The NRA and McCain

The anti-gun blogs have been abuzz with criticism of John McCain at the NRA convention (Ray Schoenke and Paul Helmke 1 & 2.) Why is the NRA supporting a C+ rated candidate? Snowflakes in Hell has the quote of the day to explain it: “…let’s face it, the choice is between getting hit by a bike, or getting hit by a dump truck.” McCain has taken a number of anti-gun stances including closing the Sale of private property “loophole,” and cosponsored the repugnant McCain-Feingold bill, but he has consistently opposed banning guns based on cosmetic features, voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, signed the pro-Heller brief, etc. While McCain is not my first choice for president, let’s be realistic: Barring some sort of convention shenanigans, McCain, Obama, or Clinton will be the next president, and compared to the Democrats, McCain is the best of the three.

Another priceless Paul Helmke quote:

Finally, Sen. McCain’s critique of “activist judges” who frustrate “the will of the people” sounds a little strained after he highlighted his support for overturning the will of the DC voters and elected officials regarding the District of Columbia’s gun restrictions. Judicial activism can cross ideological, partisan and issue-based lines. Sen. McCain needs to be clear on why some judicial activism is bad and some is good – or whether it just depends on what he thinks of the result.

Judicial activism isn’t making rulings that people disagree with politicly, it isn’t even “opposing the will of the people.” It is reading the law as you would like it to be, not as it is. It is discovering penumbras of the Constitution. In fact, it is the opposite of what Helmke implies: bending the Constitution to fit some real or imagined current political winds (the so called “Living Constitution.”) Judicial activism is also issuing rulings that are not related to the case at hand, or that go far beyond the case at hand. We have yet to see how “activist” the ruling in Heller will be, but my prediction is that it will be very judicially conservative, meaning that the ruling will be as narrow as possible to decide the case. Reading the Constitution as allowing for private ownership of firearms, and that D.C.s gun ban is unconstitutional would not be judicial activism. Reading it that way and then invalidating all gun laws would be. (Note that the instance I site of judicial activism is unrelated to my personal views on the subject. Such a ruling would go far beyond what is needed in this case, and I would not want that. We should not support improper procedures because we like the outcome) Does anyone think that Mr. McCain is looking for that sort of outcome, especially when you consider his support for “Closing the gun show loophole?”

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