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Hillary Clinton and the Pro-gun Vote

In a Thursday article for Town Hall, titled "Gun Owners for Hillary?", I examine Senator Clinton's success in winning gun-owner votes in the recent Democratic primaries. Susan Faludi's op-ed in the New York Times examines some of the changes in Mrs. Clinton's style which have made her more attractive to white males; my guess is that these changes are also particularly appealing to gun owners, who tend to place a high value on self-reliance and grit.

Brooks Lyman (mail):
I must confess that politicians who "grow" or change their stands on issues in order to get votes do not turn me very far on. Hillary's statements and voting record over the years on the gun issue do not hold out much hope for her being even a neutral - let alone pro-gun - President. Even if she didn't push for restrictive legislation, she would probably sign anti-gun bills and veto pro-gun bills. Not a chance I want to take.

Also, could a President use an executive order to ban some or all guns or put a national licensing/registration regime in place?

Don't get me wrong - Obama isn't any better, and McCain, while the best of a bad lot on the gun issue, is not very good, either.

I must say, that I feel sorry for any serious gun owning Democrat who feels that they must support one or the other of their party's candidates both in the primaries and in the general election. I think, for gun owning Democrats, that it's time to seriously consider the "Reagan Democrat" paradigm.
5.10.2008 4:23pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
A further comment: Unfortunately, many gun owners are either apathetic on the issue or they don't understand the potential threat that a seriously anti-gun President poses to their gun ownership.

Or perhaps they recognize the threat, but don't perceive it as a serious one: they figure that they can just register their guns and get a license to own them and everything will be fine. Here in MA, where we have just this situation (license required to purchase, possess or carry any gun), many gun owners go along with it without complaint. Since the Democrats currently control both houses of the legislature (90%), we own our guns on sufferance of the Democrats; currently a majority support gun ownership, but here in the "People's Republic of Massachusetts" that could easily change....
5.10.2008 4:33pm
Oren:
Brooks, while I'm pro-gun and in MA, I just don't see it as the most important issue in modern politics. The 'threat' to my gun ownership isn't worth voting for a party that does not support virtually all of the other rights that I hold dear.

Sometimes you gotta chose.
5.10.2008 4:45pm
Edward Lunny (mail):
It's almost humorous to suggest that Hillary has changed her position on gun rights. Her husband indicated similar belief in the right to firearms ownership during his first campaign for president, he, too, was a liar. I've been a registered democrat from the time that I could vote, over 30 years, but, haven't voted for any democrat in over two decades because of this kind of deception. In Pennsylvanias closed primary I voted for niether Hillary or Obama, I wrote in my choice. This issue is make or break for me, no apathy involved. If any candidate will not support the 2nd amendment they cannot be counted on to support any of the others. The sudden change of heart in an anti-gun rights candidate isn't nearly enough to convince me. As I stated, Bill expressed support for gun rights and lied just like he lied about nearly everything else. The democrats have squandered many votes and voters with lies and liars like this, myself included.
5.10.2008 4:54pm
Oren:
Ed, what about a candidate that will not support the 4th? Are they also not to be trusted to support the others?

There just isn't a candidate that I feel has the proper deference towards the bill of rights (and there hasn't been in a long time).
5.10.2008 5:12pm
Davebo (mail):
As a gun owner, and a democrat, I think it's a joke.

Anyone who loses sleep worrying that the government is coming to take their guns has been played for a fool.

Then again, I'd be embarrassed to admit publicly that I read Town Hall, much less was published in it.
5.10.2008 5:19pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Davebo wrote:

As a gun owner, and a democrat, I think it's a joke.

Anyone who loses sleep worrying that the government is coming to take their guns has been played for a fool.

Wow! I feel better already.
5.10.2008 5:51pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

I don't believe that policy-wise there is much of a difference between Obama and Clinton on guns, much like there isn't much daylight between them on other issues. I think the reason why some gun owners are moving towards Clinton is because apparently being First Lady in a Southern State gave her more valuable experience than being a Senior Lecturer in the equivalent of "cultural studies and the law."

