Run up to 2012 Elections Means More Gun Noise
Change flash and bang for Bullseyes by pushing for action
Elections are in the air and while the presidential contenders and the media focus on jobs and the economy as election issues, members of Congress and state legislators know that certain issues can wake up voters and make a huge difference come Election Day. Gun control and firearm owner rights are among those voter-motivating issues and the push for gun points is well underway.
Politicians and their campaign strategists do their best to fire up GunVoters and earn their support by cosponsoring pro-rights legislation, holding hearings, and generating committee and floor activity that catches the attention of the gun magazines and rights reporters like me. To a large degree though, the biannual congressional gun show is exactly that: a show. As my late father, Neal Knox was fond of pointing out, most members of Congress are interested in the gun issue only as a political issue. Few are interested in actually passing serious pro-rights legislation; their main interest is to bolster their reelection credentials. For them and their campaign strategists, the name of the game is lots of show with, little go. Their objective is to activate the special interests with a show of activity, but to avoid actually doing much of anything that might be turned against them later. Being professional politicians and political hacks, even those who claim to support gun rights tend to be somewhat elitist in their attitudes towards the hoi polloi and look at gun owners with almost as much mistrust and distaste as do their anti-gun colleagues.
Currently there are several pro-rights initiatives active in Congress and the difference between show and go on these bills could be your informed email. They want to bluster and offer friendly platitudes, but you can demand that they take action. If you’re an NRA member, you can also lobby NRA to push harder for votes – even if they don’t think they can win or if it isn’t what their “friends” in Congress want. Your emails, letters, and phone calls can have an impact. Demand that we either get our good bills passed or have a clear record of whom to hold responsible.
The House has passed H.R.2349 which says that a veteran cannot be denied his right to arms without an adjudication that he is a danger to himself or others. That would restore gun rights to some 100,000 Veterans Administration clients whoes rights have been revoked for reasons such as having trouble managing bank accounts and getting a spouse or relative named as fiduciary to manage their affairs. H.R.2349 and/or it’s Senate version, S.1707, are awaiting action in the Senate. Demand a Senate vote.
A bill to require states that issue concealed weapons permits to recognize permits from other states, H.R.822, has passed out of committee in the House and is now awaiting a vote of the full House. I believe that if it actually does come to a vote in the House it will pass with surprisingly high bipartisan support. Both dominant parties have figured out that voting against guns seriously hurts them so when it comes down to it, many fence-sitters will probably jump on the bandwagon (many hoping that the Senate will stall, dodge, and defeat the bill or that the President will veto it). The more confident they are that a pro-rights bill will be stopped somewhere down the line, the more likely they are to vote for it. Otherwise, many will put their side-stepping shoes on.
Guns aren’t the only issue that is played like this, but gun issues are a good litmus test for whether a politician stands by their words. Right now we have an opportunity to push for some political true colors with H.R.2349/S.1707 in the Senate, and H.R.822 awaiting action in the House. One thing squeamish Republicans should be reminded of is that passage of either or both of these bills will put anti-rights extremist Barack Obama in a very difficult position. While he’s not likely to get much support from GunVoters regardless, forcing him to sign or kill these bills can only hurt him politically.
Senators need to hear from constituents about supporting veterans rights with H.R.2349/S.1707. Representatives need some coaxing to make a start toward national carry reciprocity by passing H.R.822.
Are your servants in Washington representing you? Do they know what it’s going to take to earn your vote? If they haven’t heard from you on these issues, now is the time. The closer the election, the more attentive to your concerns the politicians become. Take advantage of their attention.
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