When gun control was brought up at the second Democratic presidential debate this week, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg rattled off the usual list of gun-control restrictions most of the Democratic candidates have publicly endorsed—so-called universal background checks, an “assault weapons” ban on whatever they can fit into that ever-expanding political definition, restrictions on firearm-magazine capacity and laws that would ignore due process under the law.
Buttigieg, however, also added in something from 2002. He proposed changes to how money is spent by associations and others in politics. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, also known as “McCain-Feingold,” once prevented associations such as the NRA and others from endorsing or criticizing candidates within 60 days of a general election. This was struck down on First Amendment grounds by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC (2010).
Many Democrats would like to regain the power to silence those they tax, restrict and regulate. To them it is inconvenient that the First Amendment protects the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (In plainer English, this provision protects our right to lobby.) And they don’t like that—with its “freedom-of-speech” protections—the First Amendment prohibits the government from muzzling, for example and especially, political speech.
Clearly, these Democrats running for president don’t want to admit that the NRA is a civil-liberties group with more than 5 million members who vote to protect their freedom. They’d rather pretend the NRA is just a small group of lobbyists.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) followed this theme by saying, “I have a D- voting record from the NRA. And as president, I suspect it will be an F record.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also said she would take on the NRA: “The people are with us now. After Parkland, those students just didn’t march. They talked to their dads and their grandpas and the hunters in their family and they said there must be a better way.”
Actually, government failed us at every level in Parkland. Klobuchar didn’t admit that; instead, she pretended that further restricting law-abiding gun owners would stop such monsters.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) agreed with Buttigieg’s appeal to prevent political speech. “Even we stopped the Koch brothers from spending at that time. If we can kick the Koch brothers out of Montana, we can do it in D.C., we can do it everywhere,” said Bullock.
Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, used some of her time at the debate to attack the NRA and candidates who’ve taken donations from corporations she doesn’t like. “For politicians, including my fellow candidates who themselves have taken tens of thousands and, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars from these same corporate donors, to think that they now have the moral authority to say ‘we’re going to take them on,’ I don’t think the Democratic Party should be surprised that so many Americans believe ‘yada yada yada,’” she said.
Yes, it was the old “Seinfeld” yada, yada, yada used this time to blame law-abiding gun owners, their associations and gun manufacturers for the actions of criminals and the mentally ill. These candidates are making it plain that they will restrict First and Second Amendment rights if they can.
Most-Revealing Anti-Freedom Quote of the Week
“When we get a new tool in the fight against gun violence, we will use it. We’re not afraid to use our authority against gun manufacturers, against gun distributors or traffickers that violate our laws. Because public safety and law-enforcement safety deserve nothing less.” –New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said this after the state passed new gun-control restrictions, including a requirement that would make gun dealers to sell “smart guns” if they are approved by a state commission. It is telling that Grewal is defining this legislation as something that is “against” gun makers and dealers; it is disturbing that he lists “traffickers” with legal gun dealers.
Pro-Freedom Quote of the Week
“If they ban AR-15s (the most popular sporting rifle in America), would Democrats send authorities to knock down doors, and drag people off to jail for noncompliance? Or, would they simply turn a blind eye; thereby confirming that such bans are not so much about public safety, as to satisfy a political agenda?” –Former U.S. Congressman Bob Barr said, in an op-ed at Town Hall.
(Frank Miniter is the author of Spies in Congress—Inside the Democrats’ Covered-Up Cyber Scandal. His latest book, The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide to the Workplace, will be out this summer.)