Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Gun Rights: Honesty in Political Debate Reality Check

Having just fired guns for the first time recently I thought I would take up the issue of Gun Control/Gun Rights.  I am further going to consider this in the context of how honestly this is being handled by both sides.  

That paragon of honesty in political debate – Human Events – has been so kind as to send me a note today from the Second Ammendment Foundation.  I have copied the bulk of it below and made an effort to see if it accurately expresses the reasons gun owners should be concerned about the current administration.  I will accept the SAF as an established voice (35 years) for the political right on this topic, and allow President Obama’s words speak for themselves, as specifically referenced by SAF.

The letter from Human Events (editted for brevity only):

Obama’s Anti-Gun Agenda Heads To Supreme Court

Chicago Gun Ban Case to Determine Gun Rights For All States

The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, and decide whether the right to keep and bear arms secured by the Second Amendment protects Americans from overreaching state and local governments.

The Supreme Court case is of paramount importance to American citizens, to see that their constitutional rights are respected not only by the Congress, but by state and local governments.

Obama made public his clear anti-gun agenda in March 2004 in Chicago. Obama voted against Illinois Senate Bill 2165 allowing citizens the right to protect themselves and for local ordinances against handgun possession. The measure passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 38-20 without Obama’s vote. STOP Obama’s Anti-Gun Agenda now before he can appoint any anti-gun judges.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is delighted to bring this case in cooperation with the Illinois State Rifle Association and the four local plaintiffs. We are in this fight because a gun ban is no less onerous to civil rights in Chicago than it was in the District of Columbia. Such a law cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.

(call for donations removed)  SAF stands firmly committed to defend these rights and we are asking you to stand with us and we need your help to stop the anti-freedom extremists now!

At issue is a 27-year-old Chicago law banning handguns, requiring the annual taxation of firearms, and otherwise interfering with the right of law-abiding individuals to keep guns at home for self-defense. The case was brought on behalf of four Chicago residents, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Illinois State Rifle Association.


“The freedoms we enjoy as Americans are secured to us against violation by all levels of government,” noted Alan Gura, of Gura & Possessky, PLLC, lead counsel for the McDonald plaintiffs. “State and local politicians should be on notice: the Second Amendment is a normal part of the Bill of Rights, and it is coming to your town.”

Otis McDonald, a Chicago resident since 1952 who led the fight to integrate his union local in the 1960s and is a plaintiff in the case, welcomed the news.

“I am grateful the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case,” McDonald said. “I now pray that the Court secures me and all other law-abiding citizens the right to defend ourselves and our families.”


The Chicago gun ban challenge will likely be among the most closely watched constitutional law cases in decades. At stake is not just the question of whether the Second Amendment secures the right to arms against state and local governments, but also the extent to which the Supreme Court preserves individual liberty against encroachment by state and local governments.

Oral argument will possibly be scheduled early this coming winter, with a decision expected by June 2010. Gura will argue the case on behalf of the McDonald plaintiffs.

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

Illinois Senate Bill 2165, as referenced by SAF.  Page 100-106 of the transcript of the congressional discussion prior to the vote contain Sen. Obama’s statements, you can read them for yourself here.  In summary, the bill was to allow anyone granted an “order of protection” to automatically be granted the right to carry a concealed firearm.  This would override existing laws requiring background checks, age restrictions and other requirements for those applying for a “concealed carry” permit in Illinois.  The context for the bill was to provide those dealing with domestic violence the ability to carry a handgun for self-protection from the alleged abusive spouse.

Sen. Obama’s objections were not specifically with the bill itself – though he raises issues where it could either make the courts less likely to grant Orders of Protection due to the automatic concealed handgun that would attach to such orders.  His primary objection was that it created a loophole in the existing concealed carry permit system without raising the issue of concealed carry in general.

Senator Obama:

Well, just to close this questioning, and I – I appreciate Senator Petka’s patience as well as the indulgence of the rest of the Senate.  As I stated in committee, Senator Petka and I disagree on the underlying premise that conceal and carry will create a safer citizenry in Illinois.  And I think that’s a legitimate debate and that’s one, I think, that we should carry in a forthright and aboveboard manner.  I am concerned on an issue of such import to the State – one that we have debated extensively in this Chamber, one that has been extensively debated in the other Chamber, one that’s been extensively debated in the public – that we would potentially use the disturbing situation facing people who are involved in domestic violence situations as a potential Trojan horse through which we introduce the – the notion that conceal and carry appropriate in our State.  If we think that conceal and carry is appropriate we should vote on it, we should vote it up or down.  We should make a decision that it applies to everybody, or it applies to nobody.  For us to do it in this piecemeal fashion, I think, does a disservice both to victims of domestic violence, but I also think it does a disservice to the – Illinois public.  I would urge, at this stage, a No vote, not only because I don’t think this is going to be particularly effective with respect to curbing domestic violence, but more importantly, because I think that this reaches into a much larger issue in terms of how we maintain safety in the State of Illinois.

