Archive for February, 2007

A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots

February 12, 2007

You know, I really don’t think this horse is gonna be dead till Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy is…

Rudy Giuliani addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters, saying his policies as mayor to get handguns off the street helped reduce crime in New York.

“I used gun control as mayor,” he said at a news conference Saturday during a swing through California. But “I understand the Second Amendment. I understand the right to bear arms.”

He said what he did as mayor would have no effect on hunting.

Really now, I could give a damn about hunting…
In all seriousness, I’d love to get back into hunting. I haven’t done it in ages, and I know very well that it sharpens valuable skills and teaches all sorts of valuable lessons. And Lord knows I love any kind of game prepared any kind of way. But there’s not much argument in my mind that the surest sign that a politician is going to go after the people’s guns, or at least look the other way when others go after them at the lower levels of government, is when said politician trots out the whole “not gonna take yer deer rifle” bit. The GOP had nigh well better wake up to the truth of the matter. No matter what Rudy says about our natural right to arms — and “I used gun control…(but) I understand the Second Amendment” is a contradiction if ever I heard one — he understands the Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms about as well as the average toddler understands nuclear physics. What I for one would love to see is one of those front-runners get up there and defend things like shall-issue CCW laws (or, better yet, Vermont & Alaska-style open carry), civilian full-auto possession, potmetal poodle-poppers (aka “Saturday Night Specials”), ARs, AKs and .50BMGs. That would, I think, be a hell of a much better sign of understanding what the Second Amendment protects, as opposed to muttering platitudes about deer hunting. Sadly, figuratively speaking, that would take balls of solid steel, and that criterion has weeded out all but a precious few when one gets to national-level politics.
Jim Kenefick over at Right Thoughts had this to say, though:

Yes, he’s flawed on gun control, but he’s also learning how guns and gun politics work on a national stage as opposed to the second most liberal state in the union.

He also said this over at Right Thinking:

Rudy is already changing his tune from the hard-line gun control stance he used to have. The NRA is hard at work teaching him why NYC gun policy doesn’t fly in the rest of the country. he’s already moderated his views – the more he’s exposed to good, honest gun owners without being inundated – and responsible for as mayor – the worst parts of gun culture the more he learns how we feel and the more he understands us.

No offense to Jim, but I think that’s a crock. I honestly don’t think the NRA is going to teach Rudy Giuliani a damn thing. I applaud them for at least trying, but I think it’s also an indisputable fact that Giuliani believes in more gun control — prohibition, even — just as ardently as the Bradys, the Violence Policy Center, IANSA and all the rest of the national and international gun prohibitionists. Evidence of this lies in his feeble attempt to cover his arse with the hunting remark, and his record as mayor, even going so far as to file one of those frivolous suits against firearm manufacturers in 2000 (press release here, video here).
And there’s another reason I think the NRA is wasting its time. The lessons of gun control as a political failure have already been taught, at least twice — in the 1994 midterms, and in the 2000 presidential election, when Southern Democrat Al Gore failed to carry a single Southern state due in part to his radically anti-gun views. One would think people like him and Bill Clinton (who, of course, started out as governor of another Southern state) would have known or figured out the gun control bird wouldn’t fly outside the coasts and the major metro areas, yet still they pushed ahead with their nefarious agendas. (And Gore did so after the Dems took their ’94 thumping!) I shudder to think of what Clinton could have gotten passed in the way of gun control if he’d had a Democratic Congress for any more of his term.
If Rudy had not believed in gun control, he wouldn’t have pursued it as he did while he was mayor of New York City. He does, though, and I for one don’t have any doubt that he’d advocate it just as ferociously as he did in the Big Apple. This latest story is nothing but a display of Giuliani just being a pandering politician. May enough figure that out before it’s too late.

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More Double-talk from the Antis

February 10, 2007

Via Firehand and David Hardy comes this excellent rebuttal from Dr. Stephen Halbrook to what has to be the most asinine tactic I’ve seen yet from academia:

A revisionist view now has been boldly asserted that Hitler was
friendly to perhaps the most dangerous freedom in the Bill of
Rights. The Fordham Law Review recently published a provocative
Second Amendment Symposium issue which included three
articles suggesting that Nazi Germany had liberal policies toward
firearm owners and that the National Rifle Association (NRA)
promotes a myth of Nazi repression of firearms owners as part of
a cultural war.

