaty banning guns”

    Sure, that will happen. Of course.

    A democrat is about to get elected and it’s the 90’s all over again with the paranoid right. Hey guys, great to hear you care about personal liberties again!

    Seriously, a UN treaty to ban guns? Have you thought this through?

  27. Sorry Bob, but we decided to endorse a candidate who might win.

  28. Gun rights do not have to be the “biggest issue we face” or the “top issue this year” in order to be the decisive issue for a voter.

    As crazy as it seems, there are a lot of people out there who genuinely have a hard time choosing between McCain and Obama. For some of these people, gun control will be the issue that slightly tips the scale in favor of one candidate – just enough to get them to change their vote.

  29. As crazy as it seems, there are a lot of people out there who genuinely have a hard time choosing between McCain and Obama.

    Yep. It’s crazy.

    Look, you’ve got Obama, McCain, Barr, Nader, McKinney, and Baldwin to choose from. I seriously want to find an “undecided voter” from a swing state, who looks at those very disparate choices and says “I just don’t know, you know?” and punch him or her repeatedly in the ear.

    Until the screaming stops.

  30. Sure, that will happen. Of course.

    It’s actually a lot closer than you might think, though it’s not “banning” it’s just “common sense regulation” People just can’t regulate action, they have to continue and regulate potential. If nothing else, firearm regulations and a candidate’s position on them represent their view of regulating potential for action. If you have no issues with “common sense regulation”, you then would have no issues with gag orders, wiretaps, voting literacy tests, etc.

  31. NRA,

    Sorry Bob, but we decided to endorse a candidate who might win.

    Then why McCain? If you want to endorse a candidate who might win, Obama is your only choice.

  32. lmnop,

    I have a hard time deciding between McKinney or Obama for 4th on my hypothetical IRV ballot. I think the potential comedy factor swings it in McKinney’s favor.

    Oh, and due to bailout stuff, I have moved Baldwin above McCain for 2nd on the ballot. I was waffling on that before. In fact, now that I think of it, I didnt hear McKinney support the bailout so I move her to 4th.

    I guess you were right, things have cleared up, no need for indecision at this point.

  33. Like most social issues, guns aren’t near the top of any survey of national priorities,

    True. Because most of the surveys of national priorities don’t list gun rights as an option.

    Same reason gun rights didn’t come up in any of the debates, including the vice-presidential debate, even though “gun owner” is one of the most common tags the national media hang on Sarah Palin and Joe Biden is one of the most anti-gun Senators.

    The “impartial” national media doesn’t dare let the subject come up.

    Sen. Obama is right in the middle where the American people are. (For that matter, so is the Brady Campaign.)

    Right. That’s why forty state legislatures have passed shall-issue concealed carry, and why the great majority of state legislatures continue to pass castle doctrine legislation, prohibitions on confiscating firearms during disasters, and (until Congress passed national legislation) anti-frivolous lawsuit legislation.

    Sen. Obama is right in the middle of where the American people politicians of Chicago and Washington D.C. are.

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