Friday, September 21, 2007

Julie Annie gets to talk about gun control

From CBS:

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that he "hopes to clarify” his views on the right to bear arms when he speaks to the National Rifle Association on Friday.

The former New York City mayor is to address the NRA at its “Celebration of American Values” conference in Washington. Other presidential hopefuls on the speaker list include Sen. John McCain, Fred Thompson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richarson, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich.

"There are certain agreements and disagreements with every single group," noted Giuliani, talking about the event with reporters in Reston, Va. "When I go before the NRA, I'm going to try to emphasize areas I think in which there is a great deal of agreement. And as I have said many, many times, my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy."

He says his main focus in Friday's speech will be to emphasize making gun laws a local decision, not a federal one.

The NRA and Giuliani haven’t been close in the past. They butted heads while Giuliani was mayor on topics as diverse as Giuliani’s gun control legislation and the attempted opening of an NRA café in Times Square.

In 1994, the group criticized Giuliani’s significant role in the enactment of major federal anti-crime legislation -- for which Giuliani was thanked by President Bill Clinton -- which made it harder for felons to purchase firearms.

The NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, said that while members will welcome Giuliani to share his views, his record will not be ignored when it’s time to make their endorsement, which is likely to come after primaries have determined the Republican nominee.

"There's no such thing as a clean slate," Cox told CBS News. "The NRA will certainly weigh in past positions and statements."

Giuliani regularly points to the historic drop in New York City crime while he was mayor and has said the change in gun laws was pivotal to the city's efforts.

Some gun-control advocates say the NRA conference is an opportunity for Giuliani to display leadership.

"We hope he will change the way the NRA thinks about gun laws," says Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Helmke, the former mayor of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, stood just a few feet away from Giuliani when Clinton signed the 1994 crime bill.

"Mayor Giuliani is not an extremist like some in the NRA," Helmke says. "He knows after 9/11, we shouldn't allow people on the terrorism watch list to buy guns -- right now they can do that. This event is the perfect platform for him to show where there should be exceptions."

While Friday’s reception might not be especially warm for Giuliani, political analyst Stuart Rothenberg says it’s better for him to be there than not.

“He’s got to go to traditional Republicans like gun owners,” says Rothenberg. “If he didn’t go, the NRA could see it as dissing them.”

And some gun owners think that despite Giuliani’s past views on guns, he still has a chance to win them over.

"Giuliani has a long, uphill road to convince people -- given his record -- that he is sincere about protecting the 2nd Amendment," says David Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute, a conservative think tank in Colorado and a lifetime member of the NRA. "Not every candidate needs an A, but if Giuliani can work himself to be seen as a B or a B minus, that would be progress for him."

Here's the thing. The Bill of Rights was originally intended to limit the federal government, not the state governments. If an individual state wanted to establish a religion or outlaw firearms or censor the press they could do so and it was none of the federal governments business.

However after the Civil War it was realized that the Southern states would not grant Negros basic civil liberties unless they were forced to so the 14th Amendment was enacted. The 14th Amendment makes the recognition of basic rights mandated upon the federal government by the Constitution binding upon the states as well.

The NC state legislature can no longer charter the official Church of North Carolina and the governor of Virginia can no longer order the newspapers of Richmond not to publish articles critical of the VA state government. And no state legislature or city counsel may enact a law which denies a US citizen the right to keep and bear arms.

That neither the federal government nor most of the state government truly honors the people's Second Amendment rights does not mean that they do not exist. The Framers were clear that they regarded basic human rights like freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the right to keep and bear arms to descend from the Creator and belong to all men everywhere. They believed that governments could block people from exercising their rights, but that they could not take the rights away from them. Further they believed that governments which did deny their citizens the exercise of their rights were illegitimate.

The federalist argument on gun control doesn't fly. It has been taken off the federalist table and made a national issue.

I also note for the record that gun control groups are praising Julie Annie and saying that they hope he can talk some sense into the NRA. As much as I agree with Julie's positions on some issues I can not support someone who is anything less than an advocate for all law abiding men and women, even those who live in New York City, to have the right to arm themselves. On the list of people who I believe have a continued right to a share of the earth's oxygen supply there is not one person who believes in gun control. Not one. Period.