Wednesday, January 31, 2007

101 Hours: Democrats should stick to the program

This past November certainly saw some sweeping changes in our federal and state congressional makeup, with Democrats making huge gains. Here in Oregon, we saw the legislature change control, as it did at the federal level. But what, specifically, caused voters to push Democrats into power? The easy reasons that come to mind are:

  • Iraq
  • Ethics and lobbying reform for politicians
  • Healthcare reform
  • Bush’s blatant disregard for science and the environment
  • The reduction of so many civil liberties during the last 12, and more specifically the last 6 years: Things like the PATRIOT act, warrantless spying, and reduction of Habeas Corpus rights.
Notably, voters did not mark gun control as a big reason for the change. They did not vote Democrats into power on a platform of gun control. There is no well-communicated mandate to politicians that gun control should be on the legislative agenda in either Oregon or the nation.

Most Democrats running for office realized this, and left "the gun issue" out of their rhetoric and platforms. Polls have shown that Democrats own guns at rates ranging from 31% to 41%. That's a high number, and is one of the reasons that guns are an easy swing issue for Republicans to “wedge” on. Beyond that, that the numbers don't tell the whole story. Guns are a swing issue in swing states, and swing states are where the Democratic Party made important gains in November '06. States like Oregon, Indiana, Montana, and West Virginia are all part of the new Democratic mandate, and are all states that can swing on this issue.

If Democrats go after the guns, an issue that is currently a non-issue becomes a swing issue. A lot of pro-gun Democrats, Independents, and Republicans believe that gun ownership IS a Constitutional right. These voters have a deep sense of history, often unique in its American perspective, that gun ownership is a right, a responsibility, or even a duty. They are tired of having to justify what they see as a right. When you say, "I don't like the Republican administration's awful handling of the Iraq war" you rarely feel the need to then defend the very ability to say such a thing, because it is assumed: It's a right well written into the first amendment.

Gun owners are constantly under attack for exercising their (and your) rights. They look back to English common-law, the Constitutional Conventions, and note that the right to bear arms is an important part of our history and democracy, as well as a check against tyranny. They are pointing to Constitutional Framers such as Theodore Sedgwick, Noah Webster, George Mason, James Monroe, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and others. Other people do the same as they refer to other rights enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

Please note, I am not attempting to debate history, Constitutional law, or whether the Second Amendment is an individual right. I’m trying to present how a large block of voters views the issue. These very voters helped change our political maps from Red to Blue.

Given these strong beliefs, attempts at further gun control will mitigate the value of the Democratic mandate. If Democrats force gun control, many centrist democrats, independents, and left-leaning Republicans will become one-issue voters. Iraq, healthcare, ethics and others become secondary. These swing voters believe that there is nothing more important than the Bill of Rights, and even that the Second Amendment protects the other nine. Whether right or not, these voters swing elections.

So, now that congress is done with its “100 hour” legislative agenda, don't lose sight of where this country should go. Don't lose a sense of direction over guns, when there is so much to be done elsewhere. Gun control has largely proved ineffective in a number of ways, starting with reducing crime. Nor should Democrats lose their legislative control by forcing voters to become one-issue voters (which I generally abhor). As we’ve seen over the last six years of George Bush, without at least a balanced government, everyone loses civil rights.

I've included a light vote from Jyte.com here, just to see where some readers might land on this one. Vote for/against it and let's where it goes.

28 comments:

Zak J. said...

I think you've got a lot of support for this vision. Jeff Alworth posted similar sentiments on Blue Oregon, though not specific to RKBA in his op-ed Oregon Dems: Go For the Low-Hanging Fruit.

Anonymous said...

I feel gun control will take guns away from the honest citizen, and all of the criminals will have (unregisted) guns. So what good is gun control. When I was in high school anyone could get a gun for $20 (unregistered) and it probably would have bodies on it. Unregisted guns are really easy to get.

Dan Gambiera said...

Amen! The AWB cost the Democrats Congress and the Senate, perhaps the Presidency indirectly. We need to stay on course

Anonymous said...

First off I'm going to disagree with the original poster. Voting on a one issue platform like the 2nd Amendment is everything. Without the 2nd Amendment all the others are meaningless, the 2nd is actually the 1st Amendment. Gun ownership is a duty as well as a right, it is there to keep our politicians and governement in check.
And concerning the issue of stating that it is only the past 12 or so years that your rights have been affected, I suggest you go back farther and look at Clinton's reign of terror, I gues his idea of seperation of church and state was WACO.
The worst side of gun control is the blatant actions of politicians that think laws affecting only the law abiding citizen is going to stop crime and criminals. That type of BS comes from both parties but mostly has a history with the left. Just take a look at Ginny Burdicks submitted crap this session. I have yet to see or hear of Blue Steel attending any hearings this session denoucing her or the legislative proposals.

