Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bill Richardson -- the NRA's guy for President?

A nice piece in National Review Online points out that Democratic long-shot candidate Bill Richardson has a far superior record on 2nd amendment rights than do 3 of the leading Republican contenders: Guiliani, Romney, and Gingrich. Romney gets a particularly well-deserved thrashing, and not because he isn't a hunter.

(Incidentally, has there been any recent candidate -- other than Dole in 1996 -- where the disconnect between a strong possibility of getting the nomination and a zero possibility of winning the general election has been so great as with Romney?)

In Dave Kopel's article, only Mike Huckabee is commended on the Republican side for having strong, credible, positions on the 2nd amendment -- and he has virtually no chance of getting the Republican nomination, especially given the poor review he received from the Club for Growth (he gets high marks from them only on their worst position -- the one where Republicans should disagree with them: unlimited international free trade.)

McCain gets silence, appropos for the general distrust he engenders in the Republican party in spite of reasonably conservative voting records -- and in spite of the fact that when it comes right down to it, he could win against any of the leading Democrats, whereas neither Guiliani nor Romney could.


If the Republicans nominated Giuliani and the Democrats Richardson, the NRA would be crazy not to support Richardson with everything in its political arsenal. More generally, as the New York Sun reported on April 5, “the thinking within the organization is that it would eagerly endorse a consistently pro-gun Democrat over a Republican who has been inconsistent in protecting Second Amendment rights.”

No wonder our local liberal gun-hugger, Wulfgar, seems to have a soft spot for the good guv from down yonder.

Kopel points out that the two recent times when the Republican candidate wasn't able to get an endorsement from the NRA (Bush in 1992 and Dole in 1996) -- the GOP lost.

As a final note, Mike Huckabee's answers indicate that he understands basic 2nd amendment issues, such as the fact that the "right to bear arms" has nothing to do with hunting. Kopel quotes from an interview Huckabee had with Hugh Hewitt:

HH:…What about assault weapons, or what is called assault weapons in the law? Should Americans be allowed to have them?

MH: Absolutely. Americans ought to be allowed to have anything they want to have, as long as they’re law abiding, legal citizens. The 2nd Amendment was not there for hunting. I get so offended when Democrats talk about it as if you don’t need an assault weapon to hunt. Well truthfully, most Democrats wouldn’t know an assault weapon from a BB gun.

I’m a hunter, I have been my whole life. But the 2nd Amendment is not just about hunting. It’s about protecting your family, your property, and it’s honestly about defending ourselves against a tyrannical government, should it ever go haywire on us.

Wulfgar (who does seem to know an assault weapon from a BB gun) couldn't have said it better himself.


Wulfgar said...

Definately beside your higher point, but Zumbo was wrong, and many anti-assault weapon folks with him. (He didn't 'sin', mind you, he just doesn't understand the tools at work.) Zumbo got castigated for kvetching about folks who wold use an assault rifle for hunting gophers, oh MY! Personally, I find a black rifle to be perfect for the task. Good range, cheap ammo, high capacity and lighter weight than traditional hunting tools. Sounds perfect to me, against an enemy that knows no limit in number (gophers).

Thinking slightly deeper, Zumbo's mistake was the same as made by most more regular anti-gun folks; he attempted to tell others how to use what tool for what job. He might as well have been screaming at people not to trim their hedge with a chainsaw, or use a table saw for doing crosscuts. But that really isn't up to him, is it?

At heart, I think that's what Huckabee was getting at. No one has the right to tell others what tools they can or should use for the purpose at hand. And, in this case, it is unconstitutional for them to try.

Montana Headlines said...

MH commented on Zumbo back when Steve Woodruff wrote about it in the Missoulian. You are right that Zumbo didn't "sin" against the 2nd Amendment.

His subsequent comments confirm that he had no such intent. His worry was not about losing money or prestige, but rather that he doesn't want to go down in history as a guy who did anything hurt the 2nd Amendment.

Cutting to the chase, this is what we wrote at the time:

The problem with Zumbo's critique was that he proposed legislating aesthetics rather than safety or "fair chase" principles.

We're all for aesthetics around here. Our own firearms are quite traditional -- whether for big game, bird hunting, small game, plinking, or stopping a human predator, we think that Zumbo would probably approve of our choices.

But what others choose to use is none of my (or Zumbo's) business -- just like I don't want black-powder or archery guys telling me I'm not a "real" hunter if I use standard guns and ammo.

And I certainly don't want anyone trying to tell me that my only justification for owning a gun is hunting. Linking hunting to gun ownership is perhaps one of the most dangerous trends threatening the clear intent of the 2nd Amendment.