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Monday, March 28, 2011

Richmond Times Dispatch Calls Out Obama on Gun Control Move

Unlike many newspaper editorial boards, the RTD editorial staff is no friend of gun control.  They have regularly opined on the uselessness of gun control - especially the attempts to close the so-called "gun show loophole."  Yesterday the RTD ran an article on open carry advocates and today's editorial page calls out President Obama for his Kumbaya gun control sessions.

A couple of weeks ago, as a follow up to the President's op/ed in the Arizona Daily Star, the Department of Justice (at the urging of the administration) had this great idea (they thought) to call in stakeholders on the gun issue to try and work out some "commonsense" measures to keep criminals and other prohibited persons from getting their hands on firearms.  DOJ invited gun ban groups, gun rights groups (including the NRA), representatives of the retailers, and law enforcement to come and talk to DOJ in separate sessions.  The gun ban groups met with DOJ representatives on March 15th and laid out their usual list - closing the "gun show loophole," banning "high capacity ammunition magazines," and reinstating the so called "assault weapons ban."  Representatives for the retailers were said to have accepted the invitation, but the meeting scheduled for March 18th was postponed.  Representatives from law enforcement groups met with DOJ on March 25th, and sources say they told DOJ that the administration had to get out in front on the issue and even offered to give cover to the administration by being the ones to make the first move.
 
The NRA was invited to participate as part of the "gun owners/civil rights" stakeholder group.  NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre declined by saying why should he or the NRA sit down with people who have spent their entire lives trying to restrict the rights of gun owners.  The RTD concurred, saying why indeed, and analogized the invitation to the reaction that Planned Parenthood might have if invited to find "middle ground" with the Pro-life movement to reduce the number of abortions.
But while the come-let-us-reason-together approach gets less use in politics than it should, there are realms where it is merely a sham. Pro-choice and pro-life activists can agree on abortion only to the extent that they avoid the real issue — by agreeing, for instance, that it is wise to reduce unintended pregnancies. On the fundamental question of what should be done once an unintended pregnancy occurs, however, they have starkly incompatible views — and asking either side to meet the other halfway is just plain silly. If abortion-rights activists concede that abortion is not a right and may be limited in whatever manner lawmakers deem appropriate, then they have not met the other side halfway — they have conceded the entire argument. The same goes for pro-life advocates if they concede the fetus is part of a pregnant woman's body rather than a separate individual.
What the RTD really had right is something pro-rights activists have said for years regarding how the NY Times and Washington Post clamor for restrictions on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
The president is fond of speaking about "common sense" gun restrictions. To supporters of the Second Amendment, that is like speaking about "common sense" press restrictions in the context of the First — which forbids any restrictions at all. There is nothing particularly noble about compromise when it calls for someone to compromise his principles.
As is usually the case, the RTD editorial was right on target.

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