While it may seem a waste of words even to discuss the 2016 Democratic Party Presidential candidates’ positions on the right of the people to keep and bear arms, some elucidation is in order since we can zero in on the current strategies each of the five Democratic candidates would employ for undermining the Second Amendment were that person elected to the Office of President. So, let us consider where each of the five candidates stand on the issue of the right of the people to keep and bear arms as laid out during the October 13, 2015 Democratic Party Debate, held at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.
Well, none of the Democratic Party candidates serve as a supporter, much less an exemplar, of the Second Amendment. That, we know. But, if so, how can an American — any American — claim to represent all Americans who does not vow to uphold the “Bill of Rights” of the U.S. Constitution – all Ten of them, not Nine or Eight of them?
Now, some might argue that Jim Webb, who, as the moderator, Anderson Cooper, pointed out, had, at one time, at least, received an “‘A’ rating from the NRA,” is, in fact a supporter of the Second Amendment. In fact, Cooper asked Webb whether Webb would agree that arming more people is Webb’s answer to a mass shooting. Webb did not take the bait but said that there are two fundamental issues involved in this discussion and that both need to be respected. The first issue, Webb said, goes to the question “who should be kept from having guns.” Webb said that criminals, gang members, and those who are mentally incapacitated should not have access to guns. The second issue, Webb asserted, goes to the tradition in this Country. Webb pointed out that people have a right to have access to guns to protect their families from violence since they do not have bodyguards as those in high levels of Government do. Now, these assertions might suggest that Webb is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment but, if you carefully analyze what he said, Webb qualified and effectively undermined his position by arguing for more “background checks,” and he clearly asserted that mental health practitioners should share their patients’ medical information with Government.
The use of background checks as well as the introduction of measures compelling mental health practitioners to divulge medical information that is subject to the doctor/patient privilege serve only to destroy the inherent right to privacy. And both measures result in secretive Government registration lists – all part of “Big Data” for the benefit of “Big Government.” So, if you think that Jim Webb is a devoted protector of Americans’ Second Amendment Right of the people to keep and bear arms and, as well, protector of Americans’ Fourth Amendment right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, you better think twice. Many viewers of the televised debate were taken in by Webb’s pronouncements, believing that he supports the Second Amendment. At one time, perhaps he did. As a Democratic candidate for President, he most certainly does not.
Anderson Cooper then asked Bernie Sanders to address his position on guns. Cooper, pointed out – among other things – that Sanders had, at one time, shielded gun companies from lawsuits. Cooper suggested, without explicitly stating, that Sanders supports gun ownership. In his response Sanders corrected Cooper, beginning with Sanders’ point that he had received a “D Minus” rating from the NRA — shamelessly boasting to the American public that the NRA does not approve of Sanders’ position on “guns.”
To exemplify the import of the “D-Minus” Rating, Sanders said that he had, since 1988, supported a ban on “assault weapons” – this coming from a man who also remarked that Vermont has virtually no gun control laws — a curious addendum to Sanders’ statement, indeed.
Sanders also said that he has, through the years, supported instant background checks and that he ascribes to “doing away with this ‘terrible’ gun-show loophole.” He also said that we have to deal “aggressively” at the federal level, with straw man purchases. Finally, Sanders said that people who face mental health crises must get mental health counseling immediately.
Anderson Cooper pressed Sanders on whether he wishes to shield gun companies from liability. Sanders replied, “of course not.” Sanders added that he does not believe that a gun shop owner who had legally sold a gun to a purchaser should be held accountable if a crime is committed with that gun. But, he added, where a gun shop owner or gun manufacturer had knowingly sold a gun to a criminal, then that gun shop owner or manufacturer should be held accountable.
As with Webb, Sanders is arguing for mandatory mental health care intervention and the sharing of private medical records – even if this is only tacitly stated. Is this such a bad thing? Yes, it is!
Since the distinction between non-serious mental health problems and serious mental health issues is nebulous at best, those Democrats, and Republicans, too, for that matter, who are jumping on the mental health care bandwagon, are essentially setting the stage for a gun ban impacting a tremendously large segment of the American population – a population consisting, conceivably of tens of millions of Americans. Moreover — and it bears repeating — the requirement that mental health care practitioners must share medical information with government officials absolutely destroys the sanctity of the doctor/patient privacy privilege and destroys, as well, the import and purport of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Anderson Cooper, obviously providing a leg up for Hillary Clinton, then asked Clinton whether she felt that “Bernie Sanders is tough enough on guns.” Hillary must have gotten a pleasant jolt out of that question, thinking to herself, “thank you Anderson Cooper.” She responded, “no, not at all!” Clinton pointed out that we lose ninety people a day to gun violence and that this has gone on for far too long. Clinton didn’t trouble herself to support the assertion with evidence. Clinton never does. Nor did Clinton bother to explain what groups of people are responsible for the gun violence. Clinton, as always, is notoriously vague. So, was Clinton referring to criminals as the source of gun violence or was she referring to law-abiding citizens? Anderson Cooper, obligingly, never bothered to ask Clinton for clarification.
