Sunday, August 31, 2008

David Weigel is Wrong on Democrats and Guns

David Weigel had an article in the other day lamenting the demise of the libertarian Democrat. As his evidence, Weigel points out that Brian Schweitzer, the Democratic governor of Montana, gave a speech at the Democratic convention Tuesday that didn't mention Schweitzer's strong pro-gun positions. But why should he? Everyone knows that Schweitzer is pro-gun. He's also pro choice, anti war, against the Real ID Act and the Patriot Act and he's trying to lower taxes in Montana.

I saw Schweitzer's silence on guns not as a muzzling but an acknowledgment that the Democratic Party is softening its stance on the issue. Take a look at the convention schedule. In addition to Schweitzer, strongly pro-gun Democrats Bob Casey and Bill Richardson also got prime time speaking spots. Kathleen Sebelius, who's pretty good on guns, spoke just a few hours before Schweitzer on Tuesday.

It's too bad that Barack Obama didn't pick any of these pro-gun Democrats as his running mate. I think any of them could have helped him immensely in the Mountain West. But I think the Democratic Party is beginning to turn the corner on guns. Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry all made stricter gun control a prominent part of their campaigns. Not so for Obama. He rarely speaks about guns, and when he does, it's usually to reassure gun owners that he doesn't support gun bans.

Of course, die hard gun banners do still find a place in the Democratic Party. But Democrats are also finding room for people like Travis Childers, the pro-gun Democratic Congressman form Mississippi. Even Obama, who supports local restrictions on guns, spoke out earlier this year about how the Second Amendment is an individual right. This is a huge change for a Democrat. Libertarians like Weigel might be disappointed that Obama and the Democrats aren't as pro-gun as they are, but they should acknowledge how far the American left has moved on this issue in such a short time.


Anonymous said...

Democrats are trying to turn the corner on guns, unfortunately now we have the Keller decision which is an example of how liberal judges would vote on the issue. That was an embarrassment for anyone thats for a "liberal" court to protect your civil liberties. How can gun rights advocates trust a democratic president if he appoints more justices to the court like them?

Libertarians for Stalin said...

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Libertarians for Marxism said...