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Monday, February 4, 2008

Virginia Presidential Primary Thoughts

Note: This is not an endorsement for any particular candidate but information for voters to use in deciding for whom to vote on February 12th.The presidential race will come to Virginia one week after "Super Duper Tuesday" and just like in 2000, Virginia could play a significant role.

If Senator John McCain, who after winning in Florida, continues to role through the 21 states voting tomorrow, then next week may be all but academic. But, if Mitt Romney, who is running a close second in many of the states can keep McCain from picking up a majority of the delegates up for grabs, Virginia may have a say in the outcome.

Gun owners know that McCain has been a fair weather friend. While he has opposed the Clinton Gun Ban both times he had an opportunity to vote on it, in 2000 he supported ending gun shows as we know them by pushing for background checks on private sales at gun shows. The bills he supported did not just impose background checks but went as far as creating a gun owner registration list, registration of gun shows, and turn casual conversation at gun shows into gun sales. McCain's disdain for the First Amendment is even more egregious. The McCain/Feingold bill made it harder for groups like NRA to communicate with gun owners prior to an election. Clearly, if McCain was a conservative early in his political life, he strayed from that path in the last decade. When he spoke to the NRA's "Celebration of American Values" he highlighted those times that he has been with gun owners.

Former Governor Mitt Romney also has a spotted past when it comes to gun rights. Running for the U.S. Senate against Teddy Kennedy in 1994, Romney said he doesn’t line up with the NRA and favored waiting periods on gun sales. He also supported the Clinton Gun Ban in both 1994 and when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002. As a candidate for Governor, he said "We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them. I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety." Now that he is running for President he has joined the NRA and has had a well covered faux pas regarding his history as a "lifelong hunter." He told attendees at the NRA's "Celebration of American Values" meeting in September that he supports the federal appeals court decision in the D.C. gun ban case. He discussed the issue on Meet the Press as well. Is he a pandering politician or has he really had a change of heart?

Then there is Mike Huckabee. As Governor of Arkansas, he had an "A" rating from the NRA. But, is he really a viable candidate or is he just splitting the conservative votes with Romney allowing McCain to win. Huckabee pulled an upset in Iowa on January 3rd but has not won since. He is basically out of money and is hoping to win in southern states with a high number of evangelical Christian voters to keep his hopes alive. At this point he appears to be running for the number 2 spot on the ticket and may be helping to catapult McCain to the nomination.

For Virginia gun owners who are Democrats, you don't have a pro-gun choice. I can't decide who is worse - Obama or Clinton. Both guarantee that if the Democrats win the White House, gun owners could be in for at least four tough years.

So, what should gun owners do on February 12th? Think long a hard about your decision. The winner of the election will likely have at least one Supreme Court nomination and possibly two. Focusing on the two candidates considered to have the best shot at getting the nomination, McCain claims he would appoint judges like Roberts or Alito yet it has been reported in National Review that McCain might not be so warm to justices like Alito after all. Romney has pledged to appoint justices like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. On the Democratic side, we can guarantee that both Obama and Clinton would appoint the likes of Stevens and Ginsberg.

Gun owners are urged to vote on February 12th and to "Vote Freedom First."

UPDATE: According to Instapundit Romney said today that he would "veto any gun control bills that cross his desk as President, including a renewal of the 'assault weapon' ban." This is different than what he said in December on Meet the Press. He also repeated the already disproven claim that the NRA endorsed him in 2002. Instapundit also includes this link on Romney's current position on 2nd Amendment issues.

And this from Jake Tapper on an ABC News blog post: Obama told a crowd in Idaho that he has "no intention of taking away folks' guns." However, it is widely reported that Obama does support gun control and has a record of voting for it in the Illinois Senate. He supported handgun rationing (limiting handgun purchases to one a month) and the Clinton campaign of all people has pointed out when Obama was running for the state legislature, he responded on a questionnaire that he "supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.''

Tapper also mentions the recent mistep of both Romney on the gun issue.

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