Clinton – now on a roll – she must have loved that Cooper brought up the issue of “guns” – said, “it is time the entire Country stood up against the NRA.” Clinton got a large round of applause for that last remark. Clinton is always at her best when posturing to her audience who are satisfied receiving choice sound bites from her – never demanding cogent, comprehensive, coherent, intelligent arguments in support of her positions — assuming she has a firm conviction about anything, apart from her singular lust for securing the Office of the Presidency.
Clinton in her remarks is essentially asserting that the NRA is something other than the millions of Americans who compose it and millions more who derive benefit from it – whose interests the NRA represents. Is Clinton suggesting that tens of millions of Americans – stand up against themselves – against their own interests? Once again, Anderson Cooper didn’t trouble himself to ask Clinton to expand upon her bald, bold pronouncements. Rather, he allowed her to bask in the limelight of her mesmerized devotees, who hang on her every empty and, often, inconsistent word. Clinton then unleashed another volley of ludicrous assertions that — one might reasonably suspect — she expects the public to take for profound aphorisms. She blurted out that the majority of Americans support background checks and even the majority of gun owners do. Oh, really? But, instead of quizzical gazes from the audience, she gets another round of applause.
Clinton then attacks Sander’s record on guns. She said that Sanders voted against the “Brady Bill” five times and that, according to Clinton, since the passage of the “Brady Bill,” more than 2 million prohibited purchases have been prevented. If true, one must wonder that, if the “Brady Bill” were so successful, why are the Democrats proclaiming the need for yet more restrictive gun legislation?
Oh, and now that Hillary is on a roll, more nonsense gushes forth. She asks: Did you know that the gun manufacturing industry in America is the only industry immune from lawsuits? She further asserts that gun manufacturers are the only manufacturers who are not accountable. Clinton would have you believe that this nonsense is just common knowledge rather than vacuous remarks, devoid of any legal or logical substance.
Sanders responded that we need to expand background checks, do away with the “gun show loophole,” deal with mental health issues, and do away with straw man purchases. This all boils down to: limit as far as possible the number of Americans who can possess firearms, and make sure that those few remaining law-abiding Americans, who can and do lawfully possess firearms, register them so all governmental bodies know who those Americans are — which makes confiscation of firearms, then, a relatively simple task.
Not to be outdone, Martin O’Malley blurted out his own righteous indignation. O’Malley referred to a lawsuit that was filed by a couple against a person who sold several thousand rounds to the individual who killed their daughter in a “mass shooting” in Aurora, Colorado. O’Malley said that the game was rigged against this couple. The case – we’d all like to have the citation to it – was thrown out of court. Worse, according to O’Malley, the couple were “slapped with $200,000.00 in court fees.” And, who was responsible for this alleged perversion of justice, according to O’Malley? The proverbial Bogeyman! The NRA of course. The NRA, according to O’Malley, gets its way in Congress and “we” – whoever “we” refers to – take a backseat. O’Malley concludes his rant with: “It’s time to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation in this Nation!” More applause.
Sanders and O’Malley then get into it – as egged on by Cooper. Clinton, for her part, standing calmly between the two – nods her head knowingly, and smiles vacantly, demonstrating seeming composure, as Sanders and O’Malley exhibit a very un-presidential loss of control.
Finally, Cooper deigns to give the lost black sheep of the herd, Lincoln Chafee, a couple of minutes to chime in. Chaffee remarks that he has consistently voted for “commonsense gun safety legislation,” and that he has earned an “F” Rating from the NRA — something to be proud of, apparently. Continuing to smile at seemingly nothing, as he has done throughout the “debate,” Chafee adds that “commonsense” gun safety legislation cannot be passed because the “Gun Lobby” comes in and tells the people, “they’re coming to take away your guns.” Well, aren’t “they” though?
So, there you have it: the Democratic Presidential Candidates’ policy positions and strategies for undermining the Second Amendment. Oddly enough, though, as each of the Democratic Party candidates for President denigrated “guns,” during the lengthy ten minute tirade, not one of them bothered to explicitly mention the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms, which is really what the “gun” issue is all about, which the candidates talked roundabout, climbing over each other in their mindless zeal to excoriate.Copyright © 2015 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.