Kerry should offer support for gun rights

Freedom Editorial

P resumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry has amassed perhaps the most liberal voting record in the Senate, as Republican campaign ads will repeatedly remind voters during the campaign season. Yet Sen. Kerry could potentially win the election by going to the right on at least one important constitutional issue: the right to keep and bear arms.

Liberal groups are frustrated that this liberal senator refuses to take a strong stand against the war in Iraq, or to boldly push an anti-globalization, big-government, high-tax agenda similar to one that might be advocated by partisan filmmaker Michael Moore.

They don’t understand that such an approach would backfire, especially in key battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa. These are home to many blue-collar Democrats who tend to embrace the Democrats’ economic message, but look askance at Democratic social values.

These are also states where hunting is popular and the Second Amendment is held in high regard. The key to winning those states is not moving even further left, but to embrace a cause typically associated with the right, but which really is a cause that should be embraced by all Americans who revere the Constitution.

In an unusual piece of campaign advice, the liberal columnist and cartoonist, Ted Rall, recently urged Sen. Kerry to break ranks with his party on this issue, given that guns would give him an edge in an electorate that is otherwise evenly divided on most everything else.

Rall notes that Democrats have been hostile to the libertarian impulse in American society, but a newfound embrace of the Second Amendment could help on that score. “Kerry’s endorsement of gun rights would not only neutralize a key GOP values issue; it would serve as a cultural signifier that he doesn’t view hunters and other gun aficionados with (as Democratic political consultant David Sweet put it) ‘an urban, sophisticated mentality that sneers at their way of life.’”

Of course, Sen. Kerry embodies the above-described liberal arrogance. So even if he did the right thing and endorsed the Second Amendment, no one would believe he did it out of principle.

And, so far, Sen. Kerry’s main statements on guns have suggested that he wants to keep even more categories of them out of the hands of the public.