Crowing about a setback for gun rights advocates, the Michael Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action issued a press release Thursday expressing their pleasure that “the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs rejected an NRA-backed measure today that would have allowed concealed, loaded guns to be carried in post offices.”
The rejoicing is hardly unexpected, although it is curious for a group spreading the insulting “going postal” myth that they’d be silent on recent news that “The United States Postal Service intends to solicit proposals for assorted small arms ammunition.” Still, the “victory” for the Bloomberg Moms (BMs) is only partial.
“A Senate committee unanimously passed a measure Thursday to allow people to carry guns on postal service property, but killed a broader push to let gun owners carry their firearms into actual post office buildings,” The Washington Times reported yesterday. That means once the measure becomes law, people won’t need to be defenseless driving to or from the Post Office, but will still be mandated helpless if they have business inside.
“Mr. Paul’s amendment failed on a 9-6 vote,” the report explained.
At this writing, the Committee website and other resources like the Library of Congress THOMAS and the GovTrack legislative tracking websites do not give a breakdown of the vote, and the volume and camera placement on the session video makes identifying by voice votes problematic. This columnist requested clarification from Sen. Paul’s office, which replied “All Dem members of the committee voted against the Paul Amendment. All Rs except Portman (who did not vote on any of the amendments) voted for it.”
One vote should be viewed as a special disappointment by gun rights advocates, although it’s hardly surprising to those who have seen similar past betrayals from so-called “pro-gun Democrats.”
"This is about politics,” Sen. Jon Tester of Montana complained in a Pool/CNN report. “It's about 100 percent politics because if I vote against the amendment that Rand Paul has, the commercials aren't going to say ‘Jon Tester voted against guns in post offices.' They're going to say ‘Jon Tester voted against guns in parking posts,' which is where their concern would be. So let's not fool anybody here. This isn't about good policy. This is about a political election in November and what kind of ads are going to be available to be ran and how the record will be distorted in those ads."
The tortured grammar in that transcription of whatever it is he actually said notwithstanding, no distortion is needed: Sen. Tester’s own words do quite an adequate job all by themselves, and are recorded for all to hear on the afore-mentioned video. He came on at 1:25:11, following an introduction by virulently anti-gun Post Office bill author Tom Carper, who argued unconvincingly of the need to “study” the “impacts” of recognizing rights he has no legitimate authority to infringe in the first place.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman,” Tester began. “I appreciate you offering this modification. I also appreciate Sen. Paul’s amendment, what he’s trying to do here.”
That’s evidently why he had to disparage Paul’s amendment as a mere political stunt designed to make him and other Democrats look bad. In other words, he was not being sincere.
“I would just say this,” he continued. “I don’t ... I think I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I’ve got more guns than I need and I want some more.”
That’s a familiar bit of misdirection anti-gun politicians use all the time. Even Barack Obama makes that claim. Besides, if an affinity for firearms were the issue, what better friend could gun owners have than Ruby Ridge sniper Lon Horiuchi? And what better political doublespeak clues could be telegraphed that Tester was preparing to show everyone how big his “but” was? True to form, that’s just what he did.
“But the bottom line is, there’s some places where guns are not appropriate,” he protested. “This building, for example, would not be appropriate to have a gun. And if there’s issues with the Post Office, I don’t think it’d be appropriate to have a gun at the Post Office.”
Putting aside Tester’s presumption of a need for heightened security in the chambers of the United States Senate, he still failed to establish any equivalency of concerns between that and the ability of a peaceable citizen -- in compliance with state laws -- having the means of protection on Post Office premises. If that citizen can be trusted to possess a gun in the car, on the street, or in the local Starbucks, what factors can Tester cite to imply their behavior will change or safety risks will escalate if they wish to mail a package or buy stamps, or check their P.O. box?
He does not say.
“The parking lot is a different issue, however,” he asserts.
“‘cause in rural America, there are a lot of folks -- Sen. Enzi knows this -- they might be out huntin’ gophers and go in to pick up the mail, and they got the gun sittin’ in their pickup -- it’s just a matter -- it’s a tool to do their work with,” he explained.
Tester doesn’t truly believe the Second Amendment is about “gopher huntin’,” does he? And what about Americans who believe a gun is a good personal defense tool? Or victims who have found out firsthand, and to their lasting sorrow, what can happen to those who obey such parking lot laws and leave their gun in their car?
“And I ... if I had my druthers, and we don’t have the opportunity to vote for this, I would vote to allow guns in the parking lot. But not in the Post Office,” he concluded.
This is a character who was rated “A” by the National Rifle Association and voted 2011 “Legislator of the Year” by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. He says he believes in the Second Amendment and then says he doesn’t want to allow you to have a gun when you go to buy stamps?
Jon Tester instead sides with Mike Bloomberg and his hysterical Demanding Moms, and the Brady Campaign, and the Violence Policy Center, and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and...?
It’s true, Tester has done some good things for gun owners and voted the right way on numerous occasions throughout his political career, but that needs to be tempered with the realization that he’s running in Montana, where any political machine fielding an overt anti-gunner would get their hindquarters handed to them. The politically-savvy Democrats know they need to be able to give it up on guns (for the most part) in such areas if they wish to have their larger agenda enacted.
And helping them enact it Tester does, from his “Obama guy” support for the man NRA calls “the most anti-gun president ever to occupy the Oval Office,” to his confirmation votes for Eric Holder, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor...
Those are among the reasons the “no compromise” Gun Owners of America gives Tester an “F” rating, and what he just told his countrymen about how he actually "respects" their right to bear arms ought to solidify that grade. Whether NRA now downgrades him in any meaningful way, or allows him to get away with protesting that his own words and actions don’t matter, and anyone who points them out is merely playing political “gotcha” games, remains to be seen.
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