From the Amendment II Democrats blog on MySpace:
You may have noticed that, in light of President Obama's apparent reluctance to press the issue on certain proposed gun laws, there have been some recent calls for Second Amendment activists to compromise in the interest of reducing violent crime and increasing public safety. My dictionary, however, defines "compromise" as an agreement in which all parties involved are willing to make concessions or scale back their demands. Pray tell me, what concessions are the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center willing to make?
Lest we forget, ever since the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968, right up until 2004, the only thing that American gun owners have done is lose ground to the other side. We have seen full-automatic weapons banned from the civilian market. Then we have seen semi-automatic weapons banned from the civilian market. And now the trend continues among gun-control advocates - instead of learning their lesson from the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, and despite the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in the case of DC v. Heller, gun-control advocates not only want to see the semi-automatic ban restored, but followed with similar legislation on .50-caliber rifles. Some even want to see civilians restricted to monthly quotas for gun purchases or even ammunition purchases. Where is the "compromise" in all of this?
When it comes to our Constitutional rights as Americans, however, we owe it to ourselves and our children to sustain a mindset of constant vigilance. Over the past few years, too many of us have become pliant and weak when confronted with wiretapping, torture, corruption, and the suppression of free speech and the right to keep and bear arms. In other words, we compromised, hoping that the other side would do likewise. It has not.
Some proposed gun legislation I tend to take more personally than others, which results in an elevated level of my own involvement in Democratic grassroots politics and the fight to define our party’s message on our Second Amendment rights. How welcome this attempt to raise awareness on gun issues is among my fellow Democrats, however, is still a matter of controversy. Nevertheless, for better or worse, the only points I have volunteered where we could find common ground with gun-control activists are in the need for a well-regulated firearms industry and in the need for more education on gun safety and violence involving firearms. Notice, however, that I have only mentioned common ground, never compromise. The Second Amendment still mentions "the right of the people to keep and bear arms," and as long as Democrats say they support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they have to support this as well without degenerating into some linguistic version of Three-Card Monte in which the law-abiding American citizen finds himself relegated to older designs of bolt-action hunting rifles in order for lawmakers to foster some illusion of domestic pacification or even, God forgive me, "Homeland Security."
A few weeks ago, I mentioned on an on-line Democratic forum that I'd like to see a firearms version of Driver's Ed made available to high school students, where teens could learn how to shoot firearms in a safe, secure environment with direct supervision by teachers, police officers, etc. This way, if a student started exhibiting poor impulse control, swagger, anger management issues, or any other detrimental behavior, instructors could immediately step in and counsel the student on how to deal with those issues so they do not create bigger problems during adulthood. Someone on the forum who is more supportive of gun-control measures then suggested that the class should include a visit from someone who has survived being shot by a criminal; this way, students could interact with a survivor of violent crime and develop an understanding of what happens to a person, his or her family and friends, and to society in general when someone uses a gun to commit a crime. I told the gun-control advocate that I thought his idea was great. After all, when I attended Driver's Ed, I saw the same grainy 8mm reels of grisly automobile crashes that you did when it was your turn in class, and I hardly felt traumatized by the images of smashed windows, crumpled frames, limp bodies, and blood-spattered vinyl. On the contrary, it reinforced the sad fact that people can (and do) get severely injured or even killed in auto accidents, and the same thing could happen to me if I didn't pay attention to the road, pedestrians, and other motorists. Why not apply the same principle to teaching the next generation about the consequences of misusing firearms?
That is an example of common ground, not compromise. This was an example where I could sit down with an advocate for tougher gun-control laws and we could both come away with a plan for increasing public safety that we feel good about.
With support for the traditional gun-control paradigm at an all-time low according to some recent polls, my message to gun-control advocates is that maybe we should focus more on common ground in order to fulfill our part of this whole "a more perfect Union" deal. There is always room for improving how Americans do things - complacency is not something we should aspire to, but instead challenge. Same goes for firearms safety and legislation. Never mind that history and momentum are on my side; I want that more perfect Union just as much as you do. So let's sit down and talk about it. Let's evolve new ideas while preserving our rights.
And so, my fellow pro-RKBA Democrats, let's seek the common ground, and to Hell with compromise.