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Gun Control: A Losing Issue

The Democrats are starting to understand that gun control is a losing issue in every constituency but those comprised of elite, white liberals.

Democratic presidential candidates are distancing themselves from tough gun control, reversing a decade of rhetoric and advocacy by the Democratic Party in favor of federal regulation of firearms.

Most Democratic White House hopefuls rarely highlight gun control in their campaigns, and none of the candidates who routinely poll near the top is calling for the licensing of new handgun owners, a central theme of then-Vice President Al Gore’s winning primary campaign in 2000.

Howard Dean, the early front-runner this year, proudly tells audiences that the National Rifle Association endorsed him as governor of Vermont. As president, Dean said he would leave most gun laws to the states. The federal government, Dean said in an interview here, should not “inflict regulations” on states such as Montana and Vermont, where gun crime is not a big problem. New York and California “can have as much gun control as they want,” but those states—and not the federal government—should make that determination, he said.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, a longtime gun control advocate, is careful to highlight his support for law-abiding gun owners. The Missouri Democrat said he is not interested in giving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives more authority to investigate gun crimes, a top priority for the gun control activist. “They have enough,” he said in an interview.

“It’s very important for us as Democrats to understand that where I come from guns are about a lot more than guns themselves,” said Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), one of nine Democrats seeking the presidency. “They are about independence. For a lot of people who work hard for a living, one of the few things they feel they have any control over is whether they can buy a gun and hunt. They don’t want people messing with that, which I understand.”

The change holds true in Congress, too. Many Democrats are playing down gun issues there, and several, including Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.), are co-sponsoring a bill to shield gun manufacturers from lawsuits, a top NRA priority for the 108th Congress. In the 2002 congressional races, 94 percent of NRA-endorsed candidates won.

In the presidential race, several candidates said the gun issue contributed to Gore’s defeat in 2000 and could backfire on the party again next year if Democrats do not quickly lose their anti-gun image.

But don’t expect it to go away completely.  The assault weapons ban is set to end next September, and coming as it does two months before the election this is bound to become an issue late in the game.  There’s one Democrat, however, who is going to make it a huge deal, which can’t do anything but help the GOP.  Bowling for Columbine might have been a huge hit with whining, handwringing, white liberal nancyboys who wet themselves at the sight of a firearm, but for the vast majority of people in this country their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms is something taken very seriously.  Making it worse is the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that gun control laws actually accomplish anything, not to mention that crime (including gun crime) in other countries has begun spiraling out of control since they enacted their draconian gun laws. 

Sorry gun grabbers, but your issue is dead.

Posted by Lee on 10/30/03 at 01:54 PM in Election 2004 • Permalink


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