Clinton may not agree with the majority of gun owners on, well, almost anything but at least she knows how to talk to them and doesn't act like they're some sort of strange anthropological curiosity (why are they so "bitter" anyway?). When Obama isn't reading from a prepared script he acts and sounds like someone who only just now learned that there are a whole mess of people in the country who exist outside of Harvard law school and the Chicago Democrat political machine.
5.10.2008 5:52pm
Kazinski:
Davebo:

Anyone who loses sleep worrying that the government is coming to take their guns has been played for a fool.

Tell that to the people of New York, Washington DC, and Chicago that have lost their rights to keep and bear arms. Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you.
5.10.2008 5:54pm
JKB:
In regards to Hillary and Obama trying to look all positive on guns

The Pro-Gun Progressive said it best:
"It's like watching two Klansmen argue over which one likes minorities more."

http://progunprogressive.com/?p=905

And as to Obama not wanting to commenting Heller. Well, actions speak louder than words and all of Obama's actions have been a gun grabber's wet dream.
5.10.2008 5:56pm
Davebo (mail):

Tell that to the people of New York, Washington DC, and Chicago that have lost their rights to keep and bear arms.


Ok, exactly how many guns has the government taken away from private citizens in New York, Washington DC, and Chicago?
5.10.2008 6:05pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Anyone who loses sleep worrying that the government is coming to take their guns has been played for a fool.


Like the fools in DC, NYC, Philly, SF...
5.10.2008 6:09pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Ok, exactly how many guns has the government taken away from private citizens in New York, Washington DC, and Chicago?


Right. Denial of ownership isn't at all like confiscation, unless you're caught with one, and charged, at which point you'll never be able to own one legally again.

By golly, you are from MA.
5.10.2008 6:11pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
Since we have all been played for fools by NRA fear-mongering...

-may the people in New Orleans finally have their guns back that were taken during Katrina? It has been 3 years with no attempt to comply with the court order. The guns are poorly stored and rusting.
-How about the people of California after Lockyer granted an amnesty and then sued to overturn it and confiscate the registered weapons? Can they have their weapons back?
-Can the New Yorkers whose registered guns were declared to be assault weapons and confiscated have them back?
-Can the people of australia and england have their guns back that were registered and later declared illegal?
-Can the gun owners of chicago who forgot to ask again for permission to own guns and got visited by the SWAT team have their weapons back?
5.10.2008 6:53pm
M WAHEED JADOON (mail) (www):
Dear Friends

I want to tell you about the day I had on Monday. I stopped in nine
towns throughout North Carolina, starting the day at 7:30 a.m. in
Elizabeth City and ending with a rally in Raleigh. That's the most
stops I've ever done in a single day -- for any campaign. And I
couldn't be happier to work that hard for Hillary.


I talked to a lot of people that day, and one thing was crystal clear
-- people want Hillary to stay in this race until every last voter has
a say. That's why Hillary and I are working so hard. That's why we've
made a deep commitment to keep campaigning, keep fighting, and keep
winning.


We have had a lot of success in this campaign, and our come-from-
behind victory in Indiana is the latest example of how Hillary wins
when she has your support behind her. As long as you share her
commitment to winning, this race is going to continue.


Our next test is just five days away in West Virginia. Hillary needs
your help right now to keep winning.


Contribute now to help us show the strength of our campaign.


I know something about coming back to win after you've been counted
out. So does Hillary. Over the course of this campaign, the pundits
have tried to declare a premature end to the race dozens of times.


Well, last time I checked, it's still up to the voters. And there are
a lot of voters who haven't had their say yet.


It's up to us to make sure that the voters in West Virginia and the
other states yet to come are given a choice. I urge you to act now to
help Hillary keep fighting.


Show your support by making a contribution today.


I wish I could talk to every last person who has worked so hard for
Hillary to thank you for everything you've done for her. You mean so
much to both of us. She's still in this thing because of your hard
work and your indomitable spirit.


