Editor’s note: This article was a submission by Larry Keane, the senior vice president, assistant secretary and general counsel to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.
With both the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) now behind us, the gap between the Democratic and Republican party line on guns has become even more stark. A brief comparison of the party platforms illustrates the divide.
Republicans continue to believe government should “acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense,” but Democrats couldn’t disagree more. Democratic National Committee member Bonnie Schaefer embodied the new Democratic line on Second Amendment issues when she said, “I really don’t personally think anyone should have a gun.”
- We will expand and strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws;
- Repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to revoke the dangerous legal immunity protections gun makers and sellers now enjoy;
- Keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines (LCAM’s)—off our streets;
- We will fight back against attempts to make it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to revoke federal licenses from law breaking gun dealers,
- Ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, intimate partner abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues;
- There is insufficient research on effective gun prevention policies, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must have the resources it needs to study gun violence as a public health issue
- We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment.
- We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense.
- We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration.
- We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend their homes and communities.
- We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners.
- We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban.
- We condemn the reckless actions associated with the operation known as “Fast and Furious,” conducted by the Department of Justice, which resulted in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent and others on both sides of the border. We applaud the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in holding the current Administration’s Attorney General in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with their investigation into that debacle.
- We oppose the improper collection of firearms sales information in the four southern border states, which was imposed without congressional authority.
The major gun related goal both parties have in common is to protect our Nation’s citizens and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of criminals. Though the goal is the same, the approach between parties differs drastically.
The key problem is that none of the Democratic policies mentioned above would actually accomplish the shared goal to make American safer. The majority of law enforcement officials agree that any vetted citizen should be able to purchase a firearm for sport or self-defense, and believe qualified, law-abiding armed citizens can help law enforcement reduce violent criminal activity.
Democratic policy choices are not making Americans feel safer. In the wake of tragic terrorist attacks and civil unrest,gun sales have actually risen , demonstrating that Americans look to their Second Amendment rights for protection.
Endorsing repeal of the PLCAA is the most revelatory plank of the Democrat’s platform as it shows the true intent to put gun manufacturers out of business. Democrats need to realize that their attempt to impose stricter gun control laws on lawful gun owners is not only constitutionally wrong, but does the opposite of what they’re advocating. America is safer when law abiding citizens are able to protect themselves and their families and communities.
The choice between party platforms could not be clearer for those who value their Second Amendment rights. It’s a shame that it has come to this. After all, it was not that long ago that many prominent Democrats did not adhere to what is now “progressive” orthodoxy on gun control. But the party is now led by Hillary Clinton, and she has made a concerted decision to campaign on this issue. As a result, the stakes could not be higher. If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she will claim a mandate to pursue extremist agenda items in the party platform – gun control perhaps first and foremost.
Gun owners, take heed — #GUNVOTE on Nov 8, and tell your friends, family, and fellow gun owners to do the same!