Friday, January 15, 2016

Firearms Friday: Talk To And With The People

The politics we percolating this week as the President delivered the State of the Union on Tuesday and the first Republican Presidential Debate of the year was held last night. There were a lot of words bandied about and a heck of a lot of rhetoric disguised as unity earlier in the week. However, there were some moments and some lines that caught my attention last night when common sense prevailed as the topic of the second amendment was brought to the forefront of the debate (note that the full transcript can be found at The Washington Post).  

Bush: “…I have an A plus rating in the NRA and we also have a reduction in gun violence because in Florida, if you commit a crime with a gun, you're going away. You're going away for a long, long while…And that's what we should focus on is the violence in our communities. Target the efforts for people that are committing crimes with guns, and if you do that, and get it right, you're going to be much better off...”

Trump: “If we had guns in California on the other side where the bullets went in the different direction, you wouldn't have 14 or 15 people dead right now. If even in Paris, if they had guns on the other side, going in the opposite direction, you wouldn't have 130 people plus dead. So the answer is no and what Jeb said is absolutely correct. We have a huge mental health problem in this country… The guns don't pull the trigger. It's the people that pull the trigger and we have to find out what is going on.

Rubio: “Look, the Second Amendment is not an option. It is not a suggestion. It is a constitutional right of every American to be able to protect themselves and their families… criminals don't buy their guns from a gun show. They don't buy their guns from a collector. And they don't buy their guns from a gun store. They get -- they steal them. They get them on the black market. And let me tell you, ISIS and terrorists do not get their guns from a gun show.”

Christie: “I don't think the founders put the Second Amendment as number two by accident. I don't think they dropped all the amendments into a hat and picked them out of a hat. I think they made the Second Amendment the second amendment because they thought it was just that important.

Cruz (When asked “So what is the answer, Senator Cruz, to stop mass shootings and violent crime, up in 30 cities across the country?”): “The answer is simple. Your prosecute criminals. You target the bad guys… Listen, in any Republican primary, everyone is going to say they support the Second Amendment. Unless you are clinically insane that's what you say in a primary... I've got a proven record fighting to defend the Second Amendment. There's a reason Gun Owners of America has endorsed me in this race. There's a reason the NRA gave me their Carter Knight Freedom Fund award and there's a reason, when Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer came after our right to keep and bear arms that I led the opposition, along with millions of Americans -- we defeated that gun control legislation.”

The other candidates on stage did not contribute to this part of the debate. And while I was satisfied with many of the answers I think I was most impressed with those coming from Senators Cruz and Rubio. When taking into account their track records on the subject, Cruz would be the one that I cast my vote for in the primary. When taking all other issues into account, the divide becomes more pronounced and I, once again, vote for Cruz. With that said, that statement pertains to those on the main broadcast.

Of course I still believe that Rand Paul is the best candidate still in the race (and not just because of his ardent support of the Second Amendment) but there is clearly a lack of support for his campaign which was evident in his absence from the stage. However, his presence was still felt last night as the crowd chanted “We want Rand!” during the broadcast and, throughout the evening, Paul was answering questions coming directly from the voters via Twitter with the hashtag “#RandRally”. So, while the punches were being thrown (and dodged) on stage, a unique dialogue was taking place between a Presidential candidate and the people. What a novel concept.