One of the aforementioned articles’ authors, a Bernard E. Harcourt, apparently tried to say that the Nazi regime was more pro-gun than the Weimar Republic, “as evidenced by the overall relaxation of the laws regulating the acquisition, transfer and carrying of firearms
reflected in the 1938 Nazi gun laws.” As Dr. Halbrook points out, the Nazis were “pro-gun” for everyone they agreed with and everyone who was helping to carry out their evil agenda, but of course they were anti-gun for “Jews, political opponents, and any and every person who might not march lock step with the National Socialist program.” (Not to cause the invocation of Godwin’s Law here, but it would seem to me upon reading all this, that one could use the same lines of reasoning to say that people like Dianne Feinstein, Richard Daley and Rosie O’Donnell were pro-gun as well. Sure they are, if you define pro-gun as favoring armed self-defense for yourself but leaving everyone else up the creek.) Some choice passages:

Recognition of a right such as this anywhere in the world in any historical epoch must acknowledge that “the people” must mean the peaceable populace at large without regard to race, religion, or creed. However, Professor Harcourt embraces American neo-Nazi William L. Pierce, who asserts, “German firearms legislation under Hitler, far from banning private ownership, actually facilitated the keeping and bearing of arms by German citizens . . . .” Harcourt asks, “How is it, you may ask, that I . . . would end up agreeing with a white supremacist leader of the National Alliance and National Vanguard?” Harcourt further concluded that “the Nazis were relatively more pro-gun than the predecessor Weimar Republic . . . .” If the Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” is the postulate, the above reference to the “German citizen,” or more accurately under the Third Reich, the incredibly shrinking “German citizen,” has little bearing on the meaning of “the people” at large.

A regime that would disarm and murder an entire segment of the population hardly could be said to support, if the language of the Second Amendment can be
applied, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” Indeed,
that is the very kind of regime this right is meant to provide the
means to resist.

Professor Harcourt’s suggestion that the Nazis supported
Second Amendment-type values assumes as insignificant that the
Nazis disarmed, intimidated, threw into concentration camps, or
exterminated all of “the people” they identified as inferior by
reason of race or religion, or as otherwise untrustworthy by
reason of politics or any other reason whatsoever. Other than
that, Professor Harcourt surmises, Hitler was a disciple of a
liberal arms policy.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Another Small Victory

February 9, 2007

Via David Codrea, SayUncle, David Hardy and just about every other gun blogger comes this happy news:

The federal government will not file criminal charges against any of the 15 out-of-state gun dealers accused by Mayor Bloomberg in a federal lawsuit of selling guns illegally, the Daily News has learned.

In a stern rebuke to the city’s high-profile crusade against illegal guns, the feds warned the Bloomberg administration that it could face “potential legal liabilities” if it continues to conduct sting operations that fall within the jurisdiction of federal agents.

Mr. Codrea, being the brilliant snarkmeister he is — and David, if you’re reading this I mean that in only the most complimentary way! — says, “Looks like the Feds don’t want the Iotians muscling in on their territory. What were we just saying about gangland turf wars?”
At first I didn’t quite agree with his somewhat negative take on Bloomberg’s rebuke from the federales, but on second thought I understand and do indeed agree. From what I remember about Bloomberg’s crusade, he was sending his henchmen into certain gun shops with instructions basically to coerce the dealers into making straw sales, which more or less constitutes entrapment; in fact, again, from what I remember, some of this entrapment was actually caught on tape. Michael Bloomberg and his hired thugs should be thrown in jail and made an example of how not to go about one’s business as a public official, but I’m betting they won’t be, which will only illustrate Mr. Codrea’s contention that the federales are just ticked off that Bloomie’s intruding on their turf. I like to think of Bloomie’s rebuke as a small victory, but even so it’s probably just going to be symbolic more than anything else, and that’s a damn shame.

Circling the Party Wagons

February 7, 2007

Via Fits at Shooting the Messenger, we have this, from the New York Post’s John Podhoretz:

Past “liberal” GOP candidates and would-be candidates have sought the nomination by taking strong stands counter to the views of the party’s conservative base – like Elizabeth Dole opposing handguns in 2000. Those candidates, that is, were engaging in battle against the social conservatives. They were fighting a culture war within the GOP, trying to rally the party’s more socially liberal elements – women and suburbanites in particular – to defeat the hard-line element.

