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The Firearms Issue: “Very Stark Differences”

October 9, 2012
By Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

As the 2012 General Election in the United States nears, the opportunity to compare the different political platforms with respect to firearms can easily be done. Following are the sections pertaining to firearms as they are written in each platform, unedited and in their entirety; the link to each one is also supplied.

Whatever opinion you have about firearms, I strongly recommend you carefully read each one and get a good understanding of what is written, reading them a second or third time if necessary. Some very smart individuals, have carefully crafted the language in these two paragraphs, right down to the point of using specific words and phrases.

Democratic Platform (

Firearms. We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact common sense improvements? like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole? so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.

Republican Platform (

The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen's God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court's decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend their homes and communities. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners. We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban. We condemn the reckless actions associated with the operation known as "Fast and Furious," conducted by the Department of Justice, which resulted in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent and others on both sides of the border. We applaud the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in holding the current Administration's Attorney General in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with their investigation into that debacle. We oppose the improper collection of firearms sales information in the four southern border states, which was imposed without congressional authority.

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With recent incidents of violence involving firearms that have permeated the media, it seems as if both parties have been avoiding this issue. Hopefully, the upcoming debates before the election will force both individuals running for president to make verbal commitments on the issue of firearms.

Personally, I have issues with both platforms. In the Democratic platform, the word 'reasonable' ('reasonable' by whose opinion?) and term 'common sense' (again, 'common sense' in whose opinion?) can be interpreted many ways. In addition, I believe that the politicians pushing for the 'assault weapon' ban can't even explain how an assault weapon differs from other firearms. As for the Republican platform, there is no mention of stronger enforcement of existing laws with respect to the unlawful use or possession of firearms by criminals. To be consistent with their overall philosophy of less and smaller government, the Republican platform should state the obvious that firearms legislation proposed in the Democratic platform only effects the law abiding citizens, not the criminals. Third, the Republican platform fails to denounce the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

When it comes time to vote, remember that there are some very stark differences in the platforms with respect to firearms. While nearly every other issue is getting covered repeatedly, the absence of coverage about firearms does not mean it is a non-issue. Be a knowledgeable voter even if you don't hear it in the news.



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