Quote of the Day: Bob Barr on the Gibson raid

“In 2000, Charlton Heston, then serving as president of the National Rifle Association, and fighting gun control proposals, held a flintlock rifle over his head and declared famously, ‘from my cold dead hands.’ Gibson’s CEO needs to rally freedom-loving Americans similarly; raising a Les Paul Gibson guitar over his head. All Americans who believe in freedom and limited government should come to Gibson’s defense; not just those who are guitar players.” - Bob Barr

Should libertarians join the NRA? (Part 2)

In response to an e-mail from a reader, Tom laid out the case against the National Rifle Association (NRA) from a libertarian perspective. There isn’t much he missed as far as it goes; for example, he noted th NRA’s position on Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment to the PATROT Act that would have secured the privacy of gun owners. However, I wanted to make a couple of other points.

During the most recent Supreme Court case dealing with the Second Amendment, the NRA wasn’t helpful to Otis McDonald’s legal team; which was led by Alan Gura, who successfully argued Heller (a case that the NRA almost killed) before the court in 2008. The NRA wasn’t comfortable with the strategy that Gura was using, which was to argue for incorporation of the Second Amendment to the states through the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment instead of Due Process Clause, the process for incorportion the court has used over the last century. The NRA eventually broke away and sought to argue the case separately.

While I understand that the NRA is a gun rights group, the principled and correct route would have been to argue from principle, not convienence and stick with Gura and his arguments.

Gun owners need to step up

I’m a firm supporter of the Second Amendment.  I don’t think anyone who has read my work previously has a lot of doubt about that.  I’m not one of those luke warm supporters either, but a died in the the wool 2A kind of guy.  You won’t hear me touting “sporting purposes” as a reason to keep some guns legal, but instead hear me say “the Second Amendment doesn’t care what kind of gun it is”.  However, we gun rights supporters have an image problem that we need to work harder to fix.

With some folks, we will never change the perception of gun rights advocates as a bunch of hicks.  Some gun control advocates are so biased that they refuse to see any possible scenario where a gun rights person can actually be intelligent.  However, those die hard folks are fairly few and far between.

There is a segment of the population, a fairly sizable one at that, that believes gun rights advocates support people who are irresponsible about storing their firearms.  They cite discussions that invariably spring up after an incident where a child gets his or her hands on a gun and someone gets hurt.  Because gun rights advocates step up and support the right to bear arms, it gets interpreted as support for idiots leaving guns laying around for kids to play with.

This has come to the forefront down in Florida where they are considering a law that will prevent doctors from asking about firearms in the home.  Frankly, if my doctor asks if we have guns in the home, my response is that it’s none of his damn business.  I don’t support such a law because in infringes on the doctor’s right to ask questions.  I also don’t believe it’s a doctor’s place to know anything about what I own or don’t own.

However, at ThinkProgress, a progressive blog, I read this comment:

Obama clueless on how gun sales really work

Over the weekend, President Obama ran an op-ed about strengthening background checks, especially after the shooting in Tuscon.  I understand the sentiment, but it’s also clear that President Obama is clueless as to how gun sales really work in this nation.  It’s also obvious that he’s still in unicorn land when it comes to the reality of guns.

For example, he says:

I’m willing to bet that responsible, law-abiding gun owners agree that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few – dangerous criminals and fugitives, for example – from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.

If President Obama meant to say that dangerous people shouldn’t be able to get their hands on guns, then most would agree.  However, most would also tell the President that it is impossible to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  They will get their guns one way or another.  You can not keep a dangerous person from getting their hands on a dangerous instrument.

However, he offers what he thinks are common-sense proposals.  Not all of them are bad either.

First, we should begin by enforcing laws that are already on the books. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is the filter that’s supposed to stop the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. Bipartisan legislation four years ago was supposed to strengthen this system, but it hasn’t been properly implemented. It relies on data supplied by states – but that data is often incomplete and inadequate. We must do better.

Tough Like Chuck

See Video

As a Texan, it’s hard to not like “Walker, Texas Ranger” at least a little bit, but Chuck Norris lost a lot of my respect when he endorsed Tax-Hike Mike in 2007.  However, he’s redeemed himself to the liberty movement recently as he has started to talk about Ron Paul and some of the more pressing issues of the day. He’s always been an advocate of the 2nd Amendment, so he’s a logical choice to lead the GOTV efforts for the NRA.  This first video should be a big hit.