Zak J. said...

Anonymous,
The author's point was that the minority of Democrats who FAVOR gun control should leave their pet project issue at home so that they don't drag down the party. I think we can all agree on that.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Zak but I don't agree with what the author is saying, and please don't try to water down my opinion. The left as of today in the local legislature and national has made many attemps in the first 100hrs. to limit the 2nd Amendment and the right has stopped them again. Look the left has one chance at regaining the middle of the road conservative voters and lefty gun owners. From what emails notices I have been receiving the left is already screwing that up.
Here is an example: OFF ALERT 01/31/07

"Domestic Violence" Bill Gets Hearing.
On January 25th, we warned you about House Bill 2336.
http://www.leg.state.or.us/07reg/measures/hb2300.dir/
hb2336.intro.html
This bill would eliminated any possibility of expunging a "domestic violence" conviction or record of arrest.
As you know, any offense that is considered one of "domestic violence"
eliminates, forever, your right to own firearms or even a single round of ammunition.
The legal definition of "domestic violence" is so overly broad that the potential to be swept up in a charge of this kind, for a truly trivial event, is enormous.
Today the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill.
Based on the proceedings, it would appear that the committee members have gotten your message. For everyone who took the time to contact them, we thank you.
We'd also like to send a special thank you to the OFF member who came and testified at the hearing and shared his personal story about his experiences with a stacked judicial system, and how this bill would impact people who had done nothing to require law enforcement involvement. We believe his testimony had a major impact on the committee members and we think it demonstrates the importance of every gun owner's involvement.
Several legislators told us that they recognized the dangers of the bill and we believe that the majority of the committee sees its flaws.
One member made it clear that he intended to vote against it and had personally killed it in a previous session.
The bill is, by no means, dead. It is still quite viable. But, we believe, based on what happened at today's hearing, that we have a good chance of killing it. Your willingness to communicate with the committee members will have a major impact on whether this bill goes anywhere.

When the left gets around to it and they will the gun issue will again be an elitist issue, I'll point out Diane Fienstien as a prime example. The common citizen will have no rights and many citizens like me will not stand for it. The left is hell bent on splitting this country, personally I can't wait.
Oh and by the way I do have a question. Since Blue Steel has stated that the Oregon Dems have amended the State party platform to include 2nd Amendment rights why hasn't there web site reflected that amended text in the party platform?

Josey Wales said...

"the minority of Democrats who FAVOR gun control"?

Are we delusional, severely misinformed or just playing fast and loose with the facts here?

Reality check: The majority of Democrats are in favor of gun control and most elected Democrats have anti-gun voting records.

Sorry, but you folks have a mighty hill to climb if you ever want to be taken seriously. Is there a bigger political oxymoron than Pro-gun Registered Democrat? The Log Cabin Republicans have more cred.

Zak J. said...

Reality check: The majority of Democrats are in favor of gun control and most elected Democrats have anti-gun voting records.

Let's see some survey data, josey. I live in a very liberal urban county in Oregon and MOST of the party activists, let alone the rank and file members are gun owners.

Jason McKerr said...

"I live in a very liberal urban county in Oregon and MOST of the party activists, let alone the rank and file members are gun owners."

ditto here. I live in Benton County. even the Hippies have guns here. And most of the registered Democrats I know either own guns or think we should leave them alone. Are there Democrats here who are against guns? Sure.

Anonymous said...

OK Zak you still didn't answer the question, maybe you are afraid of the answer.

I'll ask it again. Why hasn't the Oregon Democratic Party web site updated the party platform to include the amended 2nd Amendment text that Blue Steel states was passed by committee?

Could it ne that they are afraid of pissing on the rank and files log? Or pissing off the National Committee?

Your group or you are compromising on the basic issue just like the former Oregon Gun Owners did. If your group means what it says and intends to stqand by your mission then compromise is out of the question. Actions speak louder than words; Josey Wales has it right; your group and the left has a rough road ahead and you had better start performing or you are just digging your own grave within your party and from the conservative perspective. Perception is everything, if your group doesn't start to act then your group is nothing but a left wing party puppet. You can answer my question by acting, until then your group is nothing but an irritation.

jrmallard06 said...

So, what did Ginny Burdick introduce this session? I've heard she has backed off the gun agenda.

jrmallard06 said...

OK, nevermind. I've found my answer and it is as follows:

HB 2372 - Relating to breast-feeding

HB 2485 - Relating to paid sick leave for employees taking family leave

HB 2514 - Relating to mass transit emergencies

HB 2515 - Relating to light rail

SB 500 - Relating to human rights

* This is all public record and I looked it up myself.*

I have not had ANY issue with what Sen. Burdick has introduced and I frankly think it is unfortunate that this is not an issue on the Senate's agenda.

