“Chris Christie tore into a gun rights activist who questioned his Second Amendment record in an Iowa town hall event Saturday night, displaying the fiery and confrontational style the New Jersey governor is known for,” CNN approvingly proclaimed in its “report” on the exchange. Other media, including The Huffington Post and The Des Moines Register were quick to portray it as “Christie fires back” and “Christie counters” respectively.
Pointing out bills he did not support does not tell us what he does favor. Likewise, dismissing a 1995 campaign ad by asking if his questioner had not changed his mind in 20 years does not answer what Christie changed his mind to. What he avoided with all the skill of a seasoned political animal, was explaining – unequivocally — where he stood on the right to keep and bear arms and how he has shown leadership promoting the Bill of Rights.
Years back, sick and tired of “I support the Second Amendment” platitudes from politicians that did nothing to explain how, I developed a candidate questionnaire to help voters by seeing if candidates seeking their support deserved it. They’d either respond or they wouldn’t, weasel-worded dodging would be easily detected, and if a candidate reneged after winning elected office, there’d be an undeniable record to expose him as a lying fraud. The most notable race producing a response was Nevada’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign (Sharron Angle answered the questions head-on while Harry Reid ignored them, but unfortunately, the “gun lobby” refused to involve itself and the rest is sad history that could have been avoided). [UPDATE: Larry Pratt reminds me “GOA was all in for her.”]
If Christie – or if any candidate for public office seeking gun owner votes– is serious about showing leadership and earning office, challenge him and them to answer the following – and make sure you let them know you’ll be sharing their answers and letting people know if they ignore the questions:
- Do you believe that the Constitution is the “supreme Law of the Land” and that the Bill of Rights acknowledges our birthrights?
- If so, should these rights be proactively protected from infringement by all levels of government, including city, county and state?
- Please give some examples of gun laws you consider constitutional.
- Please give some examples of gun laws you consider unconstitutional.
- Does the right to bear arms include the right for any peaceable citizen to carry them concealed without a permit (Constitutional carry)? How about openly?
- Do you believe that Americans have a right to own, use and carry weapons of militia utility, and will you use the prestige of elected office to publicly promote that right?
- Do you support or oppose registration of weapons? Why?
- Do you support or oppose licensing requirements to own or carry firearms? Why?
- What specific gun laws will you work to get repealed?
- If elected, will you back your words of support for firearms rights up with consistent actions? How?
I’ve since added a question to ask what they’re doing to oppose amnesty for illegal aliens with a “pathway to citizenship,” to account for the danger that poses to both the composition of legislatures and to judicial confirmations and subsequent gun rulings.
There will no doubt be some who would phrase questions differently, or ask altogether different ones. That’s fine – this is what I do. Feel free to modify and make it yours.
There’ll be others who will dismiss this altogether. The fact is, I’ve gotten responses from candidates in dozens of races over the years, and when that happens, it really does show a clear difference. With more gun owners doing this, more responses would be forthcoming.
The bottom line is, we can continue accepting opportunistic and meaningless political platitudes, and letting “progressive” agenda outlets like CNN and HuffPo and Gannett Company papers shape public attitudes on candidate gun positions, or we can realize all they’re doing is redefining the middle so anyone to the right can be portrayed as an extremist.
Back to Christie — for all his posturing and “tearing into” and “firing back” and “countering,” and for all his bullying of a citizen in a forum he’s a master at performing in, he knows he doesn’t dare answer my specific questions, or yours.
Care to try and see?