Gun-control crowd pushes radical goal | ajc.com
Gun-control crowd pushes radical goal
By Bob Barr For the Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
As the little girl in the 1980s flick, "Poltergeist," said, "They're back." Now, after consciously maintaining a low profile the last two years, even though the Democratic Party maintained a majority in both houses of the Congress, the gun-control crowd is stirring. Yes, they're back. And they're feeling their oats.
Smartly, congressional benefactors for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's most notorious gun control organization, had lain low; and gun control was but a minor issue in then-Sen. Obama's campaign for the White House.
Hoping to increase the congressional majorities they gained in 2006 and to win the presidency in 2008, Democratic leaders wisely rebuffed efforts by their more radical members clamoring in the last Congress to push gun-control measures.
Now, after enhancing their majorities in the House and Senate, and fresh from grabbing the brass ring at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Democratic leaders in Washington and their anti-gun counterparts in the Brady Campaign and elsewhere are energized and actively starting to push their anti-gun agenda.
Apparently recognizing that Americans by a significant majority support the individual right to keep and bear arms --- as definitively recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller decision last summer --- a frontal assault on firearms ownership is not the Brady Campaign's strategy. Instead, they and their compatriots have identified several more specific, easier-to-sell tactics to begin accomplishing their long-term objective to disarm America.
For example, playing off the fear understandably engendered by the pervasive and gory drug violence playing itself out in Mexico, the gun- control crowd is using that phenomenon to move for more gun control on our side of the border.
In the eyes of anti-firearms advocates like Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, Americans should feel guilty about, if not responsible for, drug gangs in Mexico shooting each other and corrupt government officials in perverse numbers --- because some of the guns may have been purchased in the U.S.
Ignoring the fact that there are few places other than the U.S. from which anyone in Mexico might obtain a firearm (few are manufactured in Mexico or by the country's southern neighbors), the gun control crowd is clamoring for "stronger" gun laws in the U.S. to stop the drug gang violence in Mexico.
Typically, of course, such arguments gloss over the fact that trafficking in firearms to Mexico (or any other country) by circumventing the stringent regulatory framework our government has maintained for many years is already illegal.
If the Obama administration --- like its predecessor --- was truly serious about stemming whatever the flow of firearms from the United States to Mexico might be (the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms claims 90 percent of guns used in shootings in Mexico come from the U.S., but it has offered no proof) --- it could do so easily by simply enforcing and more closely monitoring our immigration and existing firearms laws.
Closer to home, the gun control crowd achieved a victory in the courts last month by convincing a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to temporarily suspend a Bush administration rule allowing people to carry firearms to defend themselves on national park lands (so long as they complied with firearms laws of the state in which the federal land was located).
The old rule -- which, thanks to the federal judge is the current rule once again -- permitted hikers, campers and others to carry firearms, but only if the firearm was unloaded and not readily accessible. Recognizing the absurdity of such a rule, the Bush Interior Department amended it last December.
Never at a loss to find ways to deny the citizenry the ability to defend themselves, the Brady folks argued the Bush rule was invalid because the prior administration failed to study the environmental impact of such a minor rule change. The Brady campaign to "keep our parks safe" by playing the environmental card rather than attacking guns directly worked for now.
The gun-control crowd is pushing its radical agenda on these and many other fronts; and law-abiding Americans had better open their eyes to the clever ways in which they are plying their trade in the courts, the Congress and international forums. Much is at stake.
Bob Barr, an Atlanta attorney, is a former Georgia congressman and Libertarian Party presidential candidate.