Right to keep and bear arms transcends political parties
October 1, 2010
by Joseph P. Tartaro
In the heat of debate about the right to keep and bear arms, people often tag the anti-gunners with political labels, which really have little relevance to the public policy debate. There is a tendency to link the antis with political and philosophical labels, which really don’t mean much and certainly don’t help win friends and influence.
Some might believe that the Republican Party is pro-gun and the Democratic Party is anti-gun. The truth is that there are anti-gunners and pro-gunners in both parties, no matter how they massage their party platforms.
Registered Republicans can’t claim purity on the issue of the right to keep and bear arms with a history of anti-gun GOP politicians such as the late Nelson Rockefeller and Jacobs Javits, as well as current anti-gunners like Sen. George Voinovich and ex-Sen. Michael DeWine, both of Ohio, to name a few.
Democrats certainly have a number of leading anti-gunners in their ranks, including Sens. Charles Schumer (NY), and the California twins Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
Regardless of party affiliation, most anti-gunners are purely elitists who think they should govern the way the rest of the population lives. As an example, I offer billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose party affiliation has changed three times, from Democrat to Republican to Independent. Bloomberg has been an elitist in every one of his political incarnations.
And you can’t really accuse the anti-gunners of being socialists, because there are actually pro-gun socialists and even Marxists.
Some years ago Gun Week reprinted an early 20th century pro-gun op ed column in a New York City newspaper by the leading American Socialist Party leader in opposition to the passage of the Sullivan Act in New York State.
All of which is why I was not surprised in March 2009 when 65 Democrats in the House of Representatives sent the new Obama Attorney General Eric Holder a letter telling him to forget about his initiative to reinstate the federal “Assault Weapon” ban enacted under the last Democrat President Bill Clinton.
“Now we know there are 65 pro-gun Democrats,” said Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), who led the letter writers. “When you add up all the pro-gun Republicans and the pro-gun Democrats, that or any other anti-gun legislation is DOA.”
Well, Ross and his cohorts are not alone. There are at least nine, and probably more “liberal” or “progressive” organizations of pro-gun Democrats who are standing behind the stalwart 65 House Democrats, and this will be the first of two columns I will devote to telling about them.
They have different agendas, but they agree on safeguarding the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
These groups are, in alphabetical order: Amendment II Democrats; American Gun Culture Report;
Armed Liberals; Blue Steel Democrats (aka Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon); Democrats for Gun Ownership Political Action Committee; Gun Loving Liberals; Gun Toting Liberals; Pink Pistols; Pro Gun Progressives, and RSSKReed Shooting Sports Kolectiv, at Reed College in Oregon.
No discussion of the left-wing gun movement could be complete without mentioning a leader like Charles H. Butcher III, wrote the original gun rights resolution 2005-2008, passed by the Democratic Party of Oregon’s central committee that declares gun ownership to be an individual right.
Butcher’s resolution reads:
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of civil liberties; and
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of freedom and social justice;
NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF OREGON RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. To recognize and support the right to keep and bear arms in Article 1 Section 27 of the Oregon State Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America as an individual right not granted by the government, but rather guaranteed by the government.
Section 2. In recognition of the tremendous personal responsibility engendered by the right to keep and bear arms, the Democratic Party of Oregon further advocates severe penalties and their enforcement for criminal use or misuse of the right.
Chuck Butcher’s resolution was adopted by the Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO) on the 16th day of July, 2005. It is still in force, and as I understand, is being used by pro-gun Democrats in other states as a model they would like their state parties to adopt.
Reference to this resolution is still found on the DPO’s website, which also includes a community page for the Gun Owners Caucus (dpo.org/communities/gun-owners) which the state party set up. That link, also includes details the role of the Gun Owners Caucus as an official arm of the Democratic Party of Oregon, and predates many outreach activities, including taking anti-gun or fence-sitting Democratic candidates down to the gun range, usually with the desired outcome of getting them hooked.
The different “left-leaning” pro-gun groups have different purposes besides spreading the word about the universality of the right to keep and bear arms. Some are quite actively political while others are more educational. And at least one has a political action committee dedicated to electing pro-gun Democrats. One published a magazine. Another organizes shooting opportunities, and even held a national conference in Chicago in July 2010.
My next column will provide more information about the activities and objectives of these left-leaning pro-gun organizations. For now, remember that the right to keep and bear arms transcends political parties and political philosophies.
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