Senate to vote on DISCLOSE Act on Tuesday

The National Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will bring the anti-free speech DISCLOSE Act to the floor tomorrow for a cloture vote, which means 60 votes are require to move it forward:

In an unexpected step, Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid filed cloture late Thursday night on a motion to proceed to a closely watched campaign finance bill.

Reid’s move forces a 2:45pm Tuesday vote on whether to move to the DISCLOSE Act, a bill imposing new campaign finance regulations in response to the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. FEC ruling, which threw out limits on spending by corporations and unions to influence elections.

The bill, a version of which has passed the House after Dems excluded the powerful National Rifle Association from new regulations, is a priority for Dems in both chambers. The bill, however, appears to face unified opposition from GOPers in the Senate and potential opposition from a few Dems — largely thanks to the NRA carve-out.

As noted, the NRA is not lobbying against, nor scoring this vote, which effectively means they are sitting on the sidelines since they are taken care of. Not a very principled stand.

The DISCLOSE Act passed the House last month by a vote of 219 to 206.

Barr weighs in on McDonald v. Chicago decision

Bob Barr, a former Congressman and NRA Board Member, weighed in yesterday on the McDonald v. Chicago decision, which was handed down from the Supreme Court last week:

By a five to four majority last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that neither a state nor a city acting under a grant of authority from the state, can deny a person the right to possess a firearm as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  Interestingly, of that slim, five-member majority, only one justice had the constitutional backbone to rule the right way for the right reason.  It was not Chief Justice Roberts, and it was not Antonin Scalia, considered by many as the most conservative of the tribunal’s nine members.

NRA to endorse Harry Reid?

So, the National Rifle Association betrayed the First Amendment, then they decided to sit out Elena Kagan’s confirmantion to the Supreme Court (they retracted that yesterday) and now it looks like they may endorse Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in his bid for re-election, according to Erick Erickson at RedState:

I’m getting credible reports that the NRA is leaning toward endorsing Harry Reid, even though the NRA is finally saying it will score a vote on Kagan — something that was not a sure thing.

Why would they do this? Why would they go out of their way to protect a Senator who has demonstrated a repeated hostility to the Second Amendment in his votes and his leadership?

Well, I thought perhaps the NRA carveout in the DISCLOSE Act might be the answer. But, there is more. It turns out, Reid secured a $61 million earmark for a gun range in Clark County, Nevada.

NRA members were recently treated to a three-page spread in the American Rifleman about a visit to Nevada by Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox to “thank” Reid for the earmark. The article even includes a cliché picture of Reid cutting a ribbon with a gigantic pair of scissors. (Every good porker has his own giant pair of gold earmark scissors.) More here.

Here is a video of the event from Reid’s youtube site.

Another NRA sellout?

Over at RedState, Erick Erickson writes that the National Rifle Association may be sitting on the sidelines during the confirmation of Elena Kagan:

[T]he foremost gun rights lobby in the nation is prohibiting its board from testifying in the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings about the second amendment.

The NRA did issue a statement on Friday after the internal Senate email began leaking out informing people of the gag order. The statement noted Kagan’s problematic record on guns, but that’s just smoke and mirrors. Don’t believe them when they say they are working with Senators to investigate her record. If they were really working with Senators, they would have accepted an invitation to testify on the Kagan nomination when they were invited. The gag order on board members is not limited to providing testimony, but it prohibits board members from coming out against Kagan in their individual capacity.

If the NRA is really working with pro-guns Senators and Kagan is really hostile to Second Amendment rights, which she is, they will score her confirmation vote and actually make the score count this time, unlike they did on the confirmation of Sonya Sotomayor. With Sotomayor, they waited until several days after RedState began demanding a score and then, in effect, announced they’d score it and ignore it.

First they collaborated with the left to get the DISCLOSE Act through the House, now they are blocking their own from speaking out against Elena Kagan. Is this the deal the NRA cut with the left? They get a carveout and shut up their board?

DISCLOSE Act passes House

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” - First Amendment, Bill of Rights

The National Rifle Association’s betrayal is one step closer to becoming law as the DISCLOSE Act, which is aimed at curbing the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, passed the House yesterday by a vote of 219 to 206:

Democrats, hoping to rein in special-interest spending before November’s midterm elections, pushed the measure, which would impose broad new disclosure rules on political spending.

The bill, approved by a 219-206 vote, was opposed by Republicans who cast it as violating free-speech protections and filled with exemptions for powerful groups, such as the National Rifle Association and labor unions. The measure was crafted by Democrats “to help their friends, while silencing their political opponents,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said during floor debate today.

But the bill’s chief architect, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.,said the legislation would ensure “the voice of citizens is not drowned out by secret spending.”

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