Democrats come clean: They still treat gun owners as the enemy
Democrats Come Clean:
They still treat gun owners as the enemy
By Alan Gottlieb and Dave
March 7, 2004
After two years filled with pontifications,
photo-op pheasant hunts, visits to gun ranges and shooting events, leading
Democrats who have been insisting that they support the rights of gun owners
have pretty much put an end to that lie.
During two days of debate and two hours of
voting on legislation that would have protected lawful gun makers from frivolous
lawsuits, Democrats returned to their old habit of demonizing guns and the
people who own them.
Debate over the now-defunct Protection
of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act -- a tort reform bill that may have
alarmed anti-gun rights trial lawyers hoping to cash in on nuisance municipal
lawsuits against legitimate firearms manufacturers for the misuse of their
products by criminals -- still provided Americans with something valuable in
this election year.
It highlighted the anti-gun extremism that
Democrats have been furiously trying to camouflage in their efforts to woo gun
owners. From the attempts
by California's Dianne Feinstein to extend the ban on semi-automatic firearms to
the hysterics of Edward M. Kennedy calling
for a ban on most hunting ammunition, and the egregiously misleading remarks
from Rhode Islander Jack Reed, gun owners who were glued to coverage of the
debate on CSPAN (and millions were) quickly realized that Democrats never
abandoned their anti-gun rights agenda. They just re-packaged it in rhetoric.
While a handful of Republicans supported the
amendments, the vote
counts show they were overwhelmingly pushed by Democrats who want to abolish
gun shows and demonize sport utility rifles as "assault weapons."
These same Democrats will be campaigning back home this fall, swearing they
"support the Second Amendment rights of citizens to own guns for
hunting." Such remarks demonstrate they know nothing about the Second
Amendment, and even less about the intelligence of firearms owners whose votes
Even John Kerry, who portrays himself as a
hunter, albeit an elitist one, darted back to the Senate chambers from where he
has been absent without leave, missing 70 percent of the votes cast during the
108th Congress. His brief appearance, to support the anti-gun amendments, seemed
more like a campaign stop to appeal to the extremist left.
Kerry and fellow Democrat John Edwards both supported
the gun ban legislation. Dianne Feinstein revealed perhaps more than she should
have when she admitted, "We would have lost without them. They were
And if there were any question about how far
Democrats can be trusted on the gun rights issue, look at South Dakota's Tom
Daschle. He belatedly signed
on as a sponsor of the bill, then supported every poison pill amendment that
came along, in order to kill it.
Democrats did not want this bill to pass, even
though some co-sponsored
it, because they clearly like the notion that lawful gun makers should be
litigated into bankruptcy. That they now claim victory shows just how
short-sighted they are in their efforts to appeal to gun owners.
Their hysterical words and votes on onerous gun
control amendments to the lawsuit protection legislation are public record. If
there is one thing Democrats should have learned about gun owners is that they
have long memories.
It's not just the anti-gun pattern of
Congressional Democrats that sharpens gun owner wariness. In Wisconsin and
Missouri, Democrats led the charge to defeat licensed carry laws for personal
protection. They succeeded in Wisconsin when one Democrat switched
his vote to protect his party's governor and the power of his party's
minority caucus. They failed in Missouri only because of a veto override that
has now been upheld
by the Missouri Supreme Court.
Gun owners see this and conclude that Democrats
are still social bigots, with nothing but contempt for people who own firearms.
Kerry, Daschle, Feinstein and other Democrats,
and their cheerleaders in the press, think that by killing the gun lawsuit
protection bill after loading it with anti-gun amendments, they won something.
Perhaps, but in so doing, they sacrificed any credibility they may have built
with gun owners over the past couple of years.
What kind of victory is it, when all it
accomplished was to further divide and polarize our nation at a time when we
should be joining together in common defense?
Alan Gottlieb is chairman of the Citizens
Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Dave Workman is senior editor
of Gun Week, a publication owned by the
Second Amendment Foundation.