“The power of the gun lobby over statehouse politicians has led to a raft of laws dear to gun rights adherents, from a measure allowing concealed firearms on college campuses to one legalizing the open carrying of holstered pistols for those who like to swagger into restaurants and coffee bars,” Francis X. Clines opines at nytimes.com. “The growing question of whether the lobby had nullified all serious political resistance was answered Friday when West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, usually a reliable supporter of the National Rifle Association, vetoed a bill to scrap the current law that citizens have to get a permit and take gun safety lessons in order to legally carry a concealed weapon in the state.” Question: what is the gun lobby? Is it . . .
a dark conspiracy of evil master manipulators working behind the scenes in smoke-filled rooms to pimp gun sales at the expense of dead children? That would be the working definition for Mr. Clines and his fellow anti-gunners at the New York Times; a paper owned and manned by East Coast intellectuals for whom open carry is for boorish ballistic bumpkins proclaiming penis size (or the firearms equivalent thereof).
Attributing gun rights gains to a “gun lobby” marginalizes gun owners seeking to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms without government infringement. It makes them seem like sheep blindly following men motivated by arrogance, greed and a desire for personal power. Which strikes me as a pretty good definition of anti-gun Progressives and the politicians who represent them . . .
Second Amendment advocates said the requirement for a $100 permit and lessons interfered with their constitutional rights and cost too much. The Republican-led legislature agreed, with significant Democratic support. But Gov. Tomblin, a Democrat, chose to risk the wrath of the gun lobby with his veto. He cited the “apprehension of law enforcement officers from across the state” that their job would be riskier and their lives less safe if people could stealthily arm themselves without so much as a lesson in safe shooting.
The governor had the comfort of knowing that retention of the permit requirement was supported by more than 80 percent of respondents in a state poll. But statehouse legislators across the country have demonstrated more respect for gun lobbyists than for public opinion — just as the national Congress did in refusing to enact safety precautions opposed by the N.R.A., despite the public’s outcry over the Newtown, Conn. gun massacre of 20 schoolchildren in 2012.
Truth be told, the “gun lobby” is an association of millions of gun owners, thousands of firearms industry workers and dozens of politically active gun rights groups, all working to prevent government regulation of the aforementioned right to keep and bear arms – by political means. Their victories at the local, state and federal level are an indication of their political clout. Nothing more. Nothing less.
When Clines laments Congress’s failure to impose “safety precautions” (i.e. gun control) after Newtown, when he suggests that pro-gun pols are ignoring “the will of the people” to appease the obstinate N.R.A., he’s willfully ignoring the fact that the “gun lobby’s” power comes from the ballot box. The pressure brought to bear on politicians by “the gun lobby” represents the success of our political system, not it’s failure.
Clines seems to be arguing that America’s political system is based on strict democratic principles: “majority rules.” America is not a democracy. It’s a Constitutional Republic, where gun rights are protected against government infringement by the United States Constitution. All our politicians swear a verbal oath to uphold and defend the Constitution no matter what the voters desire. For what it’s worth.
The vetoed measure, while eliminating the mandate for permits, had a clause that would have still allowed some permits to be issued to those people seeking to conceal-carry their weapons out of state. This was to accommodate the gun lobby’s larger and very much ongoing campaign to make concealed pistols a fixture of American life.
Firearms are a fixture of American life – not that Clines or his fellow Times editorial board members would know that. Guns are woven into the very fabric of American life. The threads were first spun at the beginning of our nation’s history by people who understood the natural right of self-protection and the need for a bulwark against government tyranny. In some ways, you could even call these Founding Fathers gun lobbyists.