Saturday, April 23, 2005

Gun Ho

The Moose notes that some lefties may once again believe that power may grow out of the barrel of a gun.

The Moose has been ambivalent about gun control. On the one hand, the NRA and the gun nuts crowd are extreme and deeply offensive. If they had their way, private ownership of Howitzers would be kosher. The Moose was particularly outraged by the NRA types in the mid-nineties when they opposed sensible anti-terrorist provisions that were proposed by the Clinton Administration in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing.

With that stipulation, much of the gun control legislation seems rather ineffective and perhaps not worth the political cost. With the proliferation of fire arms in this country, it appears that bad guys will acquire the guns regardless of the law. In short, more extreme gun laws are about as effective as prohibition. There has been an admirable attempt to create a middle ground on the issue by the group, Americans for Gun Safety. The Moose is essentially a states rights mammal when it comes to guns - if New York wants to have tough gun laws fine, and if Texas wants conceal and carry - that's O.K., too.

And now, the flagship organ of the left, the Nation, in an article titled "Democrat Killer?" is beginning to re-evaluate their positions on guns. Of course, in the past, the far out lefties have advocated an armed proletariat. In the case of the Nation, their reevaluation is prompted by the desire to bring back Western states like New Mexico and Nevada to the Democratic column at the Presidential level.

While the Moose believes that it is healthy to review the donkey's position on gun control, it is far from the silver bullet. Democrats are also going to have to get their act together on such areas as values and national security if they are going to be competitive in that area. Although Howard Dean is pro-gun rights, it is unlikely he could successfully garner votes in that part of the country.

What particularly caught the eye in the Nation article was this description of a group of pro-gun rights Democrat legislators in New Mexico,

"Shannon Robinson is an unlikely prototype of a twenty-first-century opinion shaper. With disheveled gray hair, a ruddy face, a voice gravelly from years of chain-smoking Marlboros and a habit of sipping translucent maté tea from a thermos through a silver straw, Robinson looks more like a down-and-out prizefighter than a cutting-edge politician. Yet this 57-year-old is a Democratic state senator in New Mexico, and he informally heads a group of state politicians who call themselves the Bull Moosers. When an issue that the members of this caucus care about comes up for a vote in the Santa Fe Capitol, they signal its importance by putting their fingers up to their ears and imitating the antlers on a male moose. Bills to do with hunting, fishing, guns, trucks, boats, ranching and such are routinely greeted by a raising of the antlers.

The Bull Moosers are a potent alliance of rural representatives, many of them Hispanic, and politicians, like Robinson, from poorer city districts (Robinson represents an impoverished, heavily immigrant and crime-ridden neighborhood in Albuquerque). "Not many people care much about my part of town," says Robinson, in between maté sips. "But these folks have done that for me. So when we talk about issues important to ranchers and the guys with boots on, I pay a lot of attention to that. I'm the number-one Bull Moose. One of those old stags. Got some chipped-off antlers."

The Moose bellows, "Bully!".
-- Posted at 1:27 PM | Link to this post | Email this post