The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

A sad truth

Posted by Bill Nance on October 20, 2008

No matter who wins the Presidential election, one thing is almost certain: More gun control.

It’s all but guaranteed that the Democrats will have at least 58 seats in the U.S. Senate and it’s looking increasingly likely they will manage a  full 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority.

That means there they only have to pick up four Senate Republican votes to override a veto. The two independent votes, Lieberman I -CT and Sanders I -VT  will almost certainly vote for a Brady-like gun ban given the chance.

There are plenty of Republican Senators from mostly urban states who would vote for more gun control, so I see virtually no situation that will avoid the issue.

There are two possibilities:

  1. The law we get will be slightly less arbitrary and stupid (Only relatively, the whole idea of more laws when there’s thousands on the books that never get enforced is just stupid).
  2. The law will be as restrictive or more so than the first Brady bill (Gun confiscation is not going to happen, 5th Amendment + Heller, I’m going for it. That’s a paranoid fantasy).

On the face of it, I’d say a McCain victory would seem more likely to avoid more gun laws, but I think a veto would just get an override, and could result in worse legislation than we’d get with Obama.

Obama could actually do a better job on this issue, though I have more than a few doubts. Here’s why:

Aside from the ideologues like Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, Democrats remember the results of the Brady bill. It was one of the signature issues that lost the Dems control of the congress in ’94. Barack Obama may be many things, but stupid is not one of them. I think he’s well aware of the screwups of 1993. He may well be able to substantially moderate the gun-phobes inclination for making gun-owner’s lives miserable. It has not been a signature issue for him and I think he’s bright enough not to mess with side-issues when there are much bigger fish to fry.

There’s no guarantee. His legislative career does not speak well for him on this issue at all. On the other hand, he represented a highly unfriendly-to-gun State. Like any politician, he may have largely gone with popular sentiment.

The other issue that’s different from 1992 is Heller vs District of Columbia. However much some people may like to call attention to it’s limited ruling, it was very clearly and specifically not the end of the issue. The court left the possibilities for more challenges to restrictive gun laws wide open. Obama, (And I think plenty of Democrats in congress) cannot lightly ignore that ruling

McCain would almost certainly veto any new attempts at a Brady bill. But he would just as likely be overridden by an emboldened congress generally pissed-off over the election results. Obama on the other hand, might be able to successfully ride herd on the members of his own party. (One hopes, though I’m deeply skeptical).

As someone who is very excited to get back into my hobby of shooting (Including the nasty scary “assault weapons,”) I’m deeply troubled by the gun-control issue. I have not drunk the Obama Kool-Aid™. I’m voting Obama with eyes wide-open, just as some McCain supporters are pro-choice. But on the other hand, I honestly see little hope of avoiding more Federal meddling with my Second Amendment rights no matter who wins the White House.

Ironically, the guy in the race who has the worst record on gun-control may have the best chances of stopping at least the most egregious attempts by urbanites in Congress to criminalize millions of law-abiding citizens.

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