Podhoretz was trying to draw a contrast between Giuliani and these past lefty GOP candidates, but it should be noted that he put “liberal” in quotes, and he calls people like me the “hard-line element.” (And to think the New York Post is more or less touted as the Big Apple’s conservative paper!) Call it nitpicky, but to me that says a lot about how Mr. Podhoretz and his ilk view a lot of conservatives. I guess living in a place like New York really warps one’s views, but for someone who sees himself as a member of a party and/or a subscriber to a political philosophy that supposedly calls for limited government and more personal freedom, this is absolutely inexcusable. (Incidentally, it should also be noted — yet again — that the Democrats have lost more than a few votes in the last 13 years’ elections due to their positions on the gun issues. Bill Clinton himself said the Ban on Scary-Looking Weapons was a large part of the reason his party took the beating it did in the 1994 midterms, and more than a few have said that Al Gore lost the Southern states largely because of his stance on “gun control.”) I’d love to see the GOP retain the presidency in 2008, but what good is having a Republican in the White House if he or she is going to implement an agenda contrary to the above principles?
And Podhoretz doesn’t think this fight for the soul of the GOP is still being waged? His column is prima facie evidence that it indeed is, and it likely will be escalated as we go into the 2008 election season. At least it better be. I’d hate to think we lovers of liberty would just roll over. I could be wrong here, but I’m betting Bob Owens over at Confederate Yankee speaks for a lot of people with these observations:

A lot of folks seem thrilled that Guiliani’s throwing his hat in the ring, but I’m not one of them. His 9/11 leadership was extraordinary (compare his inspired performance to Ray Nagin’s quivering collapse after Hurricane Katrina for juxtaposition), but his personal failures and his overtly liberal positions on a whole raft of issues leave me cold.

The only thing that Rudy brings to the table over our current President is his ability to articulately explain why he won’t enforce or borders while increasing the bloat of the federal government.

Factor in his pro-gun control views, and Guiliani’s a Republican candidate not worth having… one of many.

And this question from a commenter desperately needs to be asked, early and often:
“Do you get the feeling the choice for Republican nominee is being made by the media, the pundits and the political class, everybody but the majority of the people themselves?”
My answer? Absolutely. The power in this country has basically gone from the masses to the mass media and the political class (and really, when you get to the Boston-New York-Washington level, those two get to be more and more one and the same), as they inherently have the power to shape public opinion and this power has only grown as the media has, albeit only to the extent the American people believe what they read. No matter to what extent that is, though, it’s profoundly discouraging, because people like Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul are going to get the short shrift. They’re either not going to get any coverage, or they’re going to be painted as some sort of whackjob (John Hawkins, call your office). I try to retain some optimism, but every now and then I just can’t help but think that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before they get any better.

Giuliani Is Not Our Friend — 2-6-07 Edition

February 6, 2007

Via David Hardy and Captain’s Quarters comes this little snippet from Hannity & Colmes in which Sean Hannity interviews Rudy Giuliani:

HANNITY: You inherited the gun laws in New York.

GIULIANI: Yeah. And I used them to help bring down homicide. We reduced homicide I think by 65, 70%. And some of it was by taking guns out of the streets of New York City. So if you are talking about a city like New York, a densely populated area like New York, I think it’s appropriate. You might have different laws other places and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities, making decisions. We do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.

HANNITY: So you would support the state’s rights to choose on specific gun laws?

GIUILANI: Yeah. A place like New York that is densely populated or maybe a place that is experiencing a serious crime problem like a few cities are now. Thank goodness not New York but some other cities. Maybe you have one solution there and in other place more rural, more suburban, other issues you have a different set of rule.

HANNITY: Generally speaking do you think it’s acceptable if citizens have the right to carry a handgun?

GIULIANI: It’s part of the constitution. People have the right to bear arms. Then restrictions have to be reasonable and sensible. You can’t just remove that right. You got to regulate consistent with the second amendment.

