KATIE ZERR: Reagan wouldn’t fit in this party

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If there was any question who Congress really works for, it was answered this week as the Senate voted down the proposed legislation that would have expanded background checks for those purchasing weapons.

This happened despite the fact that 91 percent of the American public supported the expanded background checks.

On April 18, the vote on the so-called Manchin-Toomey amendment was 54 in favor, 46 against. Sixty votes were needed to move the legislation forward. Four Republicans supported it, and four Democrats voted no.

The Democratic plan to ban dozens of military-style assault weapons was also defeated by a vote of 40 to 60. Other amendments were also defeated including a bipartisan amendment to stiffen penalties for “straw purchasers;” a GOP-backed amendment that would have permitted “national reciprocity” of state-issued concealed carry permits; a GOP plan to extend gun rights for veterans, including those deemed unable to manage their financial affairs; and a Democratic amendment to limit the size of ammunition magazines.

Those conservatives who expressed they would consider these proposals were not only criticized and threatened by the powerful gun lobby on the hill, but also by those within their own party. The four Democrats who voted against the legislation also received similar treatment from their party.

Republicans that voted in favor of the legislation were labeled as traitors to the rights granted to all Americans by the Second Amendment.

The constant harping about the Second Amendment is getting tiresome.  What makes this the only amendment to the Constitution that is untouchable?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Is the popular phrase constantly referred to by those who wish to be able to own and use any type of weapon created by manufacturers truly contradictory to what is held as a right?

Recently it was questioned whether the Second Amendment actually acts against those who, as individuals, acting without coordination, training, leadership and regard for their fellow citizens are not a militia, but would be considered by our founding fathers as anarchists posing as patriots.

By today’s conservative standards, even Ronald Reagan was a traitor to the Second Amendment. After all, he signed into law gun restrictions that still exist today.

Reagan, remembered as a defender of the Constitution and of gun rights, supported common sense gun restrictions that were compatible with the Second Amendment throughout his political career. He signed into law the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986, which banned ownership of any fully automatic rifles that were not already registered.

Reagan supported the the Brady Bill in the early 1990s. He supported a seven-day waiting period before a purchaser could take possession of a handgun, and had signed into law a 15-day cooling-off period as governor of California.

He believed that prohibitions on sales to felons, drug addicts and the mentally ill were necessary and needed a uniform standard across the country.

In 1994, Reagan supported the Assault Weapons Ban stating that he was convinced that the limitations imposed in this bill are absolutely necessary.

Today such talk would be considered traitorous to the cause.

Have we gone so far as to shrug off the beliefs of the man known as The Great Communicator whose leadership changed the Republican Party?

Maybe the truth is that Reagan appreciated the Second Amendment but also understood that it does not say what gun right advocates swear it states.

We elected our Congress members to be leaders for our states, not puppets for industry. We elect our representatives to be our voice in Congress, not the voice of wealthy and powerful lobbies.

The father of modern day conservatism supported common sense gun legislation. Why can’t those who followed in his footsteps?

Because wealth and power speak louder than common sense.

 

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