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Candidates take aim at gun ownersPosted Sunday, September 23, 2007, at 10:44 PM
The war of words comes around during every presidential election.
Candidates arm themselves with rhetoric and aim straight at America's gun owners.
At one point in the campaign season I'm sure we'll see at least one inept gun user/candidate trying to go hunting in an attempt to woo hunters' votes. Keep Dick Cheney far away, please.
Rudy Guiliani, a member of the party which you'd expect to be pro-gun, has referred to the National Rifle Association as "extremists." And as New York mayor he filed suit against gun makers and distributors over violent crimes, as though they were responsible for what criminals do with their trigger fingers.
Meanwhile, Democrats Barack Obama and John Edwards both have indicated they may be against individuals owning assault weapons.
"I'm a strong believer in the rights of hunters and sportsmen to have firearms. I'm a believer in homeowners having a firearm to protect their home and their family…It's hard for me to find a rationale for having a 17-clip semiautomatic," Obama has said.
"I believe in the Second Amendment and I think it's important for hunters' rights to be protected," Edwards says. "But I don't think you need an AK-47 to hunt...There's some weapons that are not necessary for sportsmen and hunters."
I couldn't find any direct comments about the issue by Hillary Rodham Clinton in a quick Google search .
I've got mixed emotions about assault weapon ownership. Does a private citizen really need an AK-47? But, should a true, law-abiding gun collector be limited from ownership?
"My friends, gun owners are not extremists; you are the core of modern America," John McCain said, referring to the Second Amendment's guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms.
I wouldn't exactly call gun owners "the core" of America (and I don't mean that negatively), but I'd say they represent America's mainstream.
The United States would be best served by a federal database of all guns, their owners and sales. That's no more intrusive to privacy than databases of vehicles and their owners.
And anyone who has been found guilty of even pointing a weapon, not just shooting it, at someone in anger -- and I'm not including legitimate self-defense -- should be banned from ever again legally owning a gun. Since those angry persons are often criminals who operate outside the realm of legality, I doubt such a law would make that much difference.
Gun owners who are law-abiding hunters and/or collectors will be the only ones really hurt by attempts at gun control beyond reason. I suspect it's impossible to keep guns and criminals apart, so any additional laws shouldn't penalize the innocent in order to hurt the unreachable.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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