It can be tough being both a liberal Democrat and a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. The National Rifle Association doesn’t make this any easier. A group that once concerned itself primarily with gun safety, the NRA has taken a sharp turn to the right over the last twenty years. Sometimes, the position taken by the NRA defy all common sense.
The National Rifle Association is urging the Bush administration to withdraw its support of a bill that would prohibit suspected terrorists from buying firearms. Backed by the Justice Department, the measure would give the attorney general the discretion to block gun sales, licenses or permits to terror suspects.
In a letter this week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, NRA executive director Chris Cox said the bill, offered last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., “would allow arbitrary denial of Second Amendment rights based on mere ‘suspicions’ of a terrorist threat.”
“As many of our friends in law enforcement have rightly pointed out, the word ‘suspect’ has no legal meaning, particularly when it comes to denying constitutional liberties,” Cox wrote.
NRA flacks like Cox turn into civil libertarians whenever guns are involved. But other constitutional rights? Silence from the gun rights lobby.
Gun nuts talk and talk about needing guns to protect the rights and freedoms that all Americans enjoy, but when the rights and freedoms of Americans are under siege, guns nuts are nowhere to be found. I don’t recall seeing any NRA members, for example, ever protesting an assault on the free speech rights of Americans by the feds—or the federal government’s successful efforts to undermine our constitutional protections against government surveillance and unreasonable searches, their attempts to regulate speech on the Internet, limit abortion rights…
So while gun owners are always saying that owning guns is about defending freedom, the only freedom gun owners seem interested in defending with their guns is the freedom to defend their freedom to own guns.
Pro-gun politicians who defend ALL constitutional rights can be hard to find. The only two I know are both from Montana- Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. Jon Tester. Tester, who is totally pro-gun, also favors repealing the Patriot Act. Schweitzer just signed a bill that tells the federal government to go to hell over Real ID.
I’m certain the NRA will continue to be a Republican puppet organization for years to come, but with Democrats like Schweitzer and Tester on the forefront, real civil libertarians can sleep easier.