Hindsight from The New Gun Week October 10, 1996
Political Retreads on the Gun Control Road
by Joseph P. Tartaro
No matter the election year, we are never too far from the gun issue. And sometimes the issue jumps from election to election. That's because anti-gunners tend to stay anti-gunners, no matter what office they hold.
Then, when anti-gun Democratic presidential candidate William Clinton won the presidential election in 1992, Mondale was appointed US ambassador to Japan. That appointment offers another linkage. Japan is one of those countries which is leading the charge for global gun control, through the United Nations and other diplomatic avenues, like the protocols of the 29-nation Wassanaar Agreement (see GUN NEWS DIGEST, Summer 1996).
Perhaps that is why it is not surprising that Mondale should bring up the gun control issue, with internationalist overtones, during a Sept. 4 luncheon speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
The Global PushAccording to an Associated Press report, Mondale pumped up the old Clinton gun control agenda during the 1996 election campaign by claiming that the failure of the US to control handgun violence is seriously undermining this nation's ability to provide world leadership.
"Failure to deal with violence in America, failure to restrict the use of guns as weapons of wanton bloodshed, is no longer just a domestic issue," Mondale said. "It is costing us terribly as world leaders. As Americans, we simply must stop it."
Mondale said America's murder rate provided an excuse for the voices to totalitarianism to argue against granting too much freedom to the citizens of emerging Asian democracies.
"As Asian society struggles to redefine the boundaries between the individual and the state, they are always weighing the benefits of individualism against their traditionally group-oriented systems," said Mondale, who was Jimmy Carters's vice president.
He said, according to AP, that America's inability to control handguns "arms the advocates of authoritarianism with their strongest case for oppression at home."
It is significant that personal small arms, formerly the most convincing badge of free citizens, have now been so demonized that their presence as a buffer against authoritarianism is seen as an encouragement to tyranny. Of course, in Washington, DC, it is easy to claim that day is night and night is day.
While free men and free women were allowed to possess small arms briefly in the past in other nations, in no other country has the right to keep and bear arms been so enshrined in founding documents as the US. The right to keep and bear arms is anchored in both the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Indeed, the Second Amendment anchor is cited by many commentators as the main obstacle to the Clinton-supported global gun control scheme.
One wonders why American politicians, brought up in the American traditions of personal freedom should embrace the principles of feudal Japan in an attempt to turn back the clock of freedom, not only in this country, but around the world.
Curious, isn't it, that the Asian countries like Japan, which have prohibited possession of personal arms for the masses of its citizenry for centuries, were also the spawning grounds for many of the martial arts systems we study today--systems in which hands, feet and farm implements can be used as weapons. You would think the Japanese shoguns and Chinese emperors would have learned that you can disarm a people but you cannot eradicate their determination to enjoy lief and a measure of personal independence and protection, in the absence of freedom.
The Clinton-Mondale approach, as pursued by our State Department, seems a new twist on the foreign trade policy of recent Administrations. Now we export jobs and import foreign ideologies.
Speaking of the 1996 election, the endorsement of Clinton by the 270,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has had some backlash. The FOP has usually endorsed the incumbent president. They endorsed Busch in 1992. So their backing of Clinton this year should be no surprise.
The Clinton campaign has tried to make it appear that the FOP endorsement is a reflection of his ability to deal with crime and a universal endorsement of the President's gun control policies. But not so, says the current head of the National police union. The main reason had to do with labor issues, he said, not crime issues.
There has also been another kind of backlash--from FOP members. As a sample let me quote from a letter published in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE Sept. 20.
"Now that President Clinton has received the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police for re-election as president, I have just one question: How was the decision made for the endorsement?
"As a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, I was not asked for my input, and as far as I am aware, neither were the officers of my lodge. Since there are more than 14,000 members in the Chicago Lodge, I find it hard to believe that lodge members weren't polled regarding the endorsement. Yet, when I called the office, that is exactly what I was told.
"I don't mind if the National Fraternal Order of Police chooses to endorse Clinton--even though I don't, personally--just as long as they go about it in a fair and impartial fashion."
The letter was signed by Matthew Brown, Sergeant, Chicago Police Department, member, Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge No. 7.
Other RetreadsYet another story of an anti-gun retread comes from Maryland.
Julie Elseroad of Cloverly, MD, who five years ago found a group called Build the Missing Peace, is the featured player. Elseroad and her group were the subject of earlier reports in GUN WEEK because of their sponsorship of gun turn-in programs and a "white ribbon" program in middle and high schools in her county. The white ribbon program involved a pledge by the students to behave nonviolently.
It appears that while Building the Missing Peace gained international notoriety, the group never built a solid financial base. Thus, in June, a lack of funds forced the closing of Elseroad's anti-gun violence prevention organization.
That's not the end of the story, though. In mid-September, it was announced that Elseroad, "healthy, strong, excited and happy," was starting a new position as confidential aide to Councilman Isiah "Ike" Leggett (D-at Large) of Burtonsville. While Leggett serves on the council's Transporation and Environment and Education committees, Elseroad said that although she will be involved in those issues she "will continue to work on her main concern--public safety."
And, as you might expect, that means continuing her anti-gun efforts. Like Mondale and former New Jersey Gov. James Florio and other anti-gun activists, Elseroad is unlikely to abandon her efforts to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. Once they take the gun control road, they keep on traveling no matter how their journey is interrupted.
Liberalism DefinitionsThe term "liberal" is being used frequently in political debate these days and for some it is equated with socialism. However, here are some dictionary definitions of liberalism:
"A doctrine that holds that constitutions, laws, and political proposals should promote individual liberty based on the exercise of rational will. Because this criteria is ambiguous, a great variety of conflicting views have claimed the title `liberal.'"--ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA.
"The right to rebel against a government that severely restricts personal freedom... Today, liberals favor active government programs to provide economic security and ease human suffering ." -- WORLD BOOK.
"A political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for tolerance and freedom for the individual from arbitrary authority in all spheres of life." -- WEBSTER'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY.
The New Gun Week is published three times a month by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) on the 1st, 10th, and 20th. Hindsight is a commentary written by SAF President and Gun Week Executive Editor Joseph P. Tartaro. This commentary may be reprinted so long as credit is given to the author and the publication. For more information or to subscribe, write Gun Week, PO Box 488, Buffalo, NY 14209, or call 716-885-6408 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, or inquire on Compuserve to John Krull, Production manager-JohnSAF@Compuserve.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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