From this exchange, it would seem that Giuliani is a proponent of federalism and at least a small bit of decentralization in that he says gun laws should be left up to the states.
However, that’s about as much credit as I am willing to give him; because the fact of the matter is that in his city, and in Washington and Chicago to name but two other locales, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is and has been being blatantly infringed upon, either by:
1. Outright bans on possession of certain types of arms, and laws stating the arms you CAN possess have to be disassembled & locked up, thereby effectively preventing legal self-defense with those arms; or
2. Licensing requirements so stringent that regular people like you and me just might as well not even bother, because those requirements are enforced by government agencies staffed with people who are, for all practical intents & purposes, dead-set against private citizens owning arms for their defense.
Federalism is great, but by no means should it be used to justify in any way infringements on people’s rights, as it is here. Granted, the difference between the rural & urban environment is different, but only to the extent that there’s more crime and general mischief in the urban environment. And not even that justifies any kind of ban, or licensing as Giuliani would advocate, because the crime problem goes a lot deeper than the availability of weapons. I find it infuriating that those root causes — for example, the forsaking of values such as respect for human life, an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, personal responsibility & accountability, and remorse for the wrong one does — are never talked about. No, it’s always about the eeevil guns…
Going hand-in-hand with this, of course, is the fact that Giuliani was the first mayor of a major American city to file suit against the gun manufacturers in what seems to me, in hindsight, to be a blatant attempt to cover up for the fact that the gun control he and too many others espouse turned out to be a dismal failure — surprise! — in his city and pretty much everywhere else. I have yet to see him being called out on that particular blot on his record.
As far as “regulat(ing) consistent with the Second Amendment,” once again I do not think the Second Amendment means what Mr. Giuliani thinks it means. Not that that’s any big surprise, of course, but I find it quite offensive to hear people like Giuliani and Mitt Romney professing support for the 2A and the RKBA when even a cursory glimpse of their records shows the exact opposite. I’m not stupid, and neither are the rest of my fellow gun owners. (I might make an exception for some of the Fuddites, but then again anyone who thinks hunting is the only legitimate reason to own a gun is worse than stupid in my book. They’re just flat evil.) Giuliani’s pandering notwithstanding, he’s still not someone I would ever vote for, and I know I am not alone.
UPDATE: It seems I was wrong about Giuliani being the first big-city mayor in American to file suit against the firearms makers. According to this press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the suits were first filed in the late 1990s, but Giuliani was the only Republican mayor to do so.

A Few Words on Molly Ivins

February 2, 2007

As everyone who keeps up with politics in general and Texas politics in particular knows, Texas leftist icon Molly Ivins died Sunday at the age of 62 from breast cancer. I remember reading her columns in my hometown paper once upon a time, and looking back on it, she always seemed to come off to me as Maureen Dowd from Houston. Which, to my mind, is something not to aspire to being. Anyway, being the self-professed gun nut that I am, I wondered exactly what she thought of firearms. I wasn’t going to say anything here at first, but thanks to E.J. Dionne’s excerpt of it in his Washington Post column reprinted in the Houston Chronicle, I found this column. I’m sure most of us won’t find it surprising:

Guns. Everywhere Guns.

Let me start this discussion by pointing out that I am not antigun. I’m proknife. Consider the merits of the knife.

In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

As a civil libertarian, I, of course, support the Second Amendment. And I believe it means exactly what it says:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia. Members of wacky religious cults are not part of a well-regulated militia. Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.

I am intrigued by the arguments of those who claim to follow the judicial doctrine of original intent. How do they know it was the dearest wish of Thomas Jefferson’s heart that teenage drug dealers should cruise the cities of this nation perforating their fellow citizens with assault rifles? Channeling?

There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, that is, the armed forces, including the National Guard. The reasons for keeping them away from everyone else get clearer by the day.

In truth, there is no rational argument for guns in this society. This is no longer a frontier nation in which people hunt their own food. It is a crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in which letting people have access to guns is a continuing disaster. Those who want guns—whether for target shooting, hunting, or potting rattlesnakes (get a hoe)—should be subject to the same restrictions placed on gun owners in England, a nation in which liberty has survived nicely without an armed populace.

For years I used to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends about their psychosexual hang-ups—always in a spirit of good cheer, you understand.

I do think gun nuts have a power hang-up. I don’t know what is missing in their psyches that they need to feel they have the power to kill. But no sane society would allow this to continue.

Ban the damn things. Ban them all.

You want protection? Get a dog.

Virtually all the anti-gun stereotypes and tired arguments promoted by the leftists and their ilk for the last 40-plus years — the National Guard lie, “power hang-ups,” “psychosexual hang-ups,” you name it. (And I certainly beg to differ with the thought that Lady Liberty has “survived nicely” in merry olde England.) Molly Ivins applied this mean-spirited, foul, ignorant invective to pretty much any topic she wrote about. I keep thinking about how Jonah Goldberg described Maureen Dowd’s columns in the wake of the 2004 presidential election:

…her op-ed page real estate hits your desk like a bucket of vomit with some Body Shop potpourri sprinkled across the surface.

I’d say that pretty much described Molly Ivins’ scribblings to a tee. She was just another link in the long chain of people who have proved that education doesn’t necessarily lead to intelligence or enlightenment, and how hateful, ignorant and mean-spirited you can get away with being when you couch your rhetoric in faux down-home “humor.” I hate that she died the way she did, and I don’t want to sound cruel and uncaring, but I shed no tears for her passing either.
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