IMHO, the SAF disengenuously makes blanket accusations against (then Sen.) Obama as an anti-gun legislator.  Obama stated his belief that concealed carry would not reduce crime, but at the same time welcomed the debate.  His objection is with half-measured backdoor approaches to complex issues, not with addressing the issue openly and honestly.

It will be interesting to see how the SCOTUS case turns out.  Ironically, from the sounds of it I am likely to side with SAF in regards to the outcome of this case, but as a willfully dishonest partner in the debate I don’t believe I could ever support them as an organization.


  1. Shaun Appleby

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

    So if you are in a well regulated militia you may keep and bear arms?  Makes sense to me.

  2. Though knives have more practical applications in daily lives.

    The gun debate is really – for me – part of the debate of how we deal with dangerous items in general.  I don’t believe for a minute that having a gun is actually going to keep you safer in most western environments (though there are interesting arguments along the ‘an armed population is polite population’ path), but really to me that’s all aside from the point.

    Where the gun debate can be resolved by reasonable discussion about how we can make the world as safe as it should be – without foam-wrapping every sharp point on the planet and without removing the active risk-management that I think makes for interesting and fulfilled humans – then I’m likely to be OK with whatever the granular outcome is.

    This is again why I came to appreciate Obama so much.  His point on this issue (and pretty well every other) is not some pat position.  It’s a pragmatic approach that seeks to achieve what could reasonably be called a positive outcome based on contemplation and discussion.  It’s “progress through politics” without having preconceived ideas of what specific progress has to look like.

    This is in stark contrast to folks like SAF, apparently, with what I can only interpret as “only completely unfettered access to all guns all the time is acceptable” positions.  Or, for that matter, folks with positions that require all guns to cease to exist.

  3. creamer

    police would be greatly reduced. We could offer class’s to teangers to coincide with their drivers training.

     I’ve pretty much accepted guns as part of our way of life. Don’t see much point in the disscussion. I truly don’t believe that more guns reduces violence, it would seem that more guns just leads to more(guns) in the hands of those who would commit violence. The second amendment (in my view) was written by a people who had just violently overthrown what they viewed as an oppressive and unresponsive government. I don’t think their intention was to prohibit local government from passing common sence laws within their juristictions. It seems rather odd that the Republican support of state and local government rights disappear in the gun debate.

     Maybe I’m unfair but part of me always see’s the paranoid militia movement as part of the pro-gun side. Stockpiling food, water and ammo for the day when they have to rise up and save us from the government or those not like us.


  4. DTOzone

    as a joke, a Republican friend of mine put me on the e-mail list for Human Events.

    I’m still on it, never got the time to get my e-mai delisted.

    If I see “Islam will conquer Rome” one more time, I might scream.  

  5. Hollede

    Just the American people.

    Most everyone I know around here (Minnesota) owns a gun. Most are hunters and are fine people. I have no problem with them or what they do. In fact I wish there were more hunters to help keep the deer population down. I am tired of killing deer with my truck. However, I tend to agree with Michael Moore on this issue. He points out that other countries have fairly high levels of gun ownership, ie. Switzerland, France, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Austria, and Germany; but they do not have near the gun violence we have in the United States.

    The US does lead that list on gun ownership, 90 guns per 100 residents, but the violence level in this country is higher than any of those countries mentioned. We follow only Columbia and Guatemala in percentages of homicides from firearms. Not a terribly great group to be associated with. I also don’t see a lot of personal freedoms in those countries.

    Mr. Moore pointed out in his film, Bowling for Columbine, that Americans are not really mature enough to respect the gun. I would tend to agree.

    Do those who think that owning guns is really going to stop a dictator type takeover of this country? Considering the weapons they would have at their disposal, I think fighting back with guns would be the least effective way to protect our democracy.

    Gandhi defeated the British Empire without using violence. I am fairly certain that he was not packing;~J

  6. alyssa chaos

    some interesting comments up thread…

    Ill just say that I support the second amendment, but I also support back ground checks (actual ones, not those half a** ones) and waiting periods on all gun sales (I recently heard that certain sales, through private dealers aren’t obligated to do so?). they should be mandatory in every state.

    Recently our legislature was to vote on allowing concealed hand guns on college campuses.

    The entire UT system was opposed as were most other colleges throughout the state, but the legislature did not listen. Thankfully it got buried under other stuff and died.

    I should add that as Texan, that I believe the states requirements are too lax. [And I really dont want them to be allowed on campus.]

  7. creamer

      Last week Senator Ensign said that when you take gun and auto accidents out of the health care comparisons we compare favorably with other Western Democracy’s. I never thought I’d hear a republican politition calling for a ban on guns and funding of mass transportation, but there you have it.

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