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Guns & Ammo state rankings highlight differences in people and parties

Knowledgeable people create political climates supportive of the right to keep and bear arms, while ignorance makes anti-gun measures possible.
Knowledgeable people create political climates supportive of the right to keep and bear arms, while ignorance makes anti-gun measures possible.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In an analysis published Thursday, Guns & Ammo magazine has ranked the states for 2014 to determine which are best and worst for gun owners. The magazine based its assessment on five categories: Right to Carry; Modern Sporting Rifles; NFA (National Firearms Act items including machine guns, suppressors, etc.); Castle Doctrine; and a “catch-all” Miscellaneous category that includes state protections, citizen attitudes and the like.

What is immediately apparent is the division between people and their political preferences as exemplified by the “best” and worst”-ranked states. To illustrate, this column will look at the top and bottom 10, starting with the worst.

Coming in at 51 is Washington D.C. The mayor is a Democrat, as are 11 of the 13 City Council positions (with two “Independents”) as are all federal representatives. Presidential Electoral College votes went to the Obama/Biden ticket.

The next nine states listed, with “worst” listed first, are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Delaware, Democrat strongholds all. And while there are notable (and rare) exceptions, such as Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey, the governor, who occasionally gets things right, more often does not, and in very destructive ways against the right to keep and bear arms.

On the other side of the equation, the “best” state is Arizona, slightly edging out Alaska. The “top 10,” going down the list, include Georgia, Utah, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas and Florida. Again, there are some splits, as in Kentucky, Montana and Florida, but in all those states, the influence of Democrats has been tempered by Republicans. See “Political party strength in U.S. states” for a breakdown.

Does that mean there are no “pro-gun Democrats” and gun owners should automatically back Republicans?

It’s problematic for the Democrats, with an official party platform starting out with hollow, insincere words about recognizing “the individual right to bear arms,” but then segueing into what they call “reasonable regulation” to include “commonsense improvements” such as ending private sales and “reinstating the assault weapon ban.” While individuals within the party have, on occasion, voted correctly on specific bills, those same politicians support and enable “the most anti-gun president ever to occupy the Oval Office,” including his picks for key positions that can influence the ability to exercise rights, as well as policies that can have profound impacts on the political viability of further “gun control” in the future.

But it’s not like Republicans emerge with totally clean hands either. Zealously anti-gun politicians like Mark Kirk of Illinois, who co-authored his own ban on semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines, and Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, the only Republican co-sponsor for Charles Rangel’s Orwellian-named “Enforce Existing Gun Laws Act,” which will introduce new restrictions, further empower ATF, eliminate Tiahrt Amendment privacy protections, and ultimately allow for a national gun registry (fortunately, GovTrack assigns “17% chance of getting past committee. 4% chance of being enacted.”

These examples, and numerous others exposing squishy, and sometimes downright subversive Establishment Republican “principles,” effectively show the GOP shouldn’t get an assumed pass, which is why serious gun rights activists focus on individual candidates meriting support, rather than funneling contributions down through a central party “leadership” that will enable all.

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers,” early Bill Clinton influence Carroll Quigley observed in “Tragedy and Hope.”

“Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy,” Quigley noted.

That leads to a second question, one of cause and effect: Are Republicans naturally more “gun-friendly or do individual candidates present -- and sometimes opportunistically modify -- their positions to reflect the values of the constituencies in their districts?

It does not matter to some activists if they get the votes they seek out of true belief or out of a desire for political survival, as long as they get the votes. That could end up being a counterproductive strategy, depending on trends and depending how far to the “Left ... doctrinaire and academic thinkers” can succeed in manipulating the "foolish," and especially the uninformed.

“Ninety percent of Democrats support stricter checks," Politico is claiming in a new poll, "as do 71 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of independents.”

Because of perceived credibility simply from being an influential political media organization, its findings are taken more seriously by some than, say, a Mark Dice petitioning video, which is really too bad, because at least his efforts demonstrate how astonishingly ignorant and unable to critically think many respondents can be. The Politico poll makes no effort to determine what actual knowledge respondents have on the subjects they’re being queried on, as opposed to what they believe based on influences of undetermined reliability, including agenda media masquerading as “news.” So how their answers might change if those being questioned were informed that the National Institute of Justice concluded that effective universal background checks require “gun registration,” and that felons are exempted from being required to register guns, is left unexplored.

Clearly, the work of informing and educating the public on how ignorance is happily exploited by rights swindlers is a never-ending task, a goal made seemingly unobtainable by the overwhelming sympathies of what Joe Biden calls “legitimate news media,” that can be relied on to spread the anti-gun "gospel." That’s why it’s incumbent on gun rights advocates to be more than mere consumers of information, but to become force multipliers, sharing truths those more interested in control will not. Effective rights activism must seek to increase the number, not just of gun owners, but of informed gun owners.


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Isn’t it a little early to be talking about the 2014 elections? Not if you want to win. My latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it well before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Get Out The Vote -- Especially Your Own!


My latest JPFO alert notes a whole lot of projection going on. See “Author, Hollywood screenwriter and veteran says he could kill again over guns” and witness homicidal rage from someone “in the business” who doesn’t want you to have a gun.

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