Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Dem Party Platform on 2nd Amend & Gun Control

The 2012 Republican Platform was discussed in prior post.The 2012 Democratic National Platform provides:

“Firearms.  We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American
tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We
believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible
consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and
precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective
enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work
together to enact commonsense improvements – like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole – so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.”

Not nearly as strong as the Republican platform reviewed earlier. First it states that firearms are subject to “reasonable regulation.”  This sounds like the minimal judicial scrutiny under which almost all regulation is upheld. “Reasonable” is a very vague standard.  No mention of self-defense or the thousands of incidents of lawful self-defense that occurs with firearms every year. They call for an “honest, national conversation about firearms.”  This has never happened before and probably never will    As indicated in a prior post, the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment (D.C. v. Heller)hangs by one vote on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Anyone who thinks that Obama will put a pro-Heller Justice on the Court is living in a dream world.  His first appointee, Sotomayor voted against making the Second Amendment applicable against the states. Notice the call for reinstatement of the “assault weapons” ban.  It didn’t have any effect on crime when it was in force.  Yes, life is fragile and we need more effective enforcement of existing laws (no more BATF “fast and furious” fiascos). More hot air.  On this issue, Dems speak with forked-tongue.  On the other hand, party platforms are often ignored once the election is over. Perhaps the Democratic left (which dominates the party) will get off this hobby-horse.  I doubt it.  This issue has too strong an ideological hold on the Left.


  1. Confusing 2nd Amendment rights with criminal and/or crazy actions is not "reasonable". There are more than enough federal and state laws to satisfy the socialist wannabe demagogues' so called "reasonable" regulations. Enough in fact that the whole purpose of having an individual right to keep and bear arms is unduly compromised. And that purpose is to defend against the criminals, crazies and socialist wannabe demagogues.

  2. I don't agree with the position that President Obama will curtail Second Amendment rights in his second term. He didn't do so in his first term, and in fact, expanded the carrying of firearms to National Parks. That was something the NRA had wanted for years. Texas had reasonable laws back in the 1970's concerning the carrying of handguns by private citizens. Now the laws are so confusing and wide open that pretty much anyone can get away with carrying a weapon, and the police aren't sure how to enforce the laws that exist. The truth is that not everyone should be able to carry a firearm. Some have mental defects or anger issues that increase the likelihood that they will commit an act of violence. I speak as one who has carried a firearm as an officer for 33+ years, and even hunted at one time. I consider every situation as one where a suspect could be armed. Still, the unbridled possession of anything that explodes is not good for society. Reasonable regulations should be predicated on the situation in place in society at the time the law is enacted, not based on how things were in the 17 or 1800's. This is not the wild, wild west anymore. There have always been reasonable interpretations of every amendment of the Bill of Rights; why should the Second Amendment be any different? People seem to get their favorite amendment, make it sacrosanct, then want to take away the rights of others under the ones that they don't consider as important. Interpretations are going to change over the years due to changes in society. Part of change is adjusting to new situations. There are extremists on each side. Facing problems requires reasonable compromise.

  3. Mark: Thanks for the long post. Obama didn't have the leeway after Heller v. D.C. and faced strong gun control opposition in the House. If I am not mistaken, the change in the law re National Parks did not come via Executive order, it came by legislation. Obama wanted to try to calm his critics and signed it. No one ever said the Second Amendment was absolute. Read the Heller decision. Scalia saves many types of "reasonable" gun control law. Stop focusing on the NRA and study the law and research. The left uses the NRA as a red herring to distract attention from the real legal and criminological issues (e.g there is no American or international correlation between guns and crime) I Don't have time to provide links, but check Obama's Bittergate speech. Check his comments to the Brady Center that he was working on gun control "under the radar." Check how his appointee, Sotomayor voted in McDonald v. Chicago. Check his work with foundations prior to getting into politics. Research shows that Democratic President's and Congresses are much more likely to support gun control that Repub. ones. If Obama gets to appoint more to the U.S. Supreme Court, it will not be extremist v. reasonable interpretations of the Second Amendment. It will be the presence or absence of an individual right under the Second Amendment.If you check out my personal material on this blog, you will see that I support all constitutional rights, and that my philosophy is one of a "cautious libertarian." If you would like to contact my students, they will tell you that I am a strong supporter of the Fourth Amendment and the exclusionary rule, and rights for suspects and defendants.