Signed,

OWNER of three shotguns and four rifles

Anonymous said...

You need to look again, you'll find that Burdick and her cronies have introduced the following items.

Bills for the 2007 Legislative Session.
Anti-gun bills are listed in red. Potentially anti-gun bills in blue.

All bills are available in PDF format here.

SB 283 Relating to firearms.
Creates crime of unlawful storage of firearm. This is the bill version of LC draft 1116. If you don't lock up your guns, you face 5 years in prison and a $125,000.00 fine. Exempts police.For an analysis of this bill, please use this link.

HB 2299 Relating to weapons.
"Modifies various provisions dealing with weapons." This is the bill version of LC 85.Among other things it allows police to carry guns in court while OFF DUTY. Civilians are NOT allowed to have firearms in courtrooms.

HB2300 Relating to concealed handgun licenses.
"Clarifies language regarding denial and revocation of concealed handgun licenses."
This is the bill version of LC 86. It was introduced as we predicted last year, to correct language in a previous "omnibus" bill that no one read before voting on it.

HB2304 Relating to the ability to petition for relief from prohibited conduct relating to firearms.
" Provides that person barred from purchasing firearm by reason of felony conviction or finding of guilty except for insanity of felony may not apply for relief from bar."
A bill designed to make sure that no matter how well a person cleans up his life, he may never again own a firearm after one conviction. (Formally LC Draft 129.)

HB2317 Relating to operation of a motor vehicle while carrying a weapon.
"Describes unloaded firearm for purposes of offense involving operation of snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle while carrying firearm."
A reintroduction of a bill from last year. This bill would allow you to carry a firearm on a snowmobile or atv if no round was in the chamber. Currently a round anywhere in the gun is a violation.( Formally LC 654)

HB2334 Relating to firearms.
"Modifies and expands requirements for issuance of concealed handgun license."
This is the Sheriff's wish list from last year. A version of this bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee last year and killed by OFF members soon after. Although it contains our language to allow active duty military to renew handgun licenses by mail, it contains other language that simply gives Sheriffs more power to revoke and deny concealed handgun licenses. Furthermore because this is a House Bill, there is always the possibility that what little pro-gun language is in it can be stripped out when it goes to the Senate Committee controlled by Burdick. Formally (LC 1093)

HB 2336 Relating to expunction.
Prohibits, in any case involving domestic violence, setting aside conviction or setting aside record of arrest when dismissal is result of diversion.
A domestic violence conviction is a lifetime prohibition on firearms ownership. To eliminate any possibility of expunction no matter how minor the offense, is irrational.

HB 2415 Relating to the transfer of items to visibly intoxicated persons;
creating new provisions; and amending ORS 166.470 and 480.215.
"Prohibits sale, delivery or transfer of firearm to visibly
intoxicated person."

Of course you would put any blame for the introduction on these items, why would a democrat put that blame where it belongs; on a democrat. I can guarantee she is involved with these in one formor another. But then you don't have the experience of being threatend by her either, so what would you know.

jrmallard06 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zak J. said...

I'll ask it again. Why hasn't the Oregon Democratic Party web site updated the party platform to include the amended 2nd Amendment text that Blue Steel states was passed by committee?

Thanks for the chance to speak to this, Anonymous.

Resolution 2005-008 was passed by the entire State Central Committee in 2005. The party platform for 2006 was well under way at the that time and my guess is there was no follow-up because there wasn't anyone on the platform committee who thought the issue needed to be restated. When I was at the convention last summer, I met plenty of pro-gun Democrats, and that's where we got together the idea to form the Gun Owners Caucus.

On gun ownership rights, here is a link to what the DPO 2006 Platform DOES say:

"The Bill of Rights and associated civil liberties are not subject to the convenience of the
government nor momentary security considerations. They are the enduring standard of our liberty.
"

That seems pretty clearly to support the Bill of Rights to me, but just so you don't think I'm ducking your question, I would agree with you that a more specific clause or legislative action item on the 2nd Amendment would be good for future platforms. Fact is, the convention is only a couple of days long and the majority of the discussions on civil liberties at the 2006 convention were about the shocking disregard for civil liberties we've seen by the Bush administration and how to stop the ongoing abuses.

You can read more about 2005-008 on the DPO website under "Preservation of Constitutional Rights," an appropriate title.

Regards,
-Zak

jrmallard06 said...

OK, I looked up these bills and I must say I don't see her name on any one of them. I see that the SB was introduced by the Senate Interim Judiciary Committee and the rest were introduced by the House Interim Committee.

As a Democrat and a gun owner, I do not feel threatened by these bills, no matter who they were introduced by. One of them prohibits the sale of a firearm to someone who is visibly intoxicated! Isn't that a bit of a no-brainer anyway? Why oppose this?

