Heller

By Sean Reagan

How will Heller – the Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment ruling – play out in rural states?

I think Todd Beeton basically has it right. Obama has offered a thoughtful endorsement of the case which – while it isn’t quite as histrionic on the subject as McCain’s – doesn’t leave a whole lot of daylight between the two candidates’ positions.

I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today’s ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.

As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Today’s decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

McCain has tried to link Heller to Obama’s “bitter” comments, a dog so old and tired it can hardly lift its head, let alone get out in the field and hunt.

“Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly,” McCain said.

Obama is threading the second amendment needle very precisely. By acknowledging the individual right to bear arms, he effectively nullifies the traditional Republican talking point that Democrats “just want to take your guns.” He’s also following Montana governor Brian Schweitzer’s tack on the issue.

Schweitzer had an innovative, three-part political strategy, one that perfectly fit the current conditions in Montana, but which Democrats across the country could learn from. First, Schweitzer took advantage of public dissatisfaction with two decades of insular one-party rule in the state capital, casting himself as an outsider and a reformer. Second, he rallied small business, usually a solidly GOP constituency, to his side by opposing the deals Republicans had cut in Washington and Helena to favor large or out-of-state corporations over local entrepreneurs. Third, and most interesting of all, Schweitzer figured out how to win over one of the most important, reliably Republican, and symbolically significant groups of voters: hunters and fishermen.

Obama is right when he says that what works in Chicago may not – in fact, probably will not – work in Cheyenne. That kind of nuanced view, coupled with a full-throated endorsement of the individual right to bear arms, is going to play well in the back country.

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2 Responses to “Heller”

  1. Since I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, I had no problems with the ruling. Those of us who live in urban areas don’t want to take rural folks’ guns. We’d just like to know why you allow the shady characters who DO gun run to hide behind you  – the LEGAL gun owner? As an urban dweller who believes gun control laws like this only help urban criminals, I”m glad it was struck down.

  2. [...] Heller …that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations… [...]

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