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Thu

21

Feb

2008

Taking on The Lobby
Thursday, 21 February 2008 09:16
by Jayne Lyn Stahl

After the horror that was Northern Illinois University Thursday afternoon, Barack Obama announced Friday morning that, as a constitutional attorney, he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, thinks it doesn't only apply to the militia, and that he also plans to use California gun control legislation as a paradigm for a national policy to contain the spread of gun violence.

But, is it really possible to have it both ways? Can one support the right to bear arms, as well as implement the kind of national gun control legislation that will stem the flood of shootings on our nation's campuses, streets, and homes? Essentially, the question is, should Senator Obama become President Obama would he be prepared to take on the most powerful, and influential, congressional lobby outside of the tobacco industry, the gun lobby?

After the spate of campus killings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and now at Northern Illinois, there is little doubt that the former president, and his attorney general brother, Robert F. Kennedy, would be hard at work on gun control legislation now.

Obama is fond of this quote from President John F. Kennedy: "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate," but is he any more ready for hand to hand combat with those who put their rifles next to Gideon's Bible in Motel 6's from Idaho to Alaska, those who are the most obstinant opponents of restrictions on the possession, manufacture, and sale of firearms? He suggests that he would support legislation on the order of gun laws implemented, in California, during Gray Davis' tenure as governor.

While California has some of the most draconian firearm laws in the country, requiring that only those handguns be sold, or manufactured, that are listed on the Bureau of Firearms approved list, it's important to remember that private sales are exempted from this restriction. Moreover, one does not need a license to own a handgun in California.

In the nation's capital, all firearms must be registered with the police, and possession of handguns is prohibited, even in one's home, unless they were registered before 1976. And, while this handgun ban is currently being challenged by those who think it violates their Second Amendment right to bear arms, the ban will remain in effect until the Supreme Court hears the case.

Importantly, with the exception of certain counties, in Illinois, site of Thursday's mass shootings, and Obama's home state, registering a firearm is not mandated by law, and a Firearm Owner's Identification Card may be easily obtained unless the applicant has been convicted of a felony, or was a mental patient within the past five years, nor is there a carry permit requirement. Notably, the gunman who randomly shot two dozen in a university lecture hall obtained his guns legally.

As one who doesn't profess to know enough about constitutional law to discuss the Second Amendment, I leave it to the Supreme Court to decide what that entitlement is. But, one can only hope that the image of the Virginia Tech shooter will be juxtaposed in the justices' memory along with the Northern Illionis University gunman, as well as others who have taken the lives of middle school students in Oxnard, and done drive-bys throughout our inner cities. One would hope that this, too, would be factored into their deliberations.

Were it possible for the founding fathers to anticipate that, two centuries after their demise, assault weapons would be used by neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, they might have been less ambiguous as to when one has a constitutional right to bear arms. Clearly, as survivors of a revolutionary war, their concept of citizen and militia must have been much different from our own.

Those who like to compare Barack Obama to John F. Kennedy, or his brother and attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy, must be reminded that, whether rightly or otherwise, President Kennedy stood up to Cuba, and Bobby Kennedy took on organized crime. We may not be sure of much, but we can count on the chutzpah of both Kennedy brothers to take on the most virulent of corporate lobbies in this country. But, forty years from now, will one be able to say the same of President Obama?

For the past eight years, we've had a President, and a Justice Department, that is too spineless to admit having taken a wrong turn with respect to our involvement in Iraq, yet is not afraid, or ashamed, to tweak the Constitution in ways that compromise freedom of expression, and due process.

For nearly a decade, the Bush administration has lip synched the neo-conservative mantra of respect for human life while, at the same time, forever changing our notion of human rights. One has only to look at the treatment Jose Padilla received in the hands of his captors to grasp that this administration has no more respect for the human rights, and dignity, of its citizens than of those it detains in Iraq, or Afghanistan.

One thing is clear, a McCain presidency will cater to the gun lobby, and not act to limit access to firearms.

What's more, if interpretation of the Second Amendment is in order, one would hope that it would be weighed heavily in favor of the preservation of human life, thus we ask Senator Obama, or any presidential nominee, to look to Washington, D.C., not to California, as a model for gun control legislation, and to work together with gun groups, and law enforcement, to get firearms out of the hands of our children, out of our classrooms, schoolyards, and streets.

If Senator Obama does become his Party's nominee, then he must distinguish himself from his Republican opponent by taking on the number one obstacle to national firearm reform, and prove his commitment to curtailing the proliferation of handguns and assault weapons.



http://ladyjaynestahl.blogspot.com
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Comments (9)add comment

JRFRY said:

0
...
The tradgedies mentioned here are not because it is legal to buy a gun, but rather that there was nobody armed in a gun-free zone other than the shooter.

Cars kill more people than guns. I don't propose that they be outlawed. Do you?

How are we protecting ourselves from the lawless by leaving them the only ones armed?

Comparing Washington, DC to Northern Illinois in terms of laws restricting gun ownership should include the number of shootings in both places. Guess which one has the higher incidence.