The only answer I can come up with to my last question is because people fear the proverbial boogie man: one who will come and steal your firearms if you don't defend them with your life. I think someone on this blog mentioned about 30-40% of Dems own guns and I think that if people were adovcating for a complete abolition of firearms (and these people would be a VERY small minority) then it would be more of an issue. Relax ladies and gentlemen; you won't have to hold on to your firearm with your cold, dead hands.

Anonymous said...

Zak, not sure where you are looking for your party's platform. Here is where I'm looking: http://www.dpo.org/
which is the Official Oregon Democratic Party web site and the only Party plartform document listed does NOT INCLUDE the 2nd Amendment resolutions and does NOT LIST your resolution. Here is the link to the Platform Document: http://www.dpo.org/inside/platform/platform_docs/2006_Platform_adopted.pdf

The information you have provided about the Platform can be inturpeted many ways. But it specifically doesn't say anything about leaving the rights of firearm owners alone or out of the legislative process.

The lack of addressing this issue directly demonstrates that your party is afraid to openingly address the issue at hand and alienating the Lefts rank & file. If Party members don't mind the lack of honesty I guess that is ok. That's why I'm neither a republican or a democrat.

Zak J. said...

The link I listed went right to the resolution.

Here is the full URL: http://www.dpo.org/inside/platform/Passed_resolutions.pdf

The resolution number is 2005-008. It says what I said it says. It was overwhelmingly passed and is overwhelmingly supported by the members of Democratic Party of Oregon.

Zak J. said...

The URL is too wide to list & gets truncated, so I'm listing is again with a hard return in the middle:

http://www.dpo.org/inside/
platform/Passed_resolutions.pdf

CLICK HERE to read it. Regards.

Anonymous said...

Feb 8th.

We have unconfirmed but reliable reports that Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick is in Olympia today promoting a bill to attack gun shows in Washington.

I also note that Senate Judiciary is not meeting today, so it seems likely that this is true.

Perhaps Blue Steel Democrats need a Washington chapter.

jrmallard06 said...

Senator Burdick was in Washington last Thursday, and provided some interesting testimony to a WA bill with very similar characteristics to Measure 5. Let me guess: you guys are against this one too.

Figures

Anonymous said...

Slap iron to it! That's what I tell my grandchildren when they hurt themselves.
If you aren't going to get off the pot and start acting to protect our rights then you desreve all these negative comments. I just the the stero typical "Let me guess: you guys are against this one too."
What part of "shall not infringe" don't you understand"? That is exactly the point, you say you get it but you haven't demonstrated it at all.

Kevin Starrett said...

Mallard said:

"Senator Burdick was in Washington last Thursday, and provided some interesting testimony to a WA bill with very similar characteristics to Measure 5. Let me guess: you guys are against this one too.
Figures"


OK. Here are the facts. You can take them or leave them, but if you dispute them, you'll have to document your dispute

http://oregonfirearms.org/burdickroadshow.html

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, wait, did you REALLY put a link to that fascist website to site evidence?!? That is hilarious! Blue steel Democrats, eh? Yeah, sure... I'm seeing Red Neck Republicans here!

Jason McKerr said...

Anonymous,

I'm not sure what fascist web site you're referring to. If it's Oregon Firearms Federation, I think they've done some pretty good things for Second Amendment rights in Oregon.

Kevin Starrett said...

"Anonymous said...
Wait, wait, wait, did you REALLY put a link to that fascist website to site evidence?!? That is hilarious! Blue steel Democrats, eh? Yeah, sure... I'm seeing Red Neck Republicans here!"

See, this kind of thing is what really exposes people. "Fascist" website? "Anonymous" clearly has no idea what the word "fascist" means and hurls it around ignorantly. Next time maybe "Anonymous" would like to actually debate the issue. I won't hold my breath. However, unlike "Anonymous" I'll sign my name.

Chuck Butcher said...

Any political party has its loons, you can thank the Republicans for giving some of them a home. The Democrats have their own. What would "anymouse" have the Parties do, make exclusionary topics?

Really, quit trolling and advance an argument. This site exists as a convenience for GOC of DPO, it's not a DPO organ or propaganda mouthpiece. Yep, I think G Burdick is an ass, whatever letter she puts behind her name (x).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this website! I am one of those Dems that left the party because of thier phony bullshit over workers rights and gun controll. In the last 2 elections, I voted 3rd party. If America ever has a 2nd revolution, it won't be "Liberal vs Conservative" but "Pro-Govornment vs Pro Constitution" I will fight and die for my right to bear arms. I am Pro-Constitution! The Sheeple must wake up and perhaps it takes blood on the streets of america. America, like Rome, will fall from within! WAKE UP!