It's a new horse race, and we in the gun culture are now in it up to our necks.
Two things happened last week to recast the Presidential election in a new, and for all of us clearer, light. The first is obviously John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his VP choice. Not to pat myself on the back, but I have said publicly for months that Palin would be a superb choice not just for her conservative/libertarian credentials, but because McCain needed desperately to shore up the gun vote. Put simply, no modern Republican has ever been elected to the Presidency without our vote...think George H.W. Bush. We stayed home and we got Bill Clinton. What that proves to me is that, yes, as a culture we will occasionally cut off our nose to spite our face. But more importantly, the gun culture vote is not a gimme for Republicans...a fact that Republicans spend four years trying hard to blot out of their minds.
We go into this election with a sitting Republican President who, when it came to — as my friend Jerry Miculek is fond of saying — nut-cuttin' time on D.C. v. Heller, sold us out without even flinching. The fact that the Supreme Court chose to ignore the Bush Solicitor General's disingenious argument against extending Constitutional rights to D.C. residents doesn't mitigate Bush's actions, which highlighted the Republican Party's utter contempt for the gun culture...stay in the closet and sit quietly until we need you to fill our your ballot.
John McCain stepped into this already poisonous atmosphere with a "C" rating from the NRA and an obstinate support for closing the non-existent gun show loophole. McCain did an excellent job with his NRA Annual Meeting speech (not the least of which was his insistance than counter to Secret Service dogma, he did not feel uncomfortable in a room full of armed NRA members).
Still, there is a difference between grudging support and a willingness to get out and beat the bushes for votes. On this blog and the DRTV Forums, it was clear that a large majority of the gun vote remained in the "grudging" cagtegory.
The choice of Sarah Palin certainly shocked and electrifed me and seems to have had the same effect on the whole of the gun vote. In one swipe McCain has gone from grudging to ga-ga; the troops are rallying and we will march toward November.
The second point that has been somewhat overshadowed by the Palin frenzy is Barack Obama specifically bringing up "assault weapons" in his coronation speech in Denver Thursday evening:
"The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals."With that simple statement Obama blew up two years of Democratic Party glad-handing on gun issues, their insistance throughout the primary campaign that either guns were not on the table or that Dems had "seen the light" and, following Heller, we could all Rodney King it and learn to live together.
Coupled with the choice of Joe Biden, another "F" NRA rating and one of the architects of the 1994 Clinton Gun Ban, Obama's acceptance statement, made to the cheering, now-in-total control Far Left wing of the Democratic Party, tells us exactly what's on the Democratic agenda for January 2009 – a new Assault Weapons Ban with teeth.
This time, no sunset clause, no loopholes, no lookalike guns allowed...don't believe me? Go read the text of H.R. 6257, "Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2008," introduced last June:
"It shall be unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess [emphasis mine] a semiautomatic assault weapon."Yeah, there's a grandfather clause, but don't expect that to survive an Obama tsunami. The left wing of the Democratic Party has dreamed of door-to-door confiscations of guns since Nelson T. "Pete" Shields outlned the gun control agenda in 1976 in the New Yorker Magazine:
"Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. My estimate is from seven to ten years. The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal."We are one vote away from Pete Shields' nightmarish dream becoming a reality. The first blows will fall on so-called "assault weapons" and exotics like the .50 BMG "sniper rifles," but you can be sure that handguns are next on the list — unless we move to preempt those blows. It is not 1993; the AR-15 is the best-selling rifle in the world and quite literally millions of them have changed hands since the Clinton Ban expired. Hunters, target shooters, plinkers, collectors and tinkerers are all on-board with the AR-15; the NRA and other gun groups are heavily funded and totally on board in this fight.
But we have the opportunity, the one chance, to derail the gun-grabbers' agenda, to end the fight before it begins, on Tuesday, November 4. Once again, it's time for us to stand.
Sportsmen for McCain