On the way home from Mt. Jackson today (where I was hoping to have a phone bank, but alas), I heard an advertisement from Senator Jim Webb, informing me that he was a proud NRA member, that his father had given him a rifle, and that he had given his son a rifle. From this, plus his heartfelt assurances, I was supposed to believe that Barack Obama is not going to fight to strip away our Second Amendment rights.
Putting aside the fact that Obama has already shared his thoughts that the Constitution is an outmoded document that is halting “progress,” I was struck by how I was supposed to believe that because Jim Webb is good on guns Obama is too.
Well, I’m touched that Jim Webb believes in sharing the tradition of hunting and the shooting sports with his son. It’s pretty common, if not downright universal, for one generation to find something to leave to the next. My father is still on this earth, but by far the best thing he’s ever given me is his advice. Alot of them are great nuggets, like “Dance with the one that brung you,” “You can judge a man by the company he keeps,” and “It’s not the number of friends but their quality.”
Perhaps the one rule that pops up again and again in politics that my father gave me is “A man should be judge by his actions, not his words.” And so that’s why I have so much trouble when, although Barack Obama keeps telling me that he believes in my fundamental right to self-protection and the balance of power through the freedom to bear arms, his record as an Illinois State Senator tells a much different tale:
- Voted to limit handgun purchases to one a month while a State Senator (Illinois Senate, HB2579, vote 34, 5/16/2003)
- Proposed raising taxes on guns and ammunition over 500% (Chicago Defender, 12/13/1999)
- Voted for a bill that would have banned most target rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and even muzzleloaders and would have allowed law enforcement to enter homes to retrieve the guns (SB 1195, 3/13/03)
- Voted against saving homeowners from prosecution when they used a firearm to stop a home invasion (SB2165, 3/25/04)
As a United States Senator, he continued to leave a trail of anti-gun actions, even as he carefully parsed his words while running for the nomination:
- Refused to sign, with over 300 other members of Congress, an amicus curiae brief supporting gun rights during DC vs. Heller
- Supported Senator Edward Kennedy’s bill that would have banned numerous popular center-fire cartridges on the grounds that they are “armor piercing ammunition”
- Voted to allow reckless lawsuits that do little more than bankrupt honest gun manufacturers (United State Senate, S 397, Vote 219, 7/29/05)
I’m sorry, but those simply are not the actions of someone who respects either the balance of power the second amendment ensures or the rights of millions of Americans to enjoy pastimes that have been handed down through generations.
I think I’ll stick with Dad instead of Jim Webb on this one.
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