Monday, September 24, 2007

A Firearms Litmus Test for Politicians

Continuing from the last post, if I had the access to the current crop of politicians, what would I ask them?

I've actually bee thinking about this over the weekend, and I realized that we need a "litmus test" for politicians looking for our vote. Politicians hate litmus tests, because they strip away the wiggle room...a good litmus test requires either a "yes" or "no" answer. Pundits hate litmus tests because they refuse to believe that the complex process of selecting a candidate can be boiled down to "yes" or "no" answers. I say, why not? In the field of armed self-defense, we routinely look at making life-or-death decisions in seconds or even fractions of a second. Malcom Gladwell's great little book Blink outlines just how fast we can make decisions.

So, what are our questions for the litmus test? First, let me tell you what our questions aren't. For instance, "do you believe in the individual interpretation of the Second Amendment?" is far too broad a question with 'way too much wiggle room for a politico. They can say, for example, that they unequivocally believe in the individual interpretation, which of course does allow for "reasonable regulation" of firearms. One person's "reasonable" is another person's "totalitarian state."

Litmus tests need to be specific to smoke out the politican's real beliefs, insofar as a politician has any real beliefs. Ideally, the litmus test should also commit the politician to a specific course of action, esentially provide a way for we lowly citizens to keep score.

So, here's three simple yes/no questions for "our" politicians striving for the Presidency...

The Firearms Litmus Test
All questions are to be answered "yes" or "no."

1) If you are elected President, do you agree to unconditionally oppose up to and including a Presidential veto any and all legislation promulgating lawsuits aimed at bankrupting or placing unwarranted restrictions on the firearms industry?

2) If you are elected President. do you agree to unconditionally oppose up to and including a Presidential veto any legislation aimed at banning or limiting citizens' access to specific weapons, including so-called "assault" weapons?

3) If you are elected President, do you agree to unconditionally support, including signing into law if it is passed by Congress, legislation providing that every person in America who is not prohibited from owning a firearm has a right to carry a firearm regardless of state or local prohibitions?
There! That wasn't so hard, was it? Remember, "let me explain" is not an acceptable answer; "let me explain" is poltician-speak for "no."



Anonymous said...

"Let me explain" is politician-speak for "I'm going to do what I do best; talk until you have no belief except the belief that I am uniquely gifted to decide things for you."

I hate yes or no in court, but I love it in politics.

Anonymous said...


OJ, guilty or innocent?

Ratcatcher 55

RVN11B said...

Now I wish I went ahead and got that new printer last week.

Id love to hand those three questions to the very next politician I run in to and see their reaction.

Good job there B.

Michael Bane said...

I won a $100-plus meal from my Sweetie the attorney at the oh-so-ritzy Flagstaff House Restaurant (yes, I had to wear a tie) by betting OJ would walk...of course he's guilty!


Anonymous said...


You answered the question without evasion. All the A list candidates would have given policy statements derived from focus groups and PR consultants.

I doubt you'll ever get an one word answer to something as simple as: What color is the sky?

Too bad you won't get the chance to ask the questions! A video of the proceedings would be a useful training tool for S2 officers and homicide detectives.

Ratcatcher 55

Sasquatch said...

Oh Michael. Are you really that naive? A good politician will answer each and every one of those questions with whatever word will make you smile. Then when elected will do whatever the hell they want. I would have expected something with some more bite from you oh master of the word!!

Let me think back to good old Mario Puzo ...How about this as a way of testing a candidate?

We have him hold out his cupped hands. We put a Saint card in them. The candidate speaks,"As burns this Saint, so will burn my soul. I swear to enter alive into this organization. And get out dead."
We would then draw some blood from his trigger finger.

I think that would be an oath any politician would take seriously.

Anonymous said...

W would have failed that litmus test. Good ole W said he would sign the AWB if it was renewed. It wasn't renewed because R's in congress made sure it wasn't renewed.

From visiting various gun sites the past months I am afraid a large number of gun owners are going to sit out the '08 election if Guiliani or Romney or McCain get the nomionation. Or throw their vote away and vote libertarian or something.

If Hillary does get elected it may well be by a hefty margin. If D's gain seats in the senate and house will expect a new AWB to be passed within hours of the new congress.

'08 is shaping up to be a bloodbath for R's. If gunowners/conservatives sit out because they don't like the nominee then many "safe" R congressman will loose their seats as well as all the Hillary supports pull the straight D lever.

Anonymous said...

You left too much wiggle room on the one question when you said, "unwarranted restrictions". Please consider removing the "unwarranted" even if it is replaced with something like "additional".

It's probably not appropriate for your litmus test but I like my Just One Question for use when debating the merits of gun control.

Thanks for putting together the test.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,
a fellow writer named L. Neil Smith beat you to this one; see "why did it have to be guns?". Take a look.
"If a politician isn't perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash—for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything—without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn't your friend no matter what he tells you. "
Frank Sauer

Anonymous said...

I would be very careful in selecting the wording that you did for the first question.
Every trial lawyer will tell you that the reason that they are representing those who bring forth the suit " to make them whole". "They don't want to break the industry, they only want to right the wrongs".
Similarly, the wording in the next two questions also leave much wiggle-room. That's room that slippery politicians use to tell us what we want to hear, but also deceive us.
A rule to remember: Simple answers come from simple and straight-forward questions and not questions that try to embrace everything about the subject at hand.
Life Member

Jim Manley said...

I agree with some of the others that the first question allows for an evasive "yes." The real issue is the notion of guilt by association, i.e., manufacturers of products being held accountable for criminal acts done with the products by other people.

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