Criminalizing self defense as a defense mechanism is patently ludicrous.
 
February 21, 2008
Votes: +0

Decoligny said:

0
Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance, they are the people's liberty teeth - George Washington
The places with the most restrictive gun laws invariably have the most gun violence. The places with the least restrictive gun laws have the least amount of gun violence.

"An Armed Society is a Polite Society" - Robert Hienlien
 
February 21, 2008
Votes: +0

Richard said:

0
JFK's thoughts on Gun Control
By calling attention to a well-regulated militia for the security of the Nation, and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our Founding Fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the second amendment, will ever be a major danger to our Nation, the amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of the country. For that reason I believe the second amendment will always be important. --JOHN F. KENNEDY
 
February 22, 2008
Votes: +0

Lee McGee said:

0
sovereign citizen
Since the definition of "infringed" is the same today as it was in the 18th century when the Bill of rights was ratified, exactly what part of "shall not be infringed" do you fail to grasp?
Either the Constitution is the supreme law of the land or we live at the whim of executive decree (see torture renditions), judicial fiat (see negating Habeus Corpus), and/or legislative over-reach (see USA Patriot Act).
 
February 22, 2008
Votes: +0

LarryB said:

0
...
Fine. Poof, no private citizen can own a firearm. Let's forget for the moment the estimated 250 million guns now in private hands. Wave our wand and make them go away. So what we have left is the Cops and the Criminals and one big flock of defenseless sheep. The criminals? Oh, they'll get their guns same place they get their drugs, or steal them from the cops or the military, or buy them from some illegal gun factory in someone's basement. During WWII submachine guns were manufactured in bicycle shops at a cost of about ten bucks a copy. Not that hard to do, really. And very profitable given a total prohibition. Look what it did for bootlegging after all.
So, I just gave you everything you wanted. How do you like it?
 
February 22, 2008
Votes: +0

Henry said:

0
...
This article contains so many errors I cannot address them all in this limited space. For one thing, it is impossible for a citizen to carry a gun, open or concealed in IL period. The only ones who can get a permit are police, judges and politicians. IL is one of only two States that requires the additional step of getting an FOID card, then you still have to pass the FBI check and wait three days for a handgun and 24 hours for a long gun. IL ranks in the top five States for draconian gun laws.

You do not need to be a Constitutional lawyer to understand the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, a fluency in the English lanuage should suffice. The founders knew exactly what they were doing and would absolutely welcome the citizens owning full automatic firearms.

Bush has betrayed gun owners by having the DOJ submit a brief in Heller supporting the DC ban, not lifting it.

John McCain is no friend of gun owners.

Another call to ban the private ownership of firearms ends this tripe as if that would accomplish anything. Crimainls bt defition do not obey the law, so the weak will be easy prey for the strong and armed, insane.
 
February 22, 2008
Votes: +0

RezDuane said:

0
An example of journalism at its worst
But, one can only hope that the image of the Virginia Tech shooter will be juxtaposed in the justices' memory along with the Northern Illionis University gunman, as well as others who have taken the lives of middle school students in Oxnard, and done drive-bys throughout our inner cities. One would hope that this, too, would be factored into their deliberations
.

I would hope that the image of the defenseless students would be "juxtaposed in the justices' memory". Like shooting fish in a barrel! All of them at the mercy of lunatic gunmen who broke many gun laws in just a few minutes. Contrast that with the fact that the law-abiding students had their God-given right to self-defense (supposedly guaranteed--not given--by the constitution) taken away from them by a bunch of feel-good, look-busy bureaucrats whose self-defense is guaranteed by armed body guards. Their hypocrisy makes me ill.

Lady Jayne needs to brush up on her history. Her perspective is skewed!
 
February 23, 2008
Votes: +0

RezDuane said:

0
Here's another great idea presented by "Lady Jayne!"
What's more, if interpretation of the Second Amendment is in order, one would hope that it would be weighed heavily in favor of the preservation of human life, thus we ask Senator Obama, or any presidential nominee, to look to Washington, D.C., not to California, as a model for gun control legislation, and to work together with gun groups, and law enforcement, to get firearms out of the hands of our children, out of our classrooms, schoolyards, and streets.


She wants to use the murder capital of the U.S. as a model for gun control legislation!

If this were meant as humor it would be hilarious! Unfortunately, it seems she is seriously presenting this as a solution, and that's a tragedy. If she thinks the body count is high now (in perspective, it's not,) think of what it would be if all of America were a "Gun Free" zone. Make that "Victim Disarmament" zone!

Lady Jayne, it's called "logic." Why don't liberals understand logic?
 
February 24, 2008
Votes: +0

A Berkeley Liberal said:

0
It never works...
(Hey, don't paint me with the "those liberals" brush!)

I live in California, with some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation. I live right between Oakland and Richmond, two of the leading murder capitols of the nation. Gun control laws do not stop the bad guys, only the law-abiding citizen.

I am a very left-leaning liberal, more so than any of the presidential candidates in this race. But I am NOT in favor of more restrictive gun legislation.

 
March 06, 2008
Votes: +0

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