Thursday, February 07, 2008

John McCain on the Second Amendment

The John McCain 2008 Website on the 2nd Amendment

Rivrdog notes that McCain's webpage on the Second Amendment is 'blacked out'. I assume this is a browser incompatibility; I was able to view the entire page using FireFox. For the benefit of those who can't view that page, I'll present the content here.

McCain is the last 'major' Republican candidate for President (I know I'm offending some Ron Paul and Huckleberry supporters here) so perhaps it's worth the time and effort to see what he says about Gun Control ... or Gun Ownership, or Right to Personal Defense.

John McCain believes that the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a fundamental, individual Constitutional right that we have a sacred duty to protect. We have a responsibility to ensure that criminals who violate the law are prosecuted to the fullest, rather than restricting the rights of law abiding citizens. Gun control is a proven failure in fighting crime. Law abiding citizens should not be asked to give up their rights because of criminals - criminals who ignore gun control laws anyway.
Gun Manufacturer Liability:
John McCain opposes backdoor attempts to restrict Second Amendment rights by holding gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed by third parties using a firearm, and has voted to protect gun manufacturers from such inappropriate liability aimed at bankrupting the entire gun industry.
(ED: well, that's already a federal law. Not impressively aggressive.)

Assault Weapons:
John McCain opposes restrictions on so-called "assault rifles" and voted consistently against such bans. Most recently he opposed an amendment to extend a ban on 19 specific firearms, and others with similar characteristics.
(ED: The "Assault Weapons Ban" sunset a few years ago, so this is not particularly impressive except that he apparently didn't vote to extend it ... unlike Kerry, Kennedy, and various radical Democrats. That's a plus, but not amazing for a Senator from Arizona.)

Importation of High Capacity Magazines:

John McCain opposes bans on the importation of certain types of ammunition magazines and has voted against such limitations.
(ED: Again, part of the Assault Weapons Ban ... see above.)

Gun Locks:
John McCain believes that every firearms owner has a responsibility to learn how to safely use and store the firearm they have chosen, whether for target shooting, hunting, or personal protection. He has supported legislation requiring gun manufacturers to include gun safety devices such as trigger locks in product packaging.
(ED: Again, better than the RadicLib party, but real 2nd Amendment supporters have issues with the 'mandatory gun-lock' legislation. Requiring manufacturers to include them 'in product packaging' doesn't necessarily improve gun safety, although it does add to the price of purchasing firearms. This is 'feel-good' legislation, with no positive benefit to the purchaser, and as such is a transparent ploy which appeals only to the anti-self defense crowd. )

Banning Ammunition:
John McCain believes that banning ammunition is just another way to undermine Second Amendment rights. He voted against an amendment that would have banned many of the most commonly used hunting cartridges on the spurious grounds that they were "armor-piercing."
(ED: The predicate is a null-value statement, although true. The recent trend toward states attempts to enforce 'Encoded Ammunition' is a truer test of the "another way to undermine Second Amendment rights", it's too early to use this trend as a test of 2nd Amendment protections.)

DC Personal Protection:
As part of John McCain's defense of Second Amendment rights, he cosponsored legislation to lift a ban on the law abiding citizens of the District of Columbia from exercising their Constitutional right to bear arms.

(ED: I'm not aware of this legislation. I know about Parker vs DC, and Heller vs DC, but I didn't know that the U.S. Senate had weighed in on the issue. I would be grateful if anyone could point me toward to Senatorial legislation (isn't the House required to introduce this kind of legislation?) so I ... and you ... could evaluate the claim.)

Criminal Background Checks:
John McCain supports instant criminal background checks to help prohibit criminals from buying firearms and has voted to ensure they are conducted thoroughly, efficiently, and without infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens.

(ED: Isn't this 20-year old legislation?)

Background Checks at Gun Shows:
At a time when some were trying to shut down gun shows in the name of fighting crime, John McCain tried to preserve gun shows by standardizing sales procedures. Federal law requires licensed firearm sellers at gun shows to do an instant criminal background check on purchasers while private firearm sellers at gun shows do not have to conduct such a check. John McCain introduced legislation that would require an instant criminal background check for all sales at gun shows and believes that such checks must be conducted quickly to ensure that unnecessary delays do not effectively block transactions.

(ED: This measure [emphasis added] infringes on the 2nd amendment right of private firearms transfers. Many, if not most gun shows have added this 'instant check' measure to their policy in an effort to establish 'self-policing'. But it's a 'slippery-slope' treatment when the Federal Government gets involved. The 'Next Step' would be Federal control over Estate transfers (parent to child in a will), personal sales (friend-to-friend sales), and even loans (including a parent allowing a spouse or child to temporarily use a firearm). The Gun Control Lobbyists dismissively denigrate such concerns as facetious or extreme arguments; however, in their drive to outlaw non-regulated private transfer of firearms, they have never defined any firearms transfer ... familial, estate or temporary ... as exempt from their arbitrary restrictions. That McCain supports the first step of this Federal restriction does not absolve him from responsibility for further infringements on the Second Amendment.)

The Firearm Purchase Waiting Period:
John McCain has opposed "waiting periods" for law abiding citizen's purchase of firearms.

(ED: This is at least a positive policy. I know, however, of no recent Federal bills which would establish this restriction, and McCain's website does not identify the bill against which he voted.)

The Confiscation of Firearms after an Emergency:
John McCain opposes the confiscation of firearms from private citizens, particularly during times of crisis or emergency. He voted in favor of an amendment sponsored by Senator David Vitter prohibiting such confiscation.

(ED: We presume that this is in reference to the notorious New Orleans confiscation of firearms after Hurricane Katrina. There are many outstanding suits against the actions of National Guard, and N.O.P.D. as well as other supporting L.E.O.'s who resorted to confiscation during this period. While laudatory, there is nothing particularly daring about opposing this policy.)

Stiffer Penalties for Criminals who use a firearm in the commission of a crime:

John McCain believes in strict, mandatory penalties for criminals who use a firearm in the commission of a crime or illegally possess a firearm. Enforcing the current laws on the books is the best way to deter crime.
(ED: This is 100% aligned with the NRA position; it adds penalties {an extra 5 or 10 years imprisonment} for using a firearm during the commission of a crime. This is an example of legislation which Gun Rights Advocates consider "common-sense gun control measures". It is also an example of what Anti-Gun Extremists, ever-critical of any measure supported by the NRA, consider to be "questionable" .. which means they are not inclined to support it for fear that it will suggest that they agree with the NRA in ANYTHING relating to gun control. As such, this is the boldest Second Amendment stance espoused by John McCain.)

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