Sincerely,


Bill Clinton


SUPPORT FOR HILLARY CLINTON
WE WANT JUSTICE IN THE WORLD
WE WANT PEACE IN THE WORLD
WE WANT DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD
FOR AMERICA

Sharing a Vision of Peace, Justice, and Democracy for the World
WORLD DEMOCRACY MEDIA GROUP
NEW YORK
United for Peace and Justice
M WAHEED JADOON
5.10.2008 7:04pm
Oren:
Jim, Congress passed (and Obama and Clinton voted for) a Federal law that would prohibit confiscation of firearms during an emergency. Non starter.

As far as Chicago, California and New York City go, everyone that moves there knows it's not gun friendly. They chose what is (in their minds) the best place to live -- and they can leave if they want.

Mind you, I'm against (and think that they are in violation of the 2A) most of the gun restrictions in IL and NYC (no idea about CA law so I'll take a pass). Nevertheless, where you see a mountain, I see a molehill.
5.10.2008 7:08pm
David Friedman (mail) (www):
Two points:

1. Most of the time, the question is not what a politician believes but what he regards as in his political interest. The fact that Hillary is pretending to be pro-gun in the primary is at least some reason to think that she believes the position is popular--even with Democrats--which is some reason to believe that she will find it in her political interest to be less antigun as President, if she wins, than her own views and past history would suggest.

2. The numbers offered in your Town Hall article are the sort of information that cries out for a multiple regression or some other way of taking account of multiple factors. We know that the support bases of the candidates differ: older people and less educated people tend to support Clinton, blacks tend to support Obama, labor union members and rural Democrats tend to support Clinton, etc.

I expect there is some correlation between membership in each of these groups and gun ownership. When you report that Hilary carried gun owning households in Indiana by 22%, we don't know if the reason is that gun owners like Hillary or that groups who, for other reasons, like Hillary tend to own guns. It would be worth trying to find out. Most obviously, Hillary was generally supported by rural Democrats, and rural people are much more likely to own guns than urban people, at least in the north where big cities tend to have restrictive regulations--not to mention more limited opportunities for hunting.
5.10.2008 7:09pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Oren wrote:

As far as Chicago, California and New York City go, everyone that moves there knows it's not gun friendly. They chose what is (in their minds) the best place to live -- and they can leave if they want.

I wonder how well that attitude would translate to other rights.
5.10.2008 7:34pm
ERH:
Has Hillary ever said that she believes the 2nd protects an indvidual right?
5.10.2008 7:39pm
Correction?:
David, Your column states that Hillary won Indiana by 2%. However, if the NY Times is to be believed, her margin of victory was 1.4%, which doesn't quite round up.
5.10.2008 8:13pm
Oren:
wuzz, I though I made it clear I didn't approve of the way things were. Apparently not clear enough.
5.10.2008 8:31pm
Oren:
Actually, to clarify what I meant: Chicago is dead wrong on their handgun ban (and I hope to god Heller rips them a new one). It's illegal, it's bad policy and it's absurdly hypocritical.

That said, I know plenty of Chicagoans and they really aren't as pissed about it as you think they are, probably because they self-select themselves not to be. They just don't care. I don't know how to explain this to gun freaks - even those of us that support your position are not going to make a mountain out of this molehill.
5.10.2008 8:48pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
Actually Hillary voted against the anti-confiscation bill.

Obama voted for it, but note that the bill only prohibited the confiscation of lawfully held firearms- in Obama's world, there are no such things. Obama has tried to ban all semiautos, ban all handguns, ban assault weapons (however defined) and ban concealed carry nationwide. Until recently (when he began declining comment), Obama has stated that he thinks the DC ban is constitutional in addition to being a reasonable and effective anti-violence measure. Does he really believe this?

Compared to this, Hillary Clinton is Charlton Heston. And she is one of the most reliably anti-gun political figures in the US.
5.10.2008 9:20pm
30yearProf:
even those of us that support your position are not going to make a mountain out of this molehill.


That's fine. We'll do it. But remember that we may not be there for you either. Although I suspect we are stronger political friends than most.

At least 10% of the electorate votes solely on this issue. I do. It is a litmus test for Liberty. That % is enough to turn many elections and to cause concern for many other politicians.

