Kerry and guns (again)
This article discusses Kerry’s attempt at courting both sides of the gun issue:
Democrats in West Virginia know that many of their state’s voters guard their gun rights jealously, and that their fear in 2000 that Al Gore was out to take their weapons — stoked by Republicans and the National Rifle Association — helped seal the former vice president’s defeat.
Then later in the same piece:
Last week in Washington, Kerry attacked President Bush for failing to push for an extension of the federal assault-weapons ban, a measure that gun rights groups have fiercely opposed. The Massachusetts Democrat had rarely mentioned his support for gun control laws until the ban was about to lapse, aware that many members of his own party who represent rural areas oppose such restrictions.
Kerry has worked aggressively to stake out a centrist position on the gun issue. He has been outspoken about his own experience with guns — going pheasant hunting with a local sheriff in Iowa last year, forming a group in April called Sportsmen for Kerry, and putting forth a “Sportsman’s Bill of Rights.” That list includes support for gun rights, easier access to hunting areas, and environmental measures to preserve wildlife.
I don’t find it odd that centrists favor gun control because most people don’t know what current gun laws are. For example, they think the assault weapons ban affected machine guns when it doesn’t. The article shows Kerry’s attempt to walk the line on gun control, which, for the most part, pro-gun folks aren’t going to buy. After all, anti-gunners claim their views are moderate. Meanwhile, this article asks if Kerry has just given up on appealing to gun folk:
Why on earth would John Kerry make his inaccurate, indeed, nonsensical comments about the ”consquences” of the expiration of the ”assault weapons” ban and President Bush’s decision to let it expire? Perhaps he has simply given up on trying to convince those who believe in our constitutional right to own fireams that he is one of them. That’s the opinion of Kimberley A. Strassel, writing in The Wall Street Journal (sic).
Strassel says that no one has worked harder than Kerry to neutralize the gun issue, which worked against Democrats in the last election. But no one seems to be buying his act–that he supports gun rights, identifies with hunters, and is not your typical liberal, who thinks (or, perhaps, feels is the better word) that gun ownership automatically makes someone an irrational, rednecked, and about-to-run-berserk and shoot-up the neighborhood post office.
Also, a gun law expert examining the Kerry shotgun kerfuffle concludes:
. . . accepting a gift shotgun from a private party out of his home state would be a five-year federal felony for Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for President [see United States Code, section 922(a)(9)]. Giving him the gun would also be a felony [922(a)(5)].
Additionally, the Kerry campaign reports that Kerry returned the shotgun to the person who bought it (even though no one seems to be able to say where the shotgun currently is). No crime, just insincere political pandering.