Jim Clark: Where do Sanders, Clinton stand on gun control? (opinion)
It’s pretty clear that the Democratic presidential nominee will be Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
Clinton, of course, was first lady when her husband championed a centrist Democratic Party movement friendly to business and signed into law welfare reform and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
She still maintains strong Wall Street ties and challenges Sanders, an unapologetic Socialist, on the practicalities of costly free government services he promises voters.
So it’s centrist versus Socialist, right? Except when it comes to gun control.
When first running for Congress, Bernie Sanders actually accepted support from the National Rifle Association and, when elected, voted against the Brady Bill.
Coming from a state where nearly all gun owners are hunters he has a much more moderate position on firearms than Clinton.
Clinton has proposed a seven-point gun control platform which would 1.) subject gun purchasers to “comprehensive background checks”; 2.) close the “gun show loophole”; 3.) close the “online loophole”; 4.) close the “Charleston loophole”; 5.) prohibit anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a gun; 6.) repeal a law that prohibits victims of gun violence from suing gun manufacturers and 7.) stiffen laws prohibiting the mentally ill from obtaining weapons.
Why doesn’t Bernie Sanders try to outflank her proposals by suggesting even more draconian restrictions? Maybe he’s too honest and trustworthy.
If anyone seriously thought that last century’s enactment of Prohibition would stop the production, importation and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the United States, he or she would certainly have been disabused of that notion by looking at the result.
A black market for booze emerged that was controlled by the Mafia, bootleggers and “moonshine” producers. Today, jurisdictions with the most restrictive gun control laws have the highest incidence of violence.
So what is Clinton asking for here? We already have a “comprehensive background check” system and Clinton’s own website does not explain just what she has in mind other than to say if she cannot get “it” though Congress she will enact “it” as an executive order.
The gun show “loophole” refers to the fact that a private person offering a firearm at a gun show is not required to subject a buyer to a background check.
No violence has been linked to this “loophole.” Similarly the “on line” loophole does not refer to gun sales but to advertisements.
The “Charleston” loophole refers to the fact that shooter Dylann Roof underwent a background check but the results took longer than the required three days so his purchase was approved.
If Clinton wants to ban sales until results are available good luck getting that through Congress. Letting government take its own sweet time producing a report would emasculate the law.
Hillary’s “no fly” list proposal has been torn apart by liberal media such as the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and CNN.
Names on the ‘no fly” list are a product of mere suspicion (and at one time included Sen. Teddy Kennedy) and not a basis on which to deprive people of their Constitutional rights.
Repealing a law that protects firearms manufacturers from lawsuits arising from individuals’ misuse of firearms would set a scary precedent.
Essentially, Clinton wants to set an army of trial lawyers loose with frivolous lawsuits. Does she think she can prevent drunken driving accidents by suing Ford?
Her proposal to deny firearms to the “severely mentally ill” is not new. It’s already in the law. If present restrictions are inadequate to protect the public perhaps the law should be revisited. However, Clinton does not make any specific proposals.
The National Rifle Association’s annual meeting will be May 19 through 22 in Louisville, Ky. Any bets on political endorsements?
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can breached at firstname.lastname@example.org.