Delegates to the Republican National Convention have adopted what one leading national gun rights leader called “the strongest pro-gun rights platform I’ve ever seen.”
The observation came from Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. He was in Tampa during the first two days of the convention, participating in a major event held in conjunction with, but not directly connected to, the GOP gathering.
The platform, which nay-sayers are already panning as a document that will probably not mean much, contains language on gun rights that may mean plenty to millions of American firearms owners.
“This is strong stuff that squarely puts the GOP behind, ahead of and alongside every one of this nation’s millions of law-abiding gun owners,” Gottlieb told TGM. “I was delighted to see such a bold position put forth because it clearly provides a contrast between those who offer lip service to the Second Amendment, and those who live by it.”
Just how bold is the gun rights plank?
“We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms,” the statement explains, “a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment.
“We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizens’ 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,” the plank reads. “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,” the statement continues, “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.”
Taking a shot at junk lawsuits that cost the firearms industry millions of dollars to defend against, the party document notes, “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.”
And then comes the proverbial frosting on the gun rights cake, as Republicans take a hard swipe at the Obama administration’s handling and alleged cover-up of Operation Fast and Furious.
“We condemn the reckless actions associated with the operation known as ‘Fast and Furious’,” the document says, “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.”
In addition, noted Delaware attorney John Sigler, former president of the National Rifle Association and a member of the Platform Committee and subcommittee that dealt with constitutional issues, there is more that should appeal to gun owners.
For example, he said, the platform also contains language specifically aimed at hunting rights and recreational shooting on public lands. The GOP plank says that “public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands.”
In addition, there is a provision that calls for “immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of our Armed Forces who have had representatives appointed to manage their financial affairs.”
Even the Washington Examiner called it “the most pro-gun platform ever.”
It was especially praised by gun rights advocates, including Gottlieb, for separating the acts of criminals from the activities of law-abiding gun owners.
“I think it is important to American gun owners that, even in the wake of the tragedy in Colorado, and the soaring homicide rate in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago that the GOP platform framers can intelligently separate the acts of criminals from the civil rights of peaceable citizens,” Gottlieb stated. “Others would dredge up cliché-ridden programs that have been demonstrable failures, and that punish law-abiding citizens for the acts of social losers, thugs and lunatics.”
Gottlieb said the GOP platform on Second Amendment rights “was crafted by people who understand that the rights of law-abiding gun owners should be expanded not eroded. Their platform recognizes gun owners as first-class Americans, not second-rate citizens.”