Friday, October 10, 2008

Obama and Gun Rights

After the NRA endorsed John McCain yesterday, I decided to call up the Executive Director of the Texas State Rifle Association, James Dark, to get his reaction. Mr. Dark sits on the NRA board of directors as well.

Mr. Dark is in complete agreement with the decision. Obama, he says, is the single most anti-gun candidate to ever run for President. He said that John McCain has had his differences with the NRA when it comes to gun-show rules and campaign finance restrictions, but an Obama Presidency would threaten gun rights as never before. Obama's choice of Justices for the Supreme Court could tilt the court toward anti-2nd amendment rights. Mr. Dark cited the District of Columbia v. Heller decision in June. This was the first Supreme Court case in United States history to directly address whether the right to bear arms is a right of individuals or a collective right that applies only to state-regulated militias. The TSRA statement read in part:

"The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own and possess firearms for lawful purposes not connected with militia service, rather than a “collective rights” view allowing states to keep militias. The court also ruled that two provisions of District of Columbia law are unconstitutional; a near complete ban on handgun ownership, and a requirement that rifles and shotguns kept in one’s own home be disassembled or trigger-locked."

That's the good news. The bad news? It was a 5 to 4 decision. In other words, as Mr. Dark points out, we are one vote away from removing any meaningful 2nd Amendment rights. It is clear that given Obama's past voting record, his Judicial appointees would tip the court in favor of upending the 2nd Amendment.

While Obama's campaign rhetoric is more moderate on gun rights, his voting record tells a different story. The Obama camp has complained about the NRA's description of Obama's stances on this issue, but what Obama admits to is bad enough. Obama has called for national legislation against carrying concealed firearms, and he would make permanent the expired ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. Obama is also in favor of handgun law registration and licensing handguns. The most disturbing thing of all to me is the fact that while running for the Senate, Obama actually called for national legislation to prevent anyone but law enforcers from carrying concealed firearms. Obama even cited Texas as an example of a place where the concealed handgun law had "malfunctioned."

Obama may talk a good game about "common sense gun laws," but taking away a law abiding citizen's right to conceal and carry is not common sense, it's simply wrong.

I remember when my mind completely changed on this issue. It was when I heard the eye witness account of the bloody massacre at the Luby's in Killen Texas in 1991 by Suzanna Hupp. Twenty people were killed and twentyone others wounded by a deranged murderer. Hupp's parents were among the twenty dead. Imagine. You are having lunch with your parents one minute, and the next you watch as they are shot dead in front of you.

When the shooting began Hupp instinctively reached in her purse for her .38-caliber Smith & Wesson, but it was in her car. She was afraid of losing her chiropractic license if she were arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. If she had been allowed to carry it into the restaurant, 20 people's lives would have been saved, including her parents.

We can pass all the gun laws we want, but the simple truth is that criminals and madmen don't obey gun laws.

If you don't think this issue is important, then next time you are eating dinner with a loved one imagine what Hupp went through. Imagine a gunman coming into the restaurant and shooting people. You close your eyes and imagine it, and tell me that at that moment you don't wish for that concealed handgun. Tell me you won't wish for it.

I won't believe you.