Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gun Control Bill

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns gun control and its effect on rights and privacy.  The Obama Administration continues to push gun control, and the Democrats controlling the U.S. Senate tried to shove through an amendment supporting the President’s desires.  In spite of evidence that gun control does not reduce violence, liberals continue to push gun control.  In spite of testimony that the bill would not have prevented the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the President and other liberals continue to believe that they must “do something” about guns.

                Reuters reported that the Senate rejected a bipartisan plan to expand background checks for gun buyers on Wednesday.    The plan to extend background checks to online and gun-show sales failed on a 54-46 vote when 60 votes were needed to clear the Senate.  The amendment was sponsored by Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn) and represented President Obama’s “best chance” to pass “meaningful gun-control legislation.”

                I am pleased that both of my Senators voted “no.”  They both obviously understand that Alaskans do not want gun control.  “Four Democrats who will face re-election in conservative, gun-friendly states opposed the Manchin-Toomey background checks amendment – Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Max Baucus of Montana. 
                “Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid supported the measure, but changed his vote after it was apparent it would lose in order to preserve his option to bring the measure back up in the Senate.
                “Four Republicans backed it:  Toomey, Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Mark Kirk of Illinois.”

                I hope that conservative voters remember the Republicans – RINOs – who supported expanded background checks for gun buyers and vote them out of office.  I also hope voters – particularly Alaskans – are not fooled by the Democrats who voted against the measure.   They are still Democrats who must be defeated!

                Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) tried to replace the existing gun-control bill with an amendment that would put the “focus on prosecuting gun crimes, improving mental health records for gun owners and funding improved school safety measure,” but his amendment was rejected on a 52-48 vote.

                Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said of Grassley’s measure, “Rather than restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans, we should be focusing on keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals, which this legislation accomplishes.”

                Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats decided to “shelve” the gun control bill because of the failure to get enough votes to pass it; they plan to bring it back later if the political climate improves for it.

                The President was confident that he could “shame and bully Republicans into submitting to his agenda of tax increases and sweeping gun reform.”  When he realized that his tactics were not working, he began to “court” Republicans and “take on his own party” by calling for “modest reductions in entitlement spending.” 

                “Obama, regardless of the personality and political approach he displays on any given day, keeps running into the same wall of insurmountable opposition.  The cold, hard reality is that the president is trapped in a very frustrating box:  He realizes that the vast majority of Congress is as impervious to his pressure as it is to his charm.  He is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t – and he knows it….”

                This gun control amendment did not pass because there were enough Senators who understand that Americans do not want more gun control.  They know that Americans are beginning to “wise up” and “see” the dangers imposed by the regime.  One of the reasons for this increased awakening is The Heritage Foundation and the information it provides to members of Congress.  The Heritage Foundation claimed that the current bill would erode our “rights and privacy” and urged the lawmakers to consider the many “complex factors that contribute to violence.

                Heritage published a report entitled “The Newtown Tragedy:  Complex Causes Require Thoughtful Analysis and Responses.”  The abstract to this report stated:  “In responding to horrific crimes such as the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, individuals, families, civil society, and possibly government must channel their concerns into effective measures that are consistent with the Constitution.  As we try to make society safer and stronger, constitutional and complex cultural factors must be taken into consideration, and sound policy must be based on a serious study of the data and other evidence.  Policymakers should avoid a rush to judgment on prescriptions that violate first principles, ignore the real root of these complex problems, or disregard careful social science research.  Any federal government role must be limited and constrained by constitutional principles.  The most important solutions lie at the state and local levels, in the community and within the family.”

                The Foundry, a blog published by the experts at The Heritage Foundation, weighed in on the Senate bill.  “Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama and many in Congress have pushed a `do something’ mentality on gun control.  Heritage experts urged lawmakers to consider the host of complex factors that contribute to violent outbreaks and to steer away from untested ideas that would restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.  But the plan facing a vote in the Senate today would have much broader effects on law-abiding citizens than it would do anything to curb gun violence.
                “The plan … gives Attorney General Eric Holder the power to write countless regulations affecting gun laws.”  [What could go wrong with Holder writing the regulations?]

                The article quoted David Addington, legal expert at Heritage, who outlined three dangers that the “shelved” gun-control bill would bring to Americans:  “1) It sets `a trap for the innocent.’”  People at gun shows could be sent “to jail up to five years for a crime they did not even know was a crime.”  “2) It allows firearms dealers to do secret background checks on job applicants.”  “3) It `reduces existing privacy protection for mental health records relevant to background checks’ … ‘leaving only what privacy protection the Attorney General cares to provide.’”

“We need to address the underlying problems that lead to violence and fix any outstanding issues with the current system. But encroaching on the rights of Americans and eroding privacy laws is not the way to do it.”

                This gun-control bill was never about controlling violence; it has always been about controlling law-abiding citizens.  Plus, it would do nothing to stop future tragedies like happened in Newtown.  Americans are fortunate that the Senate did not pass this amendment and slowed the rush to more gun control.  

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