Getting out the (gun) vote


As someone who is a "liberal Democrat" on most issues and an Abe Lincoln "conservative" on others, I believe it has been a profound mistake for the Democrats to throw away the gun owner's vote as they have for years (HCN, 10/27/08). I grew up in Ohio plinking with my dad's .22. I'm a gun owner with a collector's license for curios and relics, and a life member of the NRA. I disagree with them about most political issues and find them extreme. When I ran for Congress in 2006, I got a questionnaire from them that would likely have failed me in their eyes, had I sent it in. I still do not believe in free and unfettered access to .50 caliber rifles with a range of over a mile! This is a weapon that should be allowed but controlled, with restrictions on subsequent transfer. In reading the various states' versions of the Second Amendment prior to the ratification of the Constitution in 1787, it is clear that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an individual, not a collective, right. It is the one area that I disagree with other members of the ACLU, the group that sticks up for all of our other constitutional rights, with the sole exception of the Second Amendment. They unfortunately -- and wrongly -- look upon the Second Amendment as the only collective right, among all the individual rights, in the Bill of Rights.

Stevan Thomas