It seems like every day we pick up a few more "no compromise" voters from the great mass of pro-civil liberties voters. I used to be a card-carrying Democrat (I still have my 198x Sustaining Member card) and I find that most pro-gun voters were too. We are pro-Liberty (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Amendment, etc. and neutral on abortion), not Republican. Republican politicians, like John McCain sometimes need a painful lesson, before they understand that fact.
5.10.2008 9:34pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Oren -

My attitude when faced with a choice is: all else being equal, the pro-gun candidate gets my vote, and I'm willing to excuse a fair amount of deviation from my ideals (I'm a conservative Republican) in order to elect pro-gun candidates.

Our experience here in MA (as you may well know) is that while other issues may more readily turn around, the gun laws only seem to get more restrictive as time goes on and it takes endless time and lobbying to effect even the slightest, most innocuous and beneficial changes.

Meanwhile, violent crime in MA, formerly decreasing, has more or less doubled since the restrictive MA gun law was passed in 1998, while decreasing or holding steady in the rest of New England.

You speak of the "party that does not support virtually all of the other rights that I hold dear;" I assume that you are referring to the Republicans. Could I suggest that when one is speaking of rights, as enumerated in the Declaration, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, that the Republicans are the party most supportive of those basic human rights. If, on the other hand, you are speaking of what a conservative would refer to as entitlements, well, no question but that the Democrats are the ardent supporters of those "rights." Unfortunately, if we keep expanding such "rights," - which always seem to come with strings attached - we will end up with little real freedom.

I'd love to discuss this further, but this is not the proper forum. If so inclined, feel free to e-mail me.
5.10.2008 10:21pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
There's no question that plenty of people in places like Chicago, Philly, NYC, Boston and Cambridge don't own guns and don't really understand or care about them or the issues involved in the 2nd Amendment or self defense against crime.

Self defense against criminal attack (mainly at home; relatively few gun owners carry concealed) is the real issue. Target shooters, hunters and gun collectors can generally function under all but the most absurdly stringent gun laws, but when you need (as in MA) a license to even OWN a handgun (or rifle or shotgun) and the handgun license is discretionary (the police chief can refuse to issue it on the basis that you are "not a suitable person," whatever that may mean in his mind), then you often have a problem when you tell him that you want a gun because you will feel safer at home if you have one....

Those people who don't own guns and don't really care (or think) about the issues involved do not surprise me, and it might be noted that most people in intellectual professions - doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. - tend to be, if not anti-gun, at least disinterested in the subject. I just hope that they never find themselves in a situation where they really need a gun but don't have one. While the motivation to become gun owners might be irresistible after such an experience, they might not survive to take advantage of their hard-earned education.

So, no, I don't think that many "pro-gun" people really expect much support from the unconcerned (unless they have been mugged, etc) and the odds are, that they won't be. On the other hand, as a gun owner, target shooter, armed citizen, NRA and MA State Police-certified firearms safety instructor, I have known a great many gun owners, and I would only consider a very tiny minority of them to be "gun freaks."
5.10.2008 10:44pm
Brian K (mail):
but note that the bill only prohibited the confiscation of lawfully held firearms

do you seriously believe that the police (or some other law enforcement agent) shouldn't confiscate something that is illegal? hmmm...i wonder how far that belief will go? drugs? counterfeit goods? kiddie porn? a vial of weaponized anthrax?
5.10.2008 11:07pm
Brian K (mail):
Could I suggest that when one is speaking of rights, as enumerated in the Declaration, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, that the Republicans are the party most supportive of those basic human rights.

given the past 6 or so years, I have no idea how you can say this with a straight face.
5.10.2008 11:08pm
Paul Milligan (mail) (www):
Hillary is such a strong supporter of gun rights, one of the first things she would do is create a Cabinet level post 'Protector of the 2nd Amendment'.

Then she'd appoint Dianne Fienstein as Secretary and Sarah Brady as Under Secretary. And bgar about 'how she protected out rights'.

The 'movement' I'll believe out of her on gun rights is the one that consists of her walking slowly down-range.
5.10.2008 11:36pm
glangston (mail):
Gun freaks? I guess we'll just have to grin and bear this like we do being "mean spirited" conservatives. .
5.11.2008 1:04am
Tony Tutins (mail):

Tell that to the people of New York, Washington DC, and Chicago that have lost their rights to keep and bear arms.

Ok, exactly how many guns has the government taken away from private citizens in New York, Washington DC, and Chicago?

The poster is quite right, every Chicago resident thoughtful enough to arm himself before the handgun registry closed in 1983, retains the right to remain armed, PROVIDED that he remembered to reregister every TWO years, and never resided anywhere else.
5.11.2008 1:23am
lpcowboy:
Brooks,

I knew a guy in Chicago who got robbed, the cops told him to buy (an illegal) gun. If you are a white middle class person willing to play along with the Daley machine the ban doesn't apply to you; this is what Oren is getting at when he says Chicagoans don't care.

I would also suggest that both the Constitution and Libertarian parties are far more supprotive of basic rights than the Republicans. While 3rd parties don't often win major elections, in states like Illinois and Massachesutes the Republicans aren't going to win either.
5.11.2008 1:27am
Cornellian (mail):
Could I suggest that when one is speaking of rights, as enumerated in the Declaration, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, that the Republicans are the party most supportive of those basic human rights.

I'd give them the edge only on the Second Amendment.

Third Amendment is a tie.
5.11.2008 1:54am
Oren:
It is a litmus test for Liberty.
I'll take Griswold and Lawrence as my litmus tests.

Bottom line: neither party trusts you with your tool.
5.11.2008 3:03am
Jim at FSU (mail):
Two points oren...

1) Griswold, Roe, Lawrence are not real vote getters from the people that support them- in fact, I'd say they energize the opposition if they energize anyone....

Supports of things like federally guaranteed abortion and sodomy live in areas where their local government protect such things if the federal government was ever forced to back out of the issue. There is literally nothing to lose except on a weak public relations level. Gay sex and abortion are never going to be illegal in California or New York. Most gay people or doctors will not be affected by Alabama regaining the ability to restrict abortions.

Opponents of federally guaranteed abortion and sodomy live in areas that oppose such things and resent not being able to outlaw them. The potential gains for them are real political gains.

I'm not saying I approve of banning gay sex or abortions. I'm actually a libertarian. But I'm pointing out that the motivations at work here currently lean very far in favor of the religious conservatives.

2) The gun vote used to be a reliable vote for Democrats. The only difference is that it wasn't called the gun vote back then. It was called the blue collar/union vote. Pretty amazing how you guys pissed that one away.

Anyway, guns are a great litmus test for determining whether a candidate trusts us or suspects we are all secretly criminals. It's a great indicator of what a candidate thinks the role of government in our lives should be.
5.11.2008 4:27am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Supports of things like federally guaranteed abortion and sodomy live in areas where their local government protect such things if the federal government was ever forced to back out of the issue.

And do you really think the gun laws in Alabama (who's constitution I bet, like many states, clearly guarantees an individual right to bear arms) would be affected in the least even if the SC found that DCs gun ban, and all bans like it, was perfectly legal (I don't expect such a decision btw)?
5.11.2008 12:14pm
TomHynes (mail):

Dave, you didn't mention the best part about the Clinton ad. She used a picture of a left handed Mauser, which doesn't exist.

Somebody using photoshop flipped the picture without realizing that guns aren't symmetric.

She should have borrowed one of Dick Cheney's shotguns.
5.11.2008 12:32pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
J. F. Thomas wrote:

And do you really think the gun laws in Alabama (who's constitution I bet, like many states, clearly guarantees an individual right to bear arms) would be affected in the least even if the SC found that DCs gun ban, and all bans like it, was perfectly legal (I don't expect such a decision btw)?

If the fed.gov, under a President BHO or HRC, passed a federal ban on handguns, concealed carrying of arms, semi-auto firearms, sniper rifles (scoped deer rifles), .50 caliber-or-larger arms (including smoothbores), then the Alabama Constitution's RTKBA would be rendered null and void.
5.11.2008 12:49pm
Bender (mail):
To summarize the article cited at the beginning of this post: Hillary has become better than Obama when dissimulating about his/her intention to utterly disarm the citizens of the USA.
5.11.2008 1:27pm
Oren:
wuzz, I don't think either BHO or HRC would expend political capital on such a bill. Even if she did, I can't imagine it passing the pro-gun Senate. Even if it did that, I can't imagine the SCOTUS not finding a Federalism issue, ala VAWA.

It's seems awfully far-fetched to imagine that the Federal government is going to ban handguns, scoped guns, shotguns (smooth bore) or CCW. BTW, I've always advocated 50cal as the cutoff for the RKBA, but I figured it could go either way.
5.11.2008 1:52pm
Oren:
Jim:
(1) Funny to have you make a "laboratory of Federalism" argument about Griswold when I got reamed by Wuzz for making the same argument about self-selection in Chicago and NYC. As I've acknowledged, I believe their guns bans to be largely unconstitutional while you apparently want to roll back Griswold (Meyers v. Nebraska too, perhaps)
(2) Also funny, I live in a liberal state that criminalizes fornication, sex toys, all manner of "unnatural acts" (whatever that even means) and, of course, adultery.

Basically, living in a liberal state might not actually be all that protection from the patronizing morality of the State.

(3) It's true that the push to outlaw the things listed above it stronger than the push to protect them, but this is because I suspect 99.99% of people committing fornication in MA have no idea that they are violating the law (they are probably protected by Lawrence but they are still ignorant of the fact that, without the protection of the Federal government, what they do would be illegal).

Even still, I have no idea why the political realities -- support for the right to have sex is broad and shallow, support for the RKBA is narrower (note: not narrow, just narrower) and deeper -- should affect the analysis here. I will vote the candidate that I think is, on the balance, least destructive to my freedoms. I shudder to think about what might happen to Griswold and Lawrence if Stevens and Ginsburg are replaced by Roberts and Alito clones (as McCain promises).
5.11.2008 2:13pm
BT:
Oren count me as one resident of Chicago who is quite pissed off that I cannot legally carry a fire arm. I think you are probably right that many of your friends don't view this as a big deal, but chances are your friends live in places like Lincoln Park and work in the Loop, where they will feel relatively safe and spend very little if any time at 83rd &Racine, as I do. I would venture to say that few northside residents venture south of Roosevelt Road and then only to go to a Sox game.

As for the commenter who reported that a Chicago cop told a friend of his to buy a gun, that is all well and good, if your friend should get stopped by that same cop. The problem comes in when you get caught by a cop wanting to make a name for himeself with the very liberal and Daleyesque higher ups and can now use you, white or not, as a scalp for Daley's anti-gun crusade and to win brownie points for his promotion to lieutenant or detective. You may want to take that chance, but I would rather have my consitutuional rights restored and do it on the up and up.
5.11.2008 2:18pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Oren: certainly, we won't have to swallow it all as one huge, bitter pill. However, incrementalism has been the tactic for the gun prohibitionists. Especially if localities can ban whatever they like (the way Dee Cee and Daleyland have) we will one day reach a tipping point where a vast majority of citizens have never even seen a gun not in the posession of a cop, unless they've had one shoved in their face during a robbery. Given the trends in demographics, this may happen eventually, anyway.

BHO is probably bright-eyed (read: naive) enough to expend some political capital on some of these projects. He'll back off after he's had his tuchas handed to him, a time or two. He'll have some success in the process, though.
5.11.2008 2:19pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Oren I'll take Griswold and Lawrence as my litmus tests.

Funny, but I have yet to have any state that I've lived in even attempt to constrain my rather libertine preferences. Can't say the same for the guns I own or would like to own.
5.11.2008 4:16pm
Oren:
JI, take a gander at the MA laws I cited earlier! Even in godless liberal gay-marriage kennedy-land I can't get lucky without spending 3 months in the big house (but for the saving grace of Anthony Kennedy in Lawrence).
5.11.2008 6:32pm
Oren:
chances are your friends live in places like Lincoln Park and work in the Loop, where they will feel relatively safe and spend very little if any time at 83rd &Racine, as I do. I would venture to say that few northside residents venture south of Roosevelt Road and then only to go to a Sox game.
Actually, most of them live in boystown/wrigleyville and work around there. Some work at IIT (35th S, by the redline). Also, the White Sox suck :-P

I would rather have my consitutuional rights restored and do it on the up and up.
Absolutely.
5.11.2008 6:40pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Oren - What did you mean when you said that your Chicago friends don't much care about the city's gun laws? That guns aren't an issue with them? Or that they simply buy a gun outside the city and break the law? I might add, that if your interest is solely home defense and you have no other gun sporting interest, then that's "okay." But if you want to legally own a gun to hunt or target shoot, you may find that your legal right to do so evaporates forever if you are caught with an illegal gun - which is probably a felony.

As for Republicans supporting real rights vs. "rights"=entitlements, I stand by what I said. The Bush Administration and some Republican Congressmen may, individually, be Republican Party members, but they do not represent the activist grassroots base of the party. Unfortunately, the activist base of the Democratic party seems to be very much in support of "rights"=entitlements and willing to compromise away some of our basic rights under the 1st and 2nd Amendments in particular.
5.11.2008 8:40pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
most people in intellectual professions - doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. - tend to be, if not anti-gun, at least disinterested in the subject.
That's the image. Yet back in 1995 when I was teaching the initial flood of Texas concealed handgun licensees the medical profession had one of the largest representations of any.
5.11.2008 9:03pm
Oren:
Brooks, I don't know where you get the idea that Meyers, Pierce, Loving, Griswold, Lawrence, Mapp ... are 'entitlements' -- they most certainly are not! They are a recognition of liberties ("negative freedoms") in the most literal sense: educate your children, marry the person of your choice, make decision about your own sexuality, have privacy in your own home.

These are the right that, along with the 2A, I hold quite dear. When Roberts and Alito make noises like they are going to curtail them, I get nervous.
5.11.2008 9:45pm
Oren:
What did you mean when you said that your Chicago friends don't much care about the city's gun laws? That guns aren't an issue with them?
Precisely. Most of them have no idea what the gun laws are in Chicago, how radically different from the rest of the country IL is, etc ...
5.11.2008 9:46pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Oren -

OK - to a fair extent I agree with you. Though not being familiar with all the cases that you mention, I can't say for sure on all of them.

With regard to education, though, what exactly (and this is way off subject, so feel free to e-mail me on it) do you mean by "educate your children?" Certainly parents should be able to educate their children pretty much as they wish, whether public, private or home school, religious or secular. I would consider that a right subsumed under "life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Does the state have a right to insist on certain standards of literacy or academic content? The state certainly has a legitimate interest in a literate citizenry; how far can the state legitimately extend that interest?
5.12.2008 1:04pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Larry A -

"'most people in intellectual professions - doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. - tend to be, if not anti-gun, at least disinterested in the subject.'

That's the image. Yet back in 1995 when I was teaching the initial flood of Texas concealed handgun licensees the medical profession had one of the largest representations of any."

Yes, that's been similar to my experience teaching Pistol Marksmanship Courses at MIT in Cambridge, MA - we are always booked up solid to the capacity of the MIT Pistol Range (15 points) and most of the students are engineers, doctors or students in those fields - not too many linguistics or psychology students! But overall, compared to the total staff and enrollment of MIT, our courses take in only a tiny percentage. Most people are either disinterested or anti-gun, something that education can sometimes cure, but how to get people to listen?

As an aside, the MIT Varsity Pistol team has been twice national champions in the last few years, beating such powerhouses as Army and Navy, thanks to Coach Will Hart.
5.12.2008 1:14pm
Oren:
Brooks, first off, you are absolutely right that science folks tend to be a lot more skeptical of gun control.

I picked these cases because they all involve rights that are not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution but rather are "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" (or identical phrase). Those rights (educate your children in German, marry another race, have consensual gay sex, have contraceptives) are more important in the long run, IMO, than gun rights. They are more pertinent in more people's lives, for sure.
5.15.2008 1:07am