The AP headline – Bush: New gun limits not way to prevent shooting tragedies – signaled a boilerplate “pro-gun pol says don’t blame the guns” story: And so it seemed, at first. “New gun control measures are not the way to prevent mass killings such as the shooting deaths of nine people in a South Carolina church, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Saturday. Bush, who plans to meet with black ministers in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday, said identifying potentially violent people before they commit such crimes is a better approach than further restrictions on gun ownership. ‘We as a society better figure out how we identify these folks long before they feel compelled to take up a gun and kill innocent people,’ the former Florida governor said at a town hall meeting.” And then, this . . .
Afterward, he told reporters gun control was an issue that should be sorted out at the state level.
“Rural areas are very different than big, teeming urban areas,” he said.
Wrong answer. Americans natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is NOT a state rights’ issue, any more than freedom of speech is a state rights’ issue. But don’t take my word for it. While I don’t consider the Supreme Court the final arbiter of my rights, the McDonald decision incorporated the Second Amendment. The Supremes ruled that it trumps local and state law.
This isn’t merely a technical question. Bush is deploying the exact same argument used by the enemies of firearms freedom: big cities need gun control! We’ve got gang bangers!. And crime! And police facing armed criminals! You can’t equate rural Wyoming with the Bronx! Gun laws should be whatever local or state governments need them to be!
I’m astounded by Bush’s statement. Then again the NRA A+-rated former Florida Governor is running as a centrist, prone to making statements like this [via a highly skeptical cnn.com]:
“Florida is a pro-gun state. Gun violence has dropped. There’s a reason for it,” he told reporters after the event. “We created a balance that’s focused on lowering gun violence but protecting the Second Amendment, and it’s a model for many other countries and many other states because of that.”
Be that as it may, Bush’s now-clarified position on gun control – that gun rights should be left to the democratic process at the local and state level – betrays any pretension of “balance.” Or commitment to firearms freedom. His statement kills the hopes of millions of disarmed Americans subject to unconstitutional gun laws, looking for licensing liberation from a conservative President. Which